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Dining in Las Vegas: Part 1


Cook456
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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 was there for dinner and breakfast last Spring - and liked it. As did my dining companions. Posted on another thread (there are so many!) It doesn't feel like Vegas so much. Good espresso.

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Seth, I'll be eating at Bouchon on Thurs. night so I'll report on it when I can.

Damn!! I'm bummed that there will be no cute little pastries in my future!

There are a couple other ways to try some Bellagio pastries while waiting for the new shop to open:

1) Palio. Breakfast pastries, including danish and croissants made in house in the morning, and dessert pastries in the afternoon. My favorites are the tiramisu and the raspberry tarts which look like this:

i6767.jpg

2) Afternoon tea at Petrossian, served from 2:00-5:00. For $25 each person chooses four finger sandwiches, gets a selection of our mini pastries, plus scones with all the sides like clotted cream, lemon curd, and various jams. Oh, and of course, a pot of tea from an extensive list. Please note - reservations are required.

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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?

We had a wonderful breakfast at Bouchon in October. The preserves are simply the best I've ever had. Hubby had waffles, I opted for the corned beef hash. Highly recommended.

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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 wouldn't go to bouchon if you want to be dazzled. very good for breakfast and lunch. it's french bistro food, and not much unlike what you could get here in NYC. don't miss Lotus of Siam, though. go twice in fact. three times if schedule permits.

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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 wouldn't go to bouchon if you want to be dazzled. very good for breakfast and lunch. it's french bistro food, and not much unlike what you could get here in NYC. don't miss Lotus of Siam, though. go twice in fact. three times if schedule permits.

If it were just me I'd go to LOS and Rosemary's, but I'm with a group of seven other guys. (Yeah, that's right, I dance for Chippendale's, and sometimes we go out after our shows on the road. So what?) I want to plan something that won't take us too far off the strip or challenge anyone much-- so I think Bouchon fits the bill. If it's well-executed bistro food I'll be very pleased.

So I'm looking forward to Ms. Foodie's report.

And to Neil's pastries.

P.S. I don't really dance for Chippendale's.

Edited by SethG (log)

"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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Brief report on Bouchon. where I dined with Ms Foodie on Thurday night. Wendy is even nicer in reality than on the page and was an excellent dining companion.

My perhaps biased overall impression of the restaurant is that it was competant rather than amazing. In Paris it would not be anything special.

Like all Las Vegas hotel restaurants, its hard to find, and involves much trekking through the kitsch glitz of the Venetian hotel and casino before taking the lift in the new tower (not the old tower). Once there the room is nice - stainless steel bar, and bistro style tables and chairs. However all the hard surfaces make the noise level very high, and I found it quite hard to hear normal conversation. I was late, not allowing for convention traffic. Wendy was kindly forgiving

Wine is overpriced, modest patchy selection. Started with a glass of Rose champagne (Duval Leroy NV $23/glass! - that is about a 6x markup on retail), went on to an excellent but slightly too sweet Alsace Gewurtztraminer (Kassler 00 by the glass), than an Alsace Pinot Gris (Josmeyer 01).Both growers new to me. Despite the eulogisings of the Sommelier, (bio-dynamic, fresh, fruity, rising winemaker etc) I found it thin and dull, and more like a Muscadet, which was not what I was expecting. If only they had some Rully Gassmann - I have some Pinot Gris the same year from him, and it is amazing.

This is not French Laundry food or experience, and perhaps my expectations were too high. It is basic bistro, plainly served. No amuse, or other twiddles.

Bread was an epi (wheat ear shape), Ok, but just bread, slightly oversalted.

We started with Duck Foie Gras. Served in a small Epicure preserving jar. Nice, again too salt (I guess the chef smokes, as I find this often leads to oversalting). Portion too big for the two of us. Some toast fingers, but otherwise plain. Nada nothing. No wine gelee, no fig puree, no raisins...

We also had snails, Good snails, but no shells, just cutsy little puff pastry hats. The puff pastry plain, and not at all buttery, which surprised me. Surely they can't be using commercial pastry or shortening in a kitchen of this class? Big fat snails, and lovely garlic butter.

We then had the Grand Plateau de Fruit de Mer, which had been recommended in some reviews. So big, in two layers that we could not see each other accross the table, and had to lean around the side to talk. The wonder is to get good squeaky fresh seafood in the high desert. Good Washington state oysters, sweet pallourdes (clams), and a two halves of a whole lobster - a bit tough and overcooked. Straighforward shallot vinegar, cut lemons etc, but I had to ask for Tabasco, which came in mini bottles, like on an airline.

We were too full for desert (blame the Foie), so had coffee - expresso, just ordinary. Pre-wrapped commercial chocolate mints straws came with the bill.

Certainly OK, and better than many, but the French Laundry it aint. Not even on the same page. In fact I'm surprised Keller allows his name to be so prominent. Could improve on the details.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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... slightly oversalted.... (I guess the chef smokes, as I find this often leads to oversalting).

Sounds like an authentic French experience!

Seriously, overall sounds like the place will meet my expectations.

"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 agree with all points that Jack made about Bouchon. The salt thing really struck me, I love salt but the foie gras was done with a very heavy hand. The interior is nice and large but the noise level does get very high. Also I thought the wait staff to be average at best. The sommelier seemed to only know what was on his list. Our waiter kept referring to everything as "prepared very traditionally" yet I doubt he knew traditional from French Toast. He told us the sturgeon was like chicken! haha! :raz:

Without a doubt the most interesting thing about eating at Bouchon was talking with Jack and all the amazing things he is involved with. Fantastic company.

Friday night my husband and I went to Emeril's at the MGM for dinner. We had 10PM reservations so we decided not to do the tasting menu but it looked very nice. I really liked the interior here and the staff was great. We started out with the BBQ shrimp- good but not outstanding. Then we shared the mushroom, duck confit spinache salad with Humboldt Fog cheese and fig vinaigrette- excellent! The duck confit could have been more tender but the flavors were fantastic.

For our mains Dayne had the 2lb. lobster stuffed with mushrooms and topped with truffle oil. Unfortunately the truffle oil completely overwhelmed the lobster. It wasn't a good match IMO. I had the Cedar Plank Campfire steak. I've never had planked steak- we make a lot of salmon on cedar- the steak was done perfectly and the smashed potatoes served with it was the hit of the night. I can not even begin to describe the creamy almost cheesy taste (although there was none) of these taters!

We had a nice bottle of a French Burgandy, thought the wine was very fairly priced and they used very nice stemware which I appreciate.

espresso was barely passable- what is up with this? how hard is it to pull a decent cup of espresso. And they only served white sugar packets. No cubes or at least sugar in the raw- ick!

I liked the restaurant, not sure if I would go back because there are so many to try still but I like it.

Burger Bar, Fix and Olives reports to come.....

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It's been a week, so.... is the pastry shop open, Neil?

They're doing final inspections and the counter staff is training, but... no. Not open yet. Maybe by this weekend. My Dad's in town visiting, and I was hoping it would be open by now, but we did stop by to peek through the curtains. I think you'll be impressed. I will actually be moving to an earlier shift soon (that's right, earlier than 4:00 AM :blink: ) to work on the new stuff, but they don't have a specific date yet. I'll post as soon it opens and upload some photos in the Pastry Forum.

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We met friends at Burger Bar for lunch on Sat. The first thing that struck me was how it looked like a diner from the 50's. I guess I was expecting a little more upscale style. Anyway Dayne and I both had the Kobe burger done medium rare. Very good, done perfectly. I had proscuitto, cheddar and carmelized onions on mine. We shared some sweet potato fries- very good.

Again we liked it but both of us thought we would probably continue to try other spots vs going back again.

We did stop in the very cool wine shop 55 degrees on the way out. such interesting display!

Sat. night dinner at Fix. There was a huge line to get in, we had reservations. The interior is very cool- like Gehry designs I thought. But it is open to the casino and the main hall which dumbs it down a bit IMO. It use to be Necter for those who remember.

Started with Forks of smoked salmon, creme fraiche and caviar. Awesome! Our waiter told us he could swap in beluga for a small price but we skipped. Then we shared a half order of homemade ravioli filled with pumpkin, ricotta and sage in a brown butter sauce. The pasta was soooo good.

I had the bass on creamy shrimp risotto. Perfectly done fish and risotto. i don't think it needed the shrimp. Dayne had the pork chop which was huge and done wonderfully at med.

We had this with a Chateauneuf du Pape.

Dessert shared was a carmel something?? I'm forgetting, maybe a bread pudding?? I only had one bite and it was forgettable. D

We loved Fix but thought that their wine list was very mediocre and the dessert wine list was dumb! The waiter knew a lot about the dishes but next to nothing about the wine or offerings. Prices were excellent. I will revisit this place this spring/summer hopefully.

Lunch on Sunday was at Olives. I've had dinner here twice before and loved it, lunch was no different. The newly remodeled interior is very nice- better tones IMO.

We had a bottle of Tuscan white. I had the orchietto with bolgenese and creamed spinach sauce. WOW!!!! The bolgenese had all spice, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove in it. Fat shards of parm on top. The creamed spianach was a vibrant green sauce around the outside. REally, really really good. My favorite dish of the weekend.

Dayne had the seared ahi, cooked perfectly- it was a loin shaped piece that was breaded with panko and then cut into perfect cubes. on a bed of arugula tossed with a creamy vinaigrette.

We shared the carmel apple crisp for dessert. It was topped with a green apple sorbet and a vanilla ice cream. The dish got licked!

Best espresso of the weekend too.

Olives has consistantly been great and we'll continue to eat here! Wines are a tad overpriced though.

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Dessert shared was a carmel something?? I'm forgetting, maybe a bread pudding?? I only had one bite and it was forgettable. D

This was the "Sticky Toffee Pudding" (NOT to be confused with a traditional English sticky pudding), which is butterscotch pudding baked with a biscuit topping in an individual cast iron skillet, served with whipped vanilla mascarpone and a caramel tuile. I had dinner at Fix just last night with my Dad who had this for dessert and loved it, though I have to say it's not very poplular in the pastry kitchen. Dad's from Scotland and tends to like more "bland" foods. My favorite Fix dessert is the donuts - I hope you give them a try next time you go. The brownie with espresso milk shake is also very good (I know what you're thinking: "a brownie? yawn", but these are amazing brownies).

For dinner I had the diver scallops served with bacon, spinach, potato cakes and crab holandaise "benedict syle". Sooooo good! Oh, and the "seasonal martini" with vodka, Tanqueray Ten, strawberries and basil was lovely, light and refreshing.

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I just got back from taking my Dad to the Cravings buffet at the Mirage for lunch, and I'm very sad to say the quality has gone down drastically since I was last there a few months ago. It's not as completely awful as say the Gold Coast, Palms or Luxor buffets, but certainly not worth the premium price they're charging. Preparation quality was lower across the board and it looks like they're trying to cut corners on food costs by using cheaper ingredients. Gone were the fresh raw oysters, BBQ ribs, asparagus in the Chinese stir fry, eel sushi, and there many fewer choices for dessert with lots of nasty cake made from mixes, non-dairy whipped topping and strawberry filling from a bucket. It's too bad, because it really was very good when it first opened. I'll be taking visitors who insist on a Vegas buffet experience to Bellagio from now on.

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I just got back from taking my Dad to the Cravings buffet at the Mirage for lunch, and I'm very sad to say the quality has gone down drastically since I was last there a few months ago. It's not as completely awful as say the Gold Coast, Palms or Luxor buffets, but certainly not worth the premium price they're charging. Preparation quality was lower across the board and it looks like they're trying to cut corners on food costs by using cheaper ingredients. Gone were the fresh raw oysters, BBQ ribs, asparagus in the Chinese stir fry, eel sushi, and there many fewer choices for dessert with lots of nasty cake made from mixes, non-dairy whipped topping and strawberry filling from a bucket. It's too bad, because it really was very good when it first opened. I'll be taking visitors who insist on a Vegas buffet experience to Bellagio from now on.

That's really how we felt about it on our last trip to Vegas at the beginning of Dec. Next time we're going to try the Bellagio buffet.

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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My wife and I, along with several friends/relatives were in Vegas over the weekend of the 14th-16th so I thought I’d give a quick report of the dining highlights.

On Friday night, we met, after our various flights in, at the Pub and Brewery (not sure if that is the official name or not) at the Monte Carlo. I was starving as I hadn’t eaten since lunch, but the pizza, and the beer for that matter, was uninspiring. We had the mushroom and three cheese and barbecued chicken pizzas and they didn’t taste much better than a frozen California Pizza Kitchen pizza. Very bland, overly soft crust (I’m a pizza snob who wants his crust crisp with a good bit o’ charring). The beer (I had the stout, most others had the amber) wasn’t great, especially compared to the great micros that I can get at home in Colorado.

Saturday for lunch we went to Emeril’s NO Fish House in the MGM Grand. Had the oyster sampler as an appetizer. I’ve learned lately that I really don’t enjoy Louisiana oysters raw. The Pacific NW (not sure of the exact type as it wasn’t listed and I forgot to ask) varieties were good though. I’d appreciate it if they would provide mignonette (spelling?) in addition to the cocktail sauce. My wife ordered the crab cakes and I had the rock shrimp poboy. The crab cakes were ok in flavor and the included salad with goat cheese was nice. However, you’d think that they be able to use at least some lump crab meat in a dish that cost $16 for two small to medium cakes…the texture just wasn’t up to par w/ what I consider a “good’ crab cake. The poboy was big, with a good number of shrimp. I enjoyed it but would’ve like it more if the remoulade had been a tad zippier. Others at the table had the steak sandwich which was good, it had quite a bit of good quality smoked meat, all nicely rare and tender. The shoestring potatoes were very good as was the banana cream pie which has been raved about (with good reason) on other posts on this site. I don’t know that I would feel a huge urge to return here, except maybe for a late night desert.

For Saturday dinner we ended up at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris. We ate outside on the heated patio which was cool as it afforded a great view of Bellagio’s fountains and good people watching – kind of a perverted version of sitting on the Champs-Elysees I guess! 

For starters, we both had soup, onion for my wife and the soup du jour, a cream of butternut squash, for me. The onion soup was good though a bit oversalted. The butternut was great, very good flavor and the crème fraiche garnish a nice touch. For entrees my wife had salmon with a mustard and bread crumb crust and I had a hanger steak w/ maitre d’hotel butter and frites. The salmon was good, though not superlative. On the other hand, I was very pleased with my steak. I love the very beefy flavor you get with a hanger steak. This one was cooked to a very nice medium rare and the melting butter, combined with the meat’s own “juicy goodness” made for a nice sauce. The frites were unlike others I’ve had before, kind of more like thick shavings of potatoe than the shoestring fries that represent the more common interpretation of frites to me. They tasted good, especially the ones that were more crisp. The house Bordeaux was nice and reasonably priced. All in all I’d recommend Mon Ami Gabi for a fairly reasonably priced meal in a good setting. We paid approximately $90 for the two of us. We didn’t have desert as we were stuffed.

On Sunday morning we tried to go to Craftwich for a breakfast sandwich but were unable to eat there as they don’t open until 10:00 and we had a plane to catch. You’d think they’d at least open by 9:00 if they are serving breakfast sandwiches.

All in all, it was a good trip.

Brian Hoffmeyer

"It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black."

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I ate ate Bouchon on Saturday night with six others, and I thought the place was exactly what I'd hoped for: competent bistro food in a convivial setting. The room has a brasserie feel to it. Lots of tile, high ceilings, bright, noisy. I thought the epis brought to the table were a nice touch, although the bread tasted like nothing special. I loved the oysters with which I began the meal, and the rare leg of lamb I ordered was good, but nothing to shout about. Several folks ordered steak frites, and while I didn't taste the steak, I did snag some fries-- these were very good.

"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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On Sunday morning we tried to go to Craftwich for a breakfast sandwich but were unable to eat there as they don’t open until 10:00 and we had a plane to catch. You’d think they’d at least open by 9:00 if they are serving breakfast sandwiches.

What/where is Craftwich? Is this related to Craft/Craftsteak? Last time I was in LV I had the best piece of meat of my life, a Kobe beef skirt steak from Craftsteak. I'd be interested to try their sandwich!

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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On Sunday morning we tried to go to Craftwich for a breakfast sandwich but were unable to eat there as they don’t open until 10:00 and we had a plane to catch. You’d think they’d at least open by 9:00 if they are serving breakfast sandwiches.

What/where is Craftwich? Is this related to Craft/Craftsteak? Last time I was in LV I had the best piece of meat of my life, a Kobe beef skirt steak from Craftsteak. I'd be interested to try their sandwich!

Actually, it's 'wichcraft and it is related to Craft/Craftsteak - a Tom Colicchio venture. It's in the MGM Grand very near Craftsteak. Too bad they opened too late for you, Chezhoff. Great breakfast sandwiches. I like the fried egg, bacon, gorgonzola and frisee on ciabatta roll.

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