wineitup

Las Vegas, NV

375 posts in this topic

Going to Vegas in a few weeks. I already have reservations at Le Bouchon and Mesa Grill. Any place else I shouldn't miss?

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I adored Bradley Ogden's. I know you are planning on Mesa which is also in Caesars, but if you have the money to blow you really should not miss this place.

I second the Paris breakfast buffet. best anywhere.

edited 4 spellling

Edited by Woodleygrrl

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This is a post of mine (actaully a combination of two posts) from eG after my Las Vegas trip in November.

I just returned from a four day stay and had a few good and a few very good meals.

Sunday night we (my wife and I) went to Burger Bar in Mandalay Place. I really liked the concept (pick you meat and your toppings) although It wasn't as easy as you'd think picking out things that all worked together. That said, My wife had the Kobe beef burger with oyster mushrooms and carmelized onions and I had a lamb burger with feta, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. Both were cooked a perfect (to our taste) medium. The sides of skinny fries and onion rings were hot and crispy as they should be.

Monday was Bradley Ogden. I was a little disappointed that the tasting menu was not a more formalized thing - the waiter needs to ask if it is available and then you aren't told in advance what to expect. So we opted for alacarte ordering. I had their signature blue cheese souffles and a pork tasting. The souffles were rich and airy and creamy with a subtle (as opposed to overpowering) blue chese taste. The pork tasting consisted of a pork filled pierogie over a sweet and sour cabbage, a pork stuffed cabbage roll and a large portion of seard pork tenderloin served over brussels sprouts. All very good and a very unusual combination. But this was one of the two or three best pork dishes I have had anywhere. My wife had a salad (it was ok, but a little boring) and a gnocchi dish (I don't remember the other indgredients). These were good, but a little heavier than the best gnocchi I've had. Desserts were standouts. My wife had an over the top dessert with a white truffle panna cotta, a cold chocolate soup and something else, while I had miniature cinammon coffe cakes with cinammon ice cream. This turned out to be a very good meal despite my disappointment about the tasting menu.

Tuesday was Lotus of Siam. In an atmosphere not much different from any other strip-maill Thai place, the food was a step up in terms of quality, although I didn't feel that it was so head and shoulders above some of the better places I have been to warrant consideration as the "Best Thai restaurant in America". That said, the sour sausage appetizer was phenomenal and the price was a welcome change from the strip. Our whole meal was $50 compared with $300 at Bradley Ogden.

Wednesday we went to Venetian to have a liesurely lunch at Bouchon, but we were disappointed to learn that they are only open for breakfast and dinner during the week. So we went to Pinot Brasserie and had a fine, but not particularly memorable lunch there.

Our final dinner was at Jasmine at the Bellagio. Lovely room with a nice view of the fountains. The food was mostly very good and the service was excellent. I ordered an entree that I understood to be a soft noodle dish, but it came out with a crisp tangle of noodles served over the top of a brothy soup. As soon as I mentioned my surprise to our waiter he offered to have the kitchen make me something different and returned with my dish re-worked into the best lo-mein style dish I have ever had. Desserts were very good - I had four mini-cremes brulee and my wife had something with bananas (which I can't stand, so I had no taste of this one)

All in all, we ate very well this week but came away a little disappointed. Maybe we picked the wrong places or maybe, like the rest of Las Vegas, the food looks better from a distance and doesn't quite live up to the expectations.  It wasn't that anything was terrible.  In fact, everything was very good but none of the meals were in my "Best Ever" category although Bradley Ogden was pretty close.

Plus, there are plenty of other things in Las Vegas to hold your interest.

Edited by bilrus

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The best meal I had there last year was at craftsteak in the MGM Grand. There's no featured tasting menu, but when I inquired they whipped one up for $80/pp and it was superb, though I think we ended up with enough to feed six. I can't say I expected the best scallops I've ever had to be in Nevada.

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As a loose rule, expect most of the high end restaurants you find there to be comparable in food quality, larger in size, and priced about 25% higher than their east coast equivalents.

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My friends and I enjoyed FIX at the Bellagio...quite affordable and service was excellent.

I did the breakfast/lunch buffet at Bellagio and Paris - I'd go with Bellagio.

If you don't want to waist calories, skip cocktail food if you're having drinks at the Eiffle Tower restaurant. Didn't stay for dinner, but the small plates we got with cocktails that last night in town were not up to par with spectacular reviews I'd heard. The view was great though!

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I used to go to Vegas when I was a kid, in the late 50's and early 60's. The only food we ever ate was at $1 all-you-can-eat buffets, called Chuckwagons. I don't think there was much else there in those days, even if you were willing to pay a few dollars more.

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Going to Vegas in a few weeks.  I already have reservations at Le Bouchon and Mesa Grill.  Any place else I shouldn't miss?

There is so much good food in LV it is hard to know where to begin. A few random thoughts:

Off the strip--Lotus of Siam, Rosemary's (both are must go to's)

Burgers--In-n-Out, Fatburger, Burger bar at (Mandalay I think)

Steaks--N9NE in the Palms, Craftsteak

Fine dining on the strip--Picasso, Renoir, Cirque, Bradley Ogden, il Mulino, lots of others, including new places at Wynn

Famous name places--Emeril's places, Commanders Palace, Carniege Deli, (BTW Mesa has been getting mixed reviews), many others

Buffet--Alladin, Bellagio, new place at Treasure Island

Places with great food AND great views--Mix at The Hotel, Alize at Palms

Luv-it custard

This is only a sample. I would suggest you go to Chowhounds Southwest Board and spend an hour--you will find much good information and varying takes on everything. Dave Feldman is an active poster there and his opinion is very reliable; also torta basilica.

Edited by johnb

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As posted from my pre-"Legacy Participant" days:

In the May 11, 2005 San Francisco Chronicle, Michael Bauer writes about Las Vegas restaurants: "Going for Broke: Las Vegas has lured some of S.F.'s top restaurateurs, but is the gamble paying off for diners?" (that is a static link that should remain intact until the end of time). On Bradley Ogden:

"...at Bradley Ogden, the only thing you get without asking is the check. If attitude was an Olympic sport, this staff would win. Not only are they arrogant, they also don't know the menu. They never bother to describe a dish when they place it on the table; if you insist, they restate the obvious and leave quickly...

Pretty damning: that would pretty much keep me away permanently, as the worst thing to endure in a restaurant is stuffy or ungracious service.

Bauer didn't hit all the biggest/most expensive places, but these:

Fleur de Lys, Mandalay Bay Hotel

Nobhill, MGM Grand

Bradley Ogden, Caesars Palace

Burger Bar, Mandalay Place

Postrio, Venetian

Crustacean, Desert Passage in the Aladdin Hotel

Seablue, MGM Grand

Michael Mina, Bellagio

Bouchon, Venetian

---------

Also: another pre-Legacy report (with a few photos) of Lotus of Siam, where we eat every single time we go to Las Vegas, period.

Rosemary's

I love Canaletto at the Venetian, too. It's mid-priced: dinner for two with a couple of glasses of wine might be $75. Vito there is our favorite waiter ever. 100% Italian, 100% pro, and great fun. (For us, that is. YMMV.)

Also in the upper mid-price range is Ortanique in Paris: there is a steak with a gorgonzola-stout reduction that is jaw-droppingly good. Dinner for two with a couple of glasses of wine: $125. pre-tip. Adam is an excellent waiter there, if he happens to be working. His grandmother danced with Elvis!

We had a great lunch at Emeril's Fish House in the MGM Grand: the oyster po boys are fabulous. They are definitely huge enough to share one, if you're of a mind. Get an app and split the sandwich, or roll out the door.

We did Bouchon for breakfast, and the housemade preserves were as good as anything I've ever put in my mouth. It was lovely.

Have fun. Good luck!

Edited by tanabutler

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On Bradley Ogden:
"...at Bradley Ogden, the only thing you get without asking is the check. If attitude was an Olympic sport, this staff would win. Not only are they arrogant, they also don't know the menu. They never bother to describe a dish when they place it on the table; if you insist, they restate the obvious and leave quickly...

I didn't find that when I was at Bradley Ogden. In fact one of the captains (I believe) had previously worked at Neyla and was very accomidating and friendly once he knew we were from DC. The rest of the staff was fine too.

That said, Tom Sietsema doesn't miss an opportunity to whack BO whenever he gets the chance in his discussions.

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I didn't find that when I was at Bradley Ogden.  In fact one of the captains (I believe) had previously worked at Neyla and was very accomidating and friendly once he knew we were from DC.  The rest of the staff was fine too.

That said, Tom Sietsema doesn't miss an opportunity to whack BO whenever he gets the chance in his discussions.

Ditto. We pretty much had the back room to ourselves on a Wednesday night and the staff was completely accomodating and gracious.

I had a second thought about a place that I go to every time I am there (which is about 3 times a year): I adore the sushi place that is at Bellagio facing the fountains. I just wish that I could remember the damned name of the joint....

Also, I love the bar at Gallaghers at NY NY. They make the best Long Island Ice Tea that I have ever had in my life.

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I've had good lunches at Delmonico (Venetian), Emeril's (MGM Grand), and Il Mulino (Caesar's Palace). Lots of places are not open for lunch so check. I will not return to Commander's Palace (Aladdin) because brunch was bad (food and service).

Eating at Bradley Ogden (bar by myself and at a table with family) showed some ambitious cooking (although not QPR). I liked the service but, as others have mentioned, there are a number of negative reports out there.

Shibuya (MGM Grand) was better than Nobu (Hard Rock) for Japanese fusion.

I also liked Valentino and Pinot Brasserie (both Venetian).

Wine lists at many LV places show a high markup, but Delmonico and Emeril's had interesting choices and modest markups.

Edited to add: Shintaro is probably the place in the Bellagio that Woodleygrrl mentioned. Have not been to Sensi but I've heard good things. Don't miss Jean-Philippe Patisserie which is also there.

Edited by Gary Tanigawa

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If you're willing to venture a bit off the strip, I would highly recommend Quinta Belina on Flamingo. It's tucked into a strip mall and not much in the ambiance department, but the food is delicious Mexican. My favorite dishes were the squash blossom quesadilla (amazing), the spicy appetizer meatballs and the churros.

If you stay on the strip, I am a huge fan of Prime in the Bellagio and of Bouchon in the Venetian for breakfast. Enjoy your trip!

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I would definitely recommend Burger Bar over in Mandalay Place. When I was in Vegas back in April, we went there twice in 3 days. Both the lamb burger and the Kobe beef burger were fantastic! They also make good milkshakes. A few doors down from Burger Bar is 55 Degrees Wine Bar, which is a wine store and wine bar. Most of the wines are way overpriced, but the bar is a pretty cool place to grab a glass of wine.

If you like sushi, I would recommend Sushi Roku over in Caesar's Palace. We stumbled upon it on our last night in Vegas and had a wonderful meal there.

We had a disappointing meal at Piccasso over in the Bellagio. While the wine service was terrific, the food was over-salted and the portions were very small. Not worth the $$ if you ask me.

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According to Zagat the highest food rating of any restaurant in Las Vegas is In 'n Out Burger with28 points. Here is the link for proof of this remarkable statement:

http://www.zagat.com/resultslist/Results.a...167399)|0&VID=8

Nobu also has a 28 food rating with Bradley Ogden, Le Cirque, Lotus of Siam (a local legend; ambience at In 'n Out is rated HIGHER!), Malibu Chan's, Michael Mina's, Picasso, Prime, Rosemary's and the N9ne Steakhouse all tied with 27 points.

This is the 2004 Best of Las Vegas from the Las Vegas Review Journal:

http://www.reviewjournal.com/bestoflv/2004/

Yes, they list In 'n Out as the best hamburger in Vegas. Most of their choices are local, by the way.

This is an essay that I wrote about In 'n Out which attracted a lot of attention on Chowhound, "The 5,000 Mile Hamburger:"

http://www.chowhound.com/boards/general18/...ages/64210.html

If you go (the closest is one block off of the strip and is the highest grossing of any location in their 175+ unit chain) order a "double double with grilled onions animal style." Or a 4 X 4 animal style if you're really hungry. And a Neopolitan shake.

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We did Bouchon for breakfast, and the housemade preserves were as good as anything I've ever put in my mouth. It was lovely.

I had dinner in the bistro section at Bouchon back in late April. The price are much more reasonable than the restaurant itself. I highly recommend the bowl of mussels. They provide plenty of bread with which to sop up every last bit of broth!

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The best price-quality ratio I've found in 15-20 LV trips is at the Circus Circus Steakhouse. The problem is getting through the madness of that hotel's lobby.

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The best price-quality ratio I've found in 15-20 LV trips is at the Circus Circus Steakhouse.  The problem is getting through the madness of that hotel's lobby.

Stephen

I'm surprised a man of your breeding and culture would be caught dead at Circus Circus, good value or no (I have a hard time seeing CC as a CH-style hole-in-the-wall and therefore an acceptible eatery, but maybe that's my hangup).

As for Joe's comments on In-N-Out, I would add that one should order fries well-done!

Alex at the Wynn is getting buzz now to the effect it may have usurped Picasso's place as the #1 fine dining spot in town. Of course Zagat wouldn't show that yet in any event. And whether it's rating will rise to the In-N-Out level, we shall see--perhaps that's too much to hope for. I plan to dine there in November and will report. Of course, anybody's comments about it would be appreciated.

Edited by johnb

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John, we go in early October for a trade show. We will go to Alex along with Lotus of Siam (called "The best Thai restaurant in America" by Gourmet magazine; Dave Feldman who came down from New York for our Maestro dinner was taken there by some West Coast people; "Vital Information" from the Chicago board also raved about it ((I believe he is on Chicago's new board now))-but I trust both of their opinions. There's a lot of stuff on the internet that you can link to for this place.), Rosemary's (called the "best gourmet restaurant in Las Vegas" by readers of the Las Vegas Review-Sun (of course this is really a popularity contest, still....; but go to the original which is 15 minutes off of the strip NOT the new location at the Rio. There's a lot on this place that you'll find including lengthy reviews from Frommer's and an interesting website for it) and a fourth restaurant which I haven't decided yet.

I am prioritizing restaurants which have RESIDENT CHEFS. The fact that Steve Wynn opened Wynn's and promotes/advertises this speaks volumes for me. Especially in combination with a number of restaurants there that I have been to. Emeril's, Aqua, Valentino and a bunch of others were not as good as their originals; good, but not AS good. The people that I went with enjoyed them but none had been to the original's. I have and, for me, they were a step down. I should note that at Aqua the chef had moved from San Francisco but I liked it more there. It's possible the food was as good but I just preferred it more in SF. I do not believe any of the Emeril's anywhere now are as good as he was in the mid 90's in NOLA. We had three dinners there in a row with him in the kitchen and it was fantastic. A return visit two years ago showed that it was still excellent but there was just something missing. I think it was him. I think this would be like going to the Lab and the food being as good but Roberto not being there.

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John, we go in early October for a trade show.  We will go to Alex along with Lotus of Siam (called "The best Thai restaurant in America" by Gourmet magazine; Dave Feldman who came down from New York for our Maestro dinner was taken there by some West Coast people; "Vital Information" from the Chicago board also raved about it ((I believe he is on Chicago's new board now))-but I trust both of their opinions.  There's a lot of stuff on the internet that you can link to for this place.), Rosemary's (called the "best gourmet restaurant in Las Vegas" by readers of the Las Vegas Review-Sun (of course this is really a popularity contest, still....; but go to the original which is 15 minutes off of the strip NOT the new location at the Rio.  There's a lot on this place that you'll find including lengthy reviews from Frommer's and an interesting website for it) and a fourth restaurant which I haven't decided yet. 

I am prioritizing restaurants which have RESIDENT CHEFS.  The fact that Steve Wynn opened Wynn's and promotes/advertises this speaks volumes for me.  Especially in combination with a number of restaurants there that I have been to.  Emeril's, Aqua, Valentino and a bunch of others were not as good as their originals; good, but not AS good.  The people that I went with enjoyed them but none had been to the original's.  I have and, for me, they were a step down.  I should note that at Aqua the chef had moved from San Francisco but I liked it more there.  It's possible the food was as good but I just preferred it more in SF. I do not believe any of the Emeril's anywhere now are as good as he was in the mid 90's in NOLA.  We had three dinners there in a row with him in the kitchen and it was fantastic.  A return visit two years ago showed that it was still excellent but there was just something missing.  I think it was him.  I think this would be like going to the Lab and the food being as good but Roberto not being there.

I'll be very interested to hear your impressions. I have been to LOS (as everyone calls it for shorthand) and it is great. I can tell you Dave Feldman is its biggest booster on the SW board of CH---he's probably brought more business into LOS than you've brought to Maestro and Lab combined, well, maybe not that much but a lot. Be sure to add Luv-it Custard to your to do list.

In addition to LOS, I'm also planning on Rosemary's and of course Alex. Do you plan to go to Il Mulino?

Speaking of New Orleans, if we could only get Tony Uglesich to open a place in LV, or better yet DC....... Actually, I spoke to him at length when he was in town and tried to convince him to buy a piece of retirement property near mine in NC, and he seemed interested Wouldn't that be a coup!

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I had some friends who were in the Highlands, NC a few weeks ago and they loved it. I think you chose well!!!

I don't think Il Mulino would be the same in Vegas as it is in New York. Definitely go to Luv-it. TAlso good to hear that you like LOS also. Thanks.

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<<I'm surprised a man of your breeding and culture would be caught dead at Circus Circus, good value or no>>

I haven't been caught dead there, or anywhere else, so far, thank you. But your comment goes to the root of what I consider the Las Vegas game. As one who has been a regular there (for computer and electronics shows) since 1982, I caught on some time ago that the idea is to let the gamblers pay, in significant part, for your stay. The "gaming" is why there are so many bargains in food and hostelry. Sure, there are lots of restaurants set up for people who have just won or lost half a million bucks and to whom another grand is trivial. But if you go along with that plan, you're as thick as the high-rollers are. For breakfast, I go to one of the buffets that Zora talked about. For lunch, I graciously accept the hospitality of one of the exhibitors. There are generally show-sponsored receptions in the evening with serious sushi and shrimp, and of course an open bar For dinner, I seek out steak, Brazilian, seafood -- places, often off the Strip, that don't depend entirely on frantic, inebriated tourists. The Circus Circus Steakhouse fits that category. It is an oasis of class in a sea of crass.

If anyone is open to further ruminations along these lines, I can provide an article I wrote for Publishers Weekly when the booksellers convened in Las Vegas. Taxi drivers told me that the book people were almost as cheap as the computer people, but not quite. My guys, both.

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<<I'm surprised a man of your breeding and culture would be caught dead at Circus Circus, good value or no>>

It is an oasis of class in a sea of crass. 

If anyone is open to further ruminations along these lines, I can provide an article I wrote for Publishers Weekly when the booksellers convened in Las Vegas.  Taxi drivers told me that the book people were almost as cheap as the computer people, but not quite.  My guys, both.

You're such a poet and I didn't know it!

By all means, provide us your article. And here I thought the best lowbrow steak deal was that never-ending special at Binion's! Talk about gambler subsidized! But isn't your strategy a bit dated, in the sense that LV has morphed quite a bit and now the really fine restaurants are profit centers? I know there are still deals around at a "certain" level, but, assuming you want them, that won't get you meals at the level of Picasso, Alex, N9ne, etc. etc. (unless of course you're a whale, which Janet's slot playing is definitely not going to qualify us for).

Of course there's always LOS, Rosemary's, In-N-Out, and others who don't fit in to the strange economics out there.

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By all means, provide us your article.  And here I thought the best lowbrow steak deal was that never-ending special at Binion's!  Talk about gambler subsidized!  But isn't your strategy a bit dated, in the sense that LV has morphed quite a bit and now the really fine restaurants are profit centers?

John,

I'm afraid I don't have the article computerized. I can bring a hard copy when I see you later this week. Or I can fax it. Binion's is a good deal, but the quality of the beef doesn't match Circus Circus, believe it or not. The CC Steakhouse is a dress-up place in several senses. Finally, I have to admit that your point about outdated strategy is correct, or at least moving in that direction. My philosophy was formed during a different LV era. It's still workable, but barely.

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