Las Vegas--40th birthday dinner coming up!
Four gals headed to Vegas for a 40th birthday party next month. We want to take the birthday girl out for a great dinner. Need some non-seafood suggestions that fall within $50-75 per person excluding alcohol, tax and tip. We're staying at the MGM and don't have a car (or would otherwise head straight to Rosemary's).
There are some good possibilities, but in part it depends on what kind of experience you're looking for. Is your group interested in the best food your budget can handle, regardless of the atmosphere, or would you prefer a balance between the two?
If you've scanned this board, you've probably run across Lotus of Siam. It has excellent Thai food, and the prices are so modest that it will be well within your budget, even including cab rides to and from the restaurant. However, it doesn't have much in the way of atmosphere - OK, it doesn't have ANYTHING in the way of atmosphere.
FIX (at the Bellagio) is a very trendy restaurant that serves new American cuisine. This is exactly the type of restaurant I would be ready to hate without even trying. However, it surprised me. The atmosphere is a bit noisy but a lot of fun - perhaps just right for a birthday party. The second surprise - the food is quite good! One caveat: while the food will be within your budget, drinks can be very expensive here.
Another possibility is Mon Ami Gabi (at Paris). To me, this restaurant has several strikes against it, but a very big plus. The big plus is that it has a group of outdoor tables that face Bellagio's fountains. Go there after dark, and people watch while you also enjoy the fountain show. Now, as to the negatives: you can't reserve an outdoor table, and the wait may be long; the restaurant is part of a chain, so you may have already gone there; the food is pretty good, but nothing to wow a chowhound.
You might consider BOA; it's a steakhouse on the top floor of the forum shops at Caeser's. Nice, interesting menu, outdoor seating is available, and kind of a nice vibe. Another fun option might be Simon at the Hard Rock (you'd need to cab it, but it's not very far). Interesting food, always interesting crowd, and usually pretty easy to get reservations.
Are you looking for a great time or a great meal?
And just how rowdy a group are you?
If you don't want to get a cab and you are looking for a great time, I would eat dinner at Burger Bar and then take the tram to the Thunder from Down Under show at Excaliber.
If you are looking for great food, I would consider bumping up your price range a bit and getting the tasting menu at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. You don't even have to leave the hotel for that one, and with liquor so cheap in vegas, buy a bottle and drink first. Or go to a bar afterwards and let the throngs of drunk guys buy you drinks.
I was just at the MGM this weekend.
If you want to stay at the hotel, I'd recommend craftsteak. Excellent all around, one of the best steak experiences of my life. Wine list can use some work though, a bit too inaccessible for my standards--who orders the 82 Petrus for $8000? I'd also recommend Nob Hill.
If you are ok leaving the hotel, I'd recomment Bouchon at Venetian, Boa at Caesars, Mon Ami Gabi at Paris, DB Brasserie at Wynn. All excellent all around.
only one of us is on the rowdy, louder side--more in the sense of "too much information." a formal atmosphere like the defunct Renoir or Picasso wouldn't go over too well. something too loud where we have to shout over the table to be heard would be a big negative.
we're looking for a mixture of the best food we can get for the price range as well as atmosphere. I think LOS is way more casual than what we want, although I'd love to go there. I'd love to do L'Atelier at Joel Robuchon but one person in the group is more adverse to raising the price range. Will have to save it for another trip.
we're totally ok w/ leaving the MGM--just need to stay on the Strip.
I heartily recommend FIX as well, the food is terrific, the atmosphere fun and I think you will all have a good time. It may be a touch loud is the only drawback, given what you wrote above. Other choices I would suggest:
COMMANDER'S PALACE: mostly seafood, yes, but they have one of the best filets imaginable and a wonderful veal chop as well. I had my own 40th birthday party at Commander's about a year ago, with 5 friends, and we had a wonderful time. They took amazing care of us. (At the Aladdin Shops.)
N9NE - this is the steakhouse at The Palms. Great food in a very cool, glitzy atmosphere and also a lot of fun.