Vegas Recap: SW Steak, MB Buffet, Dim Sum
Just got back from a weekend trip to Vegas. Below are some highlights.
MANDALAY BAY BUFFET:
I have to go to at least one buffet when I am in Vegas. I hit the Wynn last time and it was very, very good. However, since I was with a big group, I didn't want to impose the $40 per person bill on everyone. So, we went to the Mandalay Bay Buffet at $27 per person. They had king crab legs, good prime rib, a few sushi rolls, salmon, salad, desserts. It was not the Wynn buffet, but it was still a pretty good deal at $27. It was solid food and a good variety. Nothing to blow you away, but nonetheless, I would return to it.
This was definitely the highlight of the trip. I was a little worried going in because the board had mentioned that their chef had left. The steaks were excellent. I had a filet mignon and my companion had a bone-in rib eye. Both were done perfectly, crisp on the outside and tender and moist on the inside. The 3 sauces were pretty mediocre to bad. The only edible one was the white one with garlic. The other two were terrible. But, I went for the steak and not the sauces. We also had a side of truffled cream corn (very tasty) and yukon potatos. The seating was fabulous. The tables were outdoor or indoor with open patio. There was a great view of the waterfall and gardenlike grounds. They had a show every 30 minutes. It was a very romantic and beautiful atmosphere. I would definitely return although I have yet to try Craftsteak or Prime. I did try Delmonico's once, and maybe it was an off night, but I thought it was terrible.
To finish off the weekend, we headed toward Chinatown for dim sum. I remember seeing Cathy House and Joyful House on the board, and since we saw Cathy House on Spring Mountain Rd. first, that's where we stopped. The dim sum was good and maybe even superb by Vegas standards. I live in Los Angeles and am spoiled by the San Gabriel Valley dim sum, and the Cathy House passed mustard. It wasn't the best I have ever had, but it was solid. The service was so-so. I'd definitely go back to dim sum if I were in Vegas again.
Re: Cathay House - we drove up to Vegas from Sherman Oaks on Sunday 11/11 and were ready for lunch by the time we got there. Decided to try Cathay House for dim sum since we were a group of 4, as opposed to the usual 2. It was actually our first Vegas dim sum experience. The variety wasn't up to par and the execution lacked something too. I would put it at mediocre overall. The same carts kept coming around. I would say we got there around noon so maybe we were a bit late? But that shouldn't be, for a Sunday, and the restaurant was very full. Maybe I'm spoiled by the SGV dim sum but I actually think the dim sum at Ocean in downtown L.A. is better. I didn't see the check since my bro-in-law paid, so maybe it was ok for the price but I won't be rushing back.
I'll echo the same sentiments as WHills and kjs. The dim sum is good quality and authentic at Cathay House, Orchids Garden, and Chang's, but the variety is about standard for most dim sum places.
If those 3 restaurants were transplanted into the San Gabriel Valley, they would fall into the middle tier of dim sum restaurants, like NBC Seafood, Capital Seafood, or Hong Kong Palace. I actually think those 3 Vegas dim sum places are better than the 3 SGV places I just named.
But if you're expecting a greater variety of dishes at the Vegas dim sum places, like you might see at Ocean Star, you've set your expectations too high and will be disappointed every time.
Maybe we didn't order the right dishes or came too late but I wasn't too impressed with Ping Pang Pong. It wasn't terrible, but just not very memorable. My husband and I have eaten at Cathy House and Chang's and out of the three of them we think Chang's wins hands down.
My experience of Dim Sum is from Orlando, Florida. There was this Chinese restaurant that had a Dim Sum chef from Hong Kong and if he wasn't in town, (usually one month out of the year), you were out of luck for Dim Sum.
So my question is, what is Ping Pang Pong's specialty?
Yeah, I'm curious too as to what makes Ping Pang Pong so highly rated. I was thinking of going there on my last trip, but when I looked inside the restaurant, I could only see one steam cart moving around, along with one soup cart, and one dessert/fried dishes cart. The variety of dishes looked to be pretty skimpy, lesser than the other Vegas dim sum places that I visited.
And Ping Pang Pong is in the Gold Coast, not the Barbary Coast, unless there is a new restaurant that opened up there.