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Jun 28, 2007 04:27 PM

Suggestions for Las Vegas dining?

The BF and I will be in LV for 4 days next week, and are looking for some deliciousness. No nightclubs, lounges, or bars, please. We're there for iPOP, and that's all the "look at me!" we can handle.

I've heard wonderful things about Bouchon (perfect, since we're staying at the Venetian), but I hope my fellow CHers can recommend more restaurants for us. I haven't been to the Strip in years, and had so-so food with that group, so am looking for the tastiest this time. Doesn't have to be upscale or beautiful (though that could be fun), just has to be REALLY GREAT.

Please advise...

Thanks in advance!

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    1. Bouchon IS great. The croque madame with frites, salmon rillettes, pate de campagne, shellfish platter, frisee salad with lardons....are my usual orders. Service can be a little clumsy depending on when you go, but the atmosphere is light and airy and the food is usually on point for a casual, french bistro meal. Watch out, the bill can creep up on you when you add some tasty wine!

      If you are really into a "food" experience, but do not want to commit to a "frou frou" meal, head to L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand. This restaurant is set up like a sushi bar, sleek in colors of black and red. It is an open kitchen, where the servers stand behind the bar to service you. The menu is very french with definite asian influences, beautiful food, that can be eaten in a degustation menu format, tapas style, or however you choose. Once again, watch out with the bill.

      I recently ate at Batali's new place at the Venetian. I have to say the food was stellar. While we ate a lot, and had an astronomical bill to prove it, the service still has something to improve upon. If you go, take the service in stride and expect to hear this catchy phrase often "Mr. Batali doesn't do things that way," but enjoy the melt in your mouth pastas and you must have bomboloni for dessert. Little cinnamon doughnuts with gianduja dipping sauce.

      Hit up Lotus of Siam if you are even a smidgen of a Thai food lover. Don't let the less than fancy exterior of its home in a creepy, run-down strip mall, scare you. The food is beyond your imagination of yumm! The wine prices here are killer too. If you go in, let the friendly staff take care of you and set you up with wine and food. I always leave full and amazed. The chef/owners used to cook for Thai royalty.

      Everyone goes on about Rosemary's. I personally do not feel it is anything special. If you go, I would hit it up for lunch. They offer beer and wine recommendations for each dish, which is fun, and the servers are great.

      Try Mesa Grill at Caesar's Palace. The Lamb there is out of control! And the ahi nacho appetizer is delicious. I went to this place with very low expectations (being the whole Food Network, star chef hype thing), but left with a whole new respect for Bobby Flay. All of his dishes (while gratuitously doused with infused oils) are well-balanced, perfectly cooked and the place has an amazing, energized atmosphere.

      I hope these recommendations help a little. The Vegas restaurant scene spoils us. I have traveled everywhere, and there are really no other places, with an exception to maybe San Fran and NYC, where you can find the gastronomical underbelly huddling in a one-mile radius. Enjoy....and expect to pay a pretty penny.

      8 Replies
      1. re: ciaobelly

        I second Mesa Grill! went there for Sunday lunch/brunch...yummy! the queso fondido was amazing, as was everything else.

        btw, the Sterling brunch as Bally's is out of this world!

        1. re: coco puff

          Coco Puff, I wish I had seen your post before replying! Thanks for the heads-up about Mesa and Bally's for brunch. We now have three days planned, start to finish, with your suggestions!

        2. re: ciaobelly

          Awesome. We'll definitely go to Bouchon and L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon for dinner. I've been to Batali/Silverton's Mozza here in LA and am unhealthily obsessed with their fennel sausage pizza and butterscotch budino, so his place at the Venetian is a must-try for me. I had completely forgotten about it--thanks for reminding me!

          The Thai place sounds delicious, but I'm wondering if the BF will ask me why we're going for Thai when we live right next to ThaiTown in LA. Anything else I can tell him to persuade him?

          Mesa sounds great--especially since we're both huge fans of lamb.

          Thanks for the great suggestions! Everything sounds WAY better than the awful buffet at Caesar's Palace and the hungover lunch at Margaritaville from last time. Speaking you have any recs for brunch? Or should we just stick with Bouchon in the mornings? (Oh my, how very luxurious that sounds!)

          1. re: riceflour

            if you are there on a Sunday the House of Blues gospel brunch is great (at the Mandalay Bay). it usually sells out before Sunday.

            i would also use the search function, there are hundreds of great Vegas posts that can steer you in the right direction

            incidentally my wife and i will also be out there for 4 days next week. i can't wait

            1. re: jeffbatl

              Thanks for the search reminder. There are so many to wade through--some not all that current--that I figured I'd skip the process and ask directly. After all, things in Vegas change almost as often as in LA.

              We won't be there on Sunday, but I'll have to keep that on my "places to try" list for next time. I wonder, is the HOB brunch at all like the one in LA, OC, or Boston? I've had the one in Boston and it was pretty good.

              Have a great time in Vegas! And watch out for the iPOP performers--the city will be swarming with them...

            2. re: riceflour

              Sure, tell him LOS is considered to be the best Thai restaurant in the US! There are Thai places in my area too, but I never miss a trip to LOS when in Vegas...

              1. re: riceflour

                Gourmet Magazine named Lotus of Siam the best restaurant in America and even the LA Times food critic has said that there's nothing as good in LA. I've been and it's all true.

                Convincing enough??

                1. re: poptisserie

                  It would have been, except that we were eating dinner at 11p or later most nights, and brunch/lunch at around 11:30a. And with no time to venture outside of the building (see my update below), all of our "adventures" were limited to establishments in The Venetian.

                  Hopefully, our next convention/vacation will allow for more time to explore the rest of the city and NOT be in the middle of the 115F heatwave. Ugh--that was enough incentive for me to stay in the building, for sure : \

            3. Rosemary's, for lunch or Sunday dinner (half price wine night).

              Apparently not for everybody, but then I am thankful. If it were, I couldn't get in there
              for multiple visits every trip to Vegas. I've eaten there at least 40 times. I've only had one dish that didn't WOW. Best overall value and finer dining experience in the state from where I sit.

              1. Can anyone tell me where Anthony Bourdain got his deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos in Vegas? I have a feeling that, after all the cuisine we'll be experiencing, the BF and I might end up with a downhome food craving in the middle of the night...

                9 Replies
                  1. re: ciaogal

                    Thanks so much! The BF is slightly grossed out by these fried delights, by the way. Are they really as greasy-gross as the BF believes? Or are they like deep-fried Snickers--WAY better than one might imagine, in fact, darn near addictive?

                    1. re: riceflour

                      I found the deep fried Twinkies and Oreos to be disappointingly bland - not bad enough to be fun, and not good enough to be worth eating.

                      1. re: Larry

                        I just spent four days in Vegas and had the most amazing steaks at both Craftsteak (MGM - Tom Collichio) and Stripsteak (Mandalay Bay - Michael Mina). Stripsteak was amazing! Well worth the expenditure.

                        Also great, Joe's Stone Crab and Spago - both at The Forum Shops at Caesars. I really suggest making reservations in advance!!!

                        Stay away from DB (Daniel Boulud). I had a terrible meal there.

                        1. re: jessicaggh

                          i love both Craftsteak and Stripsteak. We plan on hitting both of those next week.
                          We had a bad experience at the Joe's Stone Crab in Caesars but it was mostly the server. We will give it another chance in the future since we love the original in Miami so much.

                        2. re: Larry

                          Perhaps I'll save them for an at-home adventure then. With my own tempura batter, since I'm assuming from photos and your comment that Mermaids uses a thick batter on theirs?

                          1. re: riceflour

                            Yes, there was a thick layer of batter - a fairly heavy, doughy batter.

                            1. re: Larry

                              That sounds really gross. Thanks for the warning!

                              1. re: riceflour

                                Riceflour-You have some great ones on your list! I'd think about adding Michael Mina at Bellagio to your list. A flawless experience-right off the Bellagio Gardens, so you're already relaxed before you even get there! Very serene atmosphere, and the food was incredible! The tuna tartate is a must if you like that sort of thing, it is by far the best there is, imho.

                  2. I always have to recommend the Peppermill. It's a 24 hour coffee shop, but the food is a notch better than your average coffee shop, and the place just screams old-school Vegas. If there's a good sized bunch of you, split the fruit salad. It makes a meal for two or three, and a splittable side dish for about six or more. And their coffee... of, I feel a swoon coming on just thinking about it.