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One night in Vegas

I will be going to a conference at Lake Las Vegas at the end of February. We will be going into Vegas/the strip for one day and would like to have a really great dinner while we are there. Many of the highly rated places seem to get mixed reviews from diners. We are leaning toward something with a tasting menu...places that we are considering are Alize, Fleur de Lis, Michael Mina's, L'Atelier. We don't mind spending on dinner if it's fabulous, but don't want to feel like we've just wasted our money. We live in a smallish sized town, so would hate to waste a dining opportunity while in a big city. Also, any interesting places for lunch (maybe ethnic) on the Strip?

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  1. For "no holds barred" type meals I'd direct you away from all the places you mentioned.

    My list would be:
    Guy Savoy
    Restaurant or Bar Charlie

    All three have fantastic tasting menus which are listed on the websites. Just depends what you're in the mood for.

    Alize and Michael Mina are very good, but if you have no budget concerns, then you may as well graduate to the next level. I cannot recommend Joel Robouchon main restaurant since I have not been there, but I'm sure it would make the list.

    1. Hard to go wrong with Picasso. Get the tasting menu with wine pairings. Very good, if somewhat conservative food, great atmosphere, great service. Certainly nothing like it in any small town I've ever been to.

      1. Couldn't agree more about Picasso. There are better (not a lot better) for a lot more money. Consistantly excellent while housing one of the more spectacular settings.

        Have you considered going off strip to Lotus of Siam? I know it's not all the glitz and glamour of the strip but you will most certainly not find world class thai food like Lotus in a small town and you can create a mind bendingly good tasting menu all for a fraction of what you would spend on the strip. Just a thought.

        4 Replies
        1. re: LVI

          Thanks for the tips. We were thinking about Lotus of Siam for lunch. Their menu looks huge...anything in particular that you would recommend?

          1. re: mountaincachers

            My recommendations might depend upon whether you live in a Thai bastion like L.A. or Chicago. If you do, I'd focus on the northern dishes: maybe the crispy rice with sour sausage appetizer, the hoh mok sea bass or the khao soi. For lunch, usually like a salad, such as the northern larb or beef or squid or tofu salad. The barbecue dishes are surprisingly light and refreshing at lunch, particularly the beef. If you are seafood oriented, be sure and ask what specials are available, and if you are cold, the soups are wonderful. And save room for the sticky rice dessert; although I'd guess that the fresh mango probably isn't available, the coconut "ice cream" (actually condensed coconut milk) always is.

            1. re: mountaincachers

              Dave Feldman's recommendation never seem lead astray so I follow his advice. I would be sure to include a drunken noodle dish, and probably the Chilean sea bass as it has never disappointed. It is one of my favorites. While I agree whole heartedly about taking advantage of LOS during the day if you cannot get there for dinner, one of my greatest food pleasures is the paring of German/Austria/Alsace wines with Thai food. Like sauterne with foie gras, Thai and German/Austria/Alsace wines elevate an already ambrosial meal to another level.

              1. re: LVI

                I've been known to indulge during the day. You can actually have a leisurely lunch at Lotus and linger over wine. The Rieslings are low-alcohol and I don't have a problem getting sleepy the way I can with high alcohol wines.

          2. If you are going to Lotus of Siam for Lunch, don't bother with the buffet order off the menu & you will be happy. My favs include drunken noodle sea bass, salmon panang, thai beef salad, Sai Oua (northern style sausage, amazing!), nam kao tod (crispy rice w/sour sausage), & crispy duck with chili mint and the German Rieslings.

            1. I loved Michael Mina. Everything was really good.

              CUT steakhouse is probably my favorite steakhouse in LV.

              Lunch: Tableau in the Wynn is really good.

              Also. Lotus of Siam did not impress me one bit

              9 Replies
              1. re: A5 KOBE

                Thanks to all for their suggestions. The itinerary is shaping up as follows:
                on Thursday we will be arriving at Lake Las Vegas. We will have a car, so think we will ditch the resort dining in favor of going to Henderson. Lunch: Viva Michoacan, Dinner:Todd's Unique. If anyone has favorites at these restaurants, please let us know. The next day we will be driving into Vegas. Lunch: LOS (Thanks here for ordering suggetions. We do not live in a Thai bastion, so do want to make the most of the opportunity).Dinner: Having looked at the tasting menus I am still deciding between Michael Mina (love seafood) and Picasso. Thoughts? The board seems to favor Picasso, though we've had one vote for Michael Mina. The next day we will be back at Lake Las Vegas and I think we will try Bistro Zinc for lunch (unless someone has a better suggestion) at the resort. The remainder of our time will be tied up in conference related dining. I am already wishing that we had extended our trip by a few days. P.S. to Dave Feldman, I am willing to drink Riesling at lunch...I can even claim that we're still on East Coast time. :-)

                1. re: mountaincachers

                  Unfortunately for your itinerary, Bistro Zinc is closed while completing a relocation. There are not a lot of lunch options in the immediate area, but the Medici Cafe at the Ritz Carlton does serve breakfast until 11 am (they are closed for lunch), if that helps your time schedule.

                  1. re: QAW

                    Thanks for the heads up. Fortunately that was the least important part of the plan.

                    1. re: mountaincachers

                      By the way, I am new to this site and think it's fabulous. Really appreciate all the helpful advice. My husband is making fun of me for the amount of time, energy, and thought that has gone into the dining itinerary, so it's good to know there are other people out there obsessing about these things.

                  2. re: mountaincachers

                    Todd's is very good and I think you will enjoy it. The menu changes a bit and they often have quite good specials, but we have always enjoyed the goat cheese wontons, the soups, the grumpy's salad, the tuna with wasabi mashers, the kung pao shrimp appetizer, and the beet and grapefruit salad. I think all the seafood is terrific; the only thing I haven't enjoyed there is the meatloaf.

                    1. re: mountaincachers

                      With regards to your debate between Picasso and Michael Mina, I've only tried Picasso, so I can't compare with Michael Mina. I also love seafood, so I'm sure I would be tempted by Michael Mina as well. However, I just can't overstate how much I enjoyed Picasso and how cool of an experience it was for guy like me who is into food but lives in a small town and only gets to experience the high end stuff when I travel. Everything was so good about the meal and it was such an "only in Vegas" type of evening, that it was just perfect. I haven't been to many Michelin starred restaurants, but I can definitely see why Picasso got its two.

                      1. re: MidTexHorn

                        Sometimes I make myself sick by the amount of accolades I give Picasso but your post says it all. All in all, there really isn't a restaurant that has such a complete package as Picasso. I have been well over 15 times since it opened some 10ish years ago and aside from the lack of menu variety (which is a legitimate grip) it is my favorite restaurant. And even though comparing food alone Michael Mina would be fairly close in quality, the over all experience comes nowhere near that of Picasso.

                        1. re: LVI

                          Thanks for the input. I've made reservations at Picasso and am very excited about it. I'll post a review of the places I eat when we get back (end of this month). Still looking for a place to eat lunch at Lake Las Vegas if anyone has suggestions.

                          1. re: mountaincachers

                            All the touching accolades for Picasso really give me a warm fuzzy feeling. I think you can do much better though. Remove the fluff (fountains, paintings) and you have an above average but far from the best venue. I've heard that they are losing or have lost their executive chef to the new CitiCenter. For disclosure purposes, my goal in life on this site is to dissuade folks from visiting Rosemary's and Picasso.

                  3. L'Atelier is always a winner in my book. It's highly rated--getting 3 Michelin stars. Of your list, this would be my pick. Quality, but, at a price. However, as you say...price is no option, this is the place to go.
                    Alize is wonderful as well. Chef Andre started it, who is quite old vegas blended with some new talent.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sushilady

                      L'Atelier is a 1-star Michelin restaurant. The only Michelin 3-star restaurant in Las Vegas is Joel Robouchon next door.

                      1. re: climberdoc

                        That's right. Guess I got Robuchon and l'Atelier confused. Same location, similar food, chefs, etc.

                    2. Thanks to all for their suggestions. We just returned from our trip, and enjoyed some really great meals in Las Vegas.
                      On our arrival, we had lunch at Viva Michoacan in Henderson. This is a restaurant that I never would have found on my own given its location and chain restaurant appearance (from the outside). The service was great and we really enjoyed the food. The complimentary salsa was ok, though not great. I prefer a fresh, rather than cooked, salsa. My husband ordered the Chili Colorado, which was good, and I ordered the Camarones Sarandrados, which was EXCELLENT. This was a dish that I would return for over and over if I lived in the area. We also enjoyed the homemade tortillas, but preferred the corn to the flour.
                      Dinner: Todd's Unique Dining in Henderson. Again, not a restaurant I would have found on my own. Not much to look at from the outside (strip mall), but nice enough decor inside. I had seared foie gras with blueberry gastric and seared sea scallops with pistachio butter. My husband had Asian dumplings and Kobe short ribs with caramelized onion sauce and jalapeno mashed potatoes. Everything was delicious and very well prepared. Servings were too large to leave room for dessert. Service was very attentive. Also, when we had made our reservation on line, we informed them of a food allergy. When we arrived at the restaurant, EVERYONE we encountered was aware of the allergy and took it very seriously, which was very reassuring. Our only complaint was that our food arrived very quickly with very little time between appetizers and entrees which felt a little rushed. Overall, a good value with great food for the price, particularly since we had a rental car. On the other hand, if I were staying on the Strip, I'm not sure I would spend $50-60 each way for a cab ride. Again, if we lived here, I would be a frequent diner at this restaurant.
                      For our day in Las Vegas, we had lunch at Lotus of Siam, which we thought was fabulous. This is food that we can't get where we live, so really enjoy eating when we travel. We had the crispy rice with sour sausage appetizer. Many thanks to those of you who recommended it, because we otherwise wouldn't have chosen it. That was one of our very favorite things that we ate on this trip. We also had the Sea Bass with Thai Papaya Salad and a Dry pork curry. Both were very good. The service started off well, but sort of fell apart as the buffet crowd thinned out. Had trouble finding someone to bring us dessert, so we ultimately gave up and left. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the meal and would definitely return. Saw Dave Feldman's picture on the wall.
                      Dinner at Picasso: Despite debate on this thread about Picasso, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal there. The setting felt right for our one Vegas dinner and the service was very attentive. We had the Menu Degustation with : Maine lobster salad, Pan seared scallops, Foie gras, sea bass (me), lamb (my husband). Everything was flavorful and perfectly cooked. The matching wine tasting was well paired. Interestingly , I had both foie gras and scallops both at Todd's and Picasso. I would say they were both a step better at Picasso. The dessert was not particularly memorable, and was probably a the weakest course. For those who are in town frequently, the lack of variation in the menu may be a problem, but for infrequent visitors (like me) it was perfect.

                      The remainder of our meals were at meeting related events at the Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas. Of note, the worst thing that we were served on this trip was the most overcooked piece of chicken at a banquet Saturday night at the Ritz. I know that banquet cooking is different than restaurant cooking, but it wouldn't really inspire me to try the restaurant there.
                      Again, thanks to all of you for your help.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mountaincachers

                        I so appreciate it when original posters take the time to fill out a detailed trip report. Sounds like you did really well and with four different cuisines, too. Way to go!

                        1. re: mountaincachers

                          As one of those who recommended Picasso to you, I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. Much of what you had was on my menu a couple of years ago, so I can also understand the complaints about lack of menu changes, but I agree that it's not an issue for the one time or very occasional visitor.

                        2. OK, so I didn't think I would be returning to Vegas for quite some time, but it turns out we'll be back in February for my father in law's birthday celebration. I know that I will be returning to Lotus of Siam because I have been thinking about that crispy rice with sour sausage for the last two years. One evening will be taken up with the family birthday celebration. This leaves me with two evenings: One will likely be accompanied by multiple family members, so need suggestions for something in the "not too expensive" range. The other night, I think my husband and I are going out by ourselves and willing to spend in the $300-400 (total) range. Would love suggestions. I don't know if I should return to my original list, or if there is something new I should consider.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mountaincachers

                            Raku for the inexpensive, no question and Sage for you and the hubby. There are many posts about Sage but one in particular worth reading is uhockey report a couple of weeks ago. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755784

                            1. re: LVI

                              Thanks for the tip on Sage. We loved our dinner there. Food was outstanding, as were service and atmosphere. We got the chef's signature menu, mine with the wine pairing, my husband with the beer pairing (both excellent matches for the food). Not inexpensive, but not bad for higher end Vegas dining and a good value for the quality. We went back for lunch at Julian Serrano's for tapas after checking out the menu while we were at Sage. Also very good. Unfortunately never made it to Raku, but we did make a long awaited trip to LOS which did not disappoint. Thanks for the suggestions.