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California Pizza Kitchen At The Park Surprises

California Pizza Kitchen at The Park surprised me in a good way last night. New outlets of chain restaurants aren’t always the most exciting restaurants to explore but I was curious about the new, exclusive menu being offered only at this location. CPK was the final restaurant at The Park (see more from the opening of The Park at Covers) that I wanted to try so I figured that I’d give it a whirl.

California Pizza Kitchen has multiple locations in Las Vegas (The Mirage, Downtown Summerlin, etc.) so there needed to be something to set this one apart. The new menu does that by offering burgers, steaks, unique appetizers like buffalo cauliflower and pizzas you can’t find at other locations.

CPKBurgerBest

We sampled different dishes and I was happy to see that there’s another moderately priced dining option at The Park. The CPK Classic Cheeseburger was only $14 and was made with Wagyu beef and has melted American cheese, Nueske’s Applewood-smoked bacon, caramelized onions, tomato, pickles, lettuce and housemade burger sauce on a toasted brioche bun. The accompanying fingerling potatoes were crisp and tasty.

The CPK Classic Cheeseburger was easily the best thing we had from the 6 or 7 dishes we tried. I wouldn’t call this the best burger in Las Vegas but it’s very good and probably what I would order in the future.

CPK.BuffCauliflower

Everyone we spoke with at the restaurant highly recommended that we try the buffalo cauliflower. Yes, I ate cauliflower. My mom would be proud. Kinda. The veggies were masked very well.

The cauliflower was deep-fried and had an excellent buffalo sauce. I think vegetarians I know would probably love this dish. The sauce was spicy and tangy and I’d eat this all day…if it was chicken.

CPKMeatballs

The turkey meatball appetizer was more up my ally. They’re made with turkey sausage and had a nice kick to them. Note to management if there was a happy hour deal with apps and booze discounts, I would probably destroy these every time I visited The Park.

CPKRibeye

So, a steak at California Pizza Kitchen? Let’s give it a whirl.

This is exactly what you’d expect from a $40 steak on the Vegas Strip. The meat was good but it wasn’t great. If you go in with the understanding that this isn’t a high-end steakhouse steak you’ll probably enjoy it.

An additional note on the steak, the grill temperatures were probably a bit too high as the first rib eye was charred but very undercooked from the medium we ordered. The second steak was closer. I’d give them a minute to figure this out before trying again.

Overall

Like I said, I was pleasantly surprised with the dishes that are only available at The Park location of California Pizza Kitchen. The non-pizza options are tasty and better than pizza I’ve had at any of the locations.

Between  Shake Shack, Bruxie, Beerhaus and California Pizza Kitchen, The Park has a good selection of moderately priced restaurants. You can see more pics from dinner in the slideshow below.

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Welcoming Fogo De Chao To The Burbs

Fogo De Chao at Downtown Summerlin

Fogo De Chao at Downtown Summerlin

Fogo De Chao just opened a new location in the suburbs of Vegas (Summerlin) and I was happy to greet the restaurant when it opened. The newest location for Fogo De Chao in Vegas is at shopping complex Downtown Summerlin. (Unrelated to Fogo, Downtown Summerlin is quickly becoming my go to dining location when I’m looking for somewhere to grab a bite.)

Fogo De Chao is a chain of Brazilian steakhouses with locations all over the US, Brazil and one in Mexico. Brazilian steakhouses were in the doghouse with me until a recent visit to Via Brasil. That dinner gave me faith that the idea of “gimme all of the meats” could be delicious and not make me feel ill.

Fogo De Chao

Gimme all of the meats

This was my first visit to Fogo De Chao and it did not disappoint.

I was invited to the ribbon cutting and grand opening preview which was quite the experience. It seemed as though the entire staff for the restaurant was working on this night. That was a blessing and a curse. The service was almost too fast and too attentive. Let me explain.

When you order a rodizio style meal the servers will bring you food when the round sign above is on the green side and stop when it’s red. It’s nice to be able to breathe a minute before having a new piece of meat. We actually had to use the red side on this preview night – a lot.

There were so many people working that the service was beyond great and almost too fast. (Awww…too much meat being brought to me too quickly. Call the wahmbulance. I know.) That’s not the worst thing in the world but it wasn’t perfect.

Fogo De Chao - The Meat Service Begins

Fogo De Chao – The Meat Service Begins

Service with a smile…again! Remember this guy at Via Brasil?

Fogo De Chao has 6 cuts of beef on their menu and a variety of chicken, pork and lamb. Looking back I think I had every piece of meat that they offered. The Beef Ancho (ribeye) and Fraldinha (Bottom Sirloin) were probably my favorite items on the menu.

The full churrasco dinner is $49.95 and includes the market table/salad bar. I tend to avoid the market table as I’d rather use that space in my tummy for meat.

The same churrasco for lunch during the week is only $32.95. That’s a great deal if you don’t mind eating such a large meal in the middle of the day.

Note, prices at the Summerlin Fogo De Chao are $2 cheaper than the other Las Vegas location.

Fogo De Chao - Molten Chocolate Cake

Fogo De Chao – Molten Chocolate Cake

I’m not normally a dessert person but after a little post dinner chit-chat and too much delicious coffee it seemed like the thing to do. The (rare) beautiful picture above does the molten chocolate cake justice. This was a perfect way to end the evening.

The food and service at Fogo De Chao were both excellent but the atmosphere in the massive space left something to be desired.

The food made me think I was eating at a Brazilian steakhouse but the room made me feel as though I could have been eating any food anywhere. I guess that’s the difference between a chain restaurant like Fogo De Chao and an independently operated restaurant like Via Brasil.

Both Brazilian steakhouses have good food but have a different way of presenting it. There’s nothing wrong with having different options for different moods.

I certainly wouldn’t say no to visiting Fogo De Chao because of vibe from a restaurant preview night. I generally visit a restaurant to eat good food. Chances are that a return to Fogo De Chao will be in my future.

Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas