Perhaps the best place for al fresco dining in Las Vegas, it seemed only right to celebrate a sunny March Birthday Brunch at Hexx Kitchen + Bar, and with Chef Matt Piekarski agreeing to temporarily “un-retire” the Carrot Cake Pancakes the experience progressed just the same as that at Christmas with food as fun and well-crafted as ever while the team of a dozen servers circulated the 350+ seat dining room floor.
[supsystic-gallery id=’1′ position=’center’]
No doubt a space with purpose, the jammed-packed dining room a tourist friendly place for 24/7 eating that helps to fuel HeXX Chocolate Bean-to-Bar operation running behind the scenes, it was with reservations circumventing a 45-minute wait at 11am on Saturday that seating was offered in the patio’s corner pocket, the menu seeing some recent updates with some classics undergoing seasonal or, at least structural, change.
Repeatedly refilling Peete’s Coffee, the strong brew always piping hot with sugar and cream eschewed as the morning’s order would require something dark to counteract all the sweets, it was at the recommendation of Manager Ari Stotland that the recently elongated Fruit Plate started things off, and serving a slightly sized-down version compared to the monster made for sharing the quality of produce remains exemplary, pineapples and dragon fruit particularly delicious alongside mini-muffins of warm banana bread.
Slowly plucking individual pieces of fruit while taking in the crowd, everyone from a Hair-of-the-Dog craving group of bridesmaids to a table of three folks aged at least eighty enjoying the sunny 65°F, it was with a grin that Chef Piekarski arrived tableside with two enormous plates of carbohydrates, and as good as fluffy waffle segments beneath a mountain of cream cheese frosting may be they still pale in comparison to the quality of the Carrot-strewn Pancakes, the buttermilk batter enlivened by spices while candied nuts provide an intermittent crunchy reward.
Conveniently offering the full dessets menu all day and night, the HeXX website fails to do justice to Chef Carol Garcia’s recently reinvented array, and although several options featuring Chocolate are, of course, advisable one would be foolish to pass on a more diversified sampling, the Banana Cream Pie rivaling that of Emeril for Best in the City while Creme Brulee presents more like a candy coated Butterscotch Budino, the Ecuadorian Chocolate Bread Pudding smooth and creamy with Coconut Milk in a portion that all but the most gluttonous will definitely want to share.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Marred only by the fact that the Carrot Cake Pancakes require a special request, HeXX remains the very best 24/7 space in a city where such things are not for lack, the food and service far better than they really need to be while a world-class Chocolate program continues to grow in back.
RECOMMENDED: Butterscotch Creme Brulee, Banana Cream Pie, Carrot Cake Pancakes.
AVOID: Expecting a patio seat when walking in during peak hours on weekends.
TIP: Be sure to check out the retail shop for a selection of single-origin HeXX chocolate Ice Creams made in partnership with Atlanta-based High Road.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor