China Poblano -a culinary adventure with Jose Andres.
I was fortunate enough to stumble upon this gem the last time I was in Las Vegas. It is situated on the second floor of The Cosmopolitan and let me be clear, The Cosmopolitan hotel has an amazing array of food and had not led me wrong yet. So it was by no surprise that when we decided to try China Poblano a José Andrés restaurant. We were not disappointed and little did we know we were in for a culinary adventure.
The menu is half Chinese and half Mexican offering delicious flavors from both sides of the world blending together for an unforgettable meal.
The atmosphere is an eclectic blend of Chinese and Hispanic cultures with Chinese lanterns hanging form the ceiling, and Mexican Lucha Libre masks adorning the walls. It sounds weird but it makes so much sense when you are sitting in the restaurant and it looks really mind-blowing.
The service at China Poblano is just as on point as their menu. Bringing us anything and everything we asked for, tending to us by keeping our cups full and providing new silverware and plates for different courses. It is easy to feel like you are the only one in the restaurant despite the vibrant atmosphere.
Since they offer both cuisines independently of each other it can be hard to decide which items on the menu to try and which to pass on (although you really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu). But for $55 per person you can join the Chef’s Experience, and what an experience it is, featuring 14 courses ranging from tacos, to noodles, and everything in between.
Because we were with a special group of friends and couldn’t decide, we decided to go with the Chef’s Experience. And I must say, it was more than enough food, so be prepared to waddle out of the restaurant.
So without further adieu, the menu begun with…
Guacamole made one-by-one – queso fresco / fresh tortillas
We ordered it, outside of the Chef’s Experience, medium (mild and spicy were other options) and it was just right. It had the right amount of ingredients and you could tell it had been made fresh, and the jalapeño kick in there was the perfect spice to start our meal off.
Fried Wontons/ shrimp/pork/ sesame sauce
The first item offered on the Chef’s Experience was this deliciously crunchy and savory wonton. It had a very flavorful bite and was the best way to dive into this experience.
Siu Mai Traditional shrimp/pork/ jicama/mushrooms/ peanuts
One of my favorites of the whole experience, this menu item was a bite full of awesome, and on top had pieces of gold flakes. One perfect piece to pop in your mouth!
When Pigs Fly/ delicate steamed buns/Chinese barbecue pork
Another favorite of mine because I love steamed buns. And the texture of the buns was soft and doughy, and then inside filled with the most delicious barbecue pork. If you love steamed buns, this is a must try at China Poblano.
Rice paper filled guacamole cups
A sampling of the guacamole if you decided to not order it as a standalone item (like we ended up doing) so you can taste it.
Palmitos Hawaiian hearts of palm/ grapefruit/tamarind dressing
This was my least favorite on the Chef’s Experience. The flavors were very bitter being primarily seasoned by the grapefruit and tamarind dressing. So unless you know you will like those flavors or you just want to try it, I would say move along.
Tuna Ceviche/ tuna/amaranth seeds/ soy sauce/pecans
I love ceviche and ok to be fair I love a lot of things, but something about cooking raw fish with lime and I’m lost in translation. The specialness about this bite was the amaranth seeds on top giving it a POP in your mouth.
Happy Buddha Vegetable Spring Roll/ cucumber/carrot/zucchini/ jicama
Spring rolls are one of my favorite Chinese appetizers in general, but these were especially good. They had good texture (which is always important, who hates soggy spring rolls– me.) and good flavor combination. Paired with the sesame seed dipping sauce and we were in heaven.
Dan Dan Mian/ hand-cut wheat noodles/ spicy pork sauce/peanuts
This was one spicy bite. It was presented with a side of vinegar should you want to tone down the heat. But we elected to let this course kick us and kick us well it did. Spicy, and fresh noodles drizzled in a spicy pork sauce bonanza!
Swallow a Cloud Hong Kong-style wonton/shrimp/pork/bok choy
Wontons are another staple of Chinese cooking, and since I’ve eaten many a wontons, I always judge them on how well they stay together and the flavor inside. This one set the bar really high and paired with bok choy it was a taste of magic. The broth was also delicious for sipping afterwards. Win!
Shrimp Mojo/ shrimp/sweet black garlic/roasted poblano peppers
You had me at poblano and you had me at garlic and you had me at shrimp and really you had me the moment this dish was placed in front of me. The kick, the tang, this was a party in my mouth.
It was by this course that we were beginning to feel the repercussions of our culinary adventure. If you see anything beyond this point that you wish you would have saved room for, make sure you save room for it!
Twenty-Vegetable Fried Rice fresh vegetables/fried rice
So we were told this was featured on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I ever Ate”, and boy were we glad we experienced it. It features carrots, brussel sprouts, jicama, chayote, zucchini, radish, and cauliflower to name a few of it’s ingredients.
And outstanding it was, what a dish, what a combination of flavors! It was just impressive combining that amount of ingredients and it tasting better than spectacular.
Carnitas braised baby pig/pork rinds/ spicy salsa verde cruda
The last savory course before desert, they knew what they were doing. They were tempting me with one of the most tasteful tacos I have ever had despite not having any room in my belly. And China Poblano won, and my heart was content.
Mango Sticky Rice
Light, airy, fresh, and fruity. This dessert comes from the Chinese side of the menu and was a great dessert to come down from the meal we had just had. It was sweet and not overwhelmingly heavy. Perfect!
Churros fried pastry/sugar/cinnamon/ hot Mexican chocolate
And of course no meal could be complete without churros. A staple in Mexican culture, they paired the churro with a hot Mexican chocolate for dipping and dip away we did.
I look happy because I had an amazing meal. I am impressed with China Poblano and know I will be back again and again. I hope you will try it next time you are in Vegas and look forward to hearing how your Chef Experience turned out. Dine with Shayda or @dinewithshayda
“Dine with Shayda reviews China Poblano – a José Andrés restaurant. The menu is half Chinese/half Mexican, blended together for an unforgettable meal.”