fine tuning fine dining in vegas
after reading chowhound boards (and some members blogs) and some menus sent by the restaurants my GF and I are interested in, i have a rough idea for our vegas dining itinerary -
wed lunch@ lotus of siam(charbroiled catfish, drunken noodle duck or sea bass - sounds great)
dinner@bouchon (we're staying@palazzo) or fixe-prix@DB brasserie
thurs breakfast@bouchon or payard (depending on if we went to bouchon last night)
lunch@la mexicana(we're driving out to red rock canyon and we'll stop on the way out -plus i can't get decent mexican food here (we're canadian))
dinner@rosemary's(on the way back to the strip) or perhaps okada (depending on what we feel like for dinner)
fri breakfast@bouchon or payard (which ever one we haven't gone to yet)
lunch maybe just whatever grabs our fancy - burger at bradley ogden, meatballs at raos (are they open for lunch?), maybe a nice pizza?
anniversary dinner - here's where we're stuck. like picasso for romantic evening, l'atelier for 3 hour dining experience and cut for the chance to try wagyu. Not overwhelmed by alex's menu so probably out. we'd like to keep the total for the two of us to under 500, but...guy savoy's TGV menu is appealing.
any help, advice or warnings on our selections would be greatly appreciated!
Bradley Ogden isn't open for lunch.
Would recommend Burger Bar, Table 10, or Mesa Grill for a lunch.
Not sure how anyone can be unimpressed by Alex's menu, but okay.....you could get Waygu there.
Would strongly recommend Le Cirque for food and service (I like their menu better than Picasso, honestly) and Mix for the view and the food.
perhaps unimpressed isn't the right word. on the menu faxed to us yesterday the desserts and appetizers sounded great, but the entrees (other than the wagyu which in your review wasn't a highlight for your friend) didn't appeal to us as much as savoy's menu. and since the prix fixe is 165@alex and the TGV is 190@savoy, its not that much of a stretch
FROM A LOCAL FOODIE'S PERSPECTIVE:
Lotus of siam: yes, but go for dinner
Bouchon: breakfast only.
La Mexicana: or Agave very near Red Rock
Rosemary's: Vintner's Grill in Summerlin is a lot better
Try Hash House A Go Go for one breakfast, or Black Bear Diner, both off-strip
Bradley Ogden: Burger is excellent
Romantic dinner; L'Atelier
A lunch at Mon Ami Gabi (Paris) is a must
Lotus: they have a buffet at lunch in addition to the menu, and that reduces the overall experience, not to mention they have an outstanding wine list that is more likely used at dinner.
Bouchon: not as good for dinner as many others believe; I've never had an outstanding evening meal there
L'Atelier: all-around wonderful food and service
I have actually enjoyed dinner at Bouchon more than breakfast. The only weak part of the dinner menu, IMO, are the desserts.
We've been to LOS for both lunch and dinner. I guess jjo has a point about the atmosphere, in that at dinnertime there aren't lots of people just looking to fill up on the buffet. Additionally, we haven't ordered dessert at lunch but we did at dinner. I don't think there's a drop-off in the food if you order from the menu. As to the wine, jjo has a point there too, we generally only drink alcohol at dinner so we don't get wine at lunch but I have seen folks having it. However, I recommend LOS for both lunch and dinner.
re: Debbie W
taking advantage of lotus' affordable wine list at dinner is a good idea. i think we'll do that instead of rosemary's and maybe go to hash house a-go-go for lunch wed. as far as dinner wed, would DB brasserie be a good choice? that way we get to try it as well as bouchon (for breakfast)
From another local foodie's perspective, I have almost a 180 degree different view:
LoS - correct. Dinner is far superior to lunch.
Bouchon - Dinner rocks! Was there on Thursday evening and it was nothing short of spectacular. Tried the night's special of Pork Rillettes with Dijon and Black Currants and it was tremendous. That along with the Cote de Boeuf and another nightly special Butternut Squash Soup. Fantastic as always. Bouchon never disappoints. Good for breakfast as well from what I hear but I'm never up that early so I can't comment on the consistency of breakfast service/food.
Mexican: Agave? Seriously? That place is sort of a joke amongst local foodies, at least in my circle of acquaintances. I've been there a few times ... usually around 3:00 a.m. for a quick margarita, chips & salsa, and/or a taco or two. Lunch and dinner are the same. They have this soup there with a duo of cheese and black beans that is absolutely awful - it's like melted Velveeta with black beans. Ick! But, to each their own certainly. If you're thinking of La Mexicana, I'd suggest it or Bonito Michoacan which is almost directly across the street from LaMex ( so it won't be a huge detour ). I really like their food. I might be in the minority but I think the Michoacan outposts do a good job.
Rosemary's vs. Vintner Grill - I like both of them but the nod goes easily to Rosemary's, IMO. I have had a quite a few tasty dishes at VG but there's just something about the atmosphere in there - don't like it at all.
Hash House a Go Go vs. Black Bear ... about 25 miles apart. Never been to BB but HHaGG is just okay, again IMO. Big portions but nothing really to write home about.
Bradley Ogden - the one full meal I had there was outstanding. Never tried the burger and they certainly aren't open for lunch.
Romantic Dinner - Of those that you mentioned, I'd probably go to Picasso. I really don't care for L'Atelier ( I *know* I'm in the minority here but I stand by my statement ... *WAY* overpriced and it just didn't impress me the way I felt it should've for the money we spent. ) but even if I did like it I don't consider it romantic at all. It looks and feels strikingly similar to a sushi joint with the way it's set up.
As far as Wagyu goes ... you can get that just about anywhere in Vegas. I wouldn't pick a restaurant based solely on that. I think it's sort of overrated and unless you can get the authentic Japanese A5 Kobe, that style of beef is just not worth the money. However if you really want a steakhouse and want to try the Wagyu, I would suggest Craftsteak at the MGM. It's absolutely great and it always hits on all cylinders. I was there on Thursday for apps ( foie gras ... oh so heavenly, and the WAGYU tartare ) before my illustrious meal at Bouchon. They offer quite a few different styles of beef ( prime, wagyu, kobe ... ) and the restaurant always does a good job. I've eaten there probably a dozen times or so and never had a bad experience.
Guy Savoy was the 2nd best meal I ever had next to TFL but it went well over the $500/2ppl mark. Overall, for your romantic meal I'd suggest Picasso or Alex. Both are stunning in beauty, service, and food. You won't be disappointed with either choice.
Good luck and have fun!
i'd like to thank everyone for their help, especially azbirdiemaker (you were generally right on). lotus was a real find, cut was an expensive disappointment (we sent one of the steaks back...it was too salty to eat), breakfast @bouchon was wonderful and picasso, while maybe not the greatest dining of our lives (although the scallop was amazing), was one of the most enjoyable dining experiences of our lives (sitting on the outdoor patio with impeccable service - fantastic). and after the $500+ disappointment @cut, $10@la mexicana was a welcome respite. again, thank you to all who replied
I predict you will love Lotus of Siam. Great idea to give Rosemary's a miss. Have always been disappointed.
I have to second the recommendation for lunch at Mon Ami Gabi. Plan your lunch late and get a table on the patio (even if you have to wait for it). The food and service are great and you can't beat the view of the Bellagio Fountain across the street!
Don't back off on Rosemary's. Both the food and the level of service are fantastic for the price. If you don't want to invest too much, grab the coupon off their website for a $23 prix fixe lunch. Don't miss the carpaccio!
I ate at Cut on my last trip to Vegas. Although it was very good, I didn't feel it justified the price. Also, a word of warning: for your first time trying Japanese Kobe Wagyu...order a small portion! It is very rich (much like eating the fat off a good steak, or really good chu-toro). The 2 oz portion in their wagyu tasting was enough for me!
Lotus of Siam serves the identical menu at lunch and dinner, and having eaten there approximately 100 times, I've noticed no difference in quality. As others have said, some folks might think that the buffet detracts from the experience, but I've never felt that way. I rarely drink wine before dinner but because of its low alcohol content, I've often drunk wine at lunch with no ill-effect. I think the service staff much prefers that patrons not order the buffet, and not just because the tips are better, but because they are passionate about the food. If you want a sea bass preparation, I'd recommend the hoh mok sea bass over the drunken noodles, not that there's anything wrong with the drunken noodles!
i have to agree with az that Agave isn't anywhere in the class of the better Mexican places in town, and is more expensive to boot. Other than the special of the day, about all that is available at La Mexicana are antojitos, but they are so nicely made that right now it's my favorite place to eat Mexican in lv.
Have fun in LV.