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There is Something Wrong With the Food in Las Vegas

In every restaurant, in every casino, in every fast food joint in Las Vegas - The food has this certain taste. Has anyone noticed it? It is indescribable other that to say it permeates everything and ends up coming out of your pores. The best way to describe it is bad grease but it is much more insidious. Maybe the price of oil has reached into the grease vat and it doesn't get changed as often. I am telling you - it was gross - from a burger to a $100 meal it was all the same.

My girlfriend and I had to get out of town because we couldn't eat there anymore. May 2008.

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  1. You were able to buy a meal in Vegas for $100?! There's your real point, not this silliness about everything tasting the same because of the casino water. Where was it -- Capriotti's Sandwich Shop? Original Pancake House? Tacos Mexicano? I've wandered away from the Strip to all of the obvious low-end possibilities and have never paid less than $150/person (incl. tax, tip), especially if you get the Forty-Niner Flapjacks at OPH or the three hard-shell ground-beef tacos at TM. You should post the details of your find in the Southwest board!

    1. You might want to post this on the Southwest board. I'd like to see their response.

      As for me, no, I've never noticed it. I've had a lot of good meals in Vegas, from fast food to $200 per person meals. I never noticed any funny taste while eating at Renoir, L'Atelier, Fleur de Lys, Delmonicos, Postrio, or Mesa Grill. Nor did I notice anything funny when I eat at Lotus of Siam, Grand Lux, Enoteco San Marco, La Salsa, Fatburger, etc.

      The only thing I could figure is that you might be acutely sensitive to smoke and it affected your taste buds. But I've never experienced that.

      (ETA: this was originally posted on the LA board)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jwsel

        I think Jwsel has something here. The smell of vegas gets to me too; and smells definitely affect your taste impression (90% of taste is smell, or something like that?)...

      2. Well that's certainly a very specific post. How about the names of where you ate. What the problem was, management's response, etc.? I think it pretty clear, if you read dozens of reviews on this board of Las Vegas restaurants, that some of the finest meals in the US are available in that town.

        1. I've never noticed any thing, like your description. Most of our dining is in the higher-end establishments, but even the quick foray to Margaritaville for a burger (surprisingly good, and theme-restaurants are not normally my style) did not yield anything similar. Never have done any of the buffets, so cannot comment there.

          Usually great and innovative food, with a few "trendy" clunkers thrown in, but no aftertaste at all. Maybe we washed it away with our wine? You really got me there.


            1. Palfey,

              I responded earlier, and was a bit puzzeled by what you wrote. My comments were based on earlier visits, and a very recent one to the Green Valley Ranch Resort - not exactly Las Vegas, though near and similar.

              However, I just got back from the Palazzo this afternoon. As I walked around the various venues, your comments were on my mind. Now, the Palazzo property is very new, so there were still some construction "smells," that were evident. Walking around the properties (Palazzo & Venetian), I WAS struck by other "smells." These were more of a tapestry of aromas, but WERE present. It was a bit like walking through, or close to, the perfume areas in a department store. They WERE everywhere. They came in layers and were fairly amorphous - nothing was really definable, and I can usually dissect nuances in most wines to the Nth degree. These were different and seemed to fill most of the common areas - casinos, shopping areas, almost everywhere. I had never noticed this before.

              I can only guess on this, but since the no smoking edict, save for some casino areas, I wonder if some properties are not pumping in aromas to cut the cigarette smells. I asked around, but received no comment, and usually a blank stare from the people, to whom I posed the question.

              I did attempt to find these aromas in the two main restaurants, where I dined, Aquaknox and L'Atelier. They were not to be found, and I was looking for them. It was the same at the wine bar, Double Helix, in the Palazzo Shopping Area. Even though I got this light "fog" of odors nearby, they were not present in this open wine bar, nor did they come through in even some very lightly aromatic wines.

              My wife also became aware of these smells, though it was not until I mentioned something. She likened them to a person wearing several perfumes at once (similar to my observation). She also found none of these in any of our food, or in the wines.

              Maybe a local, who is in the know, can comment on this. To a degree, I now agree with your statements. While I disagreed initially, I think that you might have encountered something similar, though to a much greater degree, than what we experienced.

              Hunt, still scratching his head on this one.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Casinos have been pumping in aromas for a long, long time. It might be that it's just now being noticed due to the smoking thing but you can still smoke anything and everything legal on the casino floor so I don't see how it's noticeable all of the sudden. The food, however, is a different story. I lived there for a little over 10 years and I can tell you that I never really noticed any funny "taste" to the food.

                My two favorite casino "smells" are the Mirage and Mandalay Bay. Indescribable really ( although the closest I can come is "tropical" - almost cocoa-buttery ), but still noticeable.

                1. re: azbirdiemaker

                  Right, the Mirage and Mandalay Bay smell exactly like how I remember suntan lotion smelling when I was a kid. Every time we walk into MGM (where we stay a lot) we notice its "scent" which I can't really describe with words but it's unique among casinos. But we've eaten in restaurants in many if not most of the major Strip casinos including in restaurants actually IN the casinos such as FIX, and have never noticed anything unusual about the taste of the food. I don't smoke or wear perfume. I do think things are much more pleasant now that smoking is banned in the restaurant bars, so we can actually have an enjoyable dining experience in the bars if we want to, which we do sometimes.

                  1. re: azbirdiemaker

                    "Casinos have been pumping in aromas for a long, long time."
                    This is an old urban legend, very easy to debunk by doing a little research.

                    1. re: The Old Man

                      Uh, wrong.


                      I'm thinking Coconut Spice is the one Mandalay uses but who knows.

                      1. re: The Old Man

                        You're thinking of oxygen. It's very easy to confirm that they do this by walking into the Venetian. It's like getting smacked in the face with a pine tree.

                          1. re: The Old Man

                            I thought they stopped pumping oxygen after the MGM fire years ago.

                            1. re: BlueOx

                              Well I was wrong--much to my chagrin--about the odors. But I stand by that pumping oxygen was always an urban legend. It really made no sense.

                  2. So... im from Vegas... are you saying Im stinky? LOL!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: katie_ladie

                      Whenever I step inside the Venetian the smell is the first thing that hits me. It is a bit annoying at first but does seem to become less obtrusive as time goes by.

                      As for Vegas food, well I live here and eat out fairly often but can't say I've ever noticed any "certain taste" among the food or restaurants here. Even when I travel for a while and then come back to Vegas I still notice no difference in the food between here and elsewhere.

                      1. re: Whisper

                        The Venetian has the most noticeable (and to me, almost overpowering) pumped-in aroma of all of the casinos (different from the ambient "aroma" of the defunct New Frontier, which was simply bad). I believe it is largely rosewater.

                        1. re: Friend of Bill

                          Yes, I know for a -fact- that The Venetian pumps in a fragrance called "Seduction" inside the property. They even sell a take-home room-spray version of it, inside gift-shops. To me, it smells very ambery and sweet. Not too offensive to me. (i'd rather smell that, rather than tobacco, ANY day!)

                          Want to hear -my- "locals" theory on why sometimes the food has a bit of an odd taste? I know many hotel/casino kitchens use a non-stick spray, that's NOT Pam. It's a generic, nasty vile-tasting stuff. Or, they sometimes use too much oil in other ways, adding a full ladle of the goop for hash-brown potatoes. Mind you, this would be the lower-end dining places. When I've eaten at B&B, Lotus Of Siam- there were nothing off-tasting about my meals there.

                    2. When I walk in the Venetian and many other hotels if I do smell something its usually the smell of the large water fountains they have within them. The chlorinated water and such gives off a distinctive scent.