Birthday dinner in Vegas?
I'm taking my boyfriend to Vegas for his 25th birthday, and he's instructed me to not take him incredibly lavish for his dinner. So where can I take him for a good meal that's not super cheesy or touristy (but yes on the strip still) that's not overly 'spensive--round 50 bucks a person not including wine? Does this EVEN exist? HELP!
$50 is kinda tough but not entirely impossible. My favorite suggestion for this price range (can certainly be done w/no alcohol but will push the limit when you drink) is Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris. And the experience, IMHO, is greatly enhanced from being able to sit outside. The food, while no means pedestrian, is above average to very good. It is Bistro fare and some dishes (like the garlic clams and the various steak frites) hit the mark consistently. However, it is the ability to sit outside on the patio that overlooks the Bellagio fountains that turn dining @ Mon Ami Gabi a wonderful experience, not to mention the veritable freak show that passes by on the sidewalk. They DO NOT take reservations and on busy weekends the wait can be long. But it is right off the casino floor and you can also pass the time sitting at the bar in the back right off the patio.
Larry, I am going in early November, so it should be slightly cold. I'm more interested on the food than atmosphere, and I am an adventurous eater, while my bf tends to be a little tamer, so something that caters to both of us.
I'd love to take him to a fancy dinner, but his instructions were to keep it more low-key, so I'm trying to find a nice middle ground between say the Eiffel Tower restaurant and some crappy chain restaurant.
LVI's suggestion is a good one. Mon Ami Gabi's food isn't great but it is good. Definitely go for an outside table; the last time I walked by they had heaters to warm things up a bit.
There's another possibility, but I hesitate to mention it. Daniel Boulud Brasserie (at Wynn) has very good food, with choices that should satisfy both your tastes. However, it will bust your budget unless you stick to the prix fixe special, good until 8 pm. The special costs $48 and includes three courses. However, choices are limited to about three items each for appetizer, main course and dessert. Ordering three courses a la carte will be much more.
We actually found the servings at DB Brasserie to be really generous. We shared a charcuterie platter for an appetizer and really it was huge (and wonderful). I had the famous burger (probably a little more done than I would've liked it) and my husband had moules/frites - again, huge. We could've shared either entree. We were too full for dessert. All that by way of saying that if the OP and her boyfriend are amenable to sharing, DB might be doable even without the prix fixe. I would happily just have the charcuterie and a salad or something. We really enjoyed it (we'd been before but that was about three years ago, our more recent visit was last month).
You can definitely find a place for $50/person plus wine. It will help if you can narrow things down a little. For example:
(1) How important is: top notch food versus atmosphere versus any other criteria that are important to you?
(2) Type of food (steak, French, new American, Italian, Italian-American, Japanese, ...)?
(3) What time of year are you going? Outdoor seating can be nice, but not so much in January or August.