Food has always been a passion of mine. Please join me as I hit spots around the world in search of great meals.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Review of 3950 by HumanHead

As aforementioned, I have taken it upon myself to post on my food blog those friends that are far superior writers to me. Thus, without further hacking at my keyboard I present to you the HUMANHEAD. I’m not sure his real name either to be honest, but he’s a great writer who I ran into a few times in Vegas for Poker…did I mention his wife is hot…but hands off fellas’ he is a big guy. In any case, I’ve posted his take on the fine Restaurant named 3950 that can found at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas. Enjoy!



It was the modernity of the place that initially intrigued me. The tables were set in appropriately sleek fashion, replete with a triangular stainless-steel type of plate. Hmmm, definitely unusual. Whereas most restaurants have their menus displayed for passers-by in the usual shadowbox, 3950 has LCD screens. While I prefer the more old-fashioned method of display, this was definitely a departure from the ordinary that grew my desire to see what the place was all about.

As our group walked inside I was a bit worried about our not having any reservations. We were informed that a table could be had in fairly short order, and would we like to have a drink at the bar? Why yes, we would. Can we smoke at the bar? Yes? Jackpot.


BG was nice enough to pick up the first round of cocktails, a favor that I’ll be sure to return on the next trip. Per usual, I went with the drink that is my personal measuring stick for any establishment, a Grey Goose martini, up, bleu cheese stuffed olives if you have them, and very fucking dry. Rachel also went the measuring stick route, which for her is a Cosmopolitan.

To the bartender, Chris, I must extend my effusive thanks.

My martini was perfect. Only the slightest hint of vermouth rode out on the back end following my first swallow, a beautiful thing. I was slightly amazed that they actually had the bleu cheese olives I desired, but the look on the bartenders face said that he would be shocked if it were any other way. I was additionally satisfied at the size of the drink itself, as nothing begins to kindle annoyance quite like paying $10-12 for a cocktail and finding that it’s no bigger than the drinks found at the most middle of the road places.

I would have to take my shoes off and then some to count the number of times that Rachel has ordered a Cosmo, only to find the resulting drink to be the color of cherry Kool-Aid and the consistency of Robitussin doing its damndest to drown the erroneously included cherry. Ugh. The 3950 Cosmopolitan, however, was a resounding success. A wonderful light pink in color with a lemon twist, it was deceptively gentle, just as a Cosmo should be.

As an extra bonus, while perusing the wine list BG found one of his favorites from his namesake vineyard, which the bartender promptly decanted so it had time to breathe before the meal. I don’t think that I was alone when I said a small prayer of thanks for knowledgeable and professional bartenders like Chris.

Try as I might to find something wrong, I just couldn’t. A perfect 10 for cocktails.


With cocktails winding down, our party was seated at the big round table that dominated the middle of the dining area. The aforementioned stainless-steel plates were promptly whisked away, which was mildly disappointing. I guess I will have to locate my own if I want that particular experience. Our waitress began by asking me what sort of water we would like and commenced rattling off the various incarnations of bottled, inevitably arriving at the lowly “tap.” In the middle of the water litany I heard “Fiji”, a favorite of mine, so I went with that. I thought that I was just ordering for me, but before I could correct anything, it was being poured all around. So, my apologies to the group for my mistake as I know that name brand waters, both in price and principle, are annoying to many.

I refrained from ordering any appetizers because, generally, I find that I can’t finish my entrée if I do. While everyone else ordered the appetizers they wanted, the bread arrived. The bread itself was nothing unusual, the typical collection of differing types of rolls and flatbreads, but one thing stood out. At the bottom of each basket was a hot stone, something that I have not seen anywhere else. While I’m sure that this isn’t the first restaurant to do such a thing, it was a pleasant surprise for someone like me seeing it for the first time.

My normal entrée measuring stick is a steak of some sort, and 3950 had a nice selection available. I went with the bone-in ribeye (as did about half of our party), while Rachel decided on the lamb. Unable to resist any longer I went ahead and ordered the Mac and Cheese w/ lobster and truffles to be brought out with our meal. We paired our order with a middle of the road Pinot Noir, a 2001 Martinelli.

As the food arrived, everything looked and smelled wonderful, as expected, and everyone dug in with little fanfare. Our pinot was medium in body and strength and paired well with our order, although it couldn’t lift the meat above what it was: Okay. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t delicious, I just wasn’t blown away like I had hoped. Being slightly underwhelmed with the meat, I ventured into combo bite territory, having a bit of steak with a bite of Mac and Cheese, a good combination that lifted my taste buds off of their even keel for a short while. Rachel reported the same with her order of lamb; very good but nothing absolutely special, which is likely obvious by this point considering the distinct lack of flowery adjectives in my description.

I originally would have gone with a 7 for this meal, but due to the wonderful 3950 Mac and Cheese, I feel compelled to bump it up to an 8. Please don’t read dissatisfaction into it. The meal as a whole was very, very good. I just can’t in good conscience call it “great.”

Service and Miscellaneous

Our group was about three quarters of the way through our meal when I found myself wondering why I hadn’t given the service any consideration. I didn’t need to. It was so good that I had failed to consider it altogether. Extraneous silverware was promptly removed, and water and other drinks never even got below the halfway mark in the glass. Appetizers and entrées were perfectly timed and coordinated. Waiters and bus-people were everywhere and nowhere, pulling off the feat of never really being seen but ensuring that everything was in its proper place at the proper time and that an enjoyable meal continued unabated.


I found the red leather chairs to be very comfortable for a long meal such as the one we engaged in, and even though it’s something I never would have considered, the purple velour booths surrounding the edge of the dining room seemed a perfect fit. Being someone that loathes sports bars in general, I found that the (42”?) flat-panel television in the bar area showing the Detroit Lions game didn’t seem out of place whatsoever, even though I would have probably fainted from the horror had I simply heard tell of it. 3950 managed to bring a lot of seemingly disparate things together into one very pleasing décor.


Dessert was about the same as the meal itself; very good but nothing completely stand-out. The presentation of the desserts ordered by the group, however, was absolutely beautiful and more than made up for what it may have lacked in substance or taste. So much so, in fact, I even took a picture, one of only five that I took for the entire trip.

Overall, I give 3950 at Mandalay Bay a solid 9. The décor was modern but intimate, providing a welcome respite from the rigors of the hard-partying weekend. The perfect service let us focus on the good company we had along with the meal, providing a perfect segue out of town for those whose time was up. Don’t bother coming here if you’re food budget frugal, but if you’re looking to spend on a really nice meal your money won’t be wasted here.

For more writings by the HumanHead visit:


Blogger Human Head said...

Thanks for the cross-post, my man!

11:42 AM


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