Seersucker: A carefree fabric popular for its ease and comfort.

Searsucker: Chef Brian Malarkey’s Las Vegas eatery, popular for its carefree social dining experience, easygoing atmosphere, and a menu of New American Classics - comfort food with a modern twist!

Located in the casino at Caesar’s Palace, and modeled after Malarkey’s original restaurant in San Diego, Searsucker was indeed a comfortable space, with a warm, artistically haphazard decor, featuring exposed brick walls, distressed wood accents, a pressed tin ceiling above the open kitchen, and deconstructed chandeliers of rope and bare bulbs with happily glowing filaments, while on the wall in front of me, big letters that looked scavenged from Vegas’ neon boneyard, spelled out E-A-T.

Erik, my server, started me off with a cocktail from their list of house-made infusions; the Jalaberry Strawpeño - strawberry jalapeño infused tequila, lime, and agave.  At first taste, the jalapeño came on strong, packing a wallop, while the strawberry flavor was much more subtle; almost in the background.  But as the drink mellowed a bit, the flavors combined to reveal a nice balance of sweet and hot.  The sliced pepper and strawberry garnish was tasty, too!

I thought I’d try some items from the Jars & Sliced section of the menu, and then a couple of the Shared Plates, beginning perhaps with an order of their Biscuits.  Erik set me right however, telling me the biscuits were fairly large, and came four to an order - maybe a bit much for one person.  He then went out of his way to ask the kitchen if they’d send out an order of just one biscuit, which they did!  Quite possibly one of the best biscuits I’ve tried, it was hearty, buttery, and flaky, with just a hint of saltiness.  Accompanied by whipped butter with a pinch of coarse salt, and a spectacular bourbon-Fresno chili infused honey, it hit on almost every cylinder: salty, sweet, spicy, and down-home richness.  Comfort food, indeed!  

Next came the Beef Tartare & Grilled Sourdough - raw, rough-cut beef tenderloin, with whole grain mustard, roasted capers, and raw quail egg yolk.  Another satisfying dish; the super-fresh, beautifully pink chunks of beef took on a luxurious creaminess, when mixed with the egg and mustard.  The roasted capers and the slight char on the crispy slabs of grilled bread, gave the beef a smoky depth of flavor, while the habanero pickles served on the side, provided heat and a bit of acidity to counter the richness of the beef, making each bite well rounded.  Instead of the Shrimp Ceviche & Toast I had planned on ordering, my server recommended what he considered one of the best dishes on the menu: the Calamari Steak - rolls of calamari steak, pounded until tender, crusted in panko crumbs, deep fried, then coated in an addictive chili-honey glaze.  Slivers of green apple added a lovely tartness which allowed my palate to readjust, so I could savor the deliciously spicy sweetness of the calamari with each new bite!

Moving on to my main course, Eric suggested I try one of Searsucker’s signature dishes, and while the Beer Braised Short Ribs sounded tempting, I opted for the Fish & Chips.  Made with branzino instead of the more commonly used cod, the fish was firm and had a more delicate flavor, but still stood up nicely to the batter and the house-made tartare sauce.  Rather than traditional chips (what most Americans would consider french fries,) there were tasty waffle-cut sweet potato chips, which contrasted nicely with the bite of both the tartare sauce and the accompanying vinegar-based slaw.  The presentation was gorgeous, too, with the deep fried branzino carcass artfully wrapped around the five crunchy pieces of fish, as if in mid-flip!  If I had one negative criticism, it was that the dish, while fine at first, ate saltier and saltier as I got into it.  The salt in the tartare sauce and on the chips, had me gulping water after each bite.  That little detail, however, didn’t put a damper on my meal, which I still enjoyed immensely!

Then it was time for dessert: the S’mores Bar!  Layers of graham cracker cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache, and caramel, topped with marshmallow piping and chocolate pearls, with chocolate ice cream on the side.  Imagine the most sophisticated s’more you’ve ever encountered; one crafted by an artist.  There was a fabulous interplay of flavors and textures - the familiar, homey taste of the graham cracker, the light whip of the mousse, the thick, rich, deeply chocolatey ganache, the sweet caramel, and the toasty flavor of the lightly bruléed marshmallow, all came together to create a decadent treat!  Yummy!

What made Searsucker so memorable? Well, the food, most certainly,  But just as important, was the staff - the hostess, who was cheerful and welcoming, the Executive Sous Chef, Caesar, who stopped by the table to make sure I was enjoying my dinner, and the servers, including Erik, whose personalized attention made my dining experience special, fun, and yes, very comfortable!  And when I looked around, I saw him giving his other tables the same devoted attention he’d given me, making them feel special, too!

Amazing staff?  Check!  Homey ambience?  Check!  Diverse menu of New American Classic comfort food?  Check!  

Searsucker invites folks to “come early, stay late,” so I’m planning to go back soon, get comfy, and do just that!