By Vegas Food Nerd
Chef Johnny Church has already made waves in the culinary scene here in Las Vegas with his first location of MTO Café located in the DTLV area. Now, to the delight of his many fans, the Chef has brought another outpost of the popular café concept to Downtown Summerlin.
I admire how he loves to use responsibly farmed and top quality ingredients. I also love that each of the sleek, modern restaurants feature a community table that is a handcrafted, polished, portion of a barn that was from a family farm. Yet, I am not a fan of this new concept in the restaurant scene lately. Maybe it goes back to the fact that not many people cook anymore, or maybe it is attributed to the lack of socialization people can attain with the screen overload in our culture lately… I’m not really sure. All I know for sure though is that, for myself (an avid home cook), when I do go out to a restaurant, I want to be waited on. Hand and foot please, wait on me hand and foot, thank you very much.
At MTO Café, you head up to the counter, order for yourself, get your own silverware, get your own drink, and then head to a table that you have to find for yourself and put your number that you got from the cashier on it, in a visible spot so that you don’t have to wait even longer for someone to finally bring you your food. Okay, so I guess the fact that they bring it to you is service, not a lot, but it is the only moment in your experience at this place that they serve you.
On top of all that, the day that I visited the Downtown Summerlin outpost of MTO, they did not have any beer or wine to complement what you ordered. Ummm… sorry! Serving burgers with no beer??? Sorry, but with fully stocked bars at many other competitive restaurants only steps away, this will be a problem.
Alright, enough ranting for the moment—how was the food, right? My friend ordered the B.L.T.A.E, an open-face sandwich with bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, sunny-side up eggs, mayo and a side of fries. She was happy with what she ate, but was not knocked out by it at the same time. I ordered the Teriyaki Turkey Burger. It had a pineapple glaze with pickled jalapeños, spinach, shredded carrots, and a side of their fries. I also ordered their fresh-pressed juice selection, which they call “Red Juice” (juiced beets, arugula, pomegranate, lime, red bell pepper, and carrot). I absolutely loved the burger, and my juice, as well. I also have to give credit where it is due and say that their French fries were perfect: thin, salty, crispy and satisfying. Though to go back to what I felt initially—the salty perfection of the fries left my taste buds wanting a fresh glass of water, and much to my chagrin, the only way of getting that glass of H20 was to get up and get it myself, (insert that “Debbie Downer” theme song here).
I do applaud the staff and chef on the taste of the food, but there are so many offerings in our city that will match that quality and one-up you on prompt, supreme service—so I can’t tell you how quickly I will be running back to eat here.
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