by Bob Barnes
Read more about Naxos Taverna and other food and beverage news.
During the past year the Red Rock Resort has been reinventing its food and beverage programs, replacing most of its restaurants with new concepts spanning a variety of world cuisines.
During the resort’s reimagining one of the venues to be replaced was the buffet, which is not surprising, as the once ubiquitous all-you-can-eat experience found in virtually every single casino resort appears for the most part to be a permanent casualty of the recent pandemic. Located on the north side of the resort, the space has now been repurposed as a mini restaurant row and encompasses the new Lotus of Siam, 13-seat Kallisto Oyster Bar and Greek seafood-focused Naxos Taverna.
Naxos Taverna at Red Rock Casino
Named after the Greek island in the South Aegean well known for its sandy beaches, at Naxos Taverna the gems of the Mediterranean and coastal Greece are well represented. The décor helps transport you, with aromas of fish on a grill, a life-sized faux olive tree adorned with lights, hanging lanterns, a wood slat ceiling covered with bamboo mats, tile that was hand painted in Greece, an open kitchen and a display at the restaurant’s bar of the whole fish on ice that are available on the menu.
The best way to experience the coastal cuisine is to share dishes, and the menu is well-designed to allow you to do so. The Small Plates section is highlighted by Charred Spanish Octopus that thankfully is blanched, braised and then grilled, resulting in extremely tender bites. There’s also quite delectable Kataifi Wrapped Prawns in a shredded phyllo-like dough made all the more savory with a kalamata olive aioli dipping sauce.
Dips and spreads are so essential to a Greek-influenced meal that the seven options are honored with its own section of the menu. A must-have is the Muhammara, a red pepper dip with pomegranate and walnuts topped with Aleppo pepper (similar to ancho pepper but with a slight cumin flavor). The house-made pita bread is so good it actually doesn’t need the dips to enliven it, and the dips are good enough to eat by themselves, but both complement each other well.
You owe it to yourself to indulge in the Greek Salad, which features cucumber, tomato, pickled shallots and a large slice of marinated feta cheese. Other salad choices include Tabouli with parsley, tomato and lemon vinaigrette; and Shaved Fennel with yogurt-poppy seed dressing.
The aforementioned whole fish are flown in several times a week and are ideal for sharing. They are cooked whole with the option of grilled or salt baked and are served deboned with charred lemon & sea salt.
Other gems from the sea include several shared plates with Seared Big Eye Tuna, Atlantic Skate Wing, Maine Sea Scallops, Faroe Island Salmon and Lobster & Crab Diavolo. There’s more in the Fresh Fish & Seafood section of the menu with “Simply Raw” Sea Bream, Hamachi, Bay Scallop and Big Eye Tuna Tartare; chilled Oysters, Lobster, Crab and Poached Gulf Prawns; and Charcoal-Roasted Cherry Stone Clams, Alaskan King Crab and Maine Lobster.
If you’re craving meat as your protein rather than fish, you won’t be left out. The Charcoal Grilled Steaks & Chops menu offers Lamb Chops, Beef Kofta, Prime Bone-In Ribeye and the Spinach & Feta Crusted Beef Tenderloin we enjoyed, which comes sliced so it can also be appreciated as a family-style offering.
The Sweet Things menu has two desserts that pair wonderfully in the same bite. They are the Baklava Cheesecake with pistachio filo and strawberry and Homemade Strawberry/Vanilla Frozen Yogurt made with ricotta and topped with baklava flakes and pomegranate. Or if you have the need for chocolate, you can indulge in the Chocolatina: multi-layer mousse, cake and frosting with a peanut brittle top.
The beverage program features about 100 wines including a handful from Greece like the Biblia Chora “Sole” Pinot Noir from Macedonia, Greece. Spirits lovers have a wide array of a dozen Greek versions of ouzo, mastiha and tsilili; several vodkas, rum, whiskies and agave spirits; and European-influenced cocktails such as the Negroni with Bulldog London Dry Gin, Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth and Campari Aperitivo.
This new restaurant concept is yet another example of Red Rock Resort reinventing itself and adds to its well-rounded restaurant options with this one specializing in fish and seafood with generous touches of the Mediterranean culinary culture. Naxos Taverna at Red Rock is open nightly for dinner from 4-10 p.m.