Surf & turf sliders at Vice Versa, Vdarra

Surf & turf sliders at Vice Versa, Vdarra

Vice Versa Patio Lounge

Address: 2600 W. Harmon Avenue, Las Vegas (at the Vdarra Hotel & Spa)

MJ Rating: heart 15xheart 15x 1/2 (2 1/2 out of 3 stars)

Features: Vice Versa is located on the center patio of the Vdarra Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas. Casual, yet hip, Vice Versa’s patio has fire pits (perfect for colder desert evenings) and a water feature that helps make you feel a little cooler during the desert heat. Indoor seating is also available. The patio lounge features tasty small plates and handcrafted cocktails, often in some surprising combinations. As they like to say, they like doing things Vice Versa.

Price Range:  Moderate to high, this is upscale Las Vegas, after all. Small plates start at $8 (truffle fries, fried mac and cheese bites) to $18 (three surf and turf sliders). Specialty cocktails start at $14. Happy hour is offered Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-3:30 pm, with small plates and selected beverages for $7.

Personal Notes:  It takes some effort to get to Vice Versa at Vdarra, it is, afterall, a non-gaming resort well off the Las Vegas Strip. At least in the food and beverage department, it’s well worth the effort (I haven’t stayed there, so can’t speak to the hotel itself). The hotel’s Vice Versa Patio Lounge makes a  pleasant stop for some shop talk, a mid-day break, or that last stop before heading to bed.

I visited Vice Versa twice, each time trying a variety of cocktails and small plates, and think I have a pretty good idea of my favorites – the ones that I’d order next time I was there. I’d recommend opting for the patio, it’s a pleasant atmosphere, and I found the inside a bit too noisy for conversation.

Specialty cocktails at Vice Versa, Vdarra

Specialty cocktails at Vice Versa, Vdarra

I sampled a variety of the specialty cocktails, whether as a full glass or merely a few sips. Here’s what I tried:

  • Roses are Red – One of the most popular specialty cocktails on the menu, this concoction is created of gin, lychee liqueur, sparkling rose, fresh raspberry and sage. I liked it, didn’t love it, but its popularity speaks louder than my minority.
  • Sunset in Moscow -This drink is created around grapefruit vodka beer, garnished with mint and muddled strawberry, was one of my favorites. It was light and refreshing, especially in the brutally hot weather, I could order this drink every time I visited.
  • Berry Blossom – Another refreshing option, although this one is a little sweeter, is this tasty concoction based on vodka and maraschino liqueur mixed with white cranberry juice and fresh lime juice. If you enjoy cranberry, you’ll love this.
  • Garden Tonic– This interesting twist on a gin and tonic adds chareau aloe liqueur. I didn’t know what that was, but it turns out that it’s based on aloe vera (more well known for its skin softening properties) and has botanicals of cucumber, muskmelon, lemon peel and spearmint. I’m not a fan of gin (the taste of juniper makes me wince), but I found this version light and refreshing. I’m still not a convert to G&Ts, but would enjoy occasionally adding this to the mix.
  • Fashionably Late – Made of bourbon, sherry, and salted brown sugar syrup, this was a sweet and syrup as it sounds. I gave it the old college try, and managed a few sips, but found it too sweet and syrupy. Of all the cocktails on the menu, this was the only one that I didn’t like. If you’re a bourbon drinker, though, it might be a hit.
Plenty of cocktails at Vice Versa

Plenty of cocktails at Vice Versa

With a quaff in hand, it’s time to get down to the food side of the menu, creatively divided up into Vice (sinful small plates) and Versa (refreshing light bites). I swear I’ve been through the whole menu here, so I know I can help you find something to suit your palate.

Remember, I didn’t have these all in one go, these were tasting plates over two visits.

Crab Cake Lollipops at Vdarra

Crab Cake Lollipops

Here are my tasting notes:

  • Surf & Turf Sliders – These are probably my favorite item on the menu, and you can see them in photo up top. This combination of steak, lobster, mushrooms, grilled onions, and Swiss cheese, paired with one of the tasty sides, could be a quite satisfactory meal. Order them.
  • Lobster Tacos – It’s not just my love for lobster that made these a hit, it’s a tasty combination of lobster, mango and papaya salsa, topped with a Meyer lemon cream and spicy chili aioli. Heaven.
  • Truffle Fries – Self explanatory and delicious. They make a great side to the sliders, if you’re looking to create a full meal. While delicious, they’re fairly ordinary.
  • Fried Mac & Cheese Bites – I wanted to like these more than I actually did. Served with marinara sauce, there just wasn’t the flavor that I was expecting. I’ve heard great things about these from other friends, so maybe it was an off day when I was there. I’d be willing to give them another try, but two strikes you’re out in my book.
  • Loaded Tater Tots – I liked these a whole lot more than I expected to. They’re  exactly what they sound like – think of a loaded baked potato only on tater tots.
  • Caprese Flatbread – Your basic caprese salad (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil) on flatbread. Tasty, but ordinary, and there are too many great menu items to settle for ordinary.
  • Pan-Seared Ahi Tuna – I’m not an ahi fan (it’s  texture thing), but dining companions raved about it.
  • Sweet Potato Fries – Deep fried goodness tossed with cinnamon sugar. They are wonderful.
  • Garlic Edamame – Sauteed with garlic and teriyaki sauce this were tasty, but I prefer a more spicy taste to my edamame.
  • Crab Cake Lollipops – These were another favorite (in photo), and while the flavor was fairly routine, the presentation and accompanying aioli sauce made a delicious combination. As fun to eat as they were tasty.
  • Chicken Satay – Tasty, but fairly ordinary. There are better choices on the menu.

And for dessert, beignets. Filled with chocolate ganache, and accompanied by butterscotch sauce for dipping, these deep fried pillows of goodness were a perfect way to end the evening. Don’t order too much, leave room for dessert is always good advice, and while they’ll never rival the classic beignet of Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, they are a delicious west coast version.

Disclosure:  I received complimentary sips and nibbles at Vice Versa for the purpose of a review.