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going to boulud brasserie tonight at the wynn!! gotta get the foie burger fix!! anyone else been? :lol:

it was better than expected, and we had high expectations to begin with. the burger was terrific! and then there was the pig trio: trotter, loin with bacon, and sausage! out of this world! i suggest if you are in town, to check it out. also there is a great light, and animatronic show on the waterfall across the pond, which is the backdrop of DB taht realyy makes for a lovely extra :lol::)

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To follow up on my request for moderately priced options on the Strip, we ended up at Chinois (in the Forum Shops at Caesar's). We were braced to go over budget, but were pleasantly surprised to find that it offers a $29 three-course prix fixe. (Don't know times or days -- this was 7PM on a Monday.) We got out for a little over $60 each, including a single bottle of wine split three ways, tax, and tip. You get two courses for each course. First course was either a beet salad or a soup. (Despite the fact that I had the soup, I can't tell you what it was. A corn chowder-y thing with shrimp.)

Second course was miso black cod or pork chop. I had the black cod and it was excellent. One of my tablemates thought the orange-flavored noodles served with the cod were extremely oversalted. I agreed they were salty, but I chew on salt as a snack.

Third course was passionfruit cheesecake or many-layered red velvet cake. I had the cheesecake, which was an extraordinarily small portion of cheesecake topped with fresh fruit; it was refreshing but I nearly succumbed to the $10 gelato place just outside the restaurant for full satisfaction of my dessert needs. (Ended up with a candy bar instead.)

On the second night, I and one colleague still in town went to craftsteak. I was very impressed; the prices didn't seem as inflated as I feared (especially if you don't order the various wagyu and Kobe options -- they've got American wagyu, Australian wagyu, and Japanese Kobe. Pick your continent!). We did have wagyu tartare as an appetizer. It was very good, but could have used a little more mustardy kick. I had a ribeye as my main (accompanied by a sauce that was undisclosed on the menu, but I'm a sauce guy and was happy to have it). My colleague had the short ribs, which were fricking outstanding. "Fork-tender," as they say. Sides were braised snap peas (awesome) and "hen of the woods" mushrooms (my first experience with them; possibly too gamy and rich for me). Dessert was a mint chocolate chip milkshake. I've never had a mint chocolate chip anything that tasted so much of fresh mint. Good stuff.

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If you had to schedule a business dinner for ten people at the Wynn, where would you go? Sushi or "anything scary" is off limits per the client which leads me to believe we're limited to Italian, steak or the place with [what appears to be] a boring American menu.

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If you had to schedule a business dinner for ten people at the Wynn, where would you go? Sushi or "anything scary" is off limits per the client which leads me to believe we're limited to Italian, steak or the place with [what appears to be] a boring American menu.

Bartollata for Italian or Café Boulud for decadent.

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It's pretty seafood intensive- not your favorite, I know but Bartolotta has really good pasta too- CP3 can at least eat pasta right? Nice tables by the "lagoon" too for eating outside.

If you had to schedule a business dinner for ten people at the Wynn, where would you go? Sushi or "anything scary" is off limits per the client which leads me to believe we're limited to Italian, steak or the place with [what appears to be] a boring American menu.
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Second time in Vegas. First time really eating in Vegas. Dinner 1 at Bouchon (country pate, beef tongue, awesome), Dinner 2 at Cut (Porterhouse for 2, decent pork belly app, $$$$). I just woke up from my post-redeye nap. Recovery time.

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always a blast at Wynn's DB Brasserie, and a great view on the pond. killer list, and killer food
Sadly, it would be wasted on my client. I can just hear him ordering a plain burger ("foie gras? truffles? no!") well done. :lol: For another dinner, I'm being taken to Okada which is interesting because my friend isn't big on sushi either. Who knows.
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We went to SW Steakhouse @ Wynn for the client dinner. Our party of about ten had a really enjoyable dinner. The menu includes, but goes beyond typical, steakhouse fare.

Although most members of the group stuck to their traditional tastes (lots of filet mignon), I went my own way and ordered the braised "Kobe style beef short ribs" for my main, preceded by a salad of green and white asparagus with quail egg, frisee and truffle viniagrette. I also ordered a side of truffled cream corn. In short, truffles for miles.

The short ribs were terrific. Wonderful flavor and as tender as one would expect of the preparation. The meat was lightly coated in an Asian-style glaze that had only the tiniest hint of sweetness. Perfect. The dish was accompanied by truffled pomme puree (amazing) and root vegetables that in my wine-induced haze, I completely overlooked. While I loved the flavor of the creamed corn, there were bits of husk and corn silk mixed in that I could have done without.

Unfortunately we didn't get to sample desserts. Our host very sneakily procured the check and asked us to join him one of his hospitality suites. They had an ice cream bar set up, but during the walk over there, my dinner caught up with me and I was too full for a sundae.

The scene at SW was pretty fun given that the Olympic Men's Basketball Team was staying at the Wynn while in training. As we walked in, we were greeted by Kobe Bryant and family, and during the meal, lots of other players stopped by to great our group which, with one active player and two NBA legends, wasn't too shabby. ;)

I have no idea how many bottles of wine we drank, or even what the red was (the white was a Sancerre...details have been forgotten if ever known), but I would put it somewhere around two bottles per person. When I had an after drinner drink with my mentor (who lives in Vegas) at the nearby Country Club Bar and he spilled port on my new cream colored dress, I was so tipsy that I [almost] didn't care. I do now. :lol:

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I visited The Cafe at the Drugstore (Wynn) several times during my stay. Not an inexpensive spot, but I was glad it was there. Case in point: my iced latte, about the size of a Starbucks Grande, was over $6. Add a pretty good blueberry muffin, as I did for a breakfast meeting that the Cafe, and you're up close to $12 somehow. Thank goodness for my corporate card. lol

For another breakfast, a former client (now friend) and I went to the Terrace Pointe Cafe. Unlike a lot of Vegas resorts' 24 hour option, this Cafe is bright, sunny and offers a broad selection of mainly American dishes. My stack of blueberry pancakes arrived with the server smiling--the stack was about five inches thick. I passed about 1/3 of the stack to my companion who, fortunately, was hungry even after his own bacon-egg-hash brown-toast plate. I also had a plate of bacon - quality.

Room service prices were pretty insane so on another day of my stay, I had lunch at the Terrace Point Cafe solo. The quantity options were pretty overwhelming so I ended up over-ordering. For an appetizer, I had pork pot stickers which I greatly enjoyed. My main was tomato bisque with "mini" grilled cheese. There was nothing mini about it though--instead the chef had cut a tradiitional sandwich into quarters. Tasty if not groundbreaking.

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went to Fleur de Lys last night in Mandalay Bay...wowingly good!! one of the best meals we have had here so far, and probaly the best Steak Tartare too... American Wagyu Beef, black truffle, poached quail egg, and a celery and parsnip salad adorned,, chased down with a Remoissenet Le Montrachet 'du Thenard' 1995!!! ;):lol:

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Tried 2 different 'celebrity chef' restaurants this weekend with 2 greatly different results.

First up was Mario Batali's Enoteca San Marco in St Mark's Square at the Venetian. I know the Enoteca is supposed to be more casual food, but the bread arriving still encased in the commercial store wrapping that came off the shelf was a bit off-putting. I ordered the crispy duck, which I was thinking would be a duck breast with crispy skin... It was so over-cooked that I had a hard time cutting the meat, that, at that point, tasted nothing of duck.

Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at MGM, on the other hand, was wonderful. A more comprehensive wine list with more choices that wouldn't totally bust the budget (had a nice pinot for 35$), a fantastic mahi mahi entree over an asian slaw with shitake mushrooms, mustard sauce, and wasabi sauce. The menu of 6 varieties of Espresso was also a nice touch.

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Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at MGM, on the other hand, was wonderful. A more comprehensive wine list with more choices that wouldn't totally bust the budget (had a nice pinot for 35$), a fantastic mahi mahi entree over an asian slaw with shitake mushrooms, mustard sauce, and wasabi sauce. The menu of 6 varieties of Espresso was also a nice touch.

I went here in April of 2000, pretty sure that was the date, when Emeril was just hitting the scene and restaurants were just starting to pop up in Vegas. At that time, it was the best meal I ever had in my life, also one of the first real "meals" that I ever had, so it is hard to say if it was really that good or I was just stepping into a new world. My guess is that it was a bit of both.

I don't remember what we ate, other than the banana cream pie, but I do remember the table next to us ordering a $12,000 bottle of wine. I have no clue what it was, but our waitress was flipping shit (we got to know here well over the course of the evening). Anyway, they tipped about 20% on the entire bill, likely made her life at that point, pretty cool to see it all go down.

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it was better than expected, and we had high expectations to begin with. the burger was terrific! and then there was the pig trio: trotter, loin with bacon, and sausage! out of this world! i suggest if you are in town, to check it out. also there is a great light, and animatronic show on the waterfall across the pond, which is the backdrop of DB taht realyy makes for a lovely extra :lol::)

Agreed on all fronts. Awesome pig trio and loup de mer. Killer list we had a solid Boillot.

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going to boulud brasserie tonight at the wynn!! gotta get the foie burger fix!! anyone else been? :lol:

there a few weeks ago - kind of disappointing to be honest. It ain't no Michelin 3 star and my meal was nowhere near as good as the one I had at L'Atelier the next night

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there a few weeks ago - kind of disappointing to be honest. It ain't no Michelin 3 star and my meal was nowhere near as good as the one I had at L'Atelier the next night

they are not even the same category of dining places. Bouloud Brasserie is meant to be a GREAT bistro, with better than the usual bistro food, and one of the best views, and shows that are free in Vegas. staff is way nicer than l'atelier also. plus, L'atelier is by Robuchon, who owns the only three star Michelin in Vegas, and the l'Atelier is the hip, 'cutting' edge place next door that just gets to charge an obscene amount for its food, which is good, but not worth the price by any means, especially for the uncomfortable chairs you get to sit in at the bar. should have gone to Bartollota. or go there next time in town. call me first.. or email. :lol:

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they are not even the same category of dining places. Bouloud Brasserie is meant to be a GREAT bistro, with better than the usual bistro food, and one of the best views, and shows that are free in Vegas. staff is way nicer than l'atelier also. plus, L'atelier is by Robuchon, who owns the only three star Michelin in Vegas, and the l'Atelier is the hip, 'cutting' edge place next door that just gets to charge an obscene amount for its food, which is good, but not worth the price by any means, especially for the uncomfortable chairs you get to sit in at the bar. should have gone to Bartollota. or go there next time in town. call me first.. or email. :lol:
I agree -- L'atelier is way overpriced and you have to walk through the outdated MGM casino to get there. Boulud has always been spot-on in the three times we've been there, the free show on the lake is fun and you can't beat their prix-fixe menu. We could have eaten at Boulud three times for the amount we spent on one less-than-stellar meal at L'atelier.
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I agree -- L'atelier is way overpriced and you have to walk through the outdated MGM casino to get there. Boulud has always been spot-on in the three times we've been there, the free show on the lake is fun and you can't beat their prix-fixe menu. We could have eaten at Boulud three times for the amount we spent on one less-than-stellar meal at L'atelier.

We also had a mediocre meal at L'Atelier with, at best, atrocious service. We were seated next to the executive chef from some restaurant in Mandalay Bay (Mix?) and everyone, waiters, chefs, runners, spent the entire time he was there chatting with him. They forgot our amuse, which was listed on the menu, as well as the sides for both of our entrees. Really a waste.

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We also had a mediocre meal at L'Atelier with, at best, atrocious service. We were seated next to the executive chef from some restaurant in Mandalay Bay (Mix?) and everyone, waiters, chefs, runners, spent the entire time he was there chatting with him. They forgot our amuse, which was listed on the menu, as well as the sides for both of our entrees. Really a waste.
They spilled our bottle of wine (probably lost about 8 oz. in the process) and didn't offer to replace it until I prompted them.
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They spilled our bottle of wine (probably lost about 8 oz. in the process) and didn't offer to replace it until I prompted them.

:) guess that is an out vote on the "better meal at L'atelier than Bouloud"!! :P but really, the places to go are the places that are not the spots that high rollers go to blow their winnings. One of the best places in town, that we love is Picasso, and it also has an amazing view of the Bellagio water show, "for free" the meal is not cheap, but way less than most, and you get to enjoy 70 million dollars worth of authentic Picasso paintings!! :lol: then the hidden gem, Lotus of Siam!! going again tonight!! the jerkey is out of :) sight!

and the spilling of wine: had a waiter knock our bottle off and reply, "oh, not much spilled.... :):)

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:) guess that is an out vote on the "better meal at L'atelier than Bouloud"!! :P but really, the places to go are the places that are not the spots that high rollers go to blow their winnings. One of the best places in town, that we love is Picasso, and it also has an amazing view of the Bellagio water show, "for free" the meal is not cheap, but way less than most, and you get to enjoy 70 million dollars worth of authentic Picasso paintings!! :lol: then the hidden gem, Lotus of Siam!! going again tonight!! the jerkey is out of :) sight!

and the spilling of wine: had a waiter knock our bottle off and reply, "oh, not much spilled.... :):)

Picasso should certainly be included in any realistic list of places where high rollers go to blow their winnings. Actually, however, high rollers don't blow their winnings, because they get comped for the meal anyway. Picasso is one of the best places in town though, nobody should disagree with that. Unfortunately, AFAIK their menu has been the same since it opened, so one or two visits pretty much maxes it out IMO.

LOS is very good and should be on anybody's list of places to go in LV.

I'll be dining at the loft kitchen chef's table at Restaurant Charlie next Wednesday, if they are still open--the recession/depression is surely going to close them soon if the indications I have read about their patronage so far are true. Sheldon Adelson's money pile is going down fast, and he can't keep them alive forever. The Donald pulled the plug on DJT pretty quick when it failed to attract much clientle, even tho Joe Isidori's cooking was apparently spectacular.

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Picasso should certainly be included in any realistic list of places where high rollers go to blow their winnings. Actually, however, high rollers don't blow their winnings, because they get comped for the meal anyway. Picasso is one of the best places in town though, nobody should disagree with that. Unfortunately, AFAIK their menu has been the same since it opened, so one or two visits pretty much maxes it out IMO.

LOS is very good and should be on anybody's list of places to go in LV.

I'll be dining at the loft kitchen chef's table at Restaurant Charlie next Wednesday, if they are still open--the recession/depression is surely going to close them soon if the indications I have read about their patronage so far are true. Sheldon Adelson's money pile is going down fast, and he can't keep them alive forever. The Donald pulled the plug on DJT pretty quick when it failed to attract much clientle, even tho Joe Isidori's cooking was apparently spectacular.

We have been to Picasso three times this year and each time the menu is different... As far as Charlie's goes, they will probably close by the end of the year. Or at least would be wise to do so. They have a terrible location in the Palazzo behind the escalator, and gets no foot traffic, even when everywhere else is packed, they are just half dead. Too bad. The bar needs a bit of a warming touch too it as well. Food is great though, but that doesnt always make the place. Lotus of course last night was SOOOO GOOOODDDD! the jerkey is on point, as were the garlic prawns, and crispy rice washed down with an 88 Schloss Schonborn Erbacher "" "" Spatlese.. :P:lol::) recommend having one if it is still there

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We have been to Picasso three times this year and each time the menu is different... As far as Charlie's goes, they will probably close by the end of the year. Or at least would be wise to do so. They have a terrible location in the Palazzo behind the escalator, and gets no foot traffic, even when everywhere else is packed, they are just half dead. Too bad. The bar needs a bit of a warming touch too it as well. Food is great though, but that doesnt always make the place. Lotus of course last night was SOOOO GOOOODDDD! the jerkey is on point, as were the garlic prawns, and crispy rice washed down with an 88 Schloss Schonborn Erbacher "" "" Spatlese.. :P:lol::) recommend having one if it is still there

I've been debating whether to go back to LOS this trip (we have been several times in the past) or try one of the other Thai places that also get good comments, such as Archi's, for variety if nothing else. Your comments are pushing me toward sticking with the tried and true.

We ate at Picasso several years ago, and I have looked at the menu since, and it appeared the same to me. Maybe they have started to update it more recently? In any event, for sure you won't go wrong there.

What's your take on Vintner Grill vs. Panevino?

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I've been debating whether to go back to LOS this trip (we have been several times in the past) or try one of the other Thai places that also get good comments, such as Archi's, for variety if nothing else. Your comments are pushing me toward sticking with the tried and true.

We ate at Picasso several years ago, and I have looked at the menu since, and it appeared the same to me. Maybe they have started to update it more recently? In any event, for sure you won't go wrong there.

What's your take on Vintner Grill vs. Panevino?

panevino is better, hands down. vintner grill is fun, and the food is good. but thin panevino is more structured in its delivery. Also, Rosemary's is top notch. Like it more than both

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panevino is better, hands down. vintner grill is fun, and the food is good. but thin panevino is more structured in its delivery. Also, Rosemary's is top notch. Like it more than both

Thanks for the feedback. As to Rosemary's, been there, done that. Twice. And I must say I wasn't as impressed as everybody else seems to be, particularly the second visit---case in point, tho they are said to have a New Orleans background, to me their highly acclaimed BBQ shrimp is completely non-authentic and odd, nothing like the original at Pascal's Manale, and not very good IMO.

I was planning on Panevino, so I guess we'll stick with it.

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Heading to Vegas in January (MLK Jr. weekend). I've had dinner at several celebrity chef restaurants already. This time we will try Batali's B&B. We'll also go back to Diego in MGM for Mexican. Looking for a good brunch place for Sunday morning. I've been to Bouchon and will likely go back unless somone else comes up with a great idea (has to be on the strip). Also, what is the best Chinese food on the strip (especially for something like shark fin soup)? Thanks.

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Heading to Vegas in January (MLK Jr. weekend). I've had dinner at several celebrity chef restaurants already. This time we will try Batali's B&B. We'll also go back to Diego in MGM for Mexican. Looking for a good brunch place for Sunday morning. I've been to Bouchon and will likely go back unless somone else comes up with a great idea (has to be on the strip). Also, what is the best Chinese food on the strip (especially for something like shark fin soup)? Thanks.
I LOVE Red 8 for Chinese (in Wynn). Surprisingly well priced with great food- oxtail soup for example. No Shark Fin soup I don't think, though.
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really? we're going to get into this here? I'm off to eat roasted shark fin on foie.

Granted it is rather strange in the 'The Intrepid Traveler' thread, but why not discuss sustainable fishing or farming on a food board?

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It is available at many places in the NY chinatowns, though it can be pretty pricey. I can't wait to try it.

I'm sure I've had it as a kid when attending banquets. Just don't recall how it tastes. Pretty sure it doesn't taste like much of anything. Then again, I've never had a $100 bowl of shark fin soup and that's more of what I'm tempted to try. Also, the shark fin dumpling at some dim sum joints contain miniscule amounts of shark fin - looks like a very thin strip of clear plastic.

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My wife looked at B&B's menu (Batali) and decided she didn't like their pasta selection. So now I'm thinking Bartolotta. What about the other Batali joint, Carnevino? She hates mushrooms and doesn't really do seafood (other than scallops, shrimp, lobster and crab).
I was really surprised by how much we enjoyed CUT by Wolfgang Puck at the Palazzo. I am not a fan of his culinary empire-building, but it was a very well-executed (and affordable, if you split a steak) meal. The oxtail consomme is killer (and a filling app).
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Heading to Vegas in January (MLK Jr. weekend). I've had dinner at several celebrity chef restaurants already. This time we will try Batali's B&B. We'll also go back to Diego in MGM for Mexican. Looking for a good brunch place for Sunday morning. I've been to Bouchon and will likely go back unless somone else comes up with a great idea (has to be on the strip). Also, what is the best Chinese food on the strip (especially for something like shark fin soup)? Thanks.

one of the best asian, not necessarily chinese on the strip is the place in Wynn. Osaka or the other one for dimsum. other more mainstream is in MGM next to Craft. and then there is the fine location of Jasmine which is just plain fun.

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My wife looked at B&B's menu (Batali) and decided she didn't like their pasta selection. So now I'm thinking Bartolotta. What about the other Batali joint, Carnevino? She hates mushrooms and doesn't really do seafood (other than scallops, shrimp, lobster and crab).

carnevino is overpriced. B&B is more rustic, and has some great pasta. if you are expecting Bartolotta to be full of pasta you are in for a disappointment. Bartollota is the best place in town for the freshest seafoods

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Heading to Vegas in January (MLK Jr. weekend). I've had dinner at several celebrity chef restaurants already. This time we will try Batali's B&B. We'll also go back to Diego in MGM for Mexican. Looking for a good brunch place for Sunday morning. I've been to Bouchon and will likely go back unless somone else comes up with a great idea (has to be on the strip). Also, what is the best Chinese food on the strip (especially for something like shark fin soup)? Thanks.

Sterling Brunch at Bally's is a must do, at least once in your lifetime. It's only on Sunday. Not cheap by any means but the best buffet you'll ever have. Unlimited lobster, caviar, and champagne (well, you may have to ask for the caviar, but it's there), along with lots of other good stuff.

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Sterling Brunch at Bally's is a must do, at least once in your lifetime. It's only on Sunday. Not cheap by any means but the best buffet you'll ever have. Unlimited lobster, caviar, and champagne (well, you may have to ask for the caviar, but it's there), along with lots of other good stuff.

We usually stay at Bally's and I've been tempted to do the Sterling brunch but I suspect that I will be more or less useless for the rest of the day if I do it....

We just got back from Venice and I think I'm Italian seafooded out right now (so probably no Bartolotta).

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We went looking for Pink's hot dogs in Planet Hollywood and couldn't find it. Finally we checked one of their computer directories and found it's "coming soon." Bloody website said coming in 2008!

So we went to Noodles in Bellagio for lunch. They now serve dim sum but nothing was particularly good. Beef noodle soup ($15), stir-fried pea shoots ($15), potstickers ($8 for 5 pieces), juicy buns ($7 for 3 pieces), and chicken feet ($4). The soup lacked flavor and the beef was dried out. Why do I keep trying Chinese on the strip?

Dinner was at Diego inside MGM. We've been there before and the food is generally good, better than the Mexican fare we can find in DC, and the price is relatively inexpensive. We were disappointed by the guacamole, however, which was prepared tableside. Rosa Mexicana definitely does it better. My tasting platter consisted of roasted chicken with mole (tender and juicy), pork enchilada (one of the best I've had), shrimp diable salad (shrimp were tiny but good dressing), and ceviche (I think they left the fish out by accident, I dug around and couldn't find any). My wife wanted to try a taco sampler but they do not offer it. Instead, she ordered steak tacos and a side of garlic lime marinated chicken (for $5). Needless to say, that's more food than she can eat. It didn't help we had a late lunch and an early dinner.

Brunch the following day was at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill (inside Caesar's). They opened at 10:30 and it got crowded quickly. The bacon and hashbrown quesadilla was a delicious starter. The scrambled eggs chilaquiles was also very good (crispy tortilla sandwiched with creme fraiche and topped with with a thick layer of scrambed eggs and cheese). My wife's burger was huge, undercooked, and flavorless.

Dinner was a Batali's B&B in the Venetian. The simple dishes were excellent (vegetable fritto misto - the fried leeks were terrific, pappardelle bolognese - firm pasta with the best bolognese sauce I've had, linquine with clams - flavorful but a tad salty). The fancy dishes were less successful. The beef cheek ravioli with crushed duck liver tasted only of liver. The spaghettini came with some tough and chewy lobster. Overall, not thrilled with our 2nd encounter with Batali.

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Last sunday (i.e. 3 days ago), there was a Pink's hot dog stand just outside the sports book to cater to the football viewing public. I did not indulge having had a big lunch already....

Emeril's fish house at MGM was very good on Saturday. Wife-to-be had had the mahi-mahi fish of the day and I had the salmon with andouille sausage and onion rings. Service was quite attentative... and they were able to be efficient w/o making us feel rushed. Dinner w/o dessert was about 80 minutes.

Hawaiian Tropic was surprisingly decent for lunch, especially when you have the buy one entree, get one free coupon from Planet Hollywood. For 24-hour cafes, Planet Hollywood's was pretty good.... i had some excellent french toast, which was so oversized. PH buffet for breakfast was not all that.

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Headed out to Vegas tomorrow for a weekend bachelor party.

A stop at In-N-Out on my way to the hotel, dinners at Lotus of Siam and N9NE, and brunch at Bouchon are already on the agenda. I have a good sense of what to order at LoS from reading the other boards.

- is there a starter or cut of meat that stands out at N9NE?

- anything that's particularly innovative at Bouchon for brunch?

- is dinner at Bouchon a significantly different experience food-wise?

If I don't go to Bouchon for dinner, I'm thinking maybe Okada. How much does the omakase typically run, and how long would it take? It appears that they open at 5:30 for dinner but my flight leaves at 8.

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I've been a blood sucking leach on this board for quite some time so I'm giving back a little today with my multple posts---boring day at work too.

We were in Vegas about 6 weeks ago. My recollections:

Bouchon (the bakery stand...not the full on resto): Excellent pastries, good coffee, very reasonably priced

RM Seafood: I had wanted to try the upstairs. However that had closed a couple of days before we arrived (dang recession). The downstairs, quite frankly, was no better than a McCormick and Schmick

L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon: We had the menu decouverte. We also got very lucky because Joel Robuchon was acutally in the house. I chatted with him a little bit (since I could recognize him from his Iron Chef appearances). He seemed nice but I could also see how he could be a real hard ass. The food was superb and it was great fun. The seating area surrounds the kitchen so you get to see all the action. The regular exec chef, Steve Benjamin also came out and interacted with us. A great night!

We had some other meals but I don't remember them so well...it was a 2 or 3 night trip.

ETA: I forgot we had lunch at Mesa Grill. The food was good but not as great as that fat ass Karine Bakoum would have you think when she judges his food. We decided to make a binary decision about buying one of his cookbooks based on the deliciousness of our meal. We did not buy one.

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Went to Vegas last week...

First night, dinner at Bouchon. Overall the meal was very good, service was great...nice bistro atmosphere. I tried their version of a trout almondine ($28)...whole fish, head on, filleted open. Haricot verts were atop the fish, and sliced almonds atop the haricot vert. It was a great, clean presentation, especially because I got some of each component on every forkful. EvilKim had the gnocchi with "fricassee" of veggies...she enjoyed it very much...the gnocchi were pan fried and had more of a crispy outside than typical gnocchi...

Second night, dinner at Circo, in the Bellagio...i guess this is the kid sister of Le Cirque, right next door. As much as we enjoyed Bouchon, we enjoyed Circo even more. The colors in the restaurant are red and yellow, and the ceiling looks tent-like...overall a playful, circus-like and upscale decor. It helped that we had a great table - in a corner, and right next to windows which opened up to the Bellagio fountains. For appetizer we shared a plate of fried calamari, shrimp, artichoke (quartered hearts and stems, yum!) and asparagus...served with a lemony-basil aioli and a red pepper coulis. They were perfectly fried, the shrimp in particular were tender and flavorful...overall enjoyed the dish. My entree was a pan roasted king salmon, sitting atop a pool of lemon-caper veloute, and a side of broccoli raab. I think it cost $32. It was good, very good, but definitely not great. I'd recommend this restaurant in a heartbeat, but not my entree, which was pretty ho-hum. There are more interesting dishes on the menu. The service was gracious...everybody was so friendly to us, even though one of my dinner companions wore an unfortunately casual outfit (shorts and sandals...ouch!). Thinking about it, the service and ambiance may have outshined the actual food, but still, we had a lovely meal.

Third night, dinner with Mom at Rao's. It was fine...nothing special...I'm certain there's better Italian places in Vegas. Pretty standard Italian-American menu.

We had lunch twice at the bar at Spago, in the Caesar's forum shops. Everything we had was terrific. The buffalo wing "lollipops" were great...each piece was a drumstick, and the joint end was frenched so you can hold the wing without getting your hands all buffaloey while eating. The chopped salad was truly delicious...probably about 10 different vegetables, peas, green beans, carrots, celery, corn, radicchio and I forget what else. I have been wary of Puck's culinary empire...but now, I've been to Spago, Postrio and the Source...and I have to say, the experience at all 3 restaurants has been nothing less than terrific.

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This is not exactly a "food" post -

Called to make a reservation for 11 people at craftsteak in early October. Was told there'd be a $50 fee (to guarantee we'd all be able to sit together) and a contract with a $500 deposit. I'm pissed at the fee on prinicle, but the deposit? Is this common practice? Do I just not book enough large dinners to be aware of this? I love that restaurant, but I am really angry right now.

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