Just returned from a trip to Vegas and thought I'd provide the run down on the restaurants we visited:
#1 Favorite: Rosemary's
There were several posts on Chowhound about this place, and they all are right. It is amazing, was the best food we had, and absolutely worth the roundtrip $40 cab fare. The service was attentive and not annoying (they even ordered a return cab at the appropriate time for us). The food was unique, I had veal that was actually a steak and not pounded into a pancake like you see too often. Other entrees included: Rack of lamb, chicken under a brick, and a specialty steak for one of our party who has extreme food allergies. They all were fresh, tasty, and well-balanced entrees. The Sunday half-price wine night is a great deal, but even better is their fixed price menu that allows you to choose three things (app., entree, dessert, etc.) for $48. This was the best 'quality for the price' deal I've seen. We even received a follow up call this week from the restaurant just to see how our experience was, and then they kindly looked up our tab to have someone call me back with a wine we had by the glass that I forgot to get the name of. Fabulous place.
Craftsteak in the MGM grand: I agree with other Chowhounds that the braised short ribs were delicious. Unfortunately the other entrees were simply mediocre. Large portions, but not large on flavor. The service was a bit slow as well.
Michael's in the Barbary Coast: This place bills itself as an "Old Style Las Vegas Steakhouse", and I would say that is accurate. The prices are astronomical ($78 fillet anyone?) for the quality. While good, the meal was so heavy that we couldn't help but feel like no one eats like this anymore for a reason. The service was excellent, but the casino feels really run down in comparison to several others, and you have to exit the restaurant and go through the casino to reach a restroom. Can't say I'd go back for any reason other than a free dinner.
The Country Club, in the Wynn: While beautifully decorated, this "Gentleman's" lounge/dining area lacks a unique character, and this carries through to the food. We were under impressed with the Red Snapper, it was tough and chewy with little flavor. The best part of the meal was the dessert (who couldn't like a Glenfiddich milkshake with tiny cookies?). Overall it wasn't a bad restaurant but also not anything special.
More kudos for Rosemary's. I was just there last weekend and I'm looking forward to my next Vegas trip just so I can have another meal at Rosemary's. The place is very unassuming when you enter and everyone is so down to earth, but then suddenly you're elevated to another level once the service begins. In my opinion, the staff there is at the level of any top restaurant in any major US city. Someone trained them extremely well to have the perfect balance of professionalism (all plates are placed on the table at the same time) with personality (they are happy to discuss the food, wines, etc in a comfortably casual way). I contrast this to the snootiness and sometimes slopiness that you get at most of the higher-end Vegas spots.
As people have mentioned several times, the 1/2-price concept for wines on Sunday is a great deal. Their list is one of the best I've ever seen for getting rare, small-production bottles at reasonable prices. Ask the sommelier or waiter/waitress for something with a limited allocation and they'll point you to several selections that you'll have a hard time getting anywhere else (Rosemary's only gets a few bottles of each apparently), including directly from the wineries. We had a sommelier-in-training at the table next to us, and even she was blown away.
One word of caution: if you're in Vegas to see and be seen, and if you want neon flashing or water spouting outside the window, you probably won't love Rosemary's. It feels like a local restaurant with none of the Vegas Strip atmosphere. Don't stress about rental car vs. taxi, just drive if you otherwise have a car, or cab it if you don't. We actually went on the way to the airport, so even though it's not really on the way, it worked out really well. This is especially a good idea if you have a late flight but an early hotel checkout. Just make sure you have the address because our cabbie didn't know where it was. That was the first sign that I was going to enjoy the place!
Glad your Rosemary's experience was up to expectation.
As for the veal...their preparations are with the tenderloin,
and are extraordinary. Did you have the regular on the menu
with the lentils, or a special? My last time in the special had
the veal wrapped in prosciutto and served with a warm lump
crab salad. Awesome.
It's probably a good thing they are so far off-strip...any closer
and you could probably never get in there.
Next time rent a car for a day...much less than the $40 cab fare
and you can cruise to some other spots that you might not
get to otherwise.
I had the regular veal on the menu (with the lentils and bits of pancetta). It was so good, I've been day dreaming about repeating the meal all over again. They also had an excellent selection of German wines to try with the veal.
As for the Wynn Country Club, I agree that it is a nice place if you want peace and quiet and a nature view during the day, and aren't in the mood for a unique menu. The casino as a whole was my favorite one on the strip...fewer crowds and a younger (yet still classy) vibe, but I bet that the lack of crowds has a lot to do with their room prices!
Thanks for writing about The Country Club in Wynn. We nearly tried it last time we were in town for lunch, because of the view. Menu looked ok enough, but we decided against it for some reason. Seems like we made a good choice. We hadn't read about anyone else eating there, so your opinion is worth it's weight in gold at the moment. I guess, if you aren't expecting anything too wonderful, it might be ok for a quiet place with a view, but maybe that's all.
We still haven't gotten to Rosemarys and each time I read how great it is I slap myself silly for not driving out there yet. We always have a car - there is just no excuse. Next time - I'm putting it to the top of the list.
Nothing pisses me off more than spending big bucks and getting less than perfect food. Thanks for the heads-up! I've seen way too many negative reviews of Craftsteak, I will never go there.
Next time, Delmonico or Prime is always a safe bet for steak. I really want to try Bradley Ogden, the soup at their bar was so good it was relaxing. Wish I could try every restaurant I want to try, unfortunately, I have to consider what others in my party want:(
I found Bradley Ogden very disappointing on our only visit about 2 years ago. The only dish that elicited a "wow" was the blue cheese souffles. At that price point I want to be wowed by a lot more than one dish, or if I'm not then I want a really fun time. The atmosphere was very stilted. Service was obnoxiously pretentious too.
Nor did I love Craftsteak. I found it difficult to navigate the menu and our server was not particularly helpful. The steaks were ok I guess. But we haven't rushed back. Our go-to steakhouse in Las Vegas is N9NE, which never disappoints. Even if the food isn't perfect, it's so much fun there that we are very forgiving. We've only been to Delmonico once and we did enjoy it a lot.
re: Debbie W
I appreciate the comments...I've never had a bad dinner in Vegas, thanks to this board mostly, and others. Take it to the bank when people here say the same bad things about a restaurant. And when you hear the same good things, with only a few or no bad comments, you're likely not to be disappointed. At those prices, I'm doing my research cause I refuse to pay big bucks for less than flawless food.