Reservations in Vegas
I am going to Las Vegas the week after Thanksgiving. This is my first trip (woohoo!!) so we will be sticking to the touristy strip area for the most part. I've seen lots of posts saying to make reservations everywhere you want to go. This being the off season and my wanting to not have concrete plans, are reservations really critical at this time? I don't have a specific plan yet but these are some of the places I am thinking about: LOS, Rosemary's, Burger Bar, Mesa Grill, Red 8, Bouchon and I am always open to additional suggestions. There are 2 of us going and we are 25/26.
I don't think the "off season" concept really applies to Vegas - it's more like certain weeks might be busier than others but it always seems busy. I would make as many reservations as possible, and if you decide not to, and just take a chance, be prepared for disappointment or have alternatives in mind. There must be something going on in Vegas that week, because we usually take a trip up there the week after Thanksgiving and this year the hotels were super expensive - we decided on the following week.
The one time we went to Rosemary's without a reservation, we ended up eating at the bar because we couldn't get into the dining room. We knew that might happen. The restaurant isn't that big compared to, let's say, Bouchon or Mesa. I don't think you can make reservations at Burger Bar, at least every time I've been there people are putting their names on the list (only have done lunches there). We were in Vegas this past Sunday and Monday and I made a reservation at LOS for Monday night (only made the res. a couple of days prior) and boy am I glad I did, because every table was full, and it was the end of a long weekend and the casinos had emptied out a lot, compared to Sunday night. We went to Mesa on Sunday and it also was packed and turning people away. Bouchon is usually very crowded too but the bar is quite big there so you have a better chance of being able to eat at the bar if you can't get a table - have seen lots of people eating at the bar at Bouchon. Can't speak about Red 8, never been.
That said, on our upcoming trip we are planning a "dine around" at MGM where we won't be making any reservations and we'll just go to 3 or 4 of the restaurants for drinks and food at the bars - maybe drinks at Nobhill, drinks and appetizers at SeaBlue, pasta at Fiamma, etc. Depends on how much we can handle, usually two cocktails each are our limit so we'll have to share or really pace ourselves! I wouldn't try this on a weekend, though.
The Las Vegas Marathon is the weekend of November 30th so Vegas will be busy. Also, Rodeo Week begins right after that. I'd make reservations.
Yes, definitely make reservations. Why not? It's easy, only takes a few minutes, then you have the peace of mind that you will definitely be able to eat at the place and time you want. I have not been to all the places you mention, but if you want to have dinner at Rosemary's or LOS, reservations are a must!
I must be lucky. I rarely make reservations before coming to LV (admittedly, I don't eat at the highest-end French places) but by going at less popular times, I've had pretty good luck at LOS, Rosemary's, Mesa Grill and Bouchon. LOS has gotten much crazier at dinner, but reservations can usually be made a day in advance.