A Sea of Seafood

After a few calls to a few places we finally found reservations for dinner at Seablue in the MGM Grand. It is Michael Mina restaurant, and although we were not terribled wow-ed by Michael Mina at the Bellagio, I figured that a seafood-centric restaurant might be more successful. The restaurant was Mediterranean-themed with a dimly-lit ocean vibe though out. In fact, the walls were a mix of water and stone. Although it has an open-kitchen setup, we were really sitting in a position to truly appreciate that view, at least my seat wasn’t. Nevertheless, it was a nice restaurant and pleasantly bustling this evening.

Given the Mediterranean slant, it made sense that instead of bread, they served these pita-like breads which were a little oilier than a pita but fluffier than Naan bread. It was served with a trio of spreads that included (from left to right, below) hummus, sun-dried tomato dip, and feta cheese and olive tapanade. The pita bread was actually pretty good on its own. None of the spreads were that great. They were okay, but none of them really took the flavor of the pita breads to the next level or anything.

The menu categorized the appetizers into Raw & Marinated, Steamed & Soup, Skewered & Grilled, and Fried & Crusted. Each group of appetizers offered 3 different dishes or a trio special. It was kind of funny, because amongst the six of us, we all agreed on the Raw & Marinated, my sister and Dumpling Man wanted Skewered & Grilled while my brother, Pdho and I wanted Fried & Crusted and my sister-in-law was ambivalent. It actually makes a lot of sense if you know our individual taste buds.

The Raw & Marinated trio included (from left to right, below) Tuna Tartare, Yellowtail Jack Crudo, and Scallop Ceviche. The Tuna Tartare was supposed to be eaten with the variety of breads (above) which included the pita as well as some herbed toasts drizzled in extra-virgin olive oil. It’s rare I meet a tuna tartare that I don’t like (although I do remember not being very impressed with the dish at Michael Mina Bellagio), and this one did not fail to satisfy. It went especially well with the herbed toasts although I do think it was a tad bit too oily. The Yellowtail Jack Crudo was probably my favorite of the three but only by a razor thin margin. It was a nice-sized piece of fresh sashimi slightly marinated with spicy shitake mushroom and ponzu. I liked it a lot. The Scallop Ceviche had scallops and avocado, but it was a little bit different being that it was tomato-based instead of with traditional lemon/lime juices. It was a solid dish as the scallops were well-prepared, but probably at the bottom of the trio in terms of flavor. I think the tomato soup was a little too tomato-ey for me.

The Skewered & Grilled trio included Teriyaki Chicken mixed with mushroom, onions and sesame, Shrimp BLT Lettuce Cups that included heirloom tomatoes and bacon, and Spiced Lamb Kebab served with tabouleh, yogurt and mint. I didn’t try any, but I think my sister and Dumpling were pretty happy with it.

I have to admit I was really looking forward to the Fried & Crusted trio. Although I always feel guilty, I can’t help but often agree with what Pdho always says, “Anything deep-fried is good.” It included Lobster Corn Dogs served with whole-grain mustard dipping sauce, Corn & Jalapeno Hush Puppies with a smoked pepper dip, and Crab-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Basil Aioli. Although I was really looking forward to the Lobster Corn Dog, the Crab-Stuffed Pepper was probably my favorite. It was filled with lots of plump pieces of crab meat which went very well with the piquillo pepper. I keep forgetting which peppers are hot versus not, but these were not hot at all. They were pretty sweet. The Lobster Corn Dogs were good as were the Hush Puppies, but I guess they both tied for second mainly because you tasted more of the fried goodness than you do the other ingredients… which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s more of a picky critique.

The SeaBlue Paella is supposed to be one of the signature dishes and what my brother and Pdho ordered. It is under the Tagines section of the menu which refers to the fact that dishes here are all prepared and served in a Moroccan Clay Pot. It was a mix of seasonal shellfish (i.e. clams, mussels, and prawns), chorizo, grilled quail and rabbit served in a broth with some rice. So it was really more of a risotto than a paella. There was very little rice in the dish itself, and it had none of the baked crispiness that you typically see in traditional paellas. Nevertheless, it was a very, very good dish. I love seafood, and all the seafood was well-prepared. The quail and rabbit were both very tender and provide good contrast to the seafood. Overall, it was a good dish.

Dumpling Man ordered the King Crab Legs. These were huge legs with some plump and juicy crab meat inside. Unfortunately, either the crab came from the Dead Sea or the chef dumped a whole shaker of salt into the pot. It was a little too salty.

My sister-in-law ordered the Grilled Dayboat Scallops which were served with chickpea and lentil rice, jumbo asparagus and a citrus relish. I tasted a bit of the scallop and it was very well-seasoned and tender. A pretty good dish overall.

My sister and I ordered another Tagine, the Bacon-Wrapped Chilean Sea Bass served in a toasted garlic broth with cannellini beans and Manila clams. Although I really liked the broth, it was very tasty and I kept souping it up. I liked the tomatoes, but I thought there were too many beans which I didn’t think added much to the dish. The Chilean sea bass itself was delicious, although I don’t really think it needed the bacon. The bacon was kind of chewy and just didn’t really enhance the taste of the sea bass that much. However, the fish was perfectly cooked and seasoned well. The meat was soft and tender, yet not too fatty. I really liked it.

I am obviously pretty stuffed at this point, but a nice dinner doesn’t ever seem complete unless you give a dessert a try. So we ended up sharing three desserts among the 6 of us.

The Molten Chocolate Cake was okay. It was pretty sweet and very chocolatey though and not really something that satisfies my taste buds. Although the Apple Tarte Tartine was my choice, I was a little bit disappointed. The apple was a little soggy and overcooked. I was disappointed as I usually like puff-pastry crusts, but what can you do. The Vanilla Creme Brulee was probably the better of the three desserts, but there wasn’t really anything extremely special. I have definitely had better.

Overall, the restaurant was pretty good. It’s somewhat typical in terms of the Las Vegas appeal that you often seen in most of the restaurants inside the big Vegas Strip hotels. I’m a little tired of it, but I don’t really expect anything else. Ambiance aside, I actually think many of the dishes were much more flavorful than many of the dishes at Michael Mina Bellagio, admittedly sometimes there was a little too much flavor (i.e. salt like with the crabs). I thought the appetizers were very well-done, and I liked many of the main entrees. All in all, a pretty satisfying dinner.

at MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

PAFO Ratings for Seablue:
Price 4 stars
Ambiance 3 ½ stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 3 ½ stars


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