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Summer Menus Alight With Shrimp, Corn, Fruit

LAS VEGAS ( MainStreet) -- It's midsummer and the living is easy -- easy for all but the chefs who are spicing up the season with menus showcasing new trends and experimenting with the year's top ingredients. TravelsinTaste sought out some of the more interesting trends and menus for you.

Small plates have been the craze this year, but summer elevates their popularity, since eating light in the heat is definitely the way to go -- especially in Las Vegas, where it is too hot to get stuffed. Three notable Las Vegas restaurants have made our picks of the top small plates for summer:

Executive Chef Drew Terp at Bar Masa in the Aria Resort & Casino (MGM) is serving up wakame and cucumber salad and kobe beef skewers, while Blossom is showcasing chicken corn chowder topped with cilantro and a crisp fried beef roll with enoki mushroom and a Mandarin brown sauce. Executive Chef and creator Julian Serrano, known for his exquisite Spanish tapas, is offering gambas, sauteed shrimp with garlic, and arbol chilis at his eponymous restaurant.

Bar Masa has an extensive $49 early evening menu featuring small plates.

Shrimp and corn happen to be particularly popular with chefs this summer, as a combination and independently. Michael Mina's American Fish has crafted the perfect shrimp and corn tasting menu, featuring shrimp poached in ocean water and heirloom melon with sweet corn, shaved fennel and sake vinaigrette, cornmeal-fried rock shrimp and barbecue pork cheeks with Bloomsdale spinach and sweet corn foam and a duet of angus beef filet and pacific blue shrimp with creamed corn and grilled peach panzanella.

Well-known steakhouses are also getting into the exotic shrimp game. Executive Chef Barry Dakake at the ever-popular celebrity haunt N9NE is preparing his famous rock shrimp in addition to sea scallops with sweet corn grits, while Jean George Steakhouse features bacon shrimp with papaya mustard and cilantro.

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