Las Vegas - 16 Days
I previously posted the following a few days ago, but neglected to indicate it was applied to our Las Vegas vacation so it may have been overlooked:
Baja Beach Cafe
Tuesdays are senior days where old codgers like us earn triple points and pay ½ points for food. We each chose the $2.49 breakfast special – 2 eggs done our way, bacon or sausage, toast and hash browns. The food was very good, but service was slow due to inadequate staffing. We also noticed the dessert display was not particularly appealing. ($2 (tip), Points, 2 Forks out of 5)
We returned a few days later for lunch and once again service was painfully slow. When one of the waitresses finally acknowledged our existence, we placed an order for a turkey club sandwich. The sandwich was pretty good with an ample portion of turkey and crisp bacon, but would have been a lot better had it not sat for several minutes before being served. ($2, Points, 2 Forks)
Bay City Diner
The sole reason for us dining at this restaurant was for the French toast stuffed with cream cheese and fresh strawberries featured in the online menu, but we were told by the waitress that it had been discontinued. Ms. Westie ordered hot cakes with whipped cream and strawberries which proved to be both overcooked and grossly over priced. I ordered eggs Florentine – poached eggs with spinach over an English muffin and topped with Hollandaise sauce. The eggs were very close to being hard boiled, the previously frozen spinach was stringy, Hollandaise sauce way too heavy on the lemon and the English muffin not sufficiently toasted. Otherwise our meals were perfect. ($12.52, American Casino Guide (ACG), 0.5 Forks)
Bonjour Euro Bakers
4012 S. Rainbow Blvd.
Prices are very reasonable at this tiny bakery located in a small shopping plaza at the corner of Rainbow and Flamingo compared to comparable Strip bakeries such as Bouchon, Jean Phillip Patisserie or Payard. After much discussion, we walked out with a beautiful and equally delicious Marquis – a vanilla and chocolate mousse concoction. ($3.75, 4.5 Forks
)On a second visit we chose a tiramisu and Raspberry Milequille (puff dough layered with raspberry pastry cream) that we consumed over the next two days in our room. ($8, 4.5 Forks). Yes, there was a third visit for a baba au rum ($3.75, 4.5 Forks
4165 Grand Canyon Drive
This tapas restaurant is located in the Target shopping center. We started off Baba Gandoush – baked eggplant pureed with olive oil and lemon juice and served with warm pita bread (3.5 Forks). We next ordered Shrimp a la Diabla – marinated shrimp sautéed with garlic, red pepper and white wine, spicy and delicious, and bacon wrapped figs. (4.5 Forks for each) Our last order was spinach stuffed mushrooms topped with béchamel sauce and Swiss cheese (3.5 Forks) and Classic Paella – saffron rice mixed with black mussels, shrimp, calamari, peas and carrots. (4.5 Forks) Service was very attentive and knowledgeable. ($27.16, Restaurant.com (R.com))
Carve is the recently opened Eastside Cannery's steakhouse. Our waiter brought us a basket of warm bread followed by a delicious, but heavily dressed, spinach salad. Ms. Westie entrée was a 12 ounce prime rib served with baked potato and herb grilled tomato. I ordered the rack of lamb that was served with a grilled shallot, sweet potato and grilled tomato. We also shared a mundane and unneeded side order of broccolini sautéed with garlic. Both entrees were above average and service throughout was very good. I used a $50 gift certificate purchased from a local radio station. ($35.49, 3.5 Forks)
We started off with Mango Margaritas (4 Sips), the obligatory salsas and chips and a delicious tortilla soup. Our entrees were Red Snapper Coscina - sautéed red snapper filet with a zesty tomato and cilantro sauce accompanied by rice and homemade refried beans. A picture of our entrees may be found in Webster’s Dictionary under the page heading “Mediocre”. We concluded the meal by sharing a caramel flan that was too dense, but very tasty. ($7, Comps, 1.5 Forks)
Green Valley Ranch Resort
This restaurant is beautifully decorated and the food is consistently good though hardly authentic. It was also on sale at ½ points for the month of December. We shared orders of cashew chicken and seafood and tofu hot pot. The hot pot included a mix of scallops, shrimp, mussels and whitefish. ($4, Points, 3.5 Forks)
Addendum: I checked the GVR website today (1/22/09) and China Spice is no longer included in the listing of restaurants.
The Cortez Room, the Gold Coast's bargain, gourmet room, was relocated in late 2008 to the space formerly occupied by the Arriva (Italian) restaurant. We started off with a complimentary relish tray and loaf of freshly baked bread. Our entrees included a choice of soup or a house salad, the latter featured the ever so common iceberg lettuce. Ms. Westie ordered Chicken Oscar - a small skinless chicken filet topped with crab meat stuffing, asparagus and beurre blanc sauce. I chose the 14-ounce prime rib which was both tender and delicious. Both meals included a baked potato served with sour cream and chives. Overall it was a good, but not fantastic dining experience. ($5, Points, 3 Forks)
There are times in our lives when we embark on a course of action that we know we will likely regret. Such was our experience this morning at the recently renovated buffet. The new room is quite attractive, but there has been little, if any, improvement in food quality. I chose 2 easy over eggs, ham, ambrosia, watermelon, and unripe cantaloupe. “Putting lipstick on a pig” pretty much describes our feelings about the “new” buffet. ($3, LVA, Points, 0.5 Forks)
Green Valley Ranch Resort
There was a sign posted at the entrance advising patrons that points and coupons could not be combined, but the cashier allowed me to tender a LVA coupon and use my Fiesta points. My breakfast included watery OJ, skim milk, unripe melon, cheese quesadilla, grilled veggies, 1/8th of a dismal pancake that I accidently drenched in melted butter instead of syrup plus fresh fruit with strawberry yogurt. (Points, 1.5 Forks)
Many unusual items, including menudo and Italian wedding soup, were offered in addition to standard breakfast fare. I stuck with traditional by filling my plate with fresh fruit and yogurt, an Eggbeaters’ spinach omelet with mozzarella, bacon and ambrosia. (ACG, Points, 2.5 Forks)
2895 N Green Valley Pkwy
The restaurant was not very busy on this Friday night. We shared a more than credible Caesar salad and ordered crab cakes with roasted red pepper tartare sauce as our entrées. The crab cakes were very light on filler and accompanied by crisp asparagus spears and sautéed potatoes. We also shared a pana cotta with raspberry sauce. The staff was incredibly friendly and we enjoyed talking with the owner, no longer Frediani, and the executive chef. I used a $50 gift certificate purchased for $23.75 and thought our bill of fare would approximate the balance, but our dessert was comped plus we were given a $10 certificate for our next visit. ($30.95, 4 Forks)
565 Marks Street
This is a small family operated restaurant with mama serving as the chef, the oldest daughter as maître d, the father clearing tables and a son serving as our waiter. We did not want a full meal so I asked if we could use a 2/1 entrée coupon for soup. The older sister replied affirmatively so we ordered bowls of the soup of the day, avgolemono – a silky mix of egg, lemon juice, chicken broth and roasted chicken. We have had this same soup elsewhere, but their version was by far the best. I was taken aback when we were told that both meals were on the house. ($5, 4.5 Forks)
9595 Eastern Avenue
I signed Ms. Westie up for their newsletter a few years back and so each December she receives a free 1-item pizza. We chose the white pizza with garlic and added fresh tomatoes. The toppings have always been above average, but this time the elves got the crust right. ($5.69, 4 Forks)
Harrie’s Baglemania and Deli
55 E. Twain Avenue
Both the neighborhood and Harrie’s have seen better times, but our toasted bagels with cream cheese were very good. ($5.29, 3 Forks)
1205 S. Fort Apache Road
Ms. Westie ordered a coffee and almond crusted French toast – a croissant dipped in vanilla rum flavored batter, topped with pastry cream and raspberry sauce and served with maple syrup. Not to be outdone, I ordered a large OJ and eggs Florentine – poached eggs over spinach on top of an English muffin and topped with Hollandaise sauce. My dish was accompanied by country grilled potatoes. Both dishes were outstanding. The bartender, manager, waitress told us that Sun-Thursdays they run a happy hour from 11PM - 11AM where all food and drinks are 1/2 price. ($16.24, R.com, 4.5 Forks)
McCormick & Schmicks
335 Hughes Center Drive
We were seated in a booth and served an amuse bouche of ahi tuna salad on a cracker shortly after being presented with the evening’s menu. Our shared portions of spinach salad with fennel, cranberries, and carrots in a delicious basil dressing were ample. Ms. Westie’s entrée was Copper River sockeye salmon grilled with winter squash hash and chipotle miso sauce. The salmon was very good, but slight dry due overcooking. My meal was amazing - blackened catfish with spinach and crab served over a crunchy polenta cake. We concluded this feast by sharing one of their signature crème brulee’s. We were able to use both a $50 gift certificate from redeeming points in my Preferred Guest Membership account and a certificate good for a free dessert in recognition of Ms. Westie’s recent birthday. ($10, 4.5 Forks)
Mezzo Bistro Italiano
4275 N. Rancho Drive
The owner/chef once operated the highly regarded, now defunct, Marc’s Italian Steakhouse, but sold it a few years back and opened the slightly larger Mezzo. We ordered pasta faglioli – family style, but were informed the kitchen was out of it this evening, so we settled on minestrone listed as a special. It was reasonably good, but the portion size was exceptionally small and a total rip off at $7 per bowl. Ms. Westie’s entrée was a very large portion of eggplant parmesan, a family recipe, prepared without any breading. I chose the spinach lasagna with a tomato vodka sauce which was equally bountiful and delicious. I used a $25 gift certificate purchased from a local radio station. ($28.33, 3.5 Forks)
Mix Zone Café
2202 W. Charleston Blvd.
This a funky Thai restaurant located in the hospital zone. We started off with som tum – shredded papaya salad with tomatoes, green beans, Thai chiles and lime juice. We requested heat level 2, but were levitated off our seats by the spiciness of this dish. Our shared entrees of pad Thai with shrimp and three color curry with chicken were, though milder, pretty mediocre. Our bill included an automatic 18% gratuity because I used a $25 gift certificate purchased from a local radio station. ($20.90, 2 Forks)
Sunset Station Casino
We were hungry, but not starved so we chose the Oyster Bar for our first night's sustenance. We each chose the cioppino - a spicy tomato based seafood stew that included ample portions of clams, snow crab, whitefish, green lip mussels and scallops. The cioppino came with a side of rice which we did not feel was needed. I was able to apply both a restaurant.com gift certificate and Fiesta points. ($7, Points, Restaurant.com (R.com), 4 Forks)
Ping Pong Thai
2955 Sunset Road
Based on a recent review in Las Vegas City Life magazine, we decided to try this new Thai restaurant for lunch. We each ordered Thai ice tea and shared orders of basil shrimp and spicy noodles with shrimp. Lunch entrees include a cup of some nondescript broth that neither of us finished. The basil shrimp lacked both basil and much in the way of vegetables or meat while the spicy noodles dish was exceptionally bland and visually unappealing. ($15.50, R.com, 0.5 Forks)
Ping Pang Pong
Gold Coast Casino
We decided on a dim sum lunch this day. According to our check, we had Tea for 2, (2) Group B’s, a Group D and a Group E. I believe these translate into a ground shrimp cake on grilled green pepper, pork dumplings, crab balls and lo mein. Everything was very good as was the service. ($4, Points, 3.5 Forks)
Primarily Prime Rib
South Point Casino
After reviewing the menu, we each settled on the South Point cut of prime rib. All dinners include warm artisan bread and a choice of either salad or split pea soup. The blue cheese dressing on our salads was bland, most likely from a bottle, and our baked potato was at least an hour past done. The prime rib was served medium rare and accompanied by side dishes of a sour cream based dressing and fresh horseradish. The meat was tough and was weak in flavor. Given the many favorable reviews, we were disappointed by the quality of our entire meal. The one positive was the South Point was running a ½ point special on all food. ($8, Points, 1.5 Forks)
4600 Spring Mountain Road
Having sampled Ronald's donuts for the first, second and third time on our September trip, we were anxious to once again feast on his amazing apple fritters. ($3.70, 4 Forks)
Due to circumstances beyond our control (Cafe Deia closed on Sunday nights), we dined at Senior's place. We started off with the usual chips and salsas followed by 2-item combinations – enchilada and chile relleno served with refried beans, unadorned salad and Spanish rice. Though restaurant names may differ, the same mediocre Tex-Mex food may be found in most Las Vegas casinos. ($4, Points, 1.5 Forks)
This coffee shop was offering two $1.99 breakfast breakfast specials and we tried both. Ms. Westie chose the 2 eggs (easy over), toast, bacon and hash browns while I feasted on 2 pancakes and bacon. Both were very well executed and service was attentive.
($6.29, 3 Forks
Twin Creeks Steakhouse
This restaurant is physically impressive and was beautifully decorated for the holiday season. Our server presented the menus and returned shortly with a basket of warm Artisan bread. We each ordered 8 ounce filet mignons cooked medium rare off the Classics’ section of the menu which includes a house salad and choice of two sides - potatoes and/or vegetables. I chose sautéed broccolini and a baker. Our server returned with salads of mixed greens and cherry tomatoes properly dressed sparingly with balsamic vinaigrette. Each filet was slightly overcooked; mine tender and delicious while Ms. Westie’s was smaller and tougher. ($30.71, 4 Forks for mine, 3 for hers)
Vox Wine Lounge
2630 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy
On our arrival the bar was reasonably active, but the dining room virtually empty. Since our September visit, the owners have attempted to reinvent the restaurant and the menu is now less adventuresome (read appealing). We began with what was described on the menu as a grilled Caesar salad, but I pulled out a magnifying glass and could detect no grill marks. The salad dressing was flavored with a tinge of smokiness and the overall salad was satisfying. Ms. Westie ordered Angel Pasta which was penne and chicken tossed in a tomato vodka sauce. My garlic noodles with prawns entrée was excellent though I suspect the crustaceans were actually shrimp. We also shared a delicious butter scotch crème brulee. Our waiter, the only waiter, informed us that he and pastry chef would soon be departing as had the original head chef. I used a $50 gift certificate purchased from a local radio station. ($45.83, 3.5 Forks)
nothing like a food tour of the Valley !! twin creeks is on my to go list since it is now the closest " high end" restaurant to my home.
Your post reminds me that i need to hit ronald's soon - yes, the apple fritter is awesome and this place is deserving of valley love -to hell with dunkin donuts ! lol
one of these days i'll post reviews of my 2009 foodie escapades - so many places, yet so many left to try.
happy eating !
Thanks as always, Westie. I noticed no visits to Ellis Island or Village Pub. Boycott?
The restaurant you listed that interested me most was the Greek Bistro in Henderson. Does it have a traditional Greek menu?
I love Ronald's -- not just the doughnuts, but the lovely couple that own it.
re: Dave Feldman
KJS - please do post about the "locals" restaurants - the good, band and ugly. We are always on the look out for a local gem.
Dave - We did have a breakfast at Ellis Island which I neglected to mention. My wife's cinnamon vanilla French toast was the best she ever had at Ellis. We also noticed they served us Florida's Natural premium OJ - right out of the 1/2 gallon container.
No visit this time to Village Pubs, but it was (and still is) on my To Do list.
Based on your comments in a previous thread I think is Opa would be more in line with what are looking for in a Greek restaurant. The Greek Bistro is more of a mom and pop (and daughter and son) type operation. Here is a link to the menu:
To paraphrase an old commercial, nobody doesn't like Ronald and his wife (or their donuts).
Westie - i just moved from the westside to the far southwest side of town. sad to say, the area i live in is somewhat sparse, no, make that barren, when it comes to restaurants. would you believe the closest place to my house is a chinese fast food joint called jacky chan's ( yes, the correct spelling ) the places i've eaten at in 2009 -
China Ma Ma
Mimi’s café – Henderson
Mimi’s – SW
Rocco’s NY Pizza – Summerlin
New Day Café
Mix Zone Café
Hot n Juicy Crawfish ( a monthly jaunt )
Sen of Japan ( semi-monthly jaunt )
Montana Meat Company – SW
Red Apple Grill
Martino’s Italian Café
The highlights - China MaMa, JR's has potential, Cheeburger wasn't bad but pricey. Martino's makes a decent ny pizza, Sen is still my fav sushi joint, Hot n Juicy - appears they are back on track getting daily deliveries of fresh crawfish.
the lowlights - Lavo - i expected more from a chef i admire(d) when he was in so cal. Dunkin donuts, Guiseppe's ( but i gotta give this place a 2nd try - it's relatively close to my home so i'm gonna try and show a lil local love - we'll see )
February and March will be big foodie months for me - hoping to hit at least 10 new places - i cannot tell you how frustrating it is to try and keep up in this Valley !
Let me throw in another nod for JR's, which has been brought up in some old threads - a place that does not quite fit the location, but is trying hard to make things work. We give Susan kudos for her efforts. And Sen of Japan has consistently out-performed other comparable venues off-strip.
As for Mom and Pop Greek, it is worth mentioning that the "Mad Greek" has been open on the Strip for a few months, a little north of the Encore. Many of those that come in from Southern California will likely be familiar with the Baker location. Nothing terribly adventurous, but they are good at what they do. And while the prices may seem a bit high at first, the portions are extremely large, and can almost be considered to be double the amount you would expect to get. A nice way to get an old school fix on the strip, something that is becoming increasingly more difficult to find.
Alas, also an agreement for Lavo, a location that seems to be confused about its true purpose (restaurant? night club?), and can be easily skipped under an elongated roof that hosts so many talented chefs.
Here is where we need some help, kjs. How about Goat Post Grill on Flamingo and Buffalo? Have heard some good things, but have not had the opportunity. Can you take one for the team?
i ate there with a meet-up group about 6 months ago - i loved it ! the highlights - the codfish fritters and the oxtail ( but damn, i cut my mouth on the edge of the bone ) . the curried goat - i thought the sauce was a little too heavy and overpowered the goat. the meal included ackee ( sp ) aka deathfruit - sad to say, i have no memory of it except that i survived ( from what i recall, if the fruit is consumed prior to it being ripe it can be poisonous )
it is deserving of a 2nd visit - i'll try this week for lunch and report back !!
i was gonna try goat at an indian place reviewed in LV weekly ( the place is on eastern in the same shopping center as white chocolate grill, le gloisita, steele's and soon to open BJ's ) but the place was closed when we arrived ( around 3 pm - not exactly prime eating time ! ) so we wound up at tasty island - another place that is worthy of local love.
happy eating !
We tried the Goat Post Tropical Grill for lunch in September 2008. The two Jamaican dishes we tried were not authentic. The crust used in the beef patties was unusual and a bit greasy an the filling was somewhat bland with only a hint of spice. The jerk chicken was disappointing - the chicken, though very tender and tasty, was overwhelmed by a heavy gravy. Discounted gift certificates are available at restaurant.com.