Sherman's Food Adventures: Personas Tapas Restaurant + Lounge (Grand Villa Casinos)

Personas Tapas Restaurant + Lounge (Grand Villa Casinos)

Long ago, other than EBO, there was only one other choice for food at the Grand Villa Casinos - La Scala Lounge Buffet.  Well, I guess the ones in charge realized this too and decided to redo that area and create 2 separate restaurants including The Buffet and Personas Tapas Restaurant + Lounge.  I've already sampled The Buffet and unless you only like King crab legs, it was not really all that memorable.  However, with the trendy-looking Personas next door, there seemed to be the potential for a true dining experience.  With a recent invite, Viv and I got to check the place out.

We sampled some appies first including their version of Ebi Mayo Prawns.  Considering the place is not a Japanese restaurant, these were pretty good.  Each prawn was battered lightly and fried just enough so that there was a meaty snap.  The sprinkle of bonito flakes added a touch of salt while the mayo was sweet.  Next up, we had the Sushi Tacos consisting of sushi rice, imitation crab, avocado, togarashi mayo and nori with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy.  So essentially, this was a California roll in a crispy "gyoza" shell.  This was only "okay" for us as the sushi rice was mushy and lacking flavour.  However, the shell was crispy and the rest of the ingredients were fine.  One more minor detail - the squeeze tube wasabi should be replaced.

With their take of Devils on Horseback, the Bacon-Wrapped Dates were predictably sweet.  Attempting to balance off the sweetness was double-cream French brie and nicely prepared lean bacon (firm and slightly crunchy).  Despite these 2 ingredients, the dish was definitely on the sugary side where the balsamic actually added even more sweetness with only a touch of tang.  Whenever I see chicken and waffles on a menu, I get skeptical.  Most versions turn out to be mediocre and uninteresting.  However, the Chicken and Waffle Sandwich was on point with buttermilk & hot sauce marinated lightly breaded chicken breast, Belgian waffles, lettuce, tomato, bacon and maple bourbon aioli.  The waffle itself was soft, yet firm enough to withstand the ingredients.  We found the bacon to be pleasingly crispy while the chicken to be moist and lightly crispy (with a touch of spice).  With a noticeable bourbon hit, the aioli added classic maple flavours. Oh, and the fresh chips were no slouch either being firmly crunchy and warm.

Onto something healthier, we tried the South Beach Salad consisting of mixed greens, grilled chicken, corn, black beans, dates, red onion, red pepper, avocado, feta and fresh cilantro lime dressing.  This was a hearty salad with a lot going on in terms of texture and taste.  Ultimately, there were a few issues though.  First, the corn didn't exhibit a sweet pop which would've brought the salad alive.  Second, the brined pre-cooked chicken breast was moist, but the quick sear on the grill didn't yield any additional flavour.  Beautifully plated, the MacDaddy Sliders had a strange resemblance to something we all know... Consisting of 3 Double patty sliders layered with “special sauce”, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on mini sesame seed buns, it did do its best imitation.  The meat was moist (albeit a bit salty) while the buns were soft.

For dessert, we tried the Flaming Creme Brulee which was huge - best to share this one.  The nicely caramelized sugar crust was smoky and sweet.  Underneath, the heavily-vanilla flavoured custard was a bit firm, but not overly sweet which allowed the sugar topping to do its job. Overall, we thought most of the food was pleasant with some highlights.  Considering the fact that The Buffet next door is more expensive and serves up inferior eats, Personas is an option for those who want to share some bites even late into the night.

*All food and beverages excluding gratuities were comped*

The Good:
- Nice digs
- Large portions
- Okay pricing with all things considered

The Bad:
- A few tweaks with some of the dishes are needed

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