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rjwong

January in Las Vegas 2008

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Friday

On my way to Las Vegas in my brand new Saturn Aura (with a V-6 engine), I stop by the Valley Cheese & Wine Store over in Henderson to drop off some burrata cheese that I bought directly from Gioia Cheese Co. the night before. My friends who run the store need to know how good and fresh this cheese is. I then check into my budget hotel near the Convention Center and I’m ready for some culinary adventures ... But first, I need my shave and a haircut at Truefitt and Hill, inside the Forum Shops at Caesar’s. And since I was already at Caesar’s, I decided to have dinner at Spago Las Vegas. I got to meet chef Eric Klein, and after a little conversation, I went for the six-course tasting menu for $100.

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Tarte flambee

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Yellowtail with wasabi & Tuna tartare taco

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Pear salad with arugula, prosciutto and burrata

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Lobster salad

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Four cheese gnocchi with black truffle sauce

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Scallop with cauliflower puree

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Butter, salt, olive oil with rosemary, and pepper

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Venison with root vegetables and sauerkraut

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Tea

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Remains of the pre-dessert: blueberries topped with green apple sorbet

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Pecan pie, Valrhona chocolate (72%) and apple tart

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Spago

Saturday

I woke up and went to the Venetian to have breakfast at Bouchon. Florentine quiche wth salad, apple danish and tea. The quiche tasted wonderful. The service wasn’t bad. My server didn’t bring the bread until after the quiche arrived. Overall, my breakfast was fine.

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Carnevino

Here are a couple of photos of Carnevino at the new Palazzo. No, I didn’t eat there yet. And no, that is NOT a photo of Mario Batali ... sigh ...

I went over to Henderson (again) to visit my friends at the cheese and wine store. I had some lunch at a Middle Eastern place called Crazy Pita. I ordered the beef kabob plate, with vegetable coucous, hummus, salad, and iced tea. The food was more Moroccan with the inclusion of the coucous.

I drove out west, way off the Strip, and stopped at Rosemary’s Restaurant for the three-course prix fixe dinner for $50. Selected courses have additional surcharges.

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Asparagus bread pudding

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The roll on the left has white chocolate and nuts. Mind you, it didn’t taste sweet.

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Hugo’s Texas BBQ shrimp, Maytag blue cheese slaw

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Scallops (evening special)

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Grilled veal tenderloin, French green lentils, apple smoked bacon & sherry mustard butter sauce

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Rosemary’s Restaurant

The Maytag blue cheese slaw was flavorful. Nothing subtle about the blue cheese. The dinner at Rosemary’s was worth the drive. And one of the most affordable fine dining meals in Las Vegas.

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Cheese course (Morels, Palazzo, Las Vegas)

Although I didn’t eat at Morels during this trip, I got a chance to take a quick look at the place. I had a brief chat with the fromagier. No they do not have époisse. He was explaining to me that instead of the familiar “big names,” all the cheeses at Morels are artisanal, both domestic and imported. I only recognized one: Red Hawk. I definitely have to eat at this place on my next trip.

Sunday

After I check out of my budget hotel, I head on over for an early check-in at the Wynn Resort. Nothing available at this time. I decide to have breakfast at the Country Club, and hopefully, my room will become available (so I can charge breakfast to my room).

I ordered their corn chowder, Cobb salad and iced tea. Nice, for what it is. And the view of the golf course is wonderful. But I wouldn’t pay $500 for a round of golf. And it worked! I called the front desk and my room is available now. Charge the breakfast to my room, get my luggage, head on up and get ready for Sunday night dinner at Restaurant Guy Savoy ...

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The wine wasn’t the only thing that was flowing that night at Guy Savoy ...

I made arrangements to get a group of foodies together for dinner at Restaurant Guy Savoy. Bob & Kristin have never been to Guy Savoy before. Dennis was staying at Caesar’s for a business conference and wanted to try Guy Savoy. John has eaten at Guy Savoy ... beaucoup de temps ... And then there’s yours truly.

When I arrived at the restaurant, Bob, Kristin & Dennis were waiting in the lounge area and sipping some champagne. I did likewise. It was great to see Franck Savoy again. He’s an excellent maitre d’. John finally arrived and we all introduced ourselves. After a couple of champagne toasts and small appetizers, we proceeded into the main dining area. The group decided to order a la carte instead of the menu prestige, so we can have more variety. As John said, “Make them cook!” I took photos mostly of what I ordered.

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Amuse bouche

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Amuse bouche, part 2

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Bread cart

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Terrine poularde

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Risotto with black truffles

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Beef cheek ravioli (compliments from the kitchen)

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Sea bass

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Poussin (with black truffles under the skin)

I didn’t order this. Mind you, I was admiring it from a distance ... okay, I did get to taste a bite and it was wonderful ...

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Grapefruit terrine with a maple leaf biscuit

It looks like a Canadian dessert, ehh??

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A few selections from the Dessert Trolley

We were having so much fun, I was wondering if we might get kicked out for being so rowdy. I asked Bob what he thought about their wine book (not a list ... a book). What impressed him was that there were a fair number of affordable bottles of wine. Bob ordered about 3-4 bottles and he said each of them were under $100.

I already liked Restaurant Guy Savoy from my first visit, and I like it even more. Guy Savoy is definitely that special occasion restaurant you want to dine at if and when you hit it big ...

Monday

After what happened last night (and that will stay in Las Vegas), I had lunch/brunch at the Wynn Buffet. For about $25, it’s one of the best value meals on the Strip: four different selections of fish, sliced meats, vegetables, salads, and desserts. Even though it’s not cutting-edge, the food doesn’t taste bad. The best time to go is between 10:30-11:00 a.m., when the line is not too long.

During the afternoon, I went back to Caesar’s and visited Payard Patisserie. Before I went on my chocolate shopping spree, I snacked on a small ham & cheese quiche and a meringue tart that was quite sweet. For about $15, I had a nice snack or light lunch. I didn’t get a chance to try the three-course dessert menu in their dining room area. I need to focus on Payard during my next trip to Las Vegas.

As I was working my way through the rest of the restaurants over at the Wynn, I went to SW Steakhouse that’s located next to Daniel Boulud Brasserie.

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Tomato pie

This was basically a pizza. I should’ve ordered the crabcakes instead. I blew my Atkins diet for that evening ...

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New York strip

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Truffled cream corn

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SW Steakhouse

The service was fine and aggressive ... I couldn’t finish everything. So, I had it all bagged up, drove over to Henderson, and gave it to my friend as his dinner.

Tuesday

Since I was going for an afternoon spa and massage, I had breakfast at Terrace Pointe Cafe: eggs, sausage, tomato slices, and hot tea.

Over at the spa, the refreshments that were available were bottled water, fruit juices, bananas, apples, oranges, coffee, and tea.

After my massage treatment, I was ready to gorge myself at Tableau Restaurant. I opted for their vegetable tasting menu. I then added an extra course: the tai snapper.

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Tableau (Wynn Resort)

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Crab with red bell pepper

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Baby beet salad, ricotta salata

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Black lentil soup, curry spätzle

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Roasted garlic gnocchi, mushroom broth

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Ricotta cannelloni, parmesan cream

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Winter vegetable pot pie

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Crispy skin tai snapper

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Blue cheese and pear terrine, walnut bread

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Tea

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Carrot cake, creme fraiche, creme brulee

The dessert sampler included a creme brulee, a creme fraiche and a carrot cake that, unfortunately, was rather disappointing. The cake tasted a bit doughy, less than fully baked ... As a result, I later went to Daniel Boulud Brasserie for some peach clafoutis and hot tea. Mind you, the vegetarian tasting menu was pretty good, as well as the added snapper course. I’m willing to try Tableau again. At some point, I’ll probably let the kitchen know about my dining experience.

Wednesday

Before heading back to Los Angeles, I wanted to try this new place for lunch that’s located in Town Square Las Vegas, south of the airport on Las Vegas Blvd. (not on the Strip, technically speaking). Actually, it’s two restaurants: Louis’s and Fish Camp. Fish Camp is the more casual restaurant. Louis’s is “upscale dining at its cultured finest, y’all.”

I went to Fish Camp and had one of their lunch specials: pork grillade, grits, collards, slaw, coconut sorbet, unsweetened tea. The entree with two sides and a dessert cost $12. Now that’s a bargain. And if you’re into Southern cuisine like me, their food really hits the spot! I wish Los Angeles had a restaurant like this ...

Well, another Las Vegas culinary trip done and over with. On the next trip (whenever that’ll be), I’ll need to try some of the restaurants over at the Palazzo, including Wolfgang Puck’s Cut, Mario Batali’s Carnevino and Morels with all those artisanal cheeses.

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Russell-another great Las Vegas trip report with photos, thank you! I was at home in snowy Spokane on the Monday that you all went to Savoy for dinner. Trust me, I would have rather been with the group enjoying that fine food and wine rather than struggling through my snow and ice caked street. Great job.

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Holy schnikes! Looks like you had a good time! You took some great photos yet again. That photo of the cheese case at Morels looks great, very inviting. One of those pics that not only looks artistic, but sets the mood by displaying great products. Looks like Palazzo had a great lineup, I look forward to hearing reviews from people such as yourself and eventually getting back to Vegas to try some of this food myself.

Fortunately my wife loves the stuff I've been making from my Batali cookbook and therefore wants to a Batali place next trip. So many places have opened since I was last in Vegas I could have a hard deciding where to go from places that opened in the last two years alone!

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