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Thanks to everyone for responding--I've got dinner reservations at L'Atelier, Rosemary's, and Lotus of Siam, and I plan to go to Bouchon for breakfast one morning. I'll be sure to fill you all in upon my return!

Betty

Those are good choices. One caution---at LOS, if you go at lunch don't even think about the buffet. Order from the menu. To get some good advice on what to choose, search the Chowhound board for Lotus of Siam or just LOS. Look especially for posts by Dave Feldman--he's the main LOS guy and his advice is excellent.

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John, you need to move back here. You are missed!

Joe: Thank you for the thought, but it's not likely to happen anytime soon. However, you and indeed all Rockwellians are always welcome to stop by and share a meat and three with us.

On the other hand, with Atlanta about to run out of water, real estate values where I am may suddenly take off like a rocket. So who knows..........

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Whew...Las Vegas is an exhausting city, especially when you're fortunate enough to eat like I did! Here's the report from the field...

For lunch on my first day, I went to Burger Bar (in Mandalay Place). In terms of atmosphere, it is virtually indistinguishable from any other sports bar or mall restaurant. While there are a few “set” recipes (such as the Surf ‘N Turf burger, which features Angus beef, lobster, and asparagus), the fun at Burger Bar lies largely in the diner’s ability to customize. I opted for the Kobe beef burger (which was $16), cooked rare and topped with swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and oyster mushrooms (these ranged from about sixty cents to two dollars). I also added a side of sweet potato fries (I believe they were just under $3). The burger was absolutely enormous, and it was more or less tartare-style with just a touch of great-tasting char around the outside. The combination of toppings worked well together and added some dimension, but they didn’t mask the wonderful flavor of the beef. The sweet potato fries were good and crunchy, but they weren’t anything particularly special. I also didn’t eat much of the whole wheat bun I had chosen—next time, I’ll just pass on the carbs and save room for dessert. Service was mediocre (I waited almost 15 minutes for someone to acknowledge my presence at the bar), but the draft beer list was surprisingly varied (most domestic drafts hovered around $5).

Next was dinner at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (in the MGM Grand). The trick is to get a seat at the bar and watch the food being prepared. I was right in the center of the madness, with views of nearly all the kitchen stations, and I enjoyed watching the controlled chaos of such an esteemed kitchen. I indulged in the 9-course tasting menu ($135), and it was absolutely phenomenal. Personal highlights included butter-poached oysters, pumpkin soup with chestnuts and homemade croutons, free-range quail stuffed with foie gras and glazed with acacia honey (served with truffled mashed potatoes that included three huge slices of the exotic mushroom—heavenly), and papaya puree with banana ice cream. Service from my individual waiter was somewhat lackluster (he seemed disappointed that I wanted tap water and only ordered one glass of wine—which, consequently, was $22), but the “supporting cast” of servers assistants did a great job of enhancing my experience. Also, the sommelier stopped by to chat a few times, and he was incredibly gracious and friendly. He even brought over a sample of a rare desert wine for me to try, as he noted that it worked quite well with my final sweet course. Overall, it was a delicious and inventive French culinary experience.

Even though I got a late start on Thursday morning, I knew that my breakfast had to be at Bouchon (in the Venetian). I had heard great things about the bistro and bakery, and I hoped it wouldn’t let me down. When I arrived at about 9 AM, the place was bustling. I took a seat at the bar and waited about 10 minutes for someone to greet me with a menu. I knew immediately what I wanted to order—French toast, a side of sausage, and coffee—and my food was rung in at 9:15. As I caffeinated myself, the minutes ticked away and everyone around me received his or her food. At 9:50 AM, I still had nothing to eat, and I asked the server to check on my food and put it in to-go containers (I had to be at work at 10 AM). Finally, just a few moments before ten, my breakfast appeared from the kitchen and I bolted to my conference. I didn’t take my hunger-stoked anger out on the waitress—after all, it wasn’t her fault, and she kept my coffee full. However, I will be hesitant to return to Bouchon without much more time to spare. That said, the French toast was divine; the brioche was layered with apples and custard, and it had just the right amount of sweetness. The sausage was spicy, house-made, and absolutely out of this world. If the food was that good on the run, I’d absolutely like to taste it while relaxing in the charming atmosphere of the bistro itself.

I knew that I had to venture off the strip for one meal, and I knew exactly where that meal was going to be. So, after work on Thursday, I hailed a cab and told him to rush me to Lotus of Siam (located on East Sahara Avenue). I told my server about my peanut allergy and told him to pick me out an appetizer and an entrée that would represent the best the restaurant had to offer. To start, I had prawns that were wrapped in bacon, fried (in what tasted almost like egg roll batter), and served with sweet and sour sauce. Meaty and full of flavor, I would definitely order them again. For my main course, I had the drunken noodles with sea bass—and oh my gawd, that stuff was incredible. The fish was lightly fried and crispy on the edges, but velvety smooth on the inside. The noodles were tender and intensely flavorful, especially when paired with the peppers and basil leaves that accompanied them. I asked for the dish medium spicy, and it was the perfect amount of heat—it challenged my palate, but it didn’t obscure the wonderful flavor of the delicate fish. After all of that food and two Singha beers (I had forgotten how good they were), I was as full as I’ve been in a while. But any stomach stretching was 110% worth it, as Lotus of Siam was the highlight of my Las Vegas dining.

There you have it--hope that helps any future Vegas-goers! Back to my regularly scheduled diet...

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Whew...Las Vegas is an exhausting city, especially when you're fortunate enough to eat like I did! Here's the report from the field...

For lunch on my first day, I went to Burger Bar (in Mandalay Place). In terms of atmosphere, it is virtually indistinguishable from any other sports bar or mall restaurant. While there are a few “set” recipes (such as the Surf ‘N Turf burger, which features Angus beef, lobster, and asparagus), the fun at Burger Bar lies largely in the diner’s ability to customize. I opted for the Kobe beef burger (which was $16), cooked rare and topped with swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and oyster mushrooms (these ranged from about sixty cents to two dollars). I also added a side of sweet potato fries (I believe they were just under $3). The burger was absolutely enormous, and it was more or less tartare-style with just a touch of great-tasting char around the outside. The combination of toppings worked well together and added some dimension, but they didn’t mask the wonderful flavor of the beef. The sweet potato fries were good and crunchy, but they weren’t anything particularly special. I also didn’t eat much of the whole wheat bun I had chosen—next time, I’ll just pass on the carbs and save room for dessert. Service was mediocre (I waited almost 15 minutes for someone to acknowledge my presence at the bar), but the draft beer list was surprisingly varied (most domestic drafts hovered around $5).

Next was dinner at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (in the MGM Grand). The trick is to get a seat at the bar and watch the food being prepared. I was right in the center of the madness, with views of nearly all the kitchen stations, and I enjoyed watching the controlled chaos of such an esteemed kitchen. I indulged in the 9-course tasting menu ($135), and it was absolutely phenomenal. Personal highlights included butter-poached oysters, pumpkin soup with chestnuts and homemade croutons, free-range quail stuffed with foie gras and glazed with acacia honey (served with truffled mashed potatoes that included three huge slices of the exotic mushroom—heavenly), and papaya puree with banana ice cream. Service from my individual waiter was somewhat lackluster (he seemed disappointed that I wanted tap water and only ordered one glass of wine—which, consequently, was $22), but the “supporting cast” of servers assistants did a great job of enhancing my experience. Also, the sommelier stopped by to chat a few times, and he was incredibly gracious and friendly. He even brought over a sample of a rare desert wine for me to try, as he noted that it worked quite well with my final sweet course. Overall, it was a delicious and inventive French culinary experience.

Even though I got a late start on Thursday morning, I knew that my breakfast had to be at Bouchon (in the Venetian). I had heard great things about the bistro and bakery, and I hoped it wouldn’t let me down. When I arrived at about 9 AM, the place was bustling. I took a seat at the bar and waited about 10 minutes for someone to greet me with a menu. I knew immediately what I wanted to order—French toast, a side of sausage, and coffee—and my food was rung in at 9:15. As I caffeinated myself, the minutes ticked away and everyone around me received his or her food. At 9:50 AM, I still had nothing to eat, and I asked the server to check on my food and put it in to-go containers (I had to be at work at 10 AM). Finally, just a few moments before ten, my breakfast appeared from the kitchen and I bolted to my conference. I didn’t take my hunger-stoked anger out on the waitress—after all, it wasn’t her fault, and she kept my coffee full. However, I will be hesitant to return to Bouchon without much more time to spare. That said, the French toast was divine; the brioche was layered with apples and custard, and it had just the right amount of sweetness. The sausage was spicy, house-made, and absolutely out of this world. If the food was that good on the run, I’d absolutely like to taste it while relaxing in the charming atmosphere of the bistro itself.

I knew that I had to venture off the strip for one meal, and I knew exactly where that meal was going to be. So, after work on Thursday, I hailed a cab and told him to rush me to Lotus of Siam (located on East Sahara Avenue). I told my server about my peanut allergy and told him to pick me out an appetizer and an entrée that would represent the best the restaurant had to offer. To start, I had prawns that were wrapped in bacon, fried (in what tasted almost like egg roll batter), and served with sweet and sour sauce. Meaty and full of flavor, I would definitely order them again. For my main course, I had the drunken noodles with sea bass—and oh my gawd, that stuff was incredible. The fish was lightly fried and crispy on the edges, but velvety smooth on the inside. The noodles were tender and intensely flavorful, especially when paired with the peppers and basil leaves that accompanied them. I asked for the dish medium spicy, and it was the perfect amount of heat—it challenged my palate, but it didn’t obscure the wonderful flavor of the delicate fish. After all of that food and two Singha beers (I had forgotten how good they were), I was as full as I’ve been in a while. But any stomach stretching was 110% worth it, as Lotus of Siam was the highlight of my Las Vegas dining.

There you have it--hope that helps any future Vegas-goers! Back to my regularly scheduled diet...

Thank you Betty for your detailed report. Sounds like you hit the high points pretty well. I'm especially glad you liked LOS. A true gem.

You may be interested to know that the Michelin Red Guide to Los Angeles and Las Vegas just came out and the only restaurant in the two cities combined that was awarded three stars is Robuchon at the Mansion, which is the *upscale* Robuchon place right next door to L'Atelier.

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Funny that you mention the Michelin ratings--according to the L'Atelier sommelier, the L.A./Las Vegas guide was supposed to come out on the 15th, but somehow the website was updated early and the results were leaked. So, when I was there (on the 13th), not only was Mr. Robuchon himself on the premises for the "big reveal," but he already knew his restaurants' fate. Needless to say, the staff were all pretty giddy about such an impressive accomplishment. I only wish I could have complimented the man himself!

I would love to try the Mansion next time I'm in Vegas--now that I have dined at the one-star L'Atelier, it would be interesting to step it up and experience three stars. Here's hopin' for another conference and a BIG raise! :blink:

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I am headed to LV for a short week this Friday. I wanted to second the question earlier about Rosemary's, anyone have a ballpark on the prefixe prices? How much would two be looking to spend there (and bonus points if anyone knows cab estimates from the strip)? I have no concept of what cab prices would be like in LV. Also we are looking to do one nice meal on the strip. We are willing to spend some money (250ish all in, maybe not much for Vegas...) but not big name blow out prices (Mansion). Also we would prefer somewhere without a very restrictive dress code (ie jackets required, if dressed up denim would be comfortabel, even better). We are already planning on going to LOS one night.

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I am headed to LV for a short week this Friday. I wanted to second the question earlier about Rosemary's, anyone have a ballpark on the prefixe prices? How much would two be looking to spend there (and bonus points if anyone knows cab estimates from the strip)? I have no concept of what cab prices would be like in LV. Also we are looking to do one nice meal on the strip. We are willing to spend some money (250ish all in, maybe not much for Vegas...) but not big name blow out prices (Mansion). Also we would prefer somewhere without a very restrictive dress code (ie jackets required, if dressed up denim would be comfortabel, even better). We are already planning on going to LOS one night.

I would go to L'Atelier Joel Robuchon in the MGM. It ain't cheap but it is a lot cheaper than the Mansion next door and is casual. Though I have not eaten there since last October, it was the best meal I had in 2006 (and during that trip West I ate at the Mansion, Guy Savoy, and Alex in Vegas, Mina in SF, and Cyrus in Healdsburg) and was better IMO than the L'Ateliers in NYC and Paris, both of which I like and have eaten in several times.

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Ok, so in addition to LA, I was in Vegas this past week for the Chinese New year- serious eating was had.

I want to first note that after having been a Vegas resident in 2000-2005, Lotus of Siam is overrated. The place for Thai in Vegas is Archi's Thai Kitchen.

It opened around 2004-5 out of some old fast food location on W. Flamingo- you could get drive through here!

The place is better tasting and fresher than LOS- no lousy buffet lunch here.

When I went back to Vegas this last week, I found out that they are doing so well that they opened Archi's Thai Bistro- a more roomier upscale location on S. Rainbow.

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This is a very frustrating thread. I've spent fifteen minutes reading through all of the posts and there is no report (mentions, yes but no report) on the local Rosemary's which is off of the strip in a shopping center. I should note that the Las Vegas Review Journal for eight years in a row has voted it the "best gourmet restaurant in Vegas." We are going in late March. Before then, if anyone has actually been, I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

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Ok, so in addition to LA, I was in Vegas this past week for the Chinese New year- serious eating was had.

I want to first note that after having been a Vegas resident in 2000-2005, Lotus of Siam is overrated. The place for Thai in Vegas is Archi's Thai Kitchen.

It opened around 2004-5 out of some old fast food location on W. Flamingo- you could get drive through here!

The place is better tasting and fresher than LOS- no lousy buffet lunch here.

When I went back to Vegas this last week, I found out that they are doing so well that they opened Archi's Thai Bistro- a more roomier upscale location on S. Rainbow.

Archi's is often mentioned in the LV RJ (local paper) annual best restaurant list, and I've been wondering if it really is better than LOS. BTW, mentioning the LOS lunch buffet is really no criticism, since no serious eater in his right mind would go there and eat from the buffet anyway. The full menu is available at lunch and that is manifestly the way to go. If Archi really is better than LOS, then it must really be damn good! I've even asked about it on CH but not gotten any feedback. But thanks for your opinion. Worth a looksee.

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This is a very frustrating thread. I've spent fifteen minutes reading through all of the posts and there is no report (mentions, yes but no report) on the local Rosemary's which is off of the strip in a shopping center. I should note that the Las Vegas Review Journal for eight years in a row has voted it the "best gourmet restaurant in Vegas." We are going in late March. Before then, if anyone has actually been, I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

Rosemary's is a good restaurant, and a bargain by LV standards, but certainly not the "best gourmet restaurant in Las Vegas." I would put it on a level with, say, Kincaids, in terms of overall quality and ambiance. Janet said she would put it a notch above Colorado Kitchen (I would say that's a bit harsh--mind you, she likes CK very much). My clearest memory is of the "BBQ shrimp," which I expected to be good based on the NOLA background of its owners and the constant raves that dish gets, but in the event was disappointed since their version was not at all like Pascal's Manale's original, and worse was actually served with sweet bottled-BBQ style sauce. They do have some good things tho, and I do recommend you try it, but don't expect an experience superior to Joel R or Guy S, etc.

BTW, in spite of my reference to it just above, the votes of the readers in the LV RJ annual restaurant poll are not worth the paper they're printed on. The votes of the editors are a good deal better, but IMO even they tend to suffer from "localitis." And I suspect very few residents of LV have sprung for dinner in any of the great places, since they make a sport of avoiding the Strip, so no matter how many votes a place gets it can't really be relied on absent serious backup.

Coming out of left field, did you have any thought of having b'kfst at Hash House a Go-Go? I still haven't been. If by chance you go let us know what you think.

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Then this raises the question, John, of where to go? We have three dinners on three nights with two directed by others in the Bellagio-not our choice. But the third night is Carol and I. I do NOT want to spend $1000 on a dinner for two at either Joel Robuchon or Guy Savoy. Robuchon's blow out tasting menu is $350 pre fixe PER PERSON + wine, tax & tip. He has a six course for $225 which is actually intriguing but I went to his Paris restaurant in the '90's just before he "retired" and somehow I really expect even the blow out to be anticlimactic at best. Right now, Bartolotta sounds the most interesting of all. Any thoughts?

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I too am looking for suggestions of where to go. I will be in Vegas for business March 8-11th and may possibly have one or more evenings to dine alone.

I am looking to eat at bars of great places where I can enjoy the experience..or a great sushi bar.

Prefer a great selection of wine by the glass.

Doesn't have to be over the top. AKA an extra $200 for the foie gras isn't worth it..But 35 for a glass of good champagne is.

Thanks

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Then this raises the question, John, of where to go? We have three dinners on three nights with two directed by others in the Bellagio-not our choice. But the third night is Carol and I. I do NOT want to spend $1000 on a dinner for two at either Joel Robuchon or Guy Savoy. Robuchon's blow out tasting menu is $350 pre fixe PER PERSON + wine, tax & tip. He has a six course for $225 which is actually intriguing but I went to his Paris restaurant in the '90's just before he "retired" and somehow I really expect even the blow out to be anticlimactic at best. Right now, Bartolotta sounds the most interesting of all. Any thoughts?

Sounds like you want to find that elusive great place, probably off-the-strip, where the food is haut and great, the ambiance is very nice, and the prices are fair. That's a tough one. I'm not sure any place fills all those criteria.

I haven't been to Bartolotta, so can't add to your knowledge base there.

I wouldn't completely dismiss Rosemary's. While I'm obviously not as enthused as some, it is still good, and you probably ought to go once at least to see for yourself. I'm sure you'd have a good dinner, I'm just not sure it will be as good as some would lead you to expect.

Alex at the Wynn is one possibility if you haven't been already. It is more-or-less on the level of Picasso. Not cheap of course, but I think you can still get out with some money left in your bank account. It certainly has ambiance in spades.

The other two greats I've been to that might still fill your bill are Picasso and L'Atelier. You have probably been to both already (or perhaps will be going to Picasso for one of your other two dinners in the Bellagio). If not, either would be fine. I assume L'Atelier LV is similar to NY and Paris etc. The food is great and the price is a lot less than Mansion next door which, as you noted, is pricey. Picasso is wonderful, but the menu seems never to change.

(Speaking of Bellagio, the real one in Italy not the hotel in LV, now that's a place to go if you've never been. But I digress)

If you haven't been to Bouchon, and would be OK with the Bistro approach, that might be possibility. The atmosphere is a bit overdone, but Keller's food is certainly good.

Off the strip, another place that folks like is Todd's Unique. Their food is very good, but more "comfort" than haut. And the ambiance is strip mall, which is what they're in. Still another, that I've never tried myself, is Table 34 (used to be Wild Sage). I really don't know much about it other than that it has a good rap and is owned by some Puck alumni.

One place I like, in Henderson, is Ventano's. Ventano's is a red-sauce Italian place on steroids. If in the 90's you had told me there was a great new Italian place in Silver Spring, this is what I would have imagined it to be. Their seafood is good, simply prepared; "shrimp on stone" is their signature, tho I haven't tried it. And a nice view to boot.

Another place that I like but seldom gets mentioned is Alize at the top of the Palms, tho I haven't been for a long while. It is owned by Andre Rochat who is famous for Andre's near downtown (I haven't been but lots of folks like it--old school French apparently). If it's still good, Alize has it all--good food, best view in town, ambiance, service, great wine cellar (a tour of which is nearly worth the dinner cost). Food is Frenchy newish. Wine prices are high, except Andre has his own vinyard in Bordeaux and that one is reasonable.

Of course there are more places I haven't been to than I have. If I think of anything more I'll post again.

--------------

2/14 Edited to add:

Here is a good CH thread on off-the-beaten-path places in LV. See especially Westie's comments on Aug 22. Larry is also reliable.

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/318666

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Some reports from my trip to Vegas:

I had lunch one day at Mexican restaurant Bonito Michoacan that I mentioned earlier in this thread- still good.

Pics

While in town, we stayed at Caesar's Palace, so for pretty much every breakfast, we ate at Payard, the French bakery from NYC/Paris.

We spotted Guy Savoy himself grabbing morning coffee and croissant there two different days.

The croissants were good. Particular highlights for breakfast were the eggs benedict on top of a croissant, the chocolate waffles with bananas & Nutella, and the granola yogurt parfait.

Pics

One night for dinner, we ate at Italian restaurant, Rao's, inside Caesar's, right next to Payard.

It was basically family style Italian food. Not great, but good.

I liked the linguini with clams with a spicy tomato and garlic broth. The Veal Parmesan was a massive piece of meat serve with the bone on it, and the salmon on black lentils was nice.

Pics

We had lunch at Hyakumi in Caesar's as well- a caution- this is actually a Chinese restaurant. The best dishes were the congee and the soup noodles- not the teriyaki or the sushi.

The other Chinese place, Empress Court was pretty bad compared to 4 years ago- my cousin couldn't even eat the shark fin soup.

I went to Bradley Ogden and while the food was good (bison tenderloin, yum), the service this year was pretty terrible compared to year's past. They made an error in our reservation, and then acted like it was our fault that our party of 8 was not a party of 2.

A stark contrast to our night at Guy Savoy, which I'll post on when I get the pictures together.

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2/14 Edited to add:

Here is a good CH thread on off-the-beaten-path places in LV. See especially Westie's comments on Aug 22. Larry is also reliable.

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/318666

The post mentions Ichiza- this was a favorite amongst my late-night places to go to when I lived in town- It's an izakaya, and while I've heard it's not as good as a few years back, I love their kushi-tan (tongue on a stick), the agedashi tofu, kimchi fried rice, deep fried baby octopus, and coffee jelly.

It reminds me of another favorite late night dive in town- Ocha thai restaurant - it's open to like 3 am- always got their green curry or pad thai with a huge thai iced tea- cheap and yummy.

I would also suggents, in the off the beaten path vein:

Bob Taylor's Ranch House- old Vegas steak place around since the 50's- great atmosphere. decent steaks- beware of the ribs

Hugo's Cellar- old school steak place at the Four Queens- everyone sits in a booth, ladies get roses.

you get a salad guy who makes your salad from the salad cart, huge martini's, large slabs of meat.

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Sounds like you want to find that elusive great place, probably off-the-strip, where the food is haut and great, the ambiance is very nice, and the prices are fair. That's a tough one. I'm not sure any place fills all those criteria.

I haven't been to Bartolotta, so can't add to your knowledge base there.

I wouldn't completely dismiss Rosemary's. While I'm obviously not as enthused as some, it is still good, and you probably ought to go once at least to see for yourself. I'm sure you'd have a good dinner, I'm just not sure it will be as good as some would lead you to expect.

Alex at the Wynn is one possibility if you haven't been already. It is more-or-less on the level of Picasso. Not cheap of course, but I think you can still get out with some money left in your bank account. It certainly has ambiance in spades.

The other two greats I've been to that might still fill your bill are Picasso and L'Atelier. You have probably been to both already (or perhaps will be going to Picasso for one of your other two dinners in the Bellagio). If not, either would be fine. I assume L'Atelier LV is similar to NY and Paris etc. The food is great and the price is a lot less than Mansion next door which, as you noted, is pricey. Picasso is wonderful, but the menu seems never to change.

(Speaking of Bellagio, the real one in Italy not the hotel in LV, now that's a place to go if you've never been. But I digress)

If you haven't been to Bouchon, and would be OK with the Bistro approach, that might be possibility. The atmosphere is a bit overdone, but Keller's food is certainly good.

Off the strip, another place that folks like is Todd's Unique. Their food is very good, but more "comfort" than haut. And the ambiance is strip mall, which is what they're in. Still another, that I've never tried myself, is Table 34 (used to be Wild Sage). I really don't know much about it other than that it has a good rap and is owned by some Puck alumni.

One place I like, in Henderson, is Ventano's. Ventano's is a red-sauce Italian place on steroids. If in the 90's you had told me there was a great new Italian place in Silver Spring, this is what I would have imagined it to be. Their seafood is good, simply prepared; "shrimp on stone" is their signature, tho I haven't tried it. And a nice view to boot.

Another place that I like but seldom gets mentioned is Alize at the top of the Palms, tho I haven't been for a long while. It is owned by Andre Rochat who is famous for Andre's near downtown (I haven't been but lots of folks like it--old school French apparently). If it's still good, Alize has it all--good food, best view in town, ambiance, service, great wine cellar (a tour of which is nearly worth the dinner cost). Food is Frenchy newish. Wine prices are high, except Andre has his own vinyard in Bordeaux and that one is reasonable.

Of course there are more places I haven't been to than I have. If I think of anything more I'll post again.

--------------

2/14 Edited to add:

Here is a good CH thread on off-the-beaten-path places in LV. See especially Westie's comments on Aug 22. Larry is also reliable.

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/318666

I went to L'Atalier three weeks after it first opened in Paris and wrote this on CH: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/262765 I've since been back and didn't like it as much. We also went to the Wynn a couple of years ago and thought the room, particularly the entrance to it, was dramatic. The food was good but, for me, not exceptional. Bouchon was good and agree about the ambience. Carol and I just returned to Chef Vola's in Atlantic City on Valentine's Day and while it was not quite as good as our first visit immediately after Christmas I continue to believe it is the best Italian American restaurant in the country. Certainly, along with Rao' in NY, the most unique.

My guess is that we'll have two dinners in the Bellagio because of business, Bartoletta and several visits to In-n-Out and, if I can find a way, Lotus of Siam. Thanks, John.

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I went to L'Atalier three weeks after it first opened in Paris and wrote this on CH: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/262765 I've since been back and didn't like it as much. We also went to the Wynn a couple of years ago and thought the room, particularly the entrance to it, was dramatic. The food was good but, for me, not exceptional. Bouchon was good and agree about the ambience. Carol and I just returned to Chef Vola's in Atlantic City on Valentine's Day and while it was not quite as good as our first visit immediately after Christmas I continue to believe it is the best Italian American restaurant in the country. Certainly, along with Rao' in NY, the most unique.

My guess is that we'll have two dinners in the Bellagio because of business, Bartoletta and several visits to In-n-Out and, if I can find a way, Lotus of Siam. Thanks, John.

You can't hardly go wrong at LOS. If I were you, I'd contact Dave Feldman and see if by chance he might be in LV at the same time. Since he's the #1 primo supporter of LOS on the CH SW board, I'd think having dinner there with him would be an ethereal experience, and a fair turnabout after the Maestro dinner.

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I too am looking for suggestions of where to go. I will be in Vegas for business March 8-11th and may possibly have one or more evenings to dine alone.

I am looking to eat at bars of great places where I can enjoy the experience..or a great sushi bar.

Prefer a great selection of wine by the glass.

Doesn't have to be over the top. AKA an extra $200 for the foie gras isn't worth it..But 35 for a glass of good champagne is.

Thanks

I would check out the counter at L'Atelier in the MGM. On my last trip West the meal I had there was the best of the trip - one that included the Mansion and Guy Savoy in LV, Mina and Quince (my second fave) in SF, and Cyrus in Healdsburg. And it also was better than the excellent meals I've had at L'Atelier in Gotham and Paris. You have to be mentally prepared to deal with a $50 price tag for a small plate of lobster salad, but I thought it was worth every penny.

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I was in Vegas this weekend for a hit and run trip, got there Friday evening and left on Sunday morning. Since United sucks, we skipped dinner on Friday night and only really got to eat on Saturday night at Nove (in The Palms). Since we always stay at The Palms and generally have one comped meal at N9NE (it is hard to get a bunch of guys to go pay $300 per person for dinner when we can eat for free), we were happy to try a new place even though we are never, ever disappointed with N9NE. I will tell you one thing though, next time we are out there, no chance that we miss N9NE for Nove again, it will never happen.

It is funny when two restaurants from the same restaurant group can be so different. N9NE, even though it may be too hip for its own good, is always wonderful, the steaks are cooked perfectly and the atmosphere is flat out great. Nove, trying to be the Italian version of N9NE, falls flat all around.

Our waiter was more interested in talking to people than serving us. When we were ordering our appetizers, he stopped in the middle of the order, walked over to a group of girls walking out, talked to them for a few minutes, and came back to us. What the fuck is going on with that!? He sucked, especially for the level of restaurant that we were at, but it wasn't just him. No matter where we looked around the restaurant, the servers seemed to be running around like chickens with their heads cut off and all the customers seemed to be upset about something. And, trust me, it wasn't because of lack of staff, they were everywhere, just no good management to pull it off.

I do have to say, however, that the beautiful hostesses and cocktail waitresses in their corsets were a sight to behold, almost made up for it! :mellow:

While the service was bad, the restaurant itself was even worse. Loud is an understatement, it was just as loud as LAX on Friday night, except for that it is a restaurant as opposed to a club. The decor was cheesy, trying to be a hip and upscale Italian place, but just ending up tacky. A total mess.

Now, the food was better than anything, but it still was a disappointment. The tuna crudo, oysters and pizza appetizers were OK, but that's it. We had a much better experience with Grandma's Gravy Dish (meatballs, sausage, pieces of pork in a hearty red sauce with perfectly cooked pasta) and a veal chop with a ton of flavorful mushrooms, but they were balanced out by a laughable risotto (super pricey for almost zero seafood) and some other seafood pasta that we left half eaten.

Overall, the food was a bit above average, but it pales in comparison to a hundred other places in Vegas. And, when you add in bad service and an even worse environment, you have a bad restaurant, one that we won't go back to even for free.

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You can't hardly go wrong at LOS. If I were you, I'd contact Dave Feldman and see if by chance he might be in LV at the same time. Since he's the #1 primo supporter of LOS on the CH SW board, I'd think having dinner there with him would be an ethereal experience, and a fair turnabout after the Maestro dinner.

We go next week. Bouchon and Rosemary's in a decision colored by cost ("no, no, no" to $800-1,000 dinners for two at Guy Savoy or Robuchon) and the absolute best in the $200+ range that might be left over. Lotus of Siam and In-n-Out also...of course.

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Bouchon was an incredible disappointment. The single worst version of moules et frites ($26.50) that I have ever had: stringy, tough, bound to the shell with fries that I swear were frozen. No aoli. VERY flavorful but VERY thin (almost a watery consistency) French onion soup. Decent diver scallops but did not taste very fresh (of course, afterall, this IS the desert!). Remarkably bad French bread with middling butter. Several more courses that were equally disappointing.

On the way out the manager asked me if I had enjoyed my dinner. Apparently he saw me return virtually the entire plate of mussels while my wife left two of the four diver scallops on the plate. I told him that I thought the restaurant-for us that night-was an embarassment to Thomas Keller. And I meant it.

I cannot tell you how far superior both Beck's and Central are to Bouchon!

Joel Robuchon at the Mansion is prix fixe $385 for the tasting and there were a number of tables available without reservations.

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We go next week. Bouchon and Rosemary's in a decision colored by cost ("no, no, no" to $800-1,000 dinners for two at Guy Savoy or Robuchon) and the absolute best in the $200+ range that might be left over. Lotus of Siam and In-n-Out also...of course.

Ha! I started going to visit my parents in Las Vegas in 1988. It was IMPOSSIBLE to spend more than $10 on dinner anywhere in Vegas then. I'll never forget the first meal I had in Vegas - The Union Plaza Hotel - Prime 16oz. ribeye, salad, soup, dessert = $8.95. There were 5 of us at the table, the check hardly hit $60. Fast forward almost 20 years and I had the single most disgusting lobster of my life in the same restaurant for $30. No matter how much you spend, no matter how quiet the restaurant, in the end Vegas smacks you right upside the head every time.

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Bouchon was an incredible disappointment. The single worst version of moules et frites ($26.50) that I have ever had: stringy, tough, bound to the shell with fries that I swear were frozen. No aoli. VERY flavorful but VERY thin (almost a watery consistency) French onion soup. Decent diver scallops but did not taste very fresh (of course, afterall, this IS the desert!). Remarkably bad French bread with middling butter. Several more courses that were equally disappointing.

On the way out the manager asked me if I had enjoyed my dinner. Apparently he saw me return virtually the entire plate of mussels while my wife left two of the four diver scallops on the plate. I told him that I thought the restaurant-for us that night-was an embarassment to Thomas Keller. And I meant it.

I cannot tell you how far superior both Beck's and Central are to Bouchon!

Joel Robuchon at the Mansion is prix fixe $385 for the tasting and there were a number of tables available without reservations.

Wow! Sounds like either a very off night and/or the place has lost its way and is tanking fast. It's been at least two years since I was in there; my experience then certainly doesn't mirror yours.

JR at the M was also nearly empty when we were in there, but that was shortly after it opened (a few days IIRC) so I wrote it off to that. I think it's pretty much a high-roller big spender place (duh) so whether it's full perhaps depends on what's going on in town.

Keep us posted on your continuing adventures.

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Wow! Sounds like either a very off night and/or the place has lost its way and is tanking fast. It's been at least two years since I was in there; my experience then certainly doesn't mirror yours.

JR at the M was also nearly empty when we were in there, but that was shortly after it opened (a few days IIRC) so I wrote it off to that. I think it's pretty much a high-roller big spender place (duh) so whether it's full perhaps depends on what's going on in town.

Keep us posted on your continuing adventures.

Carol and I were at Bouchon just after it opened and it was excellent. Wednesday night was a "shell" of what it once was. I am looking at the menu and note that I had the price wrong for the moules et frites: $27.50. The onion soup was $9.50 with "steak frites" $35.50, scallops $43.00, short ribs $48.00 and oysters $17.00 for a HALF dozen.

We did have an excellent dinner last night at Jasmine in Bellagio with a Great dish in their Tai Chin prawns (fresh shrimp in black bean sauce on Chinese noodles for $28.00) and superb clam soup in a fresh coconut shell where you shave coconut off with your spoon to mix with the fresh clams and broth. They also feature live seafood including two courses of live Geoduck for $198.00 a la carte. Regardless, if Jasmine were here it would be the equal of any Asian restaurant in this city.

Currently, the $7.4 BILLION City Centre is almost topped off; this is 87 acres in the middle of the Strip with 18,000,000 + square feet ofeight 37 to 61 story skyscrapers which will finish off Lake Mead in one grand and glorious opening in November of next year.

Tomorrow I leave for an eight day business trip in Germany, France and Italy. With the Euro @1.55 or so I plan on drinking swill and exploring the wine department at the German WalMarts which may be all I can afford. A Big Mac, fries and a Coke is about $9.00 there right now! A large Coke will put you up around $10.00. A litre of premium gas for the rental car is E 1.41 which translates to about US $8.50 a gallon. The toll from Verona to Venice on the Autostrada is E 8.50 which is US $13.25....for about 50 miles.

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Anyone been to the Del Frisco'sin Vegas lately? I'll be there for my brother's bachelor party at the end of next month, and while I suggested a trip to StripSteak or Craftsteak, I've been informed that Del Frisco's is not as over priced as my choices. Any other suggestions for other houses of meat are welcome. (Somehow I see some posts coming that may be a little off topic. Sorry, Rocks)

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Anyone been to the Del Frisco'sin Vegas lately? I'll be there for my brother's bachelor party at the end of next month, and while I suggested a trip to StripSteak or Craftsteak, I've been informed that Del Frisco's is not as over priced as my choices. Any other suggestions for other houses of meat are welcome. (Somehow I see some posts coming that may be a little off topic. Sorry, Rocks)

Some feel the Steakhouse in Circus Circus is one of the best buys in steak in LV. I have to agree. They really know how to grill a steak in that place (over charcoal I would add.) You have to close your eyes to the surroundings as you pick your way from the front door of the hotel to the entrance of the restaurant.

Here is a link to a post of mine in Chowhound in which I describe my visit to CC Steakhouse:

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/346218

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The single worst version of moules et frites ($26.50) that I have ever had: stringy, tough, bound to the shell with fries that I swear were frozen. No aoli.

You know I was there about 2 months ago and had the moules frites. About half way through the bowl I leaned over and told my girlfriend I preferred the version we served at Cafe Deluxe (my former employer). I will say we had breakfast there 3 days in a row and they were all fantastic but a little on the pricey side for breakfast. The white sausage I had one morning was perfect and I had a special one morning that would be my desert island breakfast. It was a hash type of deal with lobster, big chunks of bacon, beans and two very runny eggs on top and two slices of toast. It was heaven.

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Anyone been to the Del Frisco'sin Vegas lately? I'll be there for my brother's bachelor party at the end of next month, and while I suggested a trip to StripSteak or Craftsteak, I've been informed that Del Frisco's is not as over priced as my choices. Any other suggestions for other houses of meat are welcome. (Somehow I see some posts coming that may be a little off topic. Sorry, Rocks)

We did a bachelor party at Voodoo Lounge at the Rio two weeks or so ago that turned out well. Pretyt good steak, great view and not terribly expensive.

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Anyone been to the Del Frisco'sin Vegas lately? I'll be there for my brother's bachelor party at the end of next month, and while I suggested a trip to StripSteak or Craftsteak, I've been informed that Del Frisco's is not as over priced as my choices. Any other suggestions for other houses of meat are welcome. (Somehow I see some posts coming that may be a little off topic. Sorry, Rocks)

I was at Del Friscos a couple years ago and it is well priced compared to some places on the strip. One of the better steaks I've had in Las Vegas and the service is excellent... it's not flashy, but you'll get a good meal at a good price point. I'm there this Saturday for a bachelor party and will provide an update. I've heard they got rid of their cigar lounge though, which doesn't make me all that unhappy, but displeases several in the party including the groom-to-be.

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1000yregg @ Feb 14 2008, 12:54 AM

One night for dinner, we ate at Italian restaurant, Rao's, inside Caesar's, right next to Payard. It was basically family style Italian food. Not great, but good. I liked the linguini with clams with a spicy tomato and garlic broth. The Veal Parmesan was a massive piece of meat serve with the bone on it, and the salmon on black lentils was nice.

Perhaps your selections played a role in your review. Although I like both dishes, I'm not sure I could get too excited about clam linguini or veal parmesan either. I ate at Rao's in November and thought it much better than good. The Pennette alla Vodka was loaded with diced prosciutto and very tasty, and the Pollo Scarpariello's seasoning was sublime. I will return.

Karl

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In-n-out: order a four by four AND fries both animal style along with a Neopolitan Shake. Prepare to be stared at while opening your mouth for the first bite. You'll understand when you lift the tray to carry it back to the table.

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As my office's resident food fiend, I have been tasked with a rather sizeable mission--to find a good restaurant in Las Vegas for about 70 people, with a price point of less than $50 per person (excluding alcohol). The conference is in August, and the participants are all staying at the Monte Carlo, so it would have to be walkable or cab-able from there.

Any thoughts?

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I'm going to Caesar's on business next week.

Where's good to eat on a meager per diem?

I'd recommend eating off strip, but Payard in Caesar's has a great breakfast.

Off strip- i'd recommend Bonito Michoacan for Mexican, Archi's Thai Kitchen, Hawaiian Hale, and Ichiza Sake house.

All are a cab's ride west of the strip.

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Had a Rossini at the Burger Bar. Those things are like spinach to Popeye, but instead of super strength they give me super gambling. Two years ago I had one and came in first place in a hold 'em tournament. This time I hit a huge payout from a Wheel of Fortune slot machine.

Craftsteak was great. Real... soothing. Like I couldn't believe I'd just walked off a whiz-banging casino floor. Had a class-act foie gras (a bit stringy, but very well seasoned). The steak wasn't quite Ray's in terms of quality/pre-cook prep (aging, etc.), but it had a brilliant char. I really went to town on the bone.

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And no, those meals were NOT covered by my expense account. ;)

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With not much time away from family wedding festivities over the past weekend I ate most of my meals at different places in the Bellagio, which I guess is not something to complain about.

I did manage a dinner at Bouchon that was very good. They graciously accommodated our party despite being a bit late due to a late arriving plane and horrendous traffic on the strip. A beef short rib special was tasty and the with an excellent skate dish (sous vide then dredged in flour and pan fried to give it a crisp crust) served with shitake mushrooms and something that I am now forgetting. We were too full for dessert as we shared some apps, but we made up for that with plenty of gelato during the day. I did not taste what everyone else had, but all seemed to be very happy.

Stopped by the Burger Bar on the way back from the Shark Reef (fun and interesting) and had an American burger. Nothing great, decent, but it had that flame-broiled taste that you get from a BK burger. Fries were good when hot, but the onion rings were the standard frozen ones you can get anywhere. I did not ask, but I wonder if the Kobe in the Rossini is true Kobe or Kobe-style from the US. Seems like a waste if it is real Kobe as the foie and truffles would just overpower the delicate taste. Although with the $60 price tag who knows.

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I did not ask, but I wonder if the Kobe in the Rossini is true Kobe or Kobe-style from the US. Seems like a waste if it is real Kobe as the foie and truffles would just overpower the delicate taste. Although with the $60 price tag who knows.

I think it's American Kobe. I tried a bite of this burger when a friend of mine ordered it. It's good- not worth the price, but good. A shame grinding up the Kobe.

I actually like the lamb burger here when i had it years back.

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Any recommendations for a moderately priced spot on the south end of the Strip? I and two colleagues will be there for business in a couple weeks; we'll be staying at the Monte Carlo. For various reasons, we'd like to walk to dinner.

I will be unable to sell craftsteak (or, for that matter, either Joel Robuchon) at the MGM across the street, as dinner there would consume the entire paltry per diem sum allotted for the trip. We need to keep dinner capped at about $50/person, including moderate alcohol consumption.

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Any recommendations for a moderately priced spot on the south end of the Strip? I and two colleagues will be there for business in a couple weeks; we'll be staying at the Monte Carlo. For various reasons, we'd like to walk to dinner.

at Planet Hollywood, Commander's Palace

at Mandalay Bay, Burger Bar, rm seafood-downstairs

i think Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse is across the strip from the Monte Carlo

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at Planet Hollywood, Commander's Palace

at Mandalay Bay, Burger Bar, rm seafood-downstairs

i think Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse is across the strip from the Monte Carlo

Commander's Palace is currently closed because it's moving.

I'm not sure you can get out of either rm seafood or Smith & Wollensky for $50/pp without alcohol, much less with. Burger Bar is better-priced, but it's also less of a restaurant and more akin to 'wichcraft; not sure if Spiral is looking for a "work dinner" sort of place, or if it's a bunch of colleagues who are okay with just going to grab food. If so, then Burger Bar is a good choice.

I'm sorry to be so negative - I just got back from Vegas and was stunned by the prices at places on the Strip. I know, I know, it's a captive audience, Vegas isn't the same as it used to be, etc., but unless you're going to someplace that's not intended to be a "restaurant," you're looking at nearly $100/pp with tax and tip for dinner, including an appetizer, entree, and dessert or coffee, not necessarily including alcohol. Two grandes at Starbucks - no extras, just the joe - cost $7.

On a more positive note, I do plan to mention all the great off-strip eating (including a favorite of yours, Bonito Michoacan) we did when I finish writing up my trip report, which will include food porn photos - though nothing approaching DanCole's meat shots! :lol:

And if anyone can indeed list something that comes in at $50/pp with alcohol that's decent, I'd love to hear about it since of course I plan to return to win back the money I lost...

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I'm not sure you can get out of either rm seafood or Smith & Wollensky for $50/pp without alcohol, much less with. Burger Bar is better-priced, but it's also less of a restaurant and more akin to 'wichcraft; not sure if Spiral is looking for a "work dinner" sort of place, or if it's a bunch of colleagues who are okay with just going to grab food. If so, then Burger Bar is a good choice....

Spiral's going with work friends who would like to have a reasonably nice dinner and complain about our bosses. It is not a "business" meal in the "business" sense.

Since I have no takers at $50/person, let's try $75/person. Do I hear $75/person? $75? Anyone? Anyone?

P.S. -- Wasn't there a time when eating in Vegas was cheap by design? I.e., they drew people in with $5 steaks so the same people would lose ten times as much at slot machines? The apparently successful change in business model to Vegas being a premium all-purpose entertainment destination is a masterstroke of marketing.

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recently dined at Corsa Cucina. in the Wynn. Nice, and very much a rustic impression of coastal italian fare. which was what we were hoping for.. i have heard bartolotta is supposed to be off the hook too. now that we live here we can, or i will update you on the insiders taste of town.. next stop is Lotus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! mark, you will appreciate this especially for the KILLER riesling list!! :lol:

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Enoteca San Marco at the Venetian is a possibility for $75 per person with drinking. Although it is Italian in nature, it is kind of like a tapas place, you can make it as cheap or as expensive as you want. It is a bit of a hike up to the Venetian, but very doable if you don't want to pay for a cab.

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