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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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.

Well I'm still workable but barely, so I understand (LOL)

Bring a photocopy if its convenient. That would be great.

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mmmm Vegas....

Living near there, I've had a chance to try lots of places, unfortunately my budget is usually closer to the In 'n Out than the Bellagio. However I have to admit only one visit to the burger chain, preferring typically to grab a couple papusas at a little spot over on Valley View and Desert Inn.

But having listened to other hardened foodies chat, I will offer a couple second hand recommendations, independents not on the Strip, so a car is needed.

Andre Rouchet [sp] is one of the top local chefs. Although he has opened two branches in Strip hotels, many feel his original restaurant downtown has the most consistency in cooking and comfortable ambience. Another place that attracts local chefs on their days off is the Tillerman. Old school steak lovers trek out to North Las Vegas for a steak at Bob Taylor's Ranch House. Italian afficianados tend toward the Bootlegger Bistro at LV Blvd/Highway 160, or Chicago Joe's downtown.

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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!

The September edition of Bob Appetit includes Bouchon's mussels recipe. It also includes a heart-renching feature on New Orleans restaurants. God, I hope those places survive. :lol:

The September articles are not online yet, but here's a link to that issue's table of contents--Bon Appetit: http://www.epicurious.com/bonappetit/toc/toc

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I'll be out there for a bachelor party in Oct. Anyone been to Simon Kitchen (in the Hard Rock, which makes me leery)? After I saw Kerry Simon with M. Bittman on his PBS show, I'm curious about this place.

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I'll be out there for a bachelor party in Oct.  Anyone been to Simon Kitchen (in the Hard Rock, which makes me leery)?  After I saw Kerry Simon with M. Bittman on his PBS show, I'm curious about this place.

I wondered the same thing after seeing him on Iron Chef.

I wouldn't be too leery about the Hard Rock. I actually like the casino (although I've not eaten there). It has a different vibe and the average age of the clinetele is about 20 years younger than most of the other casinos. And on the whole it isn't as cheesy as many other hotels there or the Hard Rock Cafes for that matter.

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Hard Rock-

Never eaten at Simon's place there, but Lucky's Diner has a reputation of being one of the best classis diner's in that part of vegas. Two items in particular draw praise, the milkshakes and the chicken noodle soup. Oh, and the waitresses. :lol:

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When Steve Wynn opened his $3 billion dollar hotel resort and chose a chef who was relatively unknown for his signature restaurant, for me, this made a huge statement about Vegas restaurants. Essentially many of the world's great chefs have cashed in by lending their names to Vegas eateries who flog their names but, in truth, not their food. Or cuisine. Robuchon, Ducasse, Keller, Commander's Palace, Lutece, Aqua, Valentino, Il Mulino: they are all there. In name.

This past week my wife joined me on an eating binge in Vegas that coincided with a trade show that I exhibited at. The highlight of the week, area 51 and Cat houses aside, was dinner on Wednesday evening at Alex considered by many to be Vegas' best restaurant. It does not have a chef whose name anyone would recognize. It does have for this hotel which aspires to be one of the world's best (and prices itself appropriately) service to match the best I have experienced anywhere.

This includes a stool for a woman's purse.

Alex is a luxuriously masculine restaurant with a dramatic staircase entrance to its ninety seats, flanking either side of a banquette which bisects the subtly opulent room. Teams of servants (NOT service, NOT waitstaff but "servants") do everything in their power to assure that diners who pony up to the $145 prix fixe six course dinner will leave with a smile. The wine list is worthy of most of D. C.'s best with inconsistent markups allowing a few genuine bargains (i.e. Marquis Phillips 9 for $70) as well as genuine investment ('98 Dal Forno Amarone $898).

The food does not live up to the room or the ambience or the service. I could not help but feel that it begged comparisons to both Citronelle and Maestro here and a dozen or more restaurants which I've been to over the years in Europe. Simply, Citronelle, Maestro, Laboratorio and The Inn at Little Washington are better for what is presented on the plate. Maestro, the Lab and Citronelle, the Inn at its best, are MUCH better for the taste and texture of that. In fact at both the Lab and Maestro we thought we had eaten at least twice as much as we did at Alex, almost all of which we preferred.

I did not take notes on this dinner. Unlike three hour + experiences at Maestro, Lab and Citronelle this was not one of them. The dining room was about two thirds filled and we were in 'n out in less than two hours. Six courses + an amuse + chocolates for our room. Five hundred dollars later, in the room, I wondered if this had been worth it. I decided, yes, that after ten or more years of searching for a decent meal in Vegas-relative to price-I had now experienced what was considered by most to be the city's best.

And it was a distant second to here.

Opulent indulgence (stay at the Venetian-parts of Wynn are genuinely tacky although La Reve ((their show)) is phenominal), hovering servants who provide everything to diners and do everything in their power to make those at their table feel powerful still do not compensate for what is a very good meal. But not a great meal.

I would also note that the In 'n Out 'n Burger across the Interstate is not as good as others, even those in nearby Henderson which provided the best meal of our trip. A double double with extra spread and pickles and grilled onion along with "well done" fries and a Neopolitan shake was confirmed on two visits as the best caloric investment of our trip. We agreed that on our next visit to Vegas we would have one less meal on the Strip and one more dinner at In 'n Out-away from the Strip.

http://www.chowhound.com/boards/general18/...ages/64210.html for a description of an In 'n Out experience.

Edited by Joe H

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Talked my non-food interested fellow bachelors into eating at Simon Kitchen. The menu seems dull (steaks, pizzas, meatloaf, a chicken dish, a salmon dish, etc), but most things I had a taste of were very well prepared. The beef carpaccio pizza was excellent-- good quality beef, crisp crust, and topped with a bit of argula and truffle oil (which really worked here). My tandoori salmon, which seems to be one of his signature dishes, lacked flavor, though-- it just tasted like a plain piece of salmon. I think we all agreed that the best thing was a large side order of tempura vegetables that was perfectly fried. The place was so damn dark, though, that I often had a hard time getting a good look at what I was eating. Kerry Simon was there at the pass, alternately working and talking with customers. So I guess there's at least one 'name' chef who still works at his Vegas place.

The Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay is definitely worth a stop, especially if you've lost a ton of money at blackjack. The Kobe/Waygu beef wasn't worth it, though. I thought the Hereford burger was better at half the price. Really interesting selection of toppings, including beet pickles, half a lobster, shrimp, etc...

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I don't think Il Mulino would be the same in Vegas as it is in New York.

Have to agree with that. My husband and I once had dinner at Il Mulino and became totally transfixed by the table next to us. Two big, middle aged guys with slicked back hair and super thick gold chains with their two bleached blonde puffy hair, middle aged dates. One of the guys, in the thickest, nastiest New York accent you can imagine, at full volume, attempted to impress his date by insisting that he had recently had surgery without anesthesia. "I don't need no fucking anesthesia, doc." Highly entertaining.

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I am finally going to Vegas for the first time for four nights over New Years. We are staying at Paris, so we intend to do the buffet breakfast there. We also have reservations at Mix. What else should we not miss? The big problem is what to do on New Year's Eve itself. Should we just do In-and-Out burger and avoid all the overpriced crappy food served on such holidays? Or is there a good option? We are celebrating both my birthday (New Year's Eve) and our anniversary (actually the day before Christmas, but we will be spending that with the in-laws and celbrating later), so we want to try to have a great, celebratory time. But, we don't want to return completely broke - I know, Mix is not a great start to that goal, but hey, why not?

Does anyone have any recommendation? For food or non-food actually. Thank you.

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My favorite "not-so-cheap" suggestion from my trip last year in Burger Bar at Mandalay Place as cjsadler mentioned a few posts up.

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There is not a single restaurant in Las Vegas that is as good as

the restaurant that its celebrity chef gained his/her reputation at.

According to a wine importer I met at the Aspen F&W Fest in 2004, the

average turn of a Vegas dinner table is something like 90 minutes or less

at fine dining establishments vs. 2 hours or more in other cities...the importer

said it was related to why people are in Vegas, they primarily go to be

entertained elsewhere especially gambling at the casinos.

Also a friend in the catering business recently left to take a $150K/year

Maitre D' job at a Vegas restaurant, and he left after 3 months - he felt

that the pressure to give VIP treatment to High-Rollers and other

"dignitaries" far outweighed the importance of quality food!

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Also a friend in the catering business recently left to take a $150K/year

Maitre D' job at a Vegas restaurant, and he left after 3 months - he felt

that the pressure to give VIP treatment to High-Rollers and other

"dignitaries" far outweighed the importance of quality food!

Where, specifically, did he work, and was his opinion based on that experience alone or is it something he feels is more general around town?

I have eaten several great meals in upper-end places in LV and never felt "high-roller pressure" was creating any problem for my experience--and I'm not only a low roller, I'm a non-roller.

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Apple has a great deal of credibility. This is personally especially frustrating since I ate at Robuchon in the mid '90's as well as his L'Atalier only a week after it opened. Two weeks ago my wife and I were in Vegas.....and went to Alex thinking that Robuchon at Caesar's would be a North American version of L'Atalier.

Still, I would like to console myself with Apple's curiously restrictive comment about "this continent."

John? Are you going to Robuchon in a month?

I cannot tell you how jealous I am!!!

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For Buffets I love to go to Mandalay Bay or Bellagio-Champagne Brunch.

Never been to the Paris breakfast buffet, but their regular lunch/dinner buffet wasn't very impressive to me.

Picasso at the Bellagio is really nice. The food was really good and the chef was very personable. I would say the type of cuisine is modern French. It's a beautiful place because it is right in front of the fountain show and their are some original Picasso pieces in the Restaurant. Expect to pay at least $100 per person.

There's an In'n Out towards the direction of Palms!

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Apple has a great deal of credibility.  This is personally especially frustrating since I ate at Robuchon in the mid '90's as well as his L'Atalier only a week after it opened.  Two weeks ago my wife and I were in Vegas.....and went to Alex thinking that Robuchon at Caesar's would be a North American version of L'Atalier.

Still, I would like to console myself with Apple's curiously restrictive comment about "this continent." 

John?  Are you going to Robuchon in a month?

I cannot tell you how jealous I am!!!

Yes, I was debating L'Atalier vs. the Mansion in my mind for about a week but finally decided to throw caution to the winds and go all the way. We will be dining at Alex Tuesday night and the Robuchon at the Mansion on Wed. night. It will be an interesting comparison. Maybe we'll slip L'Atalier in there somewhere as well! Then we'll have T'giving dinner at Alize on Thursday. My stomach is already groaning at the thought of all that eating, since I'm also hoping for Rosemary's, Burger Bar, at least one buffet (Craving at Mirage??), maybe Seablue, Bouchon, oh Lord!, and now the friends we are going with have told us they are going to get married while we're there, so we'll have to make a side trip to Freed's for some wedding cake....groan. We may all end up in some ditch off Koval wretching our insides out. Can't wait.

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You should really scrap the Burger Bar in favor of a 4 X 4 Animal Style at In 'n Out.

I've been mulling that over. But I've already done I-n-O (admittedly at the Industrial Road location not one of the ones in Henderson) but we'll see. I do want to try the fries well done animal style which I've never had. Hmmmm. I also want to try a Fatburger one of these days. May just have to plan another trip next Spring (after all, what's 5,000 miles in search of a good burger!).

My sister is a big big proponent of I-n-O and I had my first ones in LA many years ago, even before I had ever heard of food boards. No doubting it is good. Now I also have to try an Elevation burger. BTW my only exprience at Culver's (southern Indiana) was only so-so, but that location is a long way from Milwaukee. I will definitely say A&W's cheese curds are way better than Culver's in my experience. I recommend A&W cheese curds anytime one can get some.

There's just no end to it is there!

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I prefer Fatburger to In n' Out (I really don't see what the fascination is with that place). But Burger Bar is a different thing. Ask yourself - are you looking for a Palena burger or Five Guys?

If you want (admittedly pretty good) fast-food burgers go to In n' Out or Fatburger.

If you want a cooked to order burger with unique meats and toppings (I made one with lamb, cucumbers, tomatoes and feta) then go to Burger Bar.

Edited by bilrus

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In three visits to Industrial road including several weeks ago I've left In 'n Out disappointed. On the last trip my wife was with me and we just felt that whoever was on one of their three grills just didn't care. The next day we stopped in Henderson and it was so good I wanted to go back in and get another double double for dessert. But again: you must get a double double with grilled onions and extra spread. Animal style is this plus a swab of mustard. There's something about the way that spread, cheese and grilled onions come together with ground chuck that is just ambrosial.

When properly grilled and assembled.

Fat Burger in Redondo Beach was excellent. Excellent! But I've run into some real inconsistency in other outposts.

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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

try PHO SO 1 on Spring Mountain past the Vegas version of China Town, order the barbeque beef and shrimp at the table. you will not be disappointed and it sure beats the usual Vegas Hype on copies.

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Perhaps only Las Vegas could have this: a thirty minute television show at midnight from the world's best car salesman. Serious. His name is Chopper and he owns a dealership called Towbin Dodge in Henderson. For anyone who suspects that once again I'm indulging in hyperbole this is the link to watch the actual 30 minute weekly broadcast:

http://www.choppercars.com/ChopperTV/choppershow.html

I sat up watching this show one night, not believing that I was watching someone sell cars! He's entertaining, really entertaining. And funny. And he gets away with a LOT of stuff that would never work here or most anywhere else. Before you dismiss this give the show five minutes.

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Perhaps only Las Vegas could have this: a thirty minute television show at midnight from the world's best car salesman....  Before you dismiss this give the show five minutes.
This just reminded me of why I hate buying cars. Can't imaging making such a large purchase from a guy who reminds me of "Crazy Eddie" Edited by Camille-Beau

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Taking advantage of my 36 hours in Las Vegas earlier this week, I booked a reservation at Valentino (inside the Venetian). The best thing about this establishment is it's wine list -- as thick as a phone book with page after page of regional Italian and other wines. Unfortunately, due to my lack of adjustment to the time change and plain old fatigue, I was unable to take full advantage of the dining opportunity. I ordered three courses but could only manage a bite or two of the 2nd and 3rd. Did finish off a bottle of something spicy recommended by the sommelier -- I think it was a lamborghini from Puglia.

Started with a special carrot bisque with a generous clump of crabmeat -- flavored with dill -- quite delicious. Followed by another special, a pasta dish, -- penne with baby shrimp and brocoli, or perhaps brocoli rabe. Wasn't two impressed with this one, came with a light tomato sauce that just didn't complement the other ingredients. Finished with beef barolo, featuring kobe beef :lol: . Why they would use a type of meat that shines when it is served rare in a dish that is braised and where any cheaper cut of meat would have come out the same, beats me. Had to pass on the desserts which looked fabulous.

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Why they would use a type of meat that shines when it is served rare in a dish that is braised and where any cheaper cut of meat would have come out the same, beats me. 

A cheaper meat braised properly would probably even be better than a braised piece of kobe.

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A cheaper meat braised properly would probably even be better than a braised piece of kobe.

But don't Kobe cattle have the 'cheaper' parts/cuts that need braising too (short ribs, cheeks, etc).

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But don't Kobe cattle have the 'cheaper' parts/cuts that need braising too (short ribs, cheeks, etc).

Certainly, but they still are priced at the "Kobe" premium. My point is why utilize a pricey kind of cow when the economy brand would be just as good, if not better. Answering my own question: Viva Las Vegas!

:lol:

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But don't Kobe cattle have the 'cheaper' parts/cuts that need braising too (short ribs, cheeks, etc).

Yeah - but they still probably won't have the same type of marbling and texture that would make a good braise. I would think the "cheapness" of the meat in terms of quality is what makes it good for braising in the first place.

Maybe I'll need to track down some Kobe brisket or short ribs and give this theory a test. I wouldn't expect it to be bad either way.

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Yeah - but they still probably won't have the same type of marbling and texture that would make a good braise.  I would think the "cheapness" of the meat in terms of quality is what makes it good for braising in the first place.

Maybe I'll need to track down some Kobe brisket or short ribs and give this theory a test.  I wouldn't expect it to be bad either way.

And I thought Kobe beef isn't supposed to need braising to be tender - isn't that the sought-after quality of the meat? When I had some in Japan, the Kobe steak was so tender you could cut it with the edge of a fork. However, the meat had very little flavor.

But to get back on topic, I'll be staying at the Venetian this weekend. But I can't tell whether the Valentino is being recommended or not.

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But to get back on topic, I'll be staying at the Venetian this weekend.  But I can't tell whether the Valentino is being recommended or not.

I've eaten at Valentino twice and enjoyed myself. But the meal/wine prices were high. Two other places in the Venetian: Pinot Brasserie and Delmonico. Both are part of a celebrity chef's empire (Joachim Splichal and Emeril Lagasse, respectively), yet they did not feel like a chain. If I recall correctly, Pinot Brasserie has low corkage (call ahead, I did not BYOB) and the Delmonico wine list did not seem to have the gigantic markups that many LV restaurants charge.

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But to get back on topic, I'll be staying at the Venetian this weekend.  But I can't tell whether the Valentino is being recommended or not.

Why not Bouchon?

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Or Lutece. I suppose you will be eating out more than one night. If I hadn't been drawn to Valentino on account of whom I was having dinner with (she's Italian) -- I wanted to go try Auriole at Mandalay Bay (with the wine angels suspended on wires to get to your wine selection at the four story wine rack) or Picasso at the Bellagio (John Wabeck recommends as this is the only "celebrity chef" restaurant where the chef is actually on premises).

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This is from my wine blog (at dmwineline.com) on my recent visit to L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. You'll dine well even if you don't meet the chef. And if you don't believe me, there's a photo here.

My Chance Encounter with Joel Robuchon

Some people gush over movie stars, rock musicians or, here in DC, powerful politicians. Me, I’m a sucker for anyone in a chef’s jacket. I’m proud to count a few of DC’s finest as friends and more as acquaintances, and if you get me in my cups I’ll be happy to tell you about the time I interviewed Alain Ducasse for The Washington Post. Well add a few more Michelin stars to my firmament – I met Joël Robuchon.

I arrived in Las Vegas for my day job and headed for the MGM Grand, hoping to spend my free evening at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, the first US outpost of the man heralded by his publicists as “the best chef in the world.” The place was closed for a media event. Food writers from around the world were to be feted for two nights to celebrate the restaurant’s grand opening. I whipped out my business card, self-printed with Microsoft Publisher on medium-grade card stock from Office Depot, and explained to the pretty young thang at the hostess stand that she was in luck, for I had arrived by happenstance and would be quite content to squeeze into a corner and enjoy the meal and I really wouldn’t get in anyone's way, thank you very much.

She wasn’t buying. The irony, the irony.

So I returned 48 hours later, dusty from tromping around the desert all day and hoping to score a decent meal before hitting the redeye home, when I see the man himself standing in front of his restaurant with a suit and a younger chef. I drooled for a few minutes, then threw modesty to the wind and introduced myself. Monsieur Robuchon complimented me on my pathetic French and then introduced me to his copains (who turned out to be the VP of food and beverage for the hotel and Philippe Braun, the chef in charge of L’Atelier) as if I was a long-lost buddy from his days in the resistance. I said I was there to dine at L’Atelier as soon as the doors opened and let him go on his merry way.

Shortly after 5:30 another cute young thang tried to shunt me into a corner, but my new friend Philippe guided me to the center seat around the U-shaped bar that is L’Atelier’s signature. This format was considered quite revolutionary in Paris and Tokyo when Robuchon came out of retirement a few years ago to offer “casual” cuisine, but the idea of diners watching their food being cooked and even interacting with the wait staff is not new to Americans. I felt like I was sitting at an expensive diner counter. Small plates are not new here either, though the wait staff kept explaining them as if they were.

That said, I’ve never eaten so well at a diner or tapas bar. It was perhaps the best, and most expensive, meal of my life.

I splurged on the menu degustation, a multicourse offering of small plates for $85, and gave Pascal Bolduc, the Quebec-born sommelier, carte blanche to match me some wines. (For some reason, the restaurant does not offer flights of wines matched to the tasting menu.) For the sautéed foie gras with a citrus and apple sauce, he offered an “ice cider” from Quebec called “Neige,” made from apples frozen on the tree like grapes on the vine for ice wine. I may go to my grave believing this was the ultimate food-wine pairing.

I’ll spare you a blow-by-blow, bite-by-bite account of my meal, except to say foie gras made three appearances overall and I may be spoiled forever for salmon. One can eat less expensively at L’Atelier by picking and choosing among the small plates (full entrées are quite expensive) and showing restraint with the wines. And while the “casual” concept may seem old-hat to American diners, the cuisine Robuchon is not to be missed.

(L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev. There is also Joël Robuchon at The Mansion, which is really expensive and aims to recreate or reinvent Robuchon’s three-star cuisine. For more information, see www.mgmgrand.com .)

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So I am leaving for Vegas tomorrow for (gulp) a whole week. What is the latest and the greatest?

I am planing the old skool steak dinner at least one night and I was planning on sushi one night as well.

What do you all think?

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So I am leaving for Vegas tomorrow for (gulp) a whole week.  What is the latest and the greatest? 

I am planing the  old skool steak dinner at least one night and I was planning on sushi one night as well.

What do you all think?

I was in Vegas in September and had phenomenal sushi at Sushi Roku in the new forum shops at Caesar's. More info here: Sushi Roku. It's a trendy place overlooking the strip and the sushi was delicious. Good service, beautiful people, swank setting. Despite the fact that it's located off the mall, which seemed weird to me, we were impressed.

Have a great time in Vegas! When I got off the plane at Dulles, I wanted to hop on the next flight back. <_<

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Not really the latest, but certainly one of the greatest is Lotus of Siam. It is one of the finest Thai restaurants in the country. If you go, don't expect some overdone Vegas restaurant, it has all of the ambiance of your local Chinese restaurant.

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So I am leaving for Vegas tomorrow for (gulp) a whole week.  What is the latest and the greatest?  .... I was planning on sushi one night as well.

Not quite sure why there are two Vegas threads, but you may want to check the rest of this thread as well.

Having said that, in November I had dinner at the japanese restaurant Okada in the Wynn Hotel. The sushi wasn't out of this world, but it was perfectly nice. However, the dining room is absolutely beautiful with friendly but professional service.

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I strongly second Steve's mention of Lotus of Siam which is OFF the strip. Members of the L. A. board from Chowhound have actually organized dinners there-that's 250 miles from L.A.! The place is legendary, considered by many to be as good as there is in America. Also you should note the two restaurants which the James Beard Organization honored with nominations for their national category, best new restaurant of the year. One is ungodly expensive, the formal Robuchon at the Mansion and the second is in the Wynn, Bartolotta. Also, the chef from Commander's Palace was nominated for the regional chef's award as well as the sommelier and wine service at Aureole in theMandalay.

Regardless, if you have not been to In 'n Out Burger you should go. There are at least four in Vegas with the one several blocks from the strip the #1 grossing in their entire chain. Having said this I've been there five or six times and each time I left a bit disappointed. Still, you should go. If you have a car I would go to Henderson.

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

La Reve is a fantastic show at the Wynn and worth the exhorbitant ticket cost.

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Hi all,

I'm taking my girlfiend to vegas for her birthday this coming weekend, and on Sunday night I'd like to take her somewhere nice, since it's that's her birthday, but the tirp is costing me a lot, so price is unfortunately an issue. I'd love to get out for under 250, including wine/tax/tip. any ideas?

Thanks!

-Jason

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Forgot to report about Vegas trip in March. Had a surprisingly excellent steak dinner at Del Friscos. It's off the strip on Paradise Road... 7 of us at dinner. Was a little concerned when I saw it was part of the Lone Star chain. But it was great. Dinner was well-paced... prompt but not hurried. Attentive but not rushing us at all. Declared to be the best steak dinner we've ever had in Vegas. I had the ribeye and it rocked. 3 porterhouses, a filet, a strip, and veal rounded out the table. Steaks all rivaled or were better than Ray's. Creamed spinach among the best we've had. Not cheap, but definitely worth the money for Vegas.

As comparison, the other steak places we've been to in Vegas include Smith & Wollensky, Alan Alberts, Gallaghers, and the steakhouse in Monte Carlo (I forget the name).

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I just adore A. Alberts. I think that I had the best steak of my life there. I am going to give Craft Steak a shot next week when I am there. I will report back.

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Vegas Help Needed

I feel really overwhelmed with planning a trip to Vegas. We found some good flights a few days ago, and we are leaving on the 29th for five nights. I need help with a few things here. This will be our first trip to the strip.

Restaurants:

The only thing I have booked is dinner at Bouchon on the 31st. With so many choices how do you decide what's good without wasting money? :unsure: I am afraid that nothing from the celebrity chefs will live up to my expectations, so I am going to lower my expectations with hopes of enjoying myself. Are there any sure bets among this lot? We would like to eat a one buffet during our stay, and one big deal place.

Hotels:

WTF! every hotel has a different price for each day. I am looking at Paris, MGM Grand, and Treasure Island. Any thoughts?

I have heard that the rooms in Vegas are not that nice, unless you are staying at the Belligio, Venetian, or the Wynn. I called the Venetian last night, and it was almost $350 per night for 4 nights of our stay, and on one night the rate was $900! The very next week the same room was $142 per night. You would think that with so many hotels in Vegas the rates would not be so random.

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This past Sunday Raymond Sokolov (sp?) in the New York Times called Joel Robuchon at the Mansion (in the MGM Grand) the best restaurant in the United States.

Before you yell "fantastic? and we're going!" you should consider that it is prix frixe. US $350 per person prix fixe + wine, tax and tip. For sixteen courses.

Still, even if that is not a problem it is "known." It may now rival the difficulty of the French Laundry in getting a reservation unless you're a "whale."

By the way, Robuchon in the mid '90's in Paris was unbelievable; this is his first attempt since closing Jamin there to approach its excellence.

Edited by Joe H

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When I was there last year, we stayed at the MGM. I thought the rooms were fine.

Went to Bouchon and had an excellent meal. I think you'll like it.

For Breakfast, I would suggest the Buffet at Paris.

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Room rates fluctuate greatly in Vegas. Weeknight versus weekend. Many conventions versus few. Boxing match, concert, etc. Anyway, I have had nice rooms at Hard Rock (light and modern), Treasure Island (just be sure to request a recently renovated room) and Mandalay Bay (then again, I was in a suite). Didn't like Luxor at all.

For cheap-ish eats, I like Taqueria Canonita. My favorite buffet is, hands down, at Paris, particularly for breakfast or brunch.

Hotels:

WTF! every hotel has a different price for each day. I am looking at Paris, MGM Grand, and Treasure Island. Any thoughts?

I have heard that the rooms in Vegas are not that nice, unless you are staying at the Belligio, Venetian, or the Wynn. I called the Venetian last night, and it was almost $350 per night for 4 nights of our stay, and on one night the rate was $900! The very next week the same room was $142 per night. You would think that with so many hotels in Vegas the rates would not be so random.

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This past Sunday Raymond Sokolov (sp?) in the New York Times called Joel Robuchon at the Mansion (in the MGM Grand) the best restaurant in the United States.

Before you yell "fantastic? and we're going!" you should consider that it is prix frixe. US $350 per person prix fixe + wine, tax and tip. For sixteen courses.

Still, even if that is not a problem it is "known." It may now rival the difficulty of the French Laundry in getting a reservation unless you're a "whale."

By the way, Robuchon in the mid '90's in Paris was unbelievable; this is his first attempt since closing Jamin there to approach its excellence.

My wife has already told me not to even think about it:) What about his other restaurant at the MGM Grand? I have heard mixed reviews, but it looked very interesting.

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On May 29th of '03, several weeks after it opened, I was fortunate to be in Paris when L'atalier opened. This is the link to what I wrote about it on Chowhound:

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/26276...ier+de+robuchon

I have not been to the Vegas incarnation. Suffice it to say that I expected more from what had been a celestial experience in the mid '90's and L'atalier didn't approach this. I've never spent a thousand dollars on a meal and I am not going to start now. But if I were it would not be in Vegas. More than likely it would be in France at Marc Veyrat. Or on two dinners for two in San Sebastian. Maybe even three. Or here at Maestro, Citronelle and Ray's the Steaks with a very good bottle of wine at each.

By the way, I much prefer the rooms at the Venetian to the MGM. Or Bellagio, for that matter.

But that's me...

Edited by Joe H

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Room rates in Vegas change day-to-day... it's almost like the stock market in that it's a very efficient market. As supply goes down, rates go up... and vice versa. I would book whatever you can now.... but until the trip, keep checking the hotel web pages to see if they go down, and then rebook at the lowest rate (note you can only do this if you book through the hotel and not through expedia or travelocity or such). In particular, rates often tend to be at their lowest the monday or tuesday before a weekend.

Of course, Venetian, Wynn, and Bellagio are the cream of the crop in Vegas. The next tier is probably Caesar's, Mandalay Bay, and Mirage. Then Paris, Treasure Island, MGM, Aladdin, NYNY, and Monte Carlo. Luxor probably belongs in that group, but I don't like it either. Bally's is also supposed to be ok. Rio, Palms, and Hard Rock are off the strip (i.e. you'll need a cab to go anywhere) but are nice... but I'm not sure where to insert them in the categories above. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the above... if you do plan to spend a lot of time in the room (I usually don't), it may be worth it to splurge a little bit, but I wouldn't go crazy with that - also depends on what amenities you want... some have better pools, others have better restaurants, or better gaming.

Food - also yummy at Paris is the crepes place across from the buffet. Supposedly one of the best Thai places, Lotus of Siam, in all of the U.S. is in Vegas. MGM Grand and Venetian have some very nice places that won't break the bank.

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When I was there last year, we stayed at the MGM. I thought the rooms were fine.

Went to Bouchon and had an excellent meal. I think you'll like it.

For Breakfast, I would suggest the Buffet at Paris.

See, for breakfast, I'd suggest Bouchon. :unsure:

Seriously. Best jams and preserves I've had in any restaurant (housemade)...the corned beef hash was just perfect, and looked machine-tooled, it was so precisely fine-diced.

Paris does have our favorite buffet, it's true.

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Just got back from several days in Vegas. This was our first trip to Vegas so I lowered my expectations, as to not be disappointed. What I found was a very expensive city if you want to dine nicely. I was shocked by the mark up on wine at most of the restaurants we visited. Bouchon and DB Brasserie had the most fair wine list, with something in every price range. While I thought Fleur De Lys had the best value for food, they really hit you over the head with their wine prices, I could not find anything under $80 on that list. Highlights include:

Day 1:

Bouchon for Breakfast- I thought this was a fine breakfast, but nothing special for the $40 price tag. I had the boudan blanc with eggs, and my wife had a very good sourdough waffle with a vanilla bean butter. We also has a side of bacon, one coffee and a Valrhona mocha.

Burger Bar Lunch- I was really disappointed in this place. Maybe I was expecting too much. The burgers were fine, just not great. I can't believe they do not serve home made french fries! I just had a classic American burger, It was quite dry from being overcooked, I did not think it was worth the price. Two burger combos, with a milkshake, that was excellent, and one beer had a price tag of $43

For dinner we had planned on going to Simon Kitchen & Bar, but once I found out how far the Hard Rock was from the Strip I canceled my reservation. What a mistake! We ended up going to some Italian restaurant at the MGM Grand. It was so bad I forgot the name or what I had. It was right near Craftsteak. Moving on quickly.....

We left the Italian restaurant, and headed to the Mix Lounge, If you make it there before 10PM they will let you go up for free, otherwise it's $25 I was told.This is the best view from the south side of the Strip. The service here was great, some of the best of the trip, and this was just a fancy bar. We ordered a few drinks and a Vanilla Napoleon with Mascarpone sorbet and Strawberry salad for dessert. What a great dessert, that sorbet was the best I had ever tasted.

Day 2:

Wichcraft Lunch- Great Sandwiches here! We sampled the meatloaf with cheddar and bacon, and the roasted pork with red cabbage and jalapenos. They also had a great carrot cake sandwich cookie, and the ice cream sandwich was excellent and huge.

Bouchon for Dinner- This is the one I have been waiting for! I have cooked quite a few dished from the Bouchon cookbook, so I was very excited to try this place for dinner. Out of all the restaurants we tried, this one was the most packed with people during the evening. The food was indeed excellent bistro cooking! We ordered the cod beignets with tomato confit and fried sage, I thought this was the best dish of night. I had braised pork short ribs with peas, and my wife ordered the pan roasted trout. Both these dishes were good. I almost forgot for a moment I was in Vegas, as I drank my wine, while dipping my pork into some Dijon Mustard, and munching on some very good french fries. For dessert we had profiteroles and chocolate bouchons with ice cream. I also did not know they had Bouchon Bakery at the hotel near the casino.

Day 3:

Luxor Lunch Buffet- Need I say more. We had some free coupons, so we used them.

Fleur De Lys - Warning! Do not eat here before a 10:30 show. I was so stuffed I had to fight to stay awake for the late KA show. for what other restaurants are charging for food in Vegas, this is a steal! I looked a quite a few menus as we walked around,and could not find a better deal. You can choose a 3, 4 or 5 course meal with or with out wine, from a very large selection off the menu. I did not see any a la cart prices on the menu, so I am not sure that was an option. The space was beautiful and romantic, I requested one of the private cabanas, and it was a wise choice. I felt even further away form Vegas as we sat in what was really seemed like private room. We selected the 4 course, which I think was $89, believe me this was a steal for Vegas fine dining. We also did the the wine parings, after not getting much help from the wine guy. He was just weird.

I started with the Artisan Foie Gras with Rhubarb Rosemary Compote, this was served cold with three fresh and hot brioche rolls. Next was the excellent Swordfish with braised fennel, there were some other components to this dish that I don't remember. The fish was followed by the meat course, I selected the filet with braised oxtail tortellini, this was another winner. These portions were also pretty large. My dessert was the chocolate sampler, nothing to really rave about here. My wife had some interesting dishes as well, her lobster salad with watermelon dice and watermelon sorbet was pretty damn good. She also had a the veal cheek tart tatin, this too was excellent.

Day 4:

Commanders Palace Lunch- 25 cents martini's to wash down the excellent pork combo, and a sausage po'boy served with sweet potatoes French fries with homemade ketchup. We followed with an order of beignets,and the bread pudding soufflé. The service here was excellent as well, and those martini's were good and strong!

At this point in the trip we were tired of eating so we skipped dinner before the Toni Braxton show.

Day 5:

What do you do if you flight does not leave until 11PM? Eat some more.

Daniel Boulud Brasserie- The Wynn hotel is very upscale, when I grow up I would like to stay here. Daniel Boulund has a 3 course prix fixe menu until 8pm for $48, not a lot of choices, but still a great deal. I started with the Pate De Canpagne, and we both had the steak frites, as I did not want to order roast chicken of salmon. The steak was fine, but I found the desserts to be even better. My wife had a delicious peach clafoutis, and I tried a creative take on profiteroles. The profiteroles were coco crusted, and served with rocky road ice cream

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The breakfast/brunch buffet at Paris. Seriously.
I second the Paris breakfast buffet. best anywhere.
For Breakfast, I would suggest the Buffet at Paris.

Why?

I need details so I can convince my family it is worth it. We only have a few meals on our own and I want one to be a buffet (seems like one of those things you have to do in Vegas).

Does the buffet have a raw bar?

How much does it cost?

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Why?

I need details so I can convince my family it is worth it. We only have a few meals on our own and I want one to be a buffet (seems like one of those things you have to do in Vegas).

Does the buffet have a raw bar?

How much does it cost?

We tried to eat at the Paris for breakfast, but the line was very, very long, so we left. I would suggest you bypass the buffets and head to Bouchon for breakfast.

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We tried to eat at the Paris for breakfast, but the line was very, very long, so we left. I would suggest you bypass the buffets and head to Bouchon for breakfast.

This was also my experience at Paris. Its breakfast buffet has a good rap, so it can be crowded. Go early if you go. It is somewhat unique because it has different stations each emphasizing a different region of France. I don't know how that works with breakfast, however.

Other consistently highly rated buffets are Alladin/Planet Hollywood, Bellagio, and Wynn. I have enjoyed them all but have never had breakfast at any. If you are going on a Sunday, and price is no object, the place to try is the Sterling Brunch at Bally's. Every imaginable high end item (lobster, foie gras, caviar, etc etc) and endless champagne, along with more typical items; without double checking, I'm pretty sure it includes a raw bar. The Bouchon idea is a good one too, but it's normal sit-down.

Do some searches of the Chowhound Southwest board for ideas.

I can make some other suggestions if you'd like. PM me.

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Why?

I need details so I can convince my family it is worth it. We only have a few meals on our own and I want one to be a buffet (seems like one of those things you have to do in Vegas).

Does the buffet have a raw bar?

How much does it cost?

I'm staying at Paris this weekend & will get up to date info on the price & special offerings. Last time we did the Bellagio & Paris buffets...I preferred the Bellagio for the quality of food, but remember the Paris buffet being cheaper. Can't wait to eat at Wichcraft!

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Mel, I've stayed at the Paris and am not a fan of its rooms. For a similar price I much prefer the Venetian.

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Jlock and I tried the Paris buffet at the beginning of the year, and I thought it was a waste of time and money. I don't have a lot of buffet experience to compare it to, so maybe it is somehow better than others, but I would not return.

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I've discovered that there is a Vosges on the strip. We also have a trip to the patiserrie in the Bellagio planned.

Any other nonrestaurant food destinations I should hit?

tana-why is it your favorite?

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Any other nonrestaurant food destinations I should hit?

If you're interested in wine, there is a special "cellar" at Rio that has a spectacular collection of older wines, especially d'quem. There is a wine shop in Mandalay, near Burger Bar in Mandalay Place, called 55 Degrees, which has a number of interesting things---not necessarily worth a special trip, but certainly should be seen if you're in the area. Also in Mandalay is Red Square which has some vodkas worth seeing (drinking only if you are rich). Several restaurants have outstanding cellars. Among those is Alize at the Palms--I asked for and got a tour of their cellar, and they have some wonderful old bottles. Any of these is more interesting than the "wine angels" picking bottles off the four-story wine tower rack at Aureole (Mandalay) which attracts the most lookers.

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tana-why is it your favorite?
Well, it's been a couple of years since we've been, but we were going every few months for a spate there, and it just "won." We had a really great French waiter, funny and warm without being overfriendly, and I liked everything. I don't need pastries to be happy, so much of the Bellagio's sweets counter was lost on me. Sorry I can't give specifics, I wasn't taking notes and being critical, just going on our overall experience.

But I'm probably done going to Las Vegas for a long time: I don't much care to travel unless, somewhere along the line, I can visit and photograph a farm (and deduct it!). :)

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Hello all -

I've got a 3.5hr layover in the Vegas airport, and have no idea of the airport's relation to the strip/main action. So, I'm wondering if there are any tasty restaurants (not tooo pricey), either on the strip or not, within short taxi distance from the airport, that I could go to and spend a hour or so, then come back for my flight. All recs appreciated! Thanks!

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Hello all -

I've got a 3.5hr layover in the Vegas airport, and have no idea of the airport's relation to the strip/main action. So, I'm wondering if there are any tasty restaurants (not tooo pricey), either on the strip or not, within short taxi distance from the airport, that I could go to and spend a hour or so, then come back for my flight. All recs appreciated! Thanks!

The airport is really close to the south end of the strip, I would not venture too far north on the strip if you only have 3hrs; the traffic is awful and slow at most times during the day, and worst in the evenings. The MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay have the best dinning options on the south end. I am not sure you will have enough time for a sit down meal with only 3 hours to spare. However, I would recommend Fleur de Lys at the Mandalay Bay for dinner, and Witchcraft at the MGM Grand (only open for lunch). Keep in mind that once you are inside any of these hotels, it's roughly a 5 min or more walk to get to the damn restaurants.

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You should be able to squeeze a meal in at Burger Bar in Mandalay Place (area between Mandalay Bay and Luxor) during your layover. There are various reviews of it in this thread.

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Hello all -

I've got a 3.5hr layover in the Vegas airport, and have no idea of the airport's relation to the strip/main action. So, I'm wondering if there are any tasty restaurants (not tooo pricey), either on the strip or not, within short taxi distance from the airport, that I could go to and spend a hour or so, then come back for my flight. All recs appreciated! Thanks!

It appears you also posted this question to the CH Southwest board???? I already responded there. I would add that Pete's Burger Bar suggestion above might also work, but if a burger is in your future why not just head for the nearest In-N-Out? Of course they are very different experiences.

If you were to do BB, there is a very interesting wine shop (55 degrees) a few stores away.

No matter what you do, be sure you have a cab waiting to get you back to LAS.

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Yep, I did post to Chowhound as well - but since I live here in DC, this is my local board and I trust rockwellians :)

Burger Bar is an interesting suggestion - I will definitely gauge if I'm feelin a burger that day, and would probably go here over In 'N Out - I wasn't that thrilled with INO when I had it - to me it's just a fast food burger - granted, a whole league different from the gross chains, but still, just fast food done very well. I think I was expecting a mind-blowingly tasty burger. Actually, I was just home and and thought I'd take a Steak n Shake Frisco melt any day over the double double animal style. What I really want to try sometime is Fat Burger. And, if you're a burger afficionado, IMHO, the best burger I've ever had is in Boston at R.F. O'Sullivans. The Black Jack Burger. oh man how i miss that.

So, I'm looking into restaurants at the MGM and Mandalay now, that aren't on the too pricey range and that I can be in and out of in around an hour!

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Yep, I did post to Chowhound as well - but since I live here in DC, this is my local board and I trust rockwellians :)

Burger Bar is an interesting suggestion - I will definitely gauge if I'm feelin a burger that day, and would probably go here over In 'N Out - I wasn't that thrilled with INO when I had it - to me it's just a fast food burger - granted, a whole league different from the gross chains, but still, just fast food done very well. I think I was expecting a mind-blowingly tasty burger. Actually, I was just home and and thought I'd take a Steak n Shake Frisco melt any day over the double double animal style. What I really want to try sometime is Fat Burger. And, if you're a burger afficionado, IMHO, the best burger I've ever had is in Boston at R.F. O'Sullivans. The Black Jack Burger. oh man how i miss that.

So, I'm looking into restaurants at the MGM and Mandalay now, that aren't on the too pricey range and that I can be in and out of in around an hour!

Burger Bar is over rated. We also tried the Fat Burger on the strip, and it was no better than Mcdonalds. If you are going to be there at night, The MIX bar at THEHOTEL at Mandaley, has the best view and great desserts.

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Yep, I did post to Chowhound as well - but since I live here in DC, this is my local board and I trust rockwellians :)

Burger Bar is an interesting suggestion - I will definitely gauge if I'm feelin a burger that day, and would probably go here over In 'N Out - I wasn't that thrilled with INO when I had it - to me it's just a fast food burger - granted, a whole league different from the gross chains, but still, just fast food done very well. I think I was expecting a mind-blowingly tasty burger. Actually, I was just home and and thought I'd take a Steak n Shake Frisco melt any day over the double double animal style. What I really want to try sometime is Fat Burger. And, if you're a burger afficionado, IMHO, the best burger I've ever had is in Boston at R.F. O'Sullivans. The Black Jack Burger. oh man how i miss that.

So, I'm looking into restaurants at the MGM and Mandalay now, that aren't on the too pricey range and that I can be in and out of in around an hour!

I concur on the R.F. O'Sullivans bit.

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Yep, I did post to Chowhound as well - but since I live here in DC, this is my local board and I trust rockwellians :)

Burger Bar is an interesting suggestion - I will definitely gauge if I'm feelin a burger that day, and would probably go here over In 'N Out - I wasn't that thrilled with INO when I had it - to me it's just a fast food burger - granted, a whole league different from the gross chains, but still, just fast food done very well. I think I was expecting a mind-blowingly tasty burger. Actually, I was just home and and thought I'd take a Steak n Shake Frisco melt any day over the double double animal style. What I really want to try sometime is Fat Burger. And, if you're a burger afficionado, IMHO, the best burger I've ever had is in Boston at R.F. O'Sullivans. The Black Jack Burger. oh man how i miss that.

So, I'm looking into restaurants at the MGM and Mandalay now, that aren't on the too pricey range and that I can be in and out of in around an hour!

Well, as of 9:30 that sure is an interesting thread you got started over there. In any case, for sure I'd check with my airline and find out what would be the consequences if I got back late and missed my connection. You are certainly taking a risk. lvnvflyer laid out the scenario fairly well.

This reminds me of some stops I used to make in Cleveland with my daughter while going home to my folks for Xmas. I engineered longer layovers two years running and we took the time to go down to the Rock and Roll museum. It was a great father/daughter bonding experience. Both times we managed it in under 4 hours, but that was a simpler time, well before the contemporary security era.

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Heh, yeah I'm thrilled with all the opinions! I don't know, it's all dependent on the time and how i'm feeling, but I sure would like to make it work. What is it about Lotus of Siam that makes it so amazing? Right now I'm leaning toward trying to make it there or to Table 34 or Todds. You can understand though how bummed I'd be just to have to sit in the airport for 3 hours on a Friday night right outside of Vegas? I know it's crazy, but if the timing works out, I think I'll give it a shot!

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Heh, yeah I'm thrilled with all the opinions! I don't know, it's all dependent on the time and how i'm feeling, but I sure would like to make it work. What is it about Lotus of Siam that makes it so amazing? Right now I'm leaning toward trying to make it there or to Table 34 or Todds. You can understand though how bummed I'd be just to have to sit in the airport for 3 hours on a Friday night right outside of Vegas? I know it's crazy, but if the timing works out, I think I'll give it a shot!

Definitely avoid the Nathan's Famous at New York New York. Also, the airport is right in the middle of Las Vegas, not outside. Be careful, though, the cabs will clip you.

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I would only give yourself an hour and a half away from the airport. The lines in the airport alone are nightmarish. The lines for the cabs can also take 20-30 minutes depending on the time of day or convention schedules.

Unless you are going to Wichcraft at the MGM there is nothing there worth your time. The hotel itself isn't much to see either, unless you want to go visit the little lion habitat.

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Unless you are going to Wichcraft at the MGM there is nothing there worth your time. The hotel itself isn't much to see either, unless you want to go visit the little lion habitat.

Do you include the Joel Robuchon restaurants in that comment?

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