October 27, 2022

This crazy restaurant is less than a year old and is already garnering some high level attention. They sell out almost immediately and with 14 seats each night (1 seating), you can see why so many want to get in on the event.

The restaurant is found inside Lost Spirits Distillery, an outstanding off-strip attraction in Las Vegas with a creepy circus vibe throughout. You wander to 4 different stages watching vaudeville, magic, dance, circus and burlesque acts happening so close you can touch them. It's a terrific experience and one I highly recommend whether you dine here or not. (You can pair a ticket with your dinner. And should.)

The restaurant is so completely on brand - from the insane boozyness of the meal (they warn you about this ahead of time), the creepy dining room and even the dishes themselves. Bravo for a terrific marriage of experiences. It couldn't be done better.

20,000 Leagues is absolutely worth coming to. It's a unique and insanely fun experience. The food is excellent, though not as excellent as it pretends to be. That said, their signature octopus dish is insanely great as is the the "eggs on egg in a nest inside an egg". Creative, inventive and delicious. Top notch for sure! The snail dish also stood out as unique and delicious. 

The entire meal is bathed in over-the-top emotion and fabricated drama. For me, it took you "out" of the immersion and made you feel like you were watching giddy young ones giggling that they are doing this to you. Like when someone over-insists that it's all about YOU, you realize that it's actually about THEM. The greater the dramatic emotion ladled over each course, the more I felt that I was there for HER, rather than the experience was offered for ME.

The meal opens with a sermon (no other way to refer to it) the chef gives on how this is her dream, and we're allowing her to live her dream. Dishes were introduced with similar emotion. One actual introduction: "The song we play during this dish makes me feel I'm below the water fighting to find the surface. Allow it to be your inspiration for fighting to find your way to your dreams..." (I think maybe I'll just try to enjoy the dish, if that's OK.)

This energy was pervasive, including each dish delivery AND clearing being punctuated by the drill sergeant screams from the kitchen: "ARMY FORMATION!!!!!" "YES, CHEF!!!!"

I need to say that Chef Taylor Persh is earnest and talented. She graciously brought her staff out to thank them for their service. She spent time with the group after the dinner answering questions in meaningful and engaging ways. Her commitment to the experience is full-on, and you feel every inch of it. I mean, she built the dining table herself. She's all in.

So perhaps my scoffing above can be chalked up to being 50 years old and a bit fuddy-duddy-ish. Perhaps my recent visit to Alchemist influenced my "scale" for immersive dining - and who can achieve THAT perfection? Whatever the reason, it should not detract from the fact that this is a unique and creative experience with excellent food. Completely worth a visit if you can get in. My guess is that they will be sold out for many years to come.

Upon entering the hall, you are immediately handed a "Pineapple prelude". Spiced fizzy pineapple daiquiri. Absolutely delicious. The hall is tremendous too. Short video next to show you the setup, including swinging chandeliers.
From their, the 14 of us are ushered into the dining room, which is gorgeous.
Sparkling rum. So good it's insane. They make it themselves an you get a few additional glasses of it.
"Dark and stormy" macaroons...
A closer look. Rum, lime, macaroon, gold leaf. Yum!
The presentation of the next dish...
The chef giggled introducing this "eggs on an egg inside a nest inside an egg"...
Caviar (eggs) on a quail egg inside a nest. This was stupendous.
The presentation of the next dish...
Otoro baklava. Otoro (fatty tuna), chicken honey, strawberry run sturgeon caviar
Eel salad sandwich meant to evoke egg salad sandwich. Milk bread (like a soft chewy muffin), unagi (eel), caviar, black sesame and celery (which "brought it home")
The chef introduced every dish from the head of the table
Fois pillow. Fois gras seared, blueberry, puffed pillow. The pillow had fruity fois gras mousse inside that burst when you ate it. The server called it an "adult gusher". :)
Octopus, butternut squash, fennel pollen. The music playing when this is served is "Octopus' garden". The floor filled with dried ice during this course. Said the chef: "They are on swords that detach and have tips. Try not stab yourself. But... Whatever!"...
This is their stock photo of this dish. It is warranted to see what it really looked like. Best octopus I've ever had.
Uni palette cleanser (to cleanse your palette "as the ocean would"). Uni, date vinegar, wasabi. The plate is a literal form of the chef's mouth. The red and orange you see isn't food, it's part of the plate. Said chef: "Lick it off of my mouth. Eye contact. Tongue. Make it weird." I've heard of other chefs doing this and can't wrap my head around the arrogance required to make a plate formed as your own mouth for everyone to slurp from. Massive eye roll.
Escargot, sea snail, herb butter, brandy. There was a (VERY boozy) drink in conch shell, but I found barely a drop in there. It had salmon roe on top.). The escargot was in the glass dish. It was warm and unctuous and fabulous. Sea beans in the bottom were also delicious, super salty and salinic
Scallop, shaved black truffle, brown butter. What could be bad about that combination?
Tempura shrimp head stuffed with shrimp tartare...
She was super proud of this dish. She explained later that this is the point at which you need to fully trust what she is giving you. I'm not sure I found it that avante garde.
"Whale" (to go along with the story). But whale is prohibited in the USA. So rather it was...
Sesame crusted A5 wagyu. This brand has won the wagyu competition in Japan since 2012. Nicely cooked. I found it over-crusted, which detracted from the beef. Insanely small portion as well.
This drink then arrived, which had a crazy level of alcohol in it. Yet, none of us could stop drinking it. And there was a LOT in there...
Included was this doughnut, which was soaked in 2 liquors and may be the most alcoholic thing I have ever ingested.
Quail, nutmeg, bbq sauce. Way over-sauced. The meat was totally buried.
"Sacrificial fizz". A Ramos gin fizz - one of the most difficult dishes to make. But done with 3 types of rum. Again - an insane level of alcohol.
Bringing out the pig head - the main event of the evening. It was accompanied by tribal music and then placed on an altar...
At which point chef appears from behind the curtain to carve it - all the while the tribal music played. Video follows...
Served 3 ways. This is the cheek, roasted potato, garlic puree...
Internal, basil puree, white onion...
The jowl, raspberry puree, teriyaki sauce. The crust on all 3 bites was absolutely stellar. But, as with the A5, incredibly small portions for all of that hoopla.
The altar following service...
A closer look
Mai tai pie, which we all ate together as a group. Again - more boozy than you can ever imagine.
The presentation of the last dish...
Another insanely boozy drink which you pour yourself...
A closer look at the drink...
And uni creme brulee. Which was out of this world stupid delicious.
The dessert box..
Unfolded to 3 levels. Each bit was placed on an erotic tarot card. Seriously. Take a look at the next photos...
Nori kraken eyeball...
Chocolate covered soft shell crab. She was again delirious that she provided such a provocative bite for you. I didn't find this one that crazy either.
Bonito flake praline. This was seriously yummy.
Final drink to which she toasted us and brought out her entire staff to thank and honor them sincerely. Lovely gesture.
She met up with any who wanted to after the meal to answer questions and such. Very open and engaged. Clearly loves what she is doing.

Comments(1)

  • Brent Ozar

    November 21, 2022 2:49pm

    We made reservations 3 months ago for this place, and folks in our party are pescatarians. Told them about it the same day.

    Got an email before our dinner saying they wouldn't make any substitutions, and that pescatarian diners could simply avoid eating the 3 plates with meat on them.

    I was pretty dumbfounded. Not only did the restaurant refuse to even just serve extra fish on those courses instead, but they insisted on setting the meat courses in front of the pescatarian guests! Wowzers.

    Reply

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Replying to Steven Smith