A Whopper Of A Tail In Vegas

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - September 29, 2010
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Kokomo’s at the Mirage offers a giant lobster tail

Las Vegas is known for extravagant excess, but I never saw such a big one, and when it was served the whole restaurant turned to look at it.

The restaurant is Kokomo’s at the Mirage Hotel, and I am talking about the biggest lobster tail I’ve ever laid eyes on! It was a whopper of a tail, and definitely enough for two if not three people.

The restaurant is a lush visual display in an open-air environment of a tropical rain forest, surrounded by soaring palms, waterfalls and a lagoon in the atrium of the hotel. The center lagoon and the waterfalls drown out any noise from the hotel’s casino so the dining experience is relaxing and romantic. Our server Gerardo Gamboa was extremely knowledgeable about the menu selections and told us he has been with the restaurant since it opened.

The menu features a large selection of seafood choices, and the seafood on ice is an extravagant combination of Australian lobster tail, Alaskan king crab claws, Blue Point oysters, jumbo prawns and Alaskan crab legs, all served with exotic sauces. Also on the menu is an excellent selection of prime steaks and chops, salads, appetizers and the most delicious lobster bisque (the restaurant is noted for this), served with a crusty pastry top.


Dessert is worth the overindulgence, with apple bourbon pie and crème brule trio in chocolate, vanilla and raspberry flavors, among the choices. Reservations are a must, and this is a splurge, but a unique experience, even in Las Vegas!

For a more moderate budget, I think the dinner buffet at the Bellagio Hotel is one of the best bargains in Vegas. It’s outstanding and reasonably priced (dinner price is $27.95, and $35.95 for gourmet weekend buffets).

The selections include offerings from Italy, China and Japan, as well as fresh seafood and traditional American cuisine. It offers cooking stations with meals made to order, so you can get your meal prepared without salt or heavy sauces, if you desire.

The selection of salads and fresh fruit is huge, and you can make a meal from the sushi station, which has items such as ahi and salmon poke, California roll with crab and vegetable rolls. The wide assortment of vegetables includes sweet corn on the cob, sautéed mushrooms, roasted carrots and grilled asparagus.The rack of lamb is tender and not at all fatty, and the breast of turkey is a good low-fat lean choice.

If you still have room for dessert, it has sugar-free cheesecake and muffins, as well as strawberries dipped in chocolate, and pies and cakes galore.

This salad is wonderful for buffet parties, or just for a special treat for the family. Local farmers markets feature lobster tails at good prices, too! Stuff it into some crusty rolls with sliced, vine-ripened, local tomatoes.

MY FAVORITE LOBSTER SALAD

* 3 pounds cooked lobster meat, cubed or cut into small pieces
* 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
* 1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
* 3 stalks celery, finely diced
* 1 small Maui onion, finely chopped
* 1 cup light mayonnaise
* salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
* 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

Mix lobster with peppers, celery and onion until well-combined. Fold in mayonnaise. Sprinkle with fennel seeds; add salt and pepper to taste. Mix until fennel, salt and pepper are incorporated into salad. Chill for at least three hours before serving.


Makes six servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving (without rolls)

Calories: 410
Fat: 9 grams
Cholesterol: 160 milligrams
Sodium: depends on how much salt you add (1 teaspoon salt equals about 2,300 milligrams of sodium)

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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