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Dining in Las Vegas: Part 1

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We were in Las Vegas last weekend and due to our flight and show schedule we ended up at the Verandah Restaurant at the Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay. The had a set menu for the Andrea Bocelli Concert and everything was fabulous. We thought it would be a glorified coffee shop but the atmosphere was lovely, the wine selection was great and the service was perfect. From the black napkins for anyone wearing dark pants or skirts, to the ice tea ice cubes and sugar water for the ice tea and the best French press coffee our whole trip. The food was delicious and creative. We enjoyed it so much we returned twice for lunch and for breakfast. The highlight of lunch was the parmesan - White Truffle french fries.

We probably would have eaten dinner there againm if we had not had reservations at Bradley Ogden and Charlie Palmer steak. Our meal at Bradley Ogden was delightful, but I was not as impressed with Charlie Palmer. But I must say that the desserts were great at every restaurant we tried in Vegas. Split entrees if necessary, but leave room for dessert.


Alan Kwiatek

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We just returned from thanksgiving in Vegas. I want to thank Foodie Girl (I THINK it was you) who recommended Emeril's-I wouldn't have thought it would be that good, but we had some delicious food there (the lobster roll appetizer and cornmeal crusted oyters were outstanding).

And, I want to give a big thumbs down to the Bellagio dinner buffet. The desserts were terrific but everything else was mediocre. Maybe I expected too much, but in retrospect I would have rather gone to a buffet that had less ambitions offerings, but done better (things like crab stuffed sole, coconut curry mussels and other seafood items were bland and didn't hold up well on the buffet. Meat selections were all cooked well done. The few salad selections were anemic looking. Etc etc).

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We just returned from thanksgiving in Vegas. I want to thank Foodie Girl (I THINK it was you) who recommended Emeril's-I wouldn't have thought it would be that good, but we had some delicious food there (the lobster roll appetizer and cornmeal crusted oyters were outstanding).

And, I want to give a big thumbs down to the Bellagio dinner buffet. The desserts were terrific but everything else was mediocre. Maybe I expected too much, but in retrospect I would have rather gone to a buffet that had less ambitions offerings, but done better (things like crab stuffed sole, coconut curry mussels and other seafood items were bland and didn't hold up well on the buffet. Meat selections were all cooked well done. The few salad selections were anemic looking. Etc etc).

Sorry you didn't like the buffet. I've only had lunch there a few times, and while I think it's usually very good, I don't think it's reliably the best (well, except for the desserts, of course :biggrin: ). I recommend the new Mirage buffet "Cravings", because while it is a little less ambitious, the quality is excellent.

Oh, and by the way - the newly remodelled buffet at Treasure Island just opened last week. They're calling it "Dishes". I plan to try it out for lunch this week and see how it is. I'll let you know.

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We just returned from thanksgiving in Vegas. I want to thank Foodie Girl (I THINK it was you) who recommended Emeril's-I wouldn't have thought it would be that good, but we had some delicious food there (the lobster roll appetizer and cornmeal crusted oyters were outstanding).

***Glad you enjoyed it!

And, I want to give a big thumbs down to the Bellagio dinner buffet. The desserts were terrific but everything else was mediocre. Maybe I expected too much, but in retrospect I would have rather gone to a buffet that had less ambitions offerings, but done better (things like crab stuffed sole, coconut curry mussels and other seafood items were bland and didn't hold up well on the buffet. Meat selections were all cooked well done. The few salad selections were anemic looking. Etc etc).

***I recently went to CRAVINGS in the Mirage for a breakfast and also lunch...I was WOWED...definitely might try it for dinner sometime.


Edited by Foodie-Girl (log)

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any comments on this itinerary?

Day 1

Dinner: Bouchon (day 1...will likely be tired and not up for anything too grand if history is any indication. assuming Bouchon will be adequate?)

Day 2

Lunch: that Burger place in Mandalay's mall

Dinner: Nobhill

Day 3

Lunch: LOS (open during the week for lunch?)

Dinner: Bradley Ogden

i'm staying away from seafood-oriented restaurants and steakhouses. likely going to fit In-n-Out in there somewhere. :biggrin:

also heard good things about Viale for lunch and people-watching. thoughts?

thanks.

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According to Citysearch, Lotus of Siam is open 11:30am-2:30pm daily.

And really, Fatburger is WAY better than In-n-Out. Several locations including one on the Strip.

By the way, what dates will you be here? I've been told our pastry shop (Jean Philippe Patisserie) in the new Bellagio tower will be open by the 21st.

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If you are in the neighborhood, I reccomend a cocktail or two at sunset in the Voodoo Lounge at the Rio. Watching the lights on the strip come on from that great spot is an eye opener.

Cheers,

HC

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Had lunch at the new Treasure Island buffet - Dishes - today. The remodeled room is beautiful. It feels like an upscale restaurant rather than a buffet, but warm and comfortable, so I was optimistic about the food. What a disappointment! A very small selection of dishes compared to other buffets, and the stations are small and cramped. The overall quality is about average with the barbecue selections being somewhat of a highlight, though not as flavorful as I would have liked. Green salads are made to order rather than a salad bar, and aren't bad, but I could see lines forming just to get salads when the place is crowded. The sushi was OK, though the rice didn't seemed to be seasoned.

Dessert selections look nice with some fun ideas like freshly fried mini donuts and cotton candy, but when tasted it becomes clear that most if not all of them are made from mixes and have no flavor, including garnishes of non-dairy whipped topping. The creme brulee was especially odd, having no flavor of eggs or custard at all - in fact, I'm not sure what that stuff tasted like.

For the same price ($15 for lunch), the Mirage Buffet is far superior with more choices and better quality.

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According to Citysearch, Lotus of Siam is open 11:30am-2:30pm daily.

And really, Fatburger is WAY better than In-n-Out. Several locations including one on the Strip.

By the way, what dates will you be here? I've been told our pastry shop (Jean Philippe Patisserie) in the new Bellagio tower will be open by the 21st.

we got ourselves a fatburger here in NJ. i might check it out on that recommendation. but i'll still try to get to in-and-out. :smile:

are you involved in that pastry shop in any way? i so i'll make it a point to stop by.

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I agree about choosing Fatburger over In and Out, but if you have the Fatburger in NJ go there and try In and Out in Vegas.

When I was at Lotus of Siam a few weeks ago, I was there for dinner, but I was surprised to see a buffet table not in use. My assumption was that they have a buffet for lunch, which intrigued me, since I don't normally think of buffets at Thai places.

On that trip I hit several of the places you have on your list (see above if you haven't already). Bradley Ogden was excellent and Burger Bar was fun. Lotus of Siam was also very good, but I would have to question whether it really is "the best Thai restaurant in the US" whatever that means. That doesn't mean you should go, however. Get the sour sausage appetizer.


Bill Russell

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According to Citysearch, Lotus of Siam is open 11:30am-2:30pm daily.

And really, Fatburger is WAY better than In-n-Out. Several locations including one on the Strip.

By the way, what dates will you be here? I've been told our pastry shop (Jean Philippe Patisserie) in the new Bellagio tower will be open by the 21st.

we got ourselves a fatburger here in NJ. i might check it out on that recommendation. but i'll still try to get to in-and-out. :smile:

are you involved in that pastry shop in any way? i so i'll make it a point to stop by.

I'm on the restaurant dessert team in the Bellagio pastry kitchen, so we'll be producing all of the dessert pastries for the new shop such as fruit tarts, mousse cakes, eclairs, napoleons, etc. Breakfast pastries will be done by our danish team, and chocolates provided by the chocolate team. Everything will be produced in house from scratch including a full selections of ice creams and sorbets. We haven't started making any of the new stuff yet, but we've been shown examples and I think you'll be impressed. :biggrin:

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When I was at Lotus of Siam a few weeks ago, I was there for dinner, but I was surprised to see a buffet table not in use.  My assumption was that they have a buffet for lunch, which intrigued me, since I don't normally think of buffets at Thai places.

On that trip I hit several of the places you have on your list (see above if you haven't already).  Bradley Ogden was excellent and Burger Bar was fun.  Lotus of Siam was also very good, but I would have to question whether it really is "the best Thai restaurant in the US" whatever that means.  That doesn't mean you should go, however. Get the sour sausage appetizer.

Tommy, you know not to eat from the buffet, right, but to order from the menu? Wait, yes, you do--I see you've been there before from the Lotus of Siam thread.

I just sent my ex and his wife to LOS over Thanksgiving weekend. He was skeptical about Nim Ka Tod (the sausage app) but telephoned the next day to rave about the flavor. He was less happy with the sea bass (I told him to get catfish, the big chicken). Next time I bet he takes my advice!


Edited by tanabutler (log)

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Random thoughts on above posts....

I love BOTH In N Out AND FATBURGER.....LOVE EM !

As I've written before...I'm generally not wild about buffets in general...but CRAVINGS at The Mirage is really special, I believe.

Granted, I've only been for one breakfast and one lunch...but the quality and atmosphere is SO good!

I've also had breakfast/lunch at Bellagio and I think CRAVINGS has it beat.

OK...not the pastries, nightscotsman!

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***It's the only place I know of in Las Vegas that requires a jacket.....so we've only eaten there in the winter when my husband can stand walking around in a sports coat.... :biggrin:

Do you get a sense that the restaurant employees treat you differently if you're not "dressed up" enough? I usually like to err on the side of dressy when in doubt, because I believe customers really are typecast when they walk in to a high-end place. If this happens to us, the icyness usually melts once we put our wine order in - we tend to order costly wines.

I was shocked when we dined at Aureole shortly after it opened and some guys came in wearing kahkis and short sleeved knit Polo shirts - that was a bit TOO casual, I thought. I'm afraid that, unfortunately, Las Vegas restaurants tolerate dress like this, but it can't be easy for those professionals to see customers not respect a place enough to at least make an effort to dress up, even a bit.

Would your husband wear a jacket to Picasso? When I went there, I wore jacket and tie - and didn't feel overdressed at all.

What is the proper "code" in Las Vegas?

I always feel like your attire reflects your respect for the establishment. We ate at Picasso last Thanksgiving and my husband wore a black suit and I wore an evening gown. We did not feel out of place.

It was a heavenly night.


Patti Davis

www.anatomyofadinnerparty.com

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I went to CRAVINGS twice on a recent trip through Las Vegas. The first time was for lunch and the food was good with adequate selections that were prepared above average for a buffet. The atmosphere was also nicer then what I am used to for buffets at other places. The second time I went was at about 3PM local time. The food was uninspired. I suspect that it had something to do with the time of day that I was there. Most of the food was mediocre, not bad but not real good either. The sushi was not fresh, having been prepared earlier and left out for an extended period of time resulting in that film that forms on the fish.

Overall, my experiences at the SPICE MARKET were better. I understand there have been some changes to this buffet which I hope haven't taken away from what was an excellant buffet.

I went to the buffet at Paris Paris, Le Buffet I think is what it's called. It was better then Circus Circus (which was terrible) but was a big let down. For a cheap buffet, the one at the Flamingo is pretty good.

Next time I go out to Las Vegas (twice in January that I know of), I intend on trying some of the places in Forum Shops. The Palm businessman's lunch looks good. There there was that Italian place that looked so good. Seems like there was another one similar to the Palm that I am forgetting at the moment. Of course there is that new Italian place (IL Moumo sp?) on third floor to fit in which seems to be getting high marks.

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I found out yesterday that construction on the new Bellagio pastry shop is behind schedule and won't make the Dec 21 opening date of the rest of the new tower. Now it will most likely be "after January 1st". Sorry to those of you who will miss it. :sad:

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I found out yesterday that construction on the new Bellagio pastry shop is behind schedule and won't make the Dec 21 opening date of the rest of the new tower. Now it will most likely be "after January 1st". Sorry to those of you who will miss it. :sad:

I will be in town on Jan 6th and I really hope they are open!!! I am so looking forward to pasteries! keep us updated if you can. :smile:

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So this is our list of restaurants to try when in Vegas in 2 weeks...

Bouchon- dinner

Emeril's Fish House- dinner

Burger Bar- lunch

Fix- dinner

Olives- lunch (have been before but not for lunch)

What do you think?? I'm thinking it's a good mix and am excited to try them out.

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So this is our list of restaurants to try when in Vegas in 2 weeks...

Bouchon- dinner

Emeril's Fish House- dinner

Burger Bar- lunch

Fix- dinner

Olives- lunch (have been before but not for lunch)

What do you think?? I'm thinking it's a good mix and am excited to try them out.

***Hey Wendy! I think you've got an excellent mix. Of those you're visiting I've only been to Emeril's and Olives, for both lunches and dinners.

Looking forward to what you'll have to say about the others.

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Just got back from Vegas and wanted to add a report...

MESA GRILL - Thought we would try it out, because we are big fans of southwestern cooking and wanted to see what Flay does in real life as oppossed to TV. The restaurant has a great layout and we had a great table to see Flay actually cooking and expediting in the kitchen... The waiter said that he shows up about every 3 weeks and stays for several days. The service was excellent, and handled all of our needs smoothly and with a smile. A beautiful scallop dish that had a pungent spice crust and a orange-tamarind dressing arrived alongside a chile-laden pumpkin soup with pomagranate seeds. Both were excellent and well thought out. A 16 spice chicken entree was perfectly cooked and served with the obligatory mashed potatoes. My pork tenderloin, which tasted like some of the best BBQ pork I have had in a while, was accompanied by a delicate and sweet corn tamale. A creme brulee tart for dessert was also a hit, especially the tangy mango sorbet and fresh mango and blackberries that were on top. Overall, it was a great surprise since we didn't know what to expect and had not been to either of his NY restaurants. I give it a big recommendation!!!

DELMONICO - We had a previous experience that was outstanding, so we decided we would return. Unfortunately, the dinner did not live up to our previous trip. Our service was pleasant but lackluster. The waiter suggested the signature barbeque shrimp, but they were uneventful and had me wishing I had tried that night's gumbo. Our steaks were decent, but had been overly charred on the outside. As well, my medium-rare ended up being more like medium well. Dessert was the peach pie with buttermilk ice cream. It was a small tart with a chewy crust, with more whipped cream than anything else on the plate. Overall, very disappointing.

CRAVINGS (Mirage buffet) - This new buffet certainly has many different types of food and there were a few tasty gems among the steam tables, but it is by no means revolutionary. The BBQ brisket, kung pao chicken and moist pork tenderloin were nice surprises. The dim sum choices were enjoyable as well. It was the first time I had seen a full bar at a buffet, although it remained empty throughout our meal. Many items still represented the more common buffet problems - the morning's scrambled eggs were atrocious, bread pudding was scary, sushi looked plastic and un appetizing.

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It looks like Christmas in Las Vegas for me. I'll be driving into Vegas from LA on Thurs. & head out on Mon. (hopefully traffic won't be too bad :biggrin: )

Christmas Day will be with family & friends. That leaves me with Thurs. (dinner), Fri. (lunch & dinner), and Sun. (lunch & dinner).

On my short list, I want to try Lotus of Siam, Rosemary's, Emeril's Fish House, Bellagio Buffet, Prime, & Cravings. I want to include a couple of places in the downtown area. Something on the low-medium end, definitely local. I've been to Vegas several times, but never visited downtown. So, I want to take a look over there. Any suggestions??

nightscotsman, I accept your apologies, barely. I was so bummed when I read that the Bellagio pastry shop won't be opened until 2005. I'll just have to try one of your pastries at one of the Bellagio restaurants.

I've appreciated your suggestions. Please keep them coming. They've been very helpful to me.


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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On my short list, I want to try Lotus of Siam, Rosemary's, Emeril's Fish House, Bellagio Buffet, Prime, & Cravings. I want to include a couple of places in the downtown area. Something on the low-medium end, definitely local. I've been to Vegas several times, but never visited downtown. So, I want to take a look over there. Any suggestions??

Lotus of Siam, definitely make it a diner stop. My lunch experience was a disappointment. Lunch is too geared to the cheap buffet IMHO.

Coming from LA, I don't think you will be impressed with CRAVINGS. I would suggest SPICE MARKET as a better option IMHO. While buffets are a Las Vegas classic, I am more inclined to try one of the places in the Caesar's forum shops (Palm, Bertolini's (sp?)), or maybe the Fix or Olives or Oragantique (sp?). Those are just the places that come to my head under the influence of the over the counter cold rememdy's :blink:

The Bally's Sterling Brunch is the one buffet that I think I really need to experience. At ~$55 it isn't your typical Las Vegas strip buffet though so, you won't have the same experience as most people in the buffet lines on the strip. :shock:

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I'll be in Vegas over MLK weekend and I was thinking about trying Bouchon-- but I see here nothing but one negative review of the place. Anybody got any other opinions, or should I skip it?

I also want to check out the Bellgio's new pastry shop... is it open now?


"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I also want to check out the Bellgio's new pastry shop...  is it open now?

Sorry, still not open yet. Probably another week. We're ready to go in the kitchen, but construction is behind schedule.

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Sorry, still not open yet. Probably another week. We're ready to go in the kitchen, but construction is behind schedule.

Hey, that's fine by me. I'll be arriving in town on the 15th. But no more excuses, Robertson! :biggrin:


"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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