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Oct 22, 2008 10:19 AM

Las Vegas Michelin Guide 2009

3 Stars:
Joël Robuchon (MGM Grand)

2 Stars:
Alex (Wynn)
Guy Savoy (Caesar's Palace)
Picasso (Bellagio)

1 Star:
Alizé (Palms)
Andre's (Downtown)
Aureole (Mandalay Bay)
Bradley Ogden (Caesar's Palace)
Daniel Boulud Brasserie (Wynn)
DJT (Trump)
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon (MGM Grand)
Le Cirque (Bellagio)
Michael Mina (Bellagio)
miX (Mandalay Bay)
Nobu (Hard Rock)
Wing Lei (Wynn)
Restaurant Charlie (Palazzo)

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  1. Pretty much the same as 2008

    1. That is NOT the 2009 list; perhaps it is last year's list. The 2009 list has the same 3 and 2 star places, but 1 star restaurants are as follows:
      Bradley Ogden
      Daniel Boulud Brasserie
      L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
      Le Cirque
      Michael Mina
      Restaurant Charlie
      Wing Lei

      See .

      27 Replies
      1. re: Larry

        Thanks Larry. I must have copied the wrong list. I edited the original post to reflect your post).

        1. re: Eastwind

          Aw I only wish DJT would come back!!! I would have dined there over anybody else if given the chance... :(

        2. re: Larry

          Glad to see Mesa Grill off the list....while decent it was nowhere near on par with the other starred restaurants. Interesting that Fleur fell off.

          Too bad neither Alex nor Savoy could breach the 3-star ranks.

          1. re: uhockey

            Do you feel that Alex or Savoy are 3-star?

            1. re: Eastwind

              DB Brasserie but not Bouchon ? Hmmm , I don't get that .

              If Restaurant Charlie makes it through the year ( i've walked by the place at least 10 times during dinnertime and i've yet to see the place 1/2 full ), i predict 2 stars.

              1. re: kjs

                I went to check out Restaurant/Bar Charlie at around 6:30 p.m. and the place was deserted. The bar was completely empty, and from the entryway I didn't see anyone in the restaurant side, either. I think it's a horrible location -- people who want that kind of dining experience don't want to have to walk through a casino to get it. Are there any other restaurants in that category that are actually inside the casino, and not in a separate area?

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Restaurants inside the casino area are the rule rather than the exception. I know off the top of my head that both Robuchon restaurants, Le Cirque, and Bradley Ogden are all adjacent to the casino floor. The first one that pops to mind that is accessible without seeing a single slot machine is a great one that's not on the Michelin list: Bouchon, at the Venetian.

                  1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                    Yeah, I noticed those when I was wandering around today. But both the Bellagio (Picasso) and the Venetian have "restaurant rows" that are accessible without going through a casino, as does Wynn (Bartolotta, Bouloud for sure). Guy Savoy is also not located in the casino, and IIRC so are many restaurants at Mandalay Bay.

              2. re: Eastwind

                I'll be honest and say I've not been to a Michelin 3-star restaurant yet, but I've been to a couple of 2-star options and I felt that Alex was vastly superior in all ways.

                As for Savoy, I just know that it was expected to be 3-starred this year, so the fact that it is not is suprising. I'm also suprised Bartolotta didn't get a star this year when Boulud did and that Fleur de Lys fell off while Nobu stayed on.

                Glad to see Mesa Grill off and even more glad to see MiX stayed on.

                Looking at other city lists, I find it amazing that Babbo fell off the NYC list this year while Del Posto held its 2-star rating.

                1. re: uhockey

                  The Michelin Guide is so narrow in its scope and parochial in its view that I don't see how it is possible to argue with it. What it deems to be worth 3 stars, is by definition, what deserves 3 stars. I can understand someone who shares its values might care if a place got 3 stars, but to me it's a joke. Although it has tried to change over the years, and shed some of its Francophilic bias, the result is what you see in the LV ratings. I wonder what a Chinese restuarant would have to do to get two, let alone three stars, in the Michelin Guide.

                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                    Ko got 2 stars in NYC from a chef who pretty much ignores all that is "classic/conservative" and is somewhat Asian inspired, though far moreso Asian/Korean/American hybrid.

                    I agree with you though, the guide certainly has its standards and those standards aren't necessarily "up-to-date" in many respects. Would love to see them judge a place like Alinea or Moto, though WD-50 did get a star so I guess that sets some precedent. Also would like to see a star rating for Trotter's in Chicago since many consider it on-par with Per Se and J-G.

                    1. re: uhockey

                      Does Mix really deserve a star? The last time I was there, (and its been awhile) I found the service a bit rushed and impersonal and the food pretty good but not really memorable. The room, however, was beautiful...

                      1. re: uhockey

                        A guess, and it's just a guess, is that Alinea would fare the best of the restaurants you mention. To be honest, I worry that Michelin helps fossilize the notion of what "fine dining" is. Las Vegas's fine dining establishments don't necessarily lag in quality but they do tend to mimic what has been successful elsewhere. This is one reason why I root for Bar Charlie in a way that I don't for Guy Savoy. I haven't eaten at either -- I am merely saying that it's unusual to find an eccentric or personal fine dining restaurant in LV. What if Grant Achatz opened up Alinea in Caesars Palace instead of metropolitan Chicago? Could it have survived?

                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                          Could Alinea have survived in Caesars Palace? I would seriously doubt it. I haven't been to Alinea but I have been to WD-50 and I cannot envision a circumstance, at least not presently, where WD-50 would make it in Vegas (where there have to be more steakhouses per capita than anywhere else). I don't know anything about how restaurants are financed, but the model in Vegas seems different at least to some extent. In the real world, I think Bar Charlie would already be closed.

                          1. re: Debbie W

                            Point well my opinion it is amazing that the Molecular movement has been so heavy in Chicago, a city that prides itself on overloaded hotdogs and thick pizza with a few old-school classics like Les Nomades and Trotter's, but with Alinea, Moto, Schwa, and others it seems to be thriving. I don't imagine Alinea could have "started" in Vegas, but I bet it could make a go at it now and do well.

                            I must admit that Bar Charlie intrigues me a great deal, but wonder if it is "better" than doing the grand menu at Trotter's in Chicago.

                            1. re: uhockey

                              Chicago is one of the great eating cities in the U.S., and besides the "high end' and 'low end' places you refer to, boasts some of the the best Thai and Mexican food in the U.S.

                              1. re: Dave Feldman

                                Well put. To focus only on Alinea/Moto/Schwa and then on hot dogs/Italian beef/deep dish pizza would be essentially ignore what many others consider to be the heart of Chicago dining. An amazing variety of regional Mexican cuisines, fantastic and authentic Thai food (LOS visitors understand), and plenty more (Kedzie for Middle Eastern, Devon for Indian/Pakistani).

                                But there's also plenty of outstanding finer dining places well below the price levels of Trotters and Les Nomades. For instance, Blackbird, North Pond, Avec, Naha, Spring, just to name a handful.

                                I believe many tourists think that Chicago prides itself on the hot dogs and pizza, but those of us in Chicago (and many who visit) know better.

                              2. re: uhockey

                                What exactly is the difference between Restaurant Charlie and Bar Charlie?

                                The Trotter restaurants in Vegas are differenet Charlie's Chicago flagship in terms of the cuisine and the level of "luxury", correct? Are his Vegas restaurants as good?

                                Sounds like he isn't getting the business in Vegas (I believe he closed his restaurant in Cabo last year). I wonder how involved he is with these restaurants.

                                1. re: Eastwind

                                  Both Restaurant Charlie and Bar Charlie work in harmony with each other but they are different experiences - the Restaurant is structured along more traditional lines (have never been to the Chicago location, but those that have tell me that it is similar), while Bar Charlie is a separate seating area that offers a Japanese Kaiseki style experience. Apparently it is something that Trotter had always wanted to do, and thought that Las Vegas offered an interesting target audience. They list 8 and 14 course options, but are flexible based on the wishes of the customer.

                                  We have been fortunate to have good experiences at both, and have done Bar Charlie three times within the past year, a total of nearly 50 courses (they have gone beyond 14 each time), with none of them being repeated (each visit is tracked in their system). The quality of the ingredients, and the creativity in putting them together, has been a genuine pleasure to experience.


                                  Sadly, the timing may not allow for them to be able to sustain the business model, particularly Bar Charlie. In order to create the evenings that they do it requires a lot of specialized ingredients, and it is difficult in the current economic environment to generate the necessary traffic to maintain that kind of pantry. While just about everyone is feeling the pinch, the reliance on seafood and many exotic accompaniments would make them among the most likely to have to scale back in the year ahead.

                                  1. re: QAW

                                    Do you think that they'll close?

                                    1. re: Eastwind

                                      I would sincerely hope that there is enough staying power for at least the Restaurant to be a long-term player in the market. Adjustments to Bar Charlie may be inevitable, like perhaps a weekends-only schedule, but for now they face quite a challenge. When I read back through the past menu's and review the ingredients that were used (and the short shelf life for many of them), it leads to an even greater appreciation not only for what they did, but also how difficult it will be to maintain.

                                      The issue of "sustainability" is discussed often in the industry in Las Vegas these days, and perhaps we can use the recent opening of the Encore as an example of how these times are being (somewhat) pro-actively dealt with. There was some significant shuffling of their restaurant concepts in the last few months prior to their opening night, and the offerings show an awareness of the times that we are in. Sinatra would be a good example. The menu is surprisingly short for what one might expect at Wynn/Encore; just five pasta dishes; one chicken; one lamb; one veal (counting osso buco as a separate item); one steak. There are also only four side dishes. But the quality of ingredients is impeccable, as is the execution. It is a model of a restaurant that can be much more easily sustained, because there is not a reliance on exotic ingredients. We have also been told that this was one of the driving forces behind moving Mark LoRusso over from Tableau at the Wynn to run the kitchen at Botero. LoRusso's creativity may be stifled a bit with that kind of menu, but again it is a menu that can be much more easily sustained.

                                      As a local we would like for everyone to succeed, which keeps the incredible options that we have in place. But realistically 2009 will be an even tougher year for Las Vegas restaurants than 2008, and because of the scope of what they are trying to do, Restaurant Charlie/Bar Charlie might be among the more fragile venues for these times.

                    2. re: Eastwind

                      I would put either of them on the 3-star list over Robuchon. They are both certainly worth of a third star I think. The whole experience at Alex was incredible. And my visit to Guy Savoy was every bit as good as every 3-star experience I've had. Robuchon should shut his doors - it was so bad we had to get up and leave without getting service after being seated for over 20 minutes.

                      1. re: mscherzberg

                        Sorry you had a bad experience with Robuchon. I had the best meal I've ever eaten in the US there (also the most expensive). The Atelier is also pretty good but some people don't like counter service. I put Alex behind Picasso - not that it was bad. It was excellent but I've eaten at Picasso 6 times and had a superb meal every time. Le Cirque is well worth its 1 star.

                        Generally I have found star restaurants outside France at a lower standard than in France. Las Vegas is an exception.

                        You should also try Rosemary's which is surely the best off strip eating in Las Vegas. Lunch is a great bargain but a lot of food.

                        1. re: Las Vegas Billy

                          Isn't one of the complaints about Picasso is they don't change their menu?

                          1. re: Eastwind

                            Are any of the above restaurants known to be vegetarian friendly?

                            1. re: lavendula

                              I thought I read on the boards that Bradley Ogden had good vegetarian options. That is not from experience though so you might want to call the restaurant.

                              1. re: lavendula

                                Restaurant Charlie I believe has a vegetarian tasting menu .