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First Las Vegas Trip Coming Up - 20 somethings

1newyorkguy May 18, 2007 09:19 PM

Hi there, glad to see that chowhound is alive and well in the SW.

I'm going with 7 other close guy friends of mine, we're all about 28. I'll be picking a lot of the food destinations. We will be staying at Treasure Island.

I'm already grateful for finding lotus of siam on here, that will be a must visit.

I am looking for the following tips, plus any others you'd like to throw in

Steakhouse - a place with top notch steaks, and able to get that crust

24 hour eating - good but not fancy

buffets - from what I've read it looks like planet hollywood is the place to go?
'

  1. s
    spicedude May 22, 2007 01:47 PM

    For Steak, my two favorites are Delmonicos@ Venetian or Stripsteak @ Mandalay Bay.Chef Michael Mina does duckfat fries.
    For a group like yours, try the Sunday Margarita brunch @ Gardunos @ the Palms.Good Mexican buffet with all you can drink Margaritas for $14.95pp. It's on Sundays from 10am. Get a table looking out on the pool and you'll have many stories to tell when you get home

    3 Replies
    1. re: spicedude
      a
      Atty May 28, 2007 08:19 AM

      I was in a similar position about a year ago. 5 guys, average age 29, bachelor party, stayed at TI. First off, TI is great for a group like this. Affordable and has everything you need. I cannot comment on steakhouse (skipped that), but it seems like others have provided great suggestions.

      Here are my thoughts based on my experience last year:

      TI Buffet--just okay. Does the job, but heard better things about Mirage and obviously Wynn and Bellagio.

      Isla--located in TI. If you like mexican-type-fushion, it is excellent and very reasonable. Great mojitos.

      Tangerines--club located in TI, and you get in for free with your TI room key. Personally, I thought it sucked. I would think long and hard before you go the club route in Vegas. As others have stated, getting into a club with a group of guys is difficult, to say the least (unless you know someone). Most won't even let groups of guys four or larger in (check the sites to confirm). If they do let you in, expect to pay a hefty price. But even more important than these issues, and this is just my opinion, clubs aren't great places for a group of guys looking to have a good time in vegas. The music is loud as hell, so you are screaming at eachother all night. You cannot sit unless you get bottle service ($$$). The line for the bar is insane, and drinks are $10 and up (at least). We hit Tangerine the first night and stayed away from clubs for the rest of the trip. Instead, find a good bar/lounge with good music (vegas has some great cover bands-songs that you're whole group will know). These places also have areas for you to sit and actually carry on a conversation. Kahunaville in TI is fun, Carnivale Court at Harrah's is good, and Cleopatra's Barge at Caesars will work too.

      Get a limo--if you are going to be there on a weekend, or want to travel some on or off the strip (like someone said above, hotels are FAR apart) think about getting a limo. I am from NY too, and prices are not like they are here. An eight person limo may run you about $60 per hour. Book it for 6 hours and total cost is $360. Add tip, $430. Divide this by 7 guys and you each pay $60 a piece. But, think about what you get: 1) NO CABS--ever see a cab line in Vegas on a Saturday night? Can be very long, and you have to wait (cannot just step on the street and flag them down); 2) drinks--get some stuff for the limo and you can save money on drinks at the bar (again, expensive) ; 3) the freedom to go anywhere at anytime, and together as a group (you'll need two cabs for 7 guys). We took the limo from TI as far as Mandalay Bay (opposite end) and it was a blast. Cab would have been much worse. And when we walked out of Mandalay Bay, the cab line was at least 50 deep. Subtract all your cab fares and the price of drinks and $60 is nothing...plus, you've got a limo! Finally, when you do get a cab, Vegas traffic on a weekend night is brutal. Would you rather be split up, sitting in a hot cab in traffic on your way to your next destination, or would you rather be with the boys, having a few drinks in the limo?

      24 hour eats--Grand Lux in the Venetian is great. Same owners as the cheesecake factory. Big portions and good prices.

      If you must go to a club, I agree with suggestions above. Get there early or eat at the restaurant first. Some places (voodoo lounge, for example, which has an amazing view of Vegas Strip) lets you in for free before 8 (i think, check it).

      Have a great time!

      1. re: Atty
        1newyorkguy May 28, 2007 09:48 AM

        great advice on the limo, thanks..

        where'd you go at mandalay bay? worth it? i had read about carnival court, looks good.

        1. re: 1newyorkguy
          a
          Atty May 28, 2007 11:02 AM

          We went to MB mainly because we had the limo and heard it was a great hotel. It is a very nice hotel, even just to walk through. Table minimums are on the higher side for gambling (some 10, but mostly 15, 25, weekend night.). We went to Red Square, which was a pretty cool bar. It has a Russian theme...tons of different kinds of Vodka...and the bar top is made of ice (sounds better than it looks, but still interesting). We also went to the coral lizard lounge, which is basically the "center bar" area. Center bar meaning it is out in the open, good place to people watch but also had good live music. The name has changed since then, I believe it is now called the j-pop lounge? I may go back on my next trip and check out House of Blues (heard good things). I won't go to rum jungle (too club-like for me). If you have a limo, it is probably worth checking out. If you don't, don't worry about it. TI is in a good location and you have lots of options, but MB is not one of them. It is close to 3 miles away. We used the limo to venture out to places we knew we'd never walk to. TI has a great center bar area too...think it is called Breeze's...great place to have a few drinks and check out the people arriving at the hotel and playing in the casino.

          I meant to mention in my last post the limo company we used was called bell trans.

    2. natpep13 May 22, 2007 01:43 PM

      Hands down my fave steak place is Delmonico's in the Venetian. It's an Emeril restaurant. The portions are large, the food is fab and the prices are up there but so worth it in my opinion. We go to Vegas every year and last year we tried all new places and could kick ourselved for not going back to Delmonico's.

      Also fun is the Voo Doo Lounge on top of the Rio. The food is great (cajun/seafood) and there is an outside bar on the 50th floor. Great Views.

      I have never been to the Palms but always hear great reviews of N9NE and would like to try it next time we're there (Sept)

      1. s
        Sacto_Damkier May 21, 2007 03:54 PM

        OK, as a fellow 20-something, you should consider N9NE at the Palms for your steakhouse. The Palms is a great place for our age group, and N9NE serves an awesome steak in a great environment. It also allows you to stick around afterwards and enjoy the rest of the facility including Ghostbar or the Playboy Club.

        Las Vegas is 24 hours, but most good restaurants are not. In-N-Out Burger is open till 1 AM weeknights, 1:30 AM weekends and is an absolute must. Go all out with the Double Double Animal Style and well done fries. Most casinos have a 24-hour coffee shop that is usually above average for the basics, although the Grand Lux Cafe in the Venetian serves some good food 24-hrs. Their Grand Lux Burger Melt (medium-rare) was very good and messy.

        I have always like the Wynn Buffet myself because of the good quality high-end buffet food and nice atmosphere. Bellagio is also very good, and should probably be a must see for a Vegas first timer. I have not been to the Planet Hollywood since it changed from the Aladdin (and lost the magnificant Commander's Palace!), but the old Spice Market was very good mainly for the variety.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Sacto_Damkier
          Debbie W May 21, 2007 07:03 PM

          I agree that N9NE is a fabulous steakhouse for the 20-somethings. As a 40-something, I like it too and my husband and I go there regularly on our trips to Vegas. Guess what, they don't discriminate based on age! We always have good cocktails, food and service and we like the atmosphere quite a lot. In terms of just the food, I think the food is better at Craftsteak (MGM), but that's not to disparage N9NE at all (although I do think the N9NE menu could use a bit of updating, the same dishes have been on it for a long time, maybe always).

          I think Stripsteak (Mandalay Bay) is aiming for the N9NE demographic and close-to-Craftsteak food and I don't think it's doing either entirely successfully. In fact, I don't think Stripsteak holds a candle to either N9NE or Craftsteak, and we've been to Stripsteak twice so far in 2007. My husband has chosen N9NE for dinner on his actual birthday in July so that's how much we enjoy it.

          1. re: Debbie W
            1newyorkguy May 22, 2007 10:57 AM

            thanks for the good advice.

            does N9NE cook their steaks with VERY high heat giving it a nice crust? I've read craftsteak doesn't necessarily.

            1. re: 1newyorkguy
              s
              Sacto_Damkier May 22, 2007 01:35 PM

              Yes, they cook at 1200F which produces the crust.

              1. re: 1newyorkguy
                s
                Sacto_Damkier May 22, 2007 01:56 PM

                Also, go for the bone-in rib eye with the lobster mashed potatoes. They also serve a real Caesar salad and killer drinks.

                1. re: Sacto_Damkier
                  Debbie W May 22, 2007 05:34 PM

                  I second the bone-in ribeye but we usually get the truffled gnocchi instead of the lobster mash. Both are very rich. Actually, we usually split the bone-in ribeye, they do it nicely.

                  As to the crust, one time we were there with friends and they ordered "charred rare" which they got, but that's not exactly the kind of crust that the OP is looking for, right? Myself, I hate very much char but I think crust and char aren't the same thing.

                  1. re: Debbie W
                    s
                    Sacto_Damkier May 22, 2007 08:17 PM

                    Insert Homer Simpson... truffled gnocchi... [loud drool]. Now I have to make it back to Vegas, as if I could stay away.

          2. d
            Dave Feldman May 21, 2007 12:27 AM

            For 24-hour dining (and drinks), try the Peppermill, near the Riviera Hotel on the North side of the Strip.

            1. k
              kjs May 20, 2007 07:05 PM

              20 somethings - all guys...to me ( as a guy...a ltitle older though ) - it's either palms ( n9ne, they have a brand new buffet, and their coffee shop - 24/7 ...get to casino early, go up to ghost bar...$10 cover..but that get's you into the playboy club and moon...those cost $20 if you go to those first ...then eat dinner ) or hard rock ( simon, pink taco...the coffee shop..i think it's called mr lucky ) of course at ti you've got social house. next door at mirage you have stack - basically a steakhouse that's hip and you get entrance into the night club ( i think it's jet ) with your meal...they also have japonais...the carnegie deli i believe is open 24 hours....i play poker at mirage...when i walk by jet ( the parking garage is next to it...i tell ya...that place is hoppin' !!! bellagio has fix the sis/bro restaurant to stack and again, eat there you get entry into the night club...gee...is that one called light ??? and of course the bellagio has a very good buffet ...please please please report back on your trip !

              thanks

              1. k
                kinipela May 19, 2007 12:08 AM

                hmmmm steak--> capital grille in the fashion mall... yum! there's always the one in the palms n9ne... i've never been... but apparently i hear it's pretty good....

                buffet--> wynn or bellagio or rio (i think it was one of the first of the mega-buffets.. but don't quote me on that... hahahah)

                oh and get gelato from jean michele (jean something) in bellagio... YUM!!!!

                warning about whoever is picking the clubs for u guys.... if there are 7 dudes, be prepared to pay a pretty penny... or opt for a vip service.. unless u know some folks in the industry.... i hate to say it, but that's how it goes... boo...

                24 hours eats.. i was usually dancing until the sun comes up and then i crash hahaha... BUT i hear the terrible's casino (off the strip) has good late late nite food... most casinos have their 24 hour diner, but expect the service to be slow... 'cause well, it's late nite...\

                ur first vegas trip! have fun =) i'm sure u'll get all crazy... but after going so many times.. i'ld rather spend a day in the spa... hahahah

                7 Replies
                1. re: kinipela
                  lvmanager May 19, 2007 02:39 AM

                  Jean-Philippe Patisserie in Bellagio. They do have some tasty pasteries.

                  Hmmm ... will *this* post be deleted as well?

                  1. re: kinipela
                    1newyorkguy May 19, 2007 10:20 AM

                    yeah I figured the club situation would be bad for us. are there any other good options? some easier to get into lounges/bars?

                    1. re: 1newyorkguy
                      k
                      kinipela May 19, 2007 02:09 PM

                      i haven't had the pastries at jean-phillippe, but they do look good. some friends of mine shared a crepe there, and it looked really good. if you do get gelato, you can taste different flavors. and you can actually get 2 flavors in one cup for the price of one cup =)

                      if ur staying in treasure island, then i would check there club scene (i forget which one it is, but if i recall correctly, it's orange)... there's so much to do in vegas, you can sit in a lounge and watch a free show... the one in paris is pretty good. and at all these places you can order drinks and such... one option would be to go EARLY to the popular clubs, meaning 9pm, and be the 1st one in line so that you are right in front... you can also look at online guest lists, but everyone is on there... and it really is difficult to get in, i had some trouble on my last visit, and i knew someone too... boo.. he explained the scene isn't what it used to be...

                      oh and one more thing, most casinos have steak houses, not all of them good.. i think mandalay bay has some pretty good restaurants also....

                      1. re: kinipela
                        jenniebnyc May 19, 2007 03:15 PM

                        it's called Tangerine

                        1. re: jenniebnyc
                          ciaogal May 19, 2007 03:45 PM

                          Another suggestion would be something like Rum Jungle (Mandalay Bay) , TAO (Venetian)or Social House (TI) for dinner and then it becomes a club later.....you can bypass the cover if you are seated for dinner...and remain in the club!

                          1. re: ciaogal
                            sarahvagaca May 20, 2007 11:00 AM

                            Yes! I had some friends who really wanted the Vegas club experience, so they made reservations for dinner at Tao which gave them V.I.P. access to the club. That might be your best bet.

                            You'll have fun anywhere on the Strip, but I think The Palms and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino have the youngest crowds. They're both off the Strip though and if you're going on a weekend, the traffic can be a pain.

                            My vote for best buffet is the Bellagio. The Wynn would probably be second and the Aladdin's Spice Market buffet used to be great and I've heard here on CH that it's great again with its new Planet Hollywood makeover.

                            Have fun!!

                      2. re: 1newyorkguy
                        c
                        clarkyp May 23, 2007 05:41 PM

                        caramel at the bellagio is a nice lounge...

                    2. l
                      lvnvflyer May 18, 2007 10:49 PM

                      N9Ne for steaks would be a good choice for your group.

                      1. m
                        mojoeater May 18, 2007 10:13 PM

                        I think the best buffet is Cravings at the Mirage. Truly incredible. Hard Rock is off the Strip and you'd have to drive or take a cab. Only worth the trip if there's an event you're into. Definitely check out Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay. Great lunch for a group of guys, and the beach there is very cool. Every casino has some sort of 24 hour eating.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mojoeater
                          j
                          jlawrence01 May 20, 2007 09:00 AM

                          Personally, I am not into the "rock and roll" scene or any of that stuff.

                          However, on my last trip, we wondered into the Hard Rock Hotel's coffee shop for the $7.77 steak and shrimp UNadvertised special. Not only was the food quite good but the vibe was very interesting. Also, they had a lot of very interesting exhibits lining the casino that was well worth the hour it took to walk around.

                          And teh food was well prepared.

                          1. re: mojoeater
                            GroovinGourmet May 20, 2007 06:50 PM

                            As a newfound fan of the Spice Market, I guess I'm gonna have to hit Cravings.

                            What makes it "truly incredible"? That almost seems hyperbolic when discussing a boofay.

                          2. chef chicklet May 18, 2007 09:54 PM

                            Really there are so many good places to eat there but, from my own experience...
                            Mortons for steaks.http://www.mortons.com/website/index.html - off the strip
                            Its an icon in Las Vegas. Just so cool. Frank Sinatra's old stomping ground.
                            In the Forum at Cesars Palace is Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab. Excellent food there too. Really good steaks and great stone crab.
                            And one of my favorites for buffet food is at La Village Buffet at Paris. Really different and done well.
                            Actually Treasuer Island has an okay buffet for breakafast and casual. Not great but okay.
                            Remember to wear good shoes if you decide to walk the strip, all of the hotels appear much closer.
                            Great Chinese in Wynns- Wing Lei - truly wonderful http://www.wynnlasvegas.com/main.cfm?...

                            I envy you!

                            1. 1newyorkguy May 18, 2007 09:30 PM

                              not to limit the steak recommendations, but what I am considering now is Craftsteak, SW, and prime

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