Water Grill has more than ably filled in for the former tenant that used to occupy its space in The Forum Shops at Caesars (Wolfgang Puck’s iconic Spago, which has moved to Bellagio). It’s still a great spot for people-watching, and it’s better-looking than ever, with light-colored woods and marine décor. And its terrific menu just got a whole lot better with the addition of a must-try seasonal item: soft-shell crabs.

Let’s start with the current star of the menu. If you’re a fan of crab, get ready for a completely new experience. The soft-shell crabs arrive at your table intact, but unlike those spiny, unwieldy crab legs that you usually have to battle to extract any meat from, these are meant to be eaten whole—no peeling, no cracking, no effort. Either pick them up whole and take a bite or cut off individual pieces. You may be a bit hesitant after the first bite, saying to yourself, “I’m really going to eat a shell?” But once you realize you can, don’t be surprised if you’ve devoured it within minutes. It’s absolutely delicious, and only available the next few months. Don’t wait!

If, for any reason, the crabs might be sold out for the day (and that really shouldn’t come as a surprise), luckily there’s plenty more to enjoy here. Great starters include the wild Spanish octopus, a marvelous presentation popping with color that may be the tenderest version we’ve ever tasted. It’s certainly among the most flavorful, served with roasted tomatoes, lemon and olive oil and accompanied by fingerling potatoes and Niçoise olives.

For another great use of the soft-shell crab, there’s a sushi roll that uses the prized crustacean along with mango, pickled jalapeño, snow pea shoots, eel sauce and cilantro oil. It’s a markedly different experience, but still a must-try.

Whatever you order to start, you’ll want to accompany it with one of Water Grill’s signature cocktails. We’re partial to the Boulevard, so fresh and light with vodka, strawberry and lemon juice with tarragon essence. For bourbon lovers, try the Bartender’s Special: The Bourbon Street, made with Kentucky straight bourbon, Diplomatico 8-year rum, Benedictine, sweet vermouth and bitters. Yum!

Main courses run the gamut from surf to turf, but fish lovers need to definitely try the wild Ross Sea Chilean sea bass, accompanied by butternut squash gnocchi and sage brown butter. All meats are charcoal grilled and range from delectable filet mignons from Double R Ranch to Prime New York strip and American wagyu “black” ribeye from Snake River Farms.

Desserts here are mostly of the classic variety, but that doesn’t take away from the appeal. In fact, the caramel bread pudding here is one of our favorite desserts on the Strip—it’s small, but so decadent that it’s just the right size.

The Forum Shops at Caesars, 702.832.4777

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