The Tillerman - A Seafood Paradise
By R. H. Duke
The Las Vegas dining arena experienced yet another wave of celebrity chefs this year adding to our growth as the hottest restaurant city in the world.
"We were here before this all began,"
says Mark DiMartino, owner with his brother Rick, of The Tillerman, a seafood restaurant at 2245 E. Flamingo Rd. "And we are here every day," Mark adds with pride and confidence.
The Tillerman has withstood the test of time serving locals and visitors for 25 years at the same location. The DiMartino family also ranks among the pioneers of Las Vegas restaurateurs. In 1972 Emeddio and Shirley DiMartino, patriarch and matriarch, came to Las Vegas from New Jersey with their young
children in tow. They owned and operated several restaurants during the 28 years that followed. Mark says he and his brother learned every aspect of restaurant operations from their "mentors," having literally grown up in the business.
Befitting their lifetime contributions and involvement in the restaurant industry, the Nevada Restaurant Association recently honored Emeddio and Shirley with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, only the second such award given in 18
Mark is the past chairman of the Nevada Restaurant Association, and he primarily focuses on The Tillerman, while Rick operates DiMartino's of Green Valley at 1000 Green Valley Parkway. It features flavorful Italian cuisine from their original family recipes.
Just as the historic seafaring tillerman steered his boat, so does Mark DiMartino. He oversees the entire operation of The Tillerman "steering" every aspect toward complete customer satisfaction and great
dining experiences. He's assisted by a highly trained staff led by managers Mike McEvoy and Shannon Reilly.
Mark firmly expresses his operating/management philosophy: "Each individual customer is special. We are here for them, to ensure the quality of food and service is first rate as well as consistent. We take pride in offering the freshest seafood available, our products are sourced from all over the world and flown direct to our door, virtually every day of the week. We have
no frozen fish. When we receive a delivery, we look at it carefully. It does not sit around. We ice it immediately and then keep it in separate coolers at proper temperatures. We then prepare and serve it at its freshest."
The Tillerman's selections change daily, reflecting what's fresh that day. Fish can be prepared the chef's way or your way - grilled, charbroiled, steamed, baked, delicately fried or blackened. This is a sensible approach and it adds to the many reasons The
Tillerman stands high above other seafood eateries in Las Vegas.
The Tillerman's "jewels of the sea" include the finest selection of oysters, clams, shrimp, mussels, calamari, crab, and lobster. For the non-seafoodies, quality steaks, chops, chicken, and lamb are available. All entree items include the famous Tillerman salad bar served at your table - a huge self-service bowl of chilled greens with choices of several accompaniments and flavorful dressings.
Because the fish is always fresh, any of the daily catches is highly recommended, as is the combination of meat and seafood - Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail, or Filet Mignon and Alaskan King crab legs. Other specialties that are repeated by regular customers include stuffed shrimp, Maryland crab cakes, and angel hair pasta with lobster.
For those who enjoy a variety of seafood as I do, my recommendation is to make a complete dinner by ordering multiple selections of appetizers. What a
delight! None disappoint at The Tillerman. Oysters Tillerman is my favorite - oysters in their shell, oven-baked with toppings of spinach, Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, and scallions. For a spicier taste, the spicy Thai calamari is a good bet, as are the crispy fried crab cakes, filled with lump crab meat. The steamed Maine black mussels with white wine and garlic is another excellent selection.
The New England clam chowder is a must try, as it is made from scratch with fresh
ingredients daily. It's light and creamy, smooth and flavorful, and may just be the best outside of New England! Although cakes, brulees, puff pastries, tiramasu and other desserts are tempting, the "all-star dessert" is the exceptionally incomparable "Tillerman cheesecake." Mrs. D's third generation recipe will end your perfect meal.
Dining at the Tillerman is reminiscent of dining at a lakeside lodge with its warm, inviting and romantic ambience. The popular
garden room features 4 live Ficus trees reaching up to the cathedral ceilings and retractable skylight, creating a beautiful "outdoor dining experience," indoors. Set apart from the main dining room are two intimate and cozy spaces conducive to quiet conversation over dinner. The Tillerman also specializes in private parties, with rooms for 22 to 75 people. Service throughout The Tillerman is courteous, prompt and attentive, and all servers are ready to accommodate your every
For that pre-dinner drink or after dinner port, cognac, and cordial the bar and lounge is the perfect place to relax. If premium cigars are your liking, The Tillerman has a cigar friendly area, with fine selections of premium cigars. A "Wine Spectator" award winning selection of wine is available either by glass or bottle.
Looking for seafood? The "one that got away" probably landed at this southeast oasis located just minutes away from the Strip.
Dine where the locals dine, and savor the cuisine of one of the oldest and best restaurants in Las Vegas, run by one of the Valley's most respected family of restaurateurs.
Open daily for dinner 5:00pm - 11:00pm. Please call 702-731-4036 for reservations. Website: http://www.tillerman.com
R.H. Duke is a former restaurateur and a Las Vegas restaurant critic who says “Fine Dining is one of Life’s Greatest Pleasures!”