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Las Vegas - looking for the opposite of what Vegas is all about

i am going to Vegas in less than 2 weeks - i wanted to try some places that were not big extravagant and over the top... i know that is what Vegas is all about but i have done all of those things already... now i am looking for the hidden gems, sleepers, where the locals go to have a great meal... not looking for inexpensive...just not "super sized" versions of restaurants from SF, NY, and LA...

I like japanese, italian, spanish, or open to suggestions (no steak houses please)

the only "transplant" restaurant i was wondering about is the rao's at caesar's... is it worth checking out?

also, any suggestions for fun, cool bars that are not mega-night clubs would be appreciated...

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  1. lotus of siam for thai on sahara just east of strip

    6 Replies
    1. re: zack

      Just got home from Vegas, and I have to put in another recommendation for LoS.

      Two of the great meals of my life were at this place this past week. Everything was great, but most memorable - drunken noodles w/ seafood - perfectly cooked mussels, scallops, crab and prawns, w/ the most unctuous, yummy pan-fried noodles you ever ate. Northern Larb - simple ground pork (comes in a bowl you won't finish) cooked w/ chopped fresh herbs and two chiles sticking out of the bowl - no mouth heat at all, but lights the furnace, if you know what I mean - we ordered everything mild, and got exactly the amount of heat we wanted. Get some sticky rice to go with this - the larb has a hard to describe sourness that is addictive - you won't finish, but you'll try. Ladle some of the broth in the bowl over the sticky rice.

      Braised short ribs in panang curry - yummmm... The beef was pull-apart perfect, and the curry was memorable. My wife got the salmon w/ panang curry - perfectly grilled, and the curry was different from the beef curry - fit the fish dish perfectly.

      Get some soups - we did the woon sen soup - lovely clear broth and mushrooms w/ glass noodles and chicken, and the best tom kah gai I ever had in my life. The use of coconut milk (in its restraint) is a revelation. They'll recommend the sour sausage and crispy rice appetizer - it's really good - eat it with the veg that comes with it for balance w/ the crispy rice, peanuts, and ginger.

      Good luck!!

      Save room for sticky rice w/ mango and some coconut ice cream. Terrific wine list - lots of German wines - who knew that dry riesling was so good with thai? Now I know too... can't recommend this place enough. Go for lunch, don't go for the buffet, order from the menu - it's a bargain. call for reservations if you go for dinner these guys are busy, busy, busy, and its no wonder.

      1. re: mezzrow

        Oooh, short ribs -- never had short ribs at LOS -- I have something to look forward to. Otherwise, the only thing I disagree with you about is that "you won't finish the Northern Larb." Speak for yourself! Thanks for the report.

        1. re: Dave Feldman

          Wow, I must have missed that on my last LOS visit. I was munching on some other pork dish (just fine, bu the way), and got to wondering how Thai cooks would do with short ribs, pork belly, or whole roast pig.

          You answered one of three questions, thanks.

          1. re: Professor Salt

            since you are big on the pig, just wanted to be sure that you read OP's post carefully: sounds like those were beef short ribs...maybe that is why you missed them :-)

            1. re: susancinsf

              Heh, of course, you're right, Susan. The food put me in that hazy happy place where braised pork belly and braised short ribs all met and sang kumbaya around the campfire.

              1. re: Professor Salt

                Indeed they were beef short ribs. There wasn't that much distance away from from pork belly, though - kind of like beefy pork belly if you get my drift, but very clean, no bone, not much fat (on the outside) and that tender, melty thing was happening - which of course means they were very good beef short ribs indeed. With the lovely, sort of beefy paneng curry. And the jasmine rice.

                I too, was in that happy place, Prof - complete with a lovely dry riesling to wash it all down. Am ready to fly back now.

                A memorable night. :-)

    2. My review of Rosemary's is right below your post and it is fabulous. About 20 minutes off the strip with great food and fabulous atmosphere w/out the over the top glitz.

      3 Replies
      1. re: popandkate

        Recently, there was a discussion about bad service at Rosemary's, and at that time, I chimed in that I had always had great service there. That has definitely changed with the last two dining experiences, both within the past six weeks. The final one was two weeks ago on a not very busy Saturday night. We were seated and after our servers introduced themselves, took our wine order and left menus disappeared. Not for five minutes. Not for ten minutes. Twenty minutes later, they came back with wine and took our order. Now, we like a leisurely dinner, but come on. Okay, here comes our appetizers!! Then, poof. Servers gone. Another twenty minutes, and I am starving and peeved. Boyfriend not happy. I finally flag down a person that looks like management and request our salads. Ten minutes later, here they come. Another twenty minutes. Entrees STILL not out. By this time, our wine is gone, we have had a less than pleasurable discussion about the service and our waiter shows up. After he tells us our entrees are about to come out, he reaches for the wine to pour and notices it is empty. Asks if we want another one. I tersely reply no. Boyfriend has another way of saying no. Management sends over a glass for us both to go with dinner. Entrees are only okay at this point. I will say that management tried to fix it with a comped glass of wine and a comped dessert, but dinner had gone south long before any attempt to fix it. This was the second dinner in a row that service was awful. We called the owners the next day and let them know that it was disappointing that our favorite restaurant was losing track of the details.

        1. re: popandkate

          Rosemary's is a big fat bore. There, I said it. I'm so sick of hearing about Rosemary's on this site and every other. That and Pamplemousse. I just don't get it. What is the obsession? The food doesn't wow me and I find their wait staff incredibly annoying at both places. I'm sorry but when I can pronounce your French dishes better than you can (and I'm not French), it doesn't leave me with a good impression your restaurant. And to the OP, Rao's = no.

          Poly

        2. Rincon de Buenos Aires on Spring Mountain between Decatur and Lindell for their mixed grills.

          1. Metro Pizza - great pizza and a yummy Tuscan salad. Archi's Thai Kitchen (small but great food). Food Express (awful name; wonderful authentic Chinese). Lindo Michoacan (OMG!!!). Killroy's for burgers

            1. Grimaldi's pizza Coal Fired Pizza from NY

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              Grimaldi's Pizzaria
              9595 S Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89123

              1 Reply
              1. re: Skunk2Racer

                Grimaldi's is the best pizza I've EVER had. Particularly the white pizza with pepperoni and/or sausage. Everything is so fresh and homemade, and the cheese is spot on. The crust is not thin, but not thick, and it's just perfect.