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  1. I think your reservation difficulty has to do with either Open Table or the way reservations are being made for lunch. I ran into a similar problem not just with Jaleo but most of the Cosmopolitan restaurants in a recent Open Table search. I just checked and you can secure a reservation pretty much any time this Friday for dinner, which is certainly a more difficult reservation to obtain in general. My suspicion is they aren't taking lunch reservations through Open Table at this time.
  2. I want to say the Kaiseke was somewhere between $95-140 - sorry I know that's a pretty wide range. It was about 5-6 weeks ago so I forget the exact amount, but I remember thinking to myself that it was a bargain given the content of the meal. The kaiseke consisted of a combination of the special items available that day (on the blackboard), slightly modified/enhanced, along with 4-5 dishes completely off menu. Chef Endo prepared all the dishes himself, which made the meal all the more memorable.
  3. If you're willing to leave the strip I'd strongly recommend the Kaiseke menu at Raku (on Spring Mountain). IMHO it's the most interesting tasting menu in Vegas right now (at least since Bar Charlie closed). You need to book ahead for sure and you need to tell them you want to do the Kaiseke and if you want beverage (Sake and wine) pairings when you make your reservation. The meal will be pretty long (2.5-3.0 hours)so plan your evening accordingly but I definitely think it's worth it. Costwise, you're looking at a much lower expense than the big three on the strip and it sounded like you were looking for something Asian. The ingredient quality I think is on par with or better than anything you'll find on the strip right now. I can't recommend it more highly. As far as the big 3, I personally enjoy Guy Savoy more than Joel Robuchon. I think you may get a more remarkable meal at JR, but after going once I've never felt any desire to go again whereas GS almost always makes my list for restaurants in Vegas I'd like to return to. Hope this helps.
  4. Just wanted to offer some of my thoughts/input on the most recent posts. I was out for week in December and I revisited several of the places being discussed For Steak: Carnevino: We did the riserva steaks at Carnevino, actually the second time I've done this, both of which have been at lunch. As correctly indicated, they are off menu/daily special items. They don't always have them on hand (especially at lunch) but if you call ahead and put in a request they will do their best to have them for you. The first meal I had there was on a weekday and the selection was fairly limited. On the more recent meal there was a large group of us and it was a weekend and they had several cuts to select from. Honestly, the riserva is the best dry-aged steak I've had. Ever. Really funky (in a good way) stuff. The service here is really accommodating and top-notch. Also the appetizers are more unique for a steakhouse - I think we tried most of them and they were across the board great. The salumi was especially well done. Cut: Really love this place. A more interesting riff on the standard steakhouse. Great steak, appetizers and cocktails. Highly recommended. Delmonico: Very solid, consistent steakhouse. Not overly creative but always good. I'm not really a big fan of any of the other steakhouses. They all feel sort of the same to me. Most are very good but none particularly stand out in my mind. French: Charlie Trotter/Bar Charlie: This is my favorite restaurant in Vegas. The main restaurant is great. Very creative food leaning towards seafood. Really well done, thoughtful, and balanced with exceptional ingredients. I can't go on enough about it. Since you're not interested in Japanese inspired food probably Bar Charlie won't be for you but I truly feel that the food at Bar Charlie is the best thing going in Vegas restaurants. Savoy and Alex: I would echo the recommendations for Guy Savoy and Alex. Guy Savoy feels a bit more refined and maybe a little more clever/whimsical with their dishes. Alex to me is more precise (you can never have too much precision in your food) and also does have that intangible homegrown feel to it. Both are very memorable meals. You can't go wrong with either - just don't plan on doing much afterwards if you go full tasting. Additionally, Savoy offers a small bite menu in the (very nice) bar where you can sample small portions of several main menu items as well as other dishes from the kitchen very much in the same vein as the main menu selections at significantly less cost. L'Atelier: If you're trying to keep cost down this will give you some very interesting and thoughtful food with the option of doing tastings in smaller portions (most/all of the menu options are smaller plates). The egg, langoustine, and quail/squab(?) were standouts for me at my last meal. The tasting menu(s) are also more affordable than those mentioned above. Twist: I assume at some point in your planning you will come across Pierre Gagnaire's new restaurant in the Mandarin. Although noteworthy for its namesake, I would recommend against it for the time being. It was pretty typical Gagnaire - very high notes and very low notes. The restaurant I think is still finding its identity and frankly the food, although fairly creative, doesn't make much sense - at times it seemed almost like they were trying to combine weird flavors together without tasting the result to properly calibrate the outcome. There was no congruence in between (and sometimes within) courses. I think with time they'll tighten up their menu/format and it will be a key restaurant to visit, but I was less than thrilled with the overall meal I had there. Might try it again in 6-12 months. Mix: I would recommend against here. Aside from the view the food has never been overly impressive and also seems overpriced. You can do much better at Hope this helps some...
  5. I would recommend the Brunch over the Dinner at Bouchon. As pointed out earlier, the breakfast experience at Bouchon is top notch and with the brunch you'll have access to a handful of items off the dinner menu including the salmon rillette, moules frite and Tuna Sandwich, three of my favorite items off the dinner menu. You also get the Boudin Blanc w/ eggs rather than the dinner Boudin w/ potatos and prunes, the former being a better dish IMO. It's not that the dinner isn't good - it's typically very good IMHO, it just isn't quite the standout when compared to your other dinner options, whereas the breakfast/brunch is a big standout compared to your other breakfast/brunch options. Normally when I'm in Vegas I hit Bouchon for breakfast at least once but normally only do dinner there if I have an unfilled dinner opening, which seldom happens. As for the restaurants in the Wynn/Encore, I haven't been overly impressed with the restaurants in the Encore (Society is good - best for Breakfast/Late Night), but the Wynn is loaded (as previously mentioned) with great options. I echo the Alex recommendation wholeheartedly. Have had a couple great meals there in the last year and they're very accommodating with food preferences (you mentioned the fish aversion). I also would strongly recommend Boulud if you're looking to go slightly less formal and the chacuterie plate is pretty awesome. I'd probably pass on the much touted DB Burger if you go - sort of overrated/hyped. Given the positive reviews on this site and other food blogs, I've given Wing Lei three very solid attempts (Duck Tasting, Chef's Full Tasting, and a large assortment of a la carte selections) and just don't really care for it. For what their representing I actually don't find it formal enough and the staff, though very courteous, aren't overly well informed about the food they're serving. For trying to be a Chinese fine dining establishment I find they miss the mark a bit on the tasting menu - more like a parade of dishes rather than a well thought out progression and the portions seem off (actually a bit too big). I know that response was a little long. Hope it helps.
  6. For Italian food in Vegas, I like Bartolotta (Wynn). Based on your other two selections for restaurants, I assume you're looking for a fine-dining restaurant within the genre. Bartalotta is seafood focused and imports much of their seafood directly from around Italy. Very unique for Vegas in that respect, and very good if not a bit pricey. I know you specified Restaurant Charlie as your seafood dinner (good choice BTW) - this is a different type of seafood so I don't think you'll run into any redundancy in that respect. The Moleche (Veneto softshell mini-crabs) and Acquadelle (small silver fish) appetizers are standouts for me. I really enjoy their agnolotti pasta dish (they offer half portions of pasta as an option for primi). Pretty much anything with seafood will be good - I like the various whole snappers they carry which they sell by weight. I would recommend against the tastings as it tends to just be a blitz of plates of food rather than a composed, well thought out progression. It's also a ridiculous amount of food and they'll have to roll you out. If you'd rather have a less seafood focused Italian restaurant, I'd recommend either Circo (Bellagio) or B & B Ristorante (Venetian). The food is more inland-focused at both. Circo is roughly Tuscan and B & B has a lot of Emilia/Lombardy/Lazio-type dishes. B & B is a Batali property and the menu is very similar to Babbo in NYC, although the end product is not quite as good IMO. Hope this helps. Best of luck.
  7. I agree with Marlene's Delmonico recommendation. Very consistent and solid traditional steakhouse fair with good execution - I would recommend asking for no "Essence" on the steaks (I believe they season all their cuts with it) unless you want a blackened-flavored steak. Delmonico was always my go-to for steak in Vegas. I currently think CUT at the Palazzo is turning out the best overall steakhouse experience. Very creative and refined takes on appetizers and sides and the steak quality is great. I sorto of view cut as an evolution of the product you get at Delmonico - very well executed, just a bit more interesting. I'd stick with the domestic beef and steer clear of the Kobe - overpriced and underqualitied relative to what's available at other high end restaurants IMHO. As far as sushi goes, I've yet to find a place that I like in Vegas. I've done most/all the hotel Japanese restaurants of note and they're fine, but not exceptional. Honestly, the best raw seafood I've had has been at the high end places (Savoy, Robuchon, Trotter, Alex). I think Shibuya or Yellowtail have the best quality fish and you may want to try RM Seafood (though not Japanese they do have a sushi/sashimi/maki menu). Relative to what you can get in any major city (especially NYC, LA and even Boston) - and cost-wise that's what you're paying in Vegas - the sushi is definitely lacking. In the Aria set to open 12/10/09 they're opening an outpost of Bar Masa - this will undoubtedly be painfully overpriced but if his NYC restaurant Masa is any indication of the fish quality, they should be serving top notch fish. Hope this helps. Have fun in January.
  8. Has anyone been to Downtown Cocktail Room or Noir at Luxor? Vegas Magazine just ran an article on the growing mixology trend in LV. I'm heading into town next weekend and am considering hitting up one (or both) spots. Any recommendations?
  9. Hey everyone. I just heard about this today and am fairly certain my friend wasn't pulling my chain. My friend is heading to Vegas this weekend and is trying to make a Monday reservation for 8 at Nobu. The hostess informed him over the phone that for parties of 6 or more, a reservation contract needs to be signed to confirm the reservation. Apparently the reservation has a penalty clause of $25/person for a missed reservation and specifies that they are to be seated at their designated time and may only stay for a maximum of two hours to allow for the next seating. The contract has to be returned signed via fax. I've run into this "maximum seating time" before and have found it incredibly off-putting. I understand the need to turn tables, but if a party is actively still ordering food and drink I don't think it's right to kick them out. I had one experience 2 years ago where I was with a large group and we tried to order three bottles of wine and another round of dishes and the waiter actually said they can bring them out but everything needed to be consumed and paid for in the next ten minutes. I guess restaurant policy is policy but it was a bit unnerving. Is this a normal policy for a reservation? I've seen the maximum seating time before in NYC, but I've never heard of an actual contract. Has anyone else run into this?
  10. ScoopKW, excellent thought. I'm already booked for a meal at the main restaurant and a second at Bar Charlie (the Sashimi bar). Those were two of the first reservations I booked for my vacation.
  11. Thanks for the info rjwong. I just wanted to throw a couple more names in the mix. Anyone have any thoughts on Picasso, Aureole, or Fleur de Lys? I haven't heard much about them, save Picasso's Michelin rating, in the last couple of years and I sort of assume they're dialing it in. I'm also considering giving Okada another go. I haven't been since Takashi left for the Second City. Any new, positive news about there?
  12. Hey everyone! First-time poster, longtime reader... So I'm going to Vegas in August for vacation and need a dinner recommendation. I just found out via eatinglv.com that DJT is closing/closed (I am absolutely devastated. This seriously is going to ruin my weekend) and I now have an opening in my schedule. I have a few guidelines: 1) I've been to many of the great (and not so great) restaurants and would like to try something new. Restaurants I've been to (Alex, JR@Mansion, L'Atelier, Savoy, Boulud, SW, Okada, Red 8, Bouchon, B&B/Enoteca, Delmonico, Olives, Mina, Mesa, Boa, Roka, Nobhill, Seablue, Burger Bar, Stripsteak, Border Grill, Nobu, N9ne, LoS) 2) I'm already scheduled to go to Bartalotta, Cut, Restaurant Charlie, Bar Charlie, and Wing Lei for dinner, Sensi, BLTBurger, Payard, Tableau, Spago, and Morel's for Breakfast/Lunch and Sushi Samba, Social House, and Raku for late-night 3) I want to stay on the strip. I'm not renting a car so Rosemary's, Setebello, Memphis BBQ are off my list (I am making an exception to get to Raku) What I'm looking for is something memorable and exceptional. I would prefer fine dining but excellent food trumps the need for fine dining. From what I can tell my options for new places are Ogden, Louis Fish Camp/Cafe Louis, Carnevino, Prime, Brand, and Craftsteak. None of these particularly excite me, especially since four are steakhouses and I expect to have more than my share of red meat as is. I heard Bryan Ogden departed several months ago from Ogden's so I'm unsure of how the food is now. I'd really appreciate any advice you can provide. If nothing really peaks my interest I'll probably end up back at Savoy, Alex, or Boulud. In any case, I'll try and take photos, and if nothing else, post a report. Thanks again for any help you can provide.
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