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Feb 9, 2009 09:45 AM

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.