In recent months, locals’ casinos all over the Valley have been upgrading their dining offerings, and the trend has finally found its way to Summerlin’s JW Marriott and Rampart Casino complex. Hawthorn Grill, a beautiful, 18,000-square-foot space that replaced Ceres near the hotel’s Spa Tower, is the first new restaurant there in five years.
A steakhouse by night and classic resort breakfast café in the mornings, it also serves Sunday brunch and offers a bar menu daily starting at 4 p.m. The bar is the place to be, an expansive and sophisticated spot with a solid cocktail menu. If you like to take dinner at the bar like I do, this could be a new favorite.
The dinner menu sticks mostly to standards but exhibits a few twists from executive chef Joseph Swan, who comes from the kitchen at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant on the Strip. The signature starter is a plate of lamb ribs ($14) in sweet and sticky honey-garlic sauce, but rich onion soup with a gruyere and provolone-covered brioche crouton ($10) and even better roasted tomato bisque with tangy basil cream ($9) captivated our palates.
Our first two entrées—seared scallops over mascarpone polenta ($36) and a simple petite filet mignon ($40)—arrived a bit underseasoned, so if your comfort zone is the “simply grilled” section of the menu, concentrate on flavorful cuts like a veal chop in black truffle butter ($56) or a prime New York striploin ($52). For lighter and more affordable fare, sweet potato gnocchi with Maine lobster ($38) is dressed in sweet shellfish butter, branzino ($32) is decked out in bright chimichurri sauce and the lobster BLT ($19) is hard to resist with applewood-smoked bacon, spicy mayo and thick-cut fries. Save room for mascarpone cheesecake ($10) with blood orange couli or a chocolate soufflé with créme anglaise ($14).
Suburban dining has advanced quite a bit since this resort opened 18 years ago. Hawthorn Grill brings it up to speed.
Hawthorn Grill JW Marriott, 702-597-5955. Monday-Thursday, 6-11 a.m. and 4-10 p.m.; Friday, 6-11 a.m. and 4-11 p.m.; 6 a.m.-noon and 4-11 p.m.; 6 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-11 p.m.