Just as Mexican Independence Day arrives, so too does a new Mexican restaurant at Encore Las Vegas. Casa Playa opens today with coastal Mexican fare that celebrates the playacitas of the seaside communities. The restaurant, which takes over the former Elio space, sits next to Encore Beach Club with a menu from executive chef Sarah Thompson, cocktails from Wynn resort mixologist Mariena Mercer Boarini, and a mezcal and tequila collection from agave expert Noah Arenstein.
Thompson’s menu features a crudo of Mexican blue shrimp ceviche with young coconut, tomatillo, and cucumber; yellowfin tuna tartare served with pasilla chile and avocado; and seafood platters with Kusshi oysters, Hokkaido scallops, king crab legs, lobster tail, and shrimp cocktail. On the appetizer menu, diners can order black truffle tostada with Cabot clothbound cheddar and corn cream; duck confit tamal with mole de la casa and ricotta; and octopus served with coloradito mole and potato in escabeche. Diners can opt for main courses such as whole cauliflower al pastor featuring pineapple butter and cashew salsa macha; branzino a la talla topped with guajillo adobo, herbs, and salsa cruda; and Yucatan chicken pibil made with orange annatto adobo and potato, or choose to order family-style dishes such as whole roasted carnitas with crispy skin, smoked agave syrup, chipotle slaw, chile toreado, and charred cucumber salsa or the Casa Playa surf and turf featuring wagyu carne asada, lobster, and chorizo, short rib suadero, green chorizo, and serrano.
Mercer Boarini spent her time at Wynn revamping and creating cocktail menus, and here she brings a lineup that includes margaritas like the Temple of Doom made with Mal Bien Espadin Mezcal, grilled pineapple, chipotle, and lime; the Forbidden Fruit frozen margarita featuring El Tesoro Blanco, mango, lime, chamoy caramel, and mango trinity salt; and the City of Dawn with Grey Goose Essence Watermelon Basil Vodka and cucumber mint agua fresca.
Over on the tequila and mezcal side of the menu, assistant general manager Arenstein came up with a rotating collection of agave spirits from regions spanning Oaxaca in the south of Mexico to the borders of the United States in the north. The program features a number of barrel picks, some from rare batches of 200 bottles or less, that can be ordered as a drink, a curated flight, or fully paired tasting. Highlights of the selection include Neta Mezcal Tepextate, Cascahuin Extra Añejo Tequila, Fuenteseca 18 Yr. Tequila, and Vago Mezcal Tobala de Aquilino, which, with a limited 125 bottle batch, is only available at Casa Playa.
Wynn Resorts’ creative studio, Wynn Design and Development, created the look of Casa Playa with bright colors and patterns that celebrate Mexico. Two fixtures with cascading marigolds anchor the main dining room, while the lounge gives customers a chic setting.
Casa Playa, Encore Las Vegas, 3121 Las Vegas Boulevard S., 702-770-5340. Open Wednesday through Sunday at 6 p.m. until midnight.
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