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Vegas - L.I.Chef notes too

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Just got back from my vegas vaca, and I will keep things brief, but will expand upon if people want more info. I respect Long Island Chefs comments greatly (lived in LI, own two restaurants now, so I think we take the same things into consideration, and I do not want to repeat what we agree upon. In a nut shell,

Morels dinner - had to go after reading post about the fries being better than Bouchon! I usually have two dinners and brk at Bouchon, so I had to go. While I like the bulk of the menu better than Bouchon, the fries are better at Bouchon. Atmosphere totally different as well. Morels goes for the plush fine dine affect.

Elderberry Fushion - if you like Gin, you must try this. Delicious and very strong.
Steak Tartare ended up being one of the best dishes on trip. Very nice. Only complaint, more truffle potato chips.
Table side Caesar - after directing to triple the anchovies and add more tabasco, it was very good. Surprised they used mayo instead of egg yolk, especially since the tartare had a raw quail egg.
Strip steak - as expected.
flat iron steak - as expected
Shelton Farm Chicken - did not try this, but was enjoyed
Tuna with roasted tomato, fennel - cooked perfectly, very generous amount of tuna.
Side of Porcini Macaroni Gratin - Stellar
No dessert ordered
Wine service - attentive, can find reasonably priced wines.
Bread service - nicely flavored butters, fennel seed, black pepper. Bouchon has the best bread, can not remember Morels
Service - very good, warm, and caring. Big surprise here. When we mentioned the fries were very pale, they quickly got crisper, browner ones. Very eager to please.

Wish we could have had cheese course here, but we had just gotten in, and could not eat any more.

Olives Lunch - this is a tradition. Nothing has really changed. Octopus salad, beet salad, tuna carpaccio all fine. We go here more to sit outside and watch the water show. Food is always fine, service ok.

Late night dinner at grand lux Palazzo - never again. Maybe because I hadn't been drinking enough :). All very salty. I have enjoyed the Grand lux at Venetian, maybe more entertainment value if you sit 'outdoors' by the escalator and watch the parade by the escalators. Note that the Palazzo version closes at 3 am.

Table 10, mid afternoon snack
Crab Salad - very good
AZ wraps - where's the tuna? maybe a 1/8 hamachi in each wrap. good flavors tho.
Great rolls fresh out of oven.
Killer Sazerac.
The decor of the restaurant is pretty cool. It is located on the second level retail area, and you can see most of the restaurant from the walkway. Lots of stained glass, iron, etc. They are open thru out the afternoon, seating at the bar. I don't usually care for Emeril restaurants, but I would go here again.

Sat night - L'Atelier at MGM
First let me start off by my very high expectations. We were a four top that all did the 'discovery menu' which is very well described on LI Chef post.

Firstly, does an Amuse Bouche that ALL tables get count as a course on a tasting menu? The cucumber gelee was tasty, but I don't think it should be listed as a course.

General vote of favorite course was the Asparagus Cappucino.

Biggest disappointment was the sea bass. One portion still had the squid cartlidge in it. Tastiest component of this dish was the baby artichoke with chorizo.

The lobster course was very nice (soup)

I was probably the only one that enjoyed the Strawberry dessert.

Was surprised at exactly how small the courses were. Does a slice of cauliflower, as thin as a dime and the size of a quarter really count as part of the menu description? The flavors were very good.
While three of us got the quail, the person how got the strip steak entree received Maybe 1 oz of steak.
I GET the small courses, precise ingredients, quality of ingredients, technique, etc. but I was greatly disappointed by this. Perhaps because of expections, not sure. While I am glad I went, I would not recommend nor go again. We ended up leaving thinking the 'open kitchen' was more for show and plating than actually preparing .
Service was accurate, but smug and really uncaring.
For $148 per person, I felt ripped off. (The foie gras ordered at Rosemary's to add to a dish (for $18) would have been enough for the entire night at L'Atelier)

Burger Bar -
LI Chef spot on with the Rossini.
VERY tasty. Love the salt, pepper, sauce that came with. Sliders were good, zucchini fries good. Fries decent, but not Bouchon.
Wonderful beer selection.
Dessert burger - very cute in presentation. One bite was enough though.

Rosemarys Sunday night (half priced wines)
We had been about 5 yrs ago. I still think it is a great dining experience.
Highlights:
Sweetbreads with morels, roasted tomato sauce - very very generous and tasty.
Prosciutto wrapped figs
Flat iron steak - cooked perfectly.
While we ordered other items, nothing stood out as much as these.
Disappointment - salmon tartare
Service - spot on.
Would recommend and it was nice to get off the strip.
Wine selections were great.
(Rosemary's just called to see how our experience was there - I do respect a restaurant that cares enough to follow thru)

Lunch at Enoteca at St Marks square Venetian
i have had lunch there around 4 times now and this was one of the best. I don't have great expections while dining here, so anytime it is better than expected is a plus.

Highlights
Fried Anchovie and Mozz sandwich - wonderful, it appeared the bread was soaked in a light milk egg batter first? so it had a bit of the Monte cristo affect. Wonderful anchovies.
Arancini - a miss, do not like the red sauce they use in this, as it is similar to the sauce used on pizzas.
Figs on the cold veggie selections were wonderful
Marinated chicken, fried eggplant, roasted tomatoes, arugula, fresh ricotta. Great, would get again. Not chicken breast, but chicken thigh, marinated for days.
Pizza with clams and mozzarella (no red sauce) generous on the clams, about a dozen still in the shell.
Spaghetti with pecorino and black pepper - simplicity at it's best.

Star of the lunch was the dessert cheese course. 5 cheeses; we choose robilito, pecorino, parmesan, taleggio,gorgonzola dolce. The best part was the accomp; those wonderful marinated cherries, apricots with chili, and TRUFFLE honey.

Service, usually needed to be flagged down, but once you got their attention, it was ok.

LI chef - sorry to hear about Dos Cominos ? at the palazzo. I was considering a quick lunch there, but you saved me the trip.

Thanks to all of you who spend the time posting here!

Also, has anyone been to Nora's? Seems to be the buzz word since Elizabeth (?) Blau mentioned it in an interview. I usually make it to Vegas 2-4 times a yr, so I am always looking for something different.

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  1. Here's a local's opinion:
    Nora's on Flamingo is good southern Italian cuisine at very reasonable prices. Capo's on Tropicana is good food and very old Vegas theatrical speakeasy with a Sinatra-clone singer who's quite good. Vintner's Grill is the best off-strip food; better than Rosemary's if you ask me. Steak in Henderson is a great steakhouse with a wine store next to it where you can buy wine retail and pay $10 to drink it at dinner. There are some amazing Asian restaurants in Chinatown along Spring Mountain Road. Not to be missed is Luv-it Frozen Custard on Oakey just off Las Vegas Blvd. Todd's Unique Dining is another outstanding, and well-priced, "locals" gourmet restaurant. Bradley Ogden is consistently good. Il Mulino is very good if you haven't eaten in 3 days. And then of course, there's Lotus of Siam, which goes without saying.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jjo1953

      I've since moved from Vegas, but I fondly recall the days of visiting the Flamingo location even before they had any signage. Talk about a real local's spot. Was it Friday or Saturday nights when the son of the owner would break out into song?

      1. re: jjo1953

        Thanks for your input. I have heard of Vintners Grill from a wine rep or two. Unfortunately the only time we ate at LOS, about 6 yrs ago we went for lunch and did the buffet. Now that I am much older and wiser, I know better. Are you referring to BO at Caesars? I have heard a lot of mixed. I was considering Guy Savoy for the next budget breaker. Rosemary's was good, a few misses, but overall felt a better experience ratio vs price than most. Thanks for input.

      2. Thank you for the kind words winedine, I'm just sorry you didn't enjoy L'Atelier.
        As for Grand Lux, you're pretty much right on. I know for me, the one in the venetian is where I usually end up at about 5 in the morning for a late night/early morning pre-bedtime snack.

        1. Hey guys, as a first time vegas-er I am thinking I should make reservations at the big restaurants, but is it necessary?

          Can I get into the Burger Bar without reservations? What about something bigger like L'Atelier or something like Olives? Any advice?

          1 Reply
          1. re: mcorway

            Olives, to me is only worth eating outside, no reservations for patio accepted. But beware, you may be quoted long wait times by the hostesses, (which have been there since the beginning I swear) and be seated by the time your excellent drink at the bar is prepared. L'Atelier would be reservations, but I was expecting all seats were at the bar, not so. We were at a four top table against the wall. Burger bar was on a wait at 1pm'ish on a Sunday, but we were able to sit at bar right away. Rossini, Rossini, Rossini....