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Dining in Las Vegas: Part 2

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We are just in the middle of planning our restaurants for Vegas, when we'll be there for 6 days over New Year's Eve.

I think we'll be there at the same time! We are arriving via the Grand Canyon on 12/28 and headed back to Tokyo on 1/4.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Well, none of you will be seeing me. :angry: I'm going to be slammed. :angry:

Worst. Week. Of. The. Year.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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The VPN pizzeria Settebello near Cheesecake Factory in the District in Henderson is my favorite in Las Vegas.

This was the other pizza place I had bookmarked, I'm going to take a look at it again thanks!


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Just keep in mind that those of you coming for NYE and even NYW in Las Vegas are going to see the city at it's most frantic week of the year.

Lines for all the buffets, lines to get a cab (remember, beyond all logic, it's illegal to hail a cab in Las Vegas. One must use the taxi stand at resorts, or have one dispatched to you), Red Rock will be crawling with visitors. I'd start reserving tables now for the better restaurants.

All the whales are in town -- and the casino workers are all doing everything possible to make the whales happy.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Hey! We are arriving the 28th and heading back the 3rd. We must meet up for a cocktail. We'll be staying at the Encore at Wynn.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Just keep in mind that those of you coming for NYE and even NYW in Las Vegas are going to see the city at it's most frantic week of the year.

Lines for all the buffets, lines to get a cab (remember, beyond all logic, it's illegal to hail a cab in Las Vegas. One must use the taxi stand at resorts, or have one dispatched to you), Red Rock will be crawling with visitors. I'd start reserving tables now for the better restaurants.

All the whales are in town -- and the casino workers are all doing everything possible to make the whales happy.

yeah it will be insane. We've got our restaurants booked through the 31st and then we'll see about the Monday Tuesday. It will be a lot quieter on those two days. They do shut down the strip to cars on NYE, but i can't remember what time and I believe the hotels lock their doors at 11:30 and don't open them again until 12:30 so if you want to be in your hotel, make sure you do so before 11:30. I'd forgotten about the law regarding hailing cabs.

As often as we've been to Vegas, we've never done NYE so it should be interesting. I'm thinking champagne in our room at midnight watching the fireworks is going to work well for me. :cool:


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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You couldn't pay me to go to Las Vegas at NYE.

You couldn't pay me to go to Las Vegas at anytime of the year.

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Hey! We are arriving the 28th and heading back the 3rd. We must meet up for a cocktail. We'll be staying at the Encore at Wynn.

Sounds great!

We are actually avoiding the entire strip for the days leading up to NYE thus our staying in Henderson. We head to Venetian on 1/1 and am trying to get our reservations in now for the restaurants that need them. Of course with our group I'm not really planning too many "nice" meals. :rolleyes:

Is there a certain time of day that would be the best to hit a buffet? We are thinking of going on Tues 1/3.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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A weekday should be less crowded than a weekend. At least, it usually is.

Oh...And if you do have time to sneak away for adult time, go to the Cosmopolitans for cocktails. Lots of great stuff going on there.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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If you're at the Venetian, Valentino for Italian is a given. I did not know service could be that good. Bouchon is hit and miss for me. Mon Ami Gabbi is more reliable for the same things and the chef actually seems to care. The gnocchi at Fleur is as good a lunch dish as I could imagine, and I've eaten a lot of gnocchi in Vegas, but none as good as Hubert Keller's. As for dinner, you can eat as well in Vegas for less, no, I mean on a different price reality, than you can in Paris at the restaurants of the same chefs. From my experience.

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I actually prefer Bouchon for breakfast/lunch over dinner.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I'm a buffet fanatic and have the girth to prove it. I ate at the Wicked Spoon buffet at the Cosmopolitan twice when I was in Las Vegas for a week in May. Very good for dinner, not quite as good at breakfast. At the Wicked Spoon there wasn't as good of a selection of breakfast breads and pastries as I find at Wynn, Bellagio or Paris buffets, but the uniqueness of the of dishes was better. The sweets at Wynn during the breakfast hour are superior to the other buffets.

At dinner, again the unique dishes at the Wicked Spoon and the individual servings are a hit, but their sweets don't rival Wynn. Bellagio is large, vast and has a good meat station. The salads at both the Wynn and Bellagio buffet were better than the Wicked Spoon. Wynn usually has these delicious white anchovies on the salad station and the salmon lox they serve seems to be a better product than the other buffets.

For photos of my experience at the Wicked Spoon, take a look at our report on Vegas Uncork'd 2010 here.

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Anyone have some good LATE NIGHT suggestions? Talking mid-night'ish here?

Preferably on the south end down near Mandalay Bay. I know every place has a 24/7 "Cofee Shop". Just wondering what else is out there and which of those "coffee shop places are better than others.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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I still can't decide on a place for dinner for my husband and I, though Valentino at the Venetian is at the top of my list now. I was looking at the Venetian because I was being lazy and didn't want to venture out....but Is there a great restaurant I'm going to miss? I'm thinking about someplace with a tasting menu in the ~$150/pp range, but non-French. I like good solid food and don't really care for this new wave frothy stuff, something I can really sink my teeth in and with bold flavors.

If you could pick one place in Vegas with these requirements where would it be?

David and Jeff, I was going through your Vegas Uncork'd report sand all I can say is Wow!


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I still can't decide on a place for dinner for my husband and I, though Valentino at the Venetian is at the top of my list now. I was looking at the Venetian because I was being lazy and didn't want to venture out....but Is there a great restaurant I'm going to miss? I'm thinking about someplace with a tasting menu in the ~$150/pp range, but non-French. I like good solid food and don't really care for this new wave frothy stuff, something I can really sink my teeth in and with bold flavors.

If you could pick one place in Vegas with these requirements where would it be?

David and Jeff, I was going through your Vegas Uncork'd report sand all I can say is Wow!

Well, with only couple of nights, there will always be a great meal that you will miss. You can't help it. So many good places in town..

I think Valentino is a good pick. If you want to venture out of there, I think you would like Sage at Aria. Ross and I ate there in 2010 when we were in town for Uncork'd. I don't recall any new wave frothy stuff there.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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I still can't decide on a place for dinner for my husband and I, though Valentino at the Venetian is at the top of my list now. I was looking at the Venetian because I was being lazy and didn't want to venture out....but Is there a great restaurant I'm going to miss? I'm thinking about someplace with a tasting menu in the ~$150/pp range, but non-French. I like good solid food and don't really care for this new wave frothy stuff, something I can really sink my teeth in and with bold flavors.

If you could pick one place in Vegas with these requirements where would it be?

David and Jeff, I was going through your Vegas Uncork'd report sand all I can say is Wow!

Well, with only couple of nights, there will always be a great meal that you will miss. You can't help it. So many good places in town..

I think Valentino is a good pick. If you want to venture out of there, I think you would like Sage at Aria. Ross and I ate there in 2010 when we were in town for Uncork'd. I don't recall any new wave frothy stuff there.

Jeff is right, we had a wonderful experience at Sage. American cuisine at its finest and they have a good cocktail program. They actually have an absinthe cart! When we sat down we didn't see a tasting menu so we asked the waiter and they graciously obliged. During dinner Chef Shawn McClain came out to visit with us. To tell you the truth, I've eaten at Savoy and Gagnaire and I much prefer Sage. The French stuff at Savoy and Gagnaire is over-priced and really not the life-changing experience some say it is. You may want to look at the website of the restaurants at The Cosmopolitan. I hear good reviews off all their restaurants and I think if you call ahead and ask about a Tasting Menu they would oblige. Milos apparently has an affordable Greek seafood tasting menu.

The best month to dine at Valentino is October when they have white truffles from Alba, but Chef Pellegrini does wonders with ingredients year-round.

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You may want to look at the website of the restaurants at The Cosmopolitan. I hear good reviews off all their restaurants and I think if you call ahead and ask about a Tasting Menu they would oblige. Milos apparently has an affordable Greek seafood tasting menu.

And you may want to check out those restaurants quickly.

Cosmopolitan is hemmorhaging money. And although it is owned by Deutschebank, there are many here who think they'll eventually cut their losses and sell to Steve Wynn, Caesar's or MGM. (The other school of thought is, it's Deutschebank, they can cover the casino for a couple years. I don't agree with that, though. Nobody knows how to cut losses like a bank. They'll sell it cheap enough that some major strip presence will consider it too good a deal to pass up.)


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I'm glad I checked out Cosmo within the first 6 months of it opening. Had a great experience there. Too bad they don't know how to run a hotel, though. Hearing they still have issues there. But the rest? Good stuff.. Too bad it can't last.

MGM is an obvious buyer. They can easily suck it into City Center. Wynn won't buy he. He's a developer. That's what he really loves and does.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Off to Las Vegas tomorrow. Gonna be there three nights. Already have two dinners planned. Friday night at Aureole (Mandalay Bay) and Saturday night at Comme Ca (Cosmopolitan). We'll "wing it" for Sunday night. Other than that, the only for sure place to try is Fleur at Mandalay Bay. That will be a lunch. (We are staying at MB)


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Fleur's gnocchi is my favourite Vegas lunch item, but I have yet to lunch at Milos, Julian Serrano and RM Seafood. That will change soon. My servers Mariso and Faryal at Fleur took service to a level I had assumed existed only in a Pixar flick.

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back from Las Vegas.. I'll give a quick rundown of my meals.

Lotus of Siam (off strip) - proceeded there directly from the airport after arriving late Friday morning. Seated in the new expanded section. I don't really know Thai food well, nor do the friends I was there with, but everything was really good. Except for the sausage i ordered off of the northern Thai menu. Very dry. too bad. I was hoping it was going to be good.

Aureole (Mandalay Bay) - A little disappointing. this place is gigantic, and was pretty busy on Friday night. Aftter descending the the stair case aroundthe wine tower, we were promptly seated. And then had a LONG wait before a head waiter finally appeared. We wound up ordering the Parellel tasting menu. Four courses, each course with two preperations based around a flavor. The flavors were Pineapple, Carrot, Lamb, and Peach. After ordering service got better, but was simply "robotic" and fairly cool. Wine pairings were delivered with good timing, except for the last one with dessert. Food was OK. Nothing great. We all remarked that our previous fancy meal at Mandalay Bay when we dined at Mix was more memorable. I am beginning to question why I keep ordering tasting menus.

RM Seafood (Mandalay Bay) -- Went here for lunch Saturday afternoon. Sat downstairs this time. (upstairs is once again closed, FWIW). Had a plate of really great oysters. And some stone crab claws. Then a catfish sloppy joe sandwich. That was really good. The housemade potato chips were excellent. Just perfectly made. All washed down nicely with a glass fo Stella Artois.

Comme Ca (Cosmopolitan) -- Best meal of the trip. Situated on the third level of the resort with a tiny footprint, we had a really great view of the Las Vegas strip. Table way in the back puts us right next to the window and the small balcony/patio. Good service. Great cocktails. I had good steak tartare and a nice roast chicken. Two friends split the special of the day. A large Beef Wellington. Really good. Another friend had steak frites. Also good. Cereamy smooth chocolate pot de creme for dessert. Everything really clicked here. Big thumbs up to this place.

Fleur (Mandalay Bay) -- Another disappointment. this time, it was because the lunch menu presented was totally different than what is show on the web. The concept is supposed to be tapas/small plates. But it was essentially a bunch of sandwiches with just a small number of "tapas" type dishes as appetizers. My tuna tacos were good, but the sandwich was just a sandwich. Dunno what was going on, Maybe a very recent change? Maybe they can't sell the tapas to the convention goers at lunch time? I dunno. Really, was bummed out about this..

Japonias (Mirage) -- Picked this palce because we were in town in Decemeber a few years ago, staying at The Mirage and never got to eat in the actual dining room like we had expected to. The main dining room was CLOSED during that time (common at that time of the year) and we were seated in the lounge. While the lounge is a nice place for drinks, it's not the place to have a real meal. Limited menu. low cocktail tables. It was a bummer. But a friend really wanted to try the place for real, and this trip was the time to do it. Dined here Sunday night. I thought it was pretty decent. Very attentive, friendly sevice. Maybe even a little TOO attentive. Food was good. Nothing spectacular, but we were glad we got to finally eat there for real.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Wow. Has Fleur deteriorated that much since May? I see the gnocchi dish I loved is gone. Hope the sangria is still good. Maybe Hubert is moving into other projects. The first dish I had there, the "famous" In The Shower was basically just macaroni over which someone had uttered the words "lobster" a few times. When I complained, my server brought me a far more interesting onion soup- much better than Guy Savoy's famous soup I had later; and then the divine gnocchi. A fabulous shitake foamed piece of hamachi. Some so-so pizza thingies. Some very good small drinks, that fell in quality the larger they grew. Soft chairs and a very comfortable space to hang out between more serious culinary activities.

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The "in the shower" mac and cheese was on the lunch menu.

We did have some tasty 2 for 1 specialty cocktails in the lounge side of the 'outdoor' seating early Friday evening. Since I don't know what it was like before, it's hard to say if it went downhill, but I think it's clear SOMETHING changed.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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