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Las Vegas eats - From Fab to Casual

We're from LA, but will be in Vegas during July for our son's martial arts tournament. We're staying at the Tropicana during the tournament, and moving to the Wynn after the tournament is over for a couple of days. We'll have sitters on hand, but would like to take our well-behaved 6 year old out when we can. On our possible list of places to try are:
Lotus of Siam
Bouchon or Daniel Boulud Brasserie
Burger Bar or BLT Burger
Bartolotta
Mesa Grill
Guy Savoy
Craftsteak
Stark
B&B Ristorante
Payard Patisserie
There's so much information on this board...and I'm a bit confused with some of the mixed reviews I've seen on some of the restaurants. Would love to get your opinions and maybe some tips for places not on the list. We love tasting menus, and are not so willing to break the bank so Bar Charlie is going to be out of the question given the current state of the economy. Any help would be much appreciated!

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  1. I wouldn't concern myself that much with the "mixed reviews" -- it's the nature of the beast.

    You might want to check out this thread, as it focuses on some discounts that restaurants are offering: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6061...

    I've been to all but two of the places you've mentioned (What is Stark?) and I'd pick Lotus first, but I am a man obsessed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dave Feldman

      I'm going to guess that Stark is Stack at the Mirage. If my memory serves me correctly, it is a sister restaurant to Fix at Bellagio, with similar decor and menu choices.

      If I may suggest... hit Bouchon for breakfast. It was absolutely glorious. If I hadn't overslept the last day I was there, I would have gone twice in a row. Considering my Vegas eating habits (only one restaurant multiple times across the last three trips), that's saying something. Expect to drop somewhere around $50 on breakfast for two. Yeah, it's expensive as hell for breakfast. Easy justification: Cheapest Thomas Keller meal you'll find.

      As for Burger Bar versus BLT Burger... I haven't been to BLT Burger, but Burger Bar served up the best burger I've ever had. The menu at BLT looks to be overpriced, especially relative to Burger Bar: A bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg on top and an order of fries at BLT works out to $21, the same at BB is $14.85.

    2. Bouchon is definitely great for breakfast I would definitely do that one.

      DB would be good to bring your 6 year old too because of the water show outside. Make sure to grab a table on the patio.

      I would have to say Burger Bar is better than BLT. Both can be missed though.

      Bartolotta was solid. It's definitely worth a try

      Mesa Grill is my favorite lunch spot. I go at least once every time I'm in Vegas. Would be good for lunch or dinner and would be good to go with your kid.

      Guy Savoy is top notch but I would choose Joel Robuchon or Alex before going to Guy. I like going to Guy towards the end of the night. Sit at the bar and grab a drink and some small plates or dessert.

      Craftsteak serves up some excellent food but the decor is nothing special to me. It feels like a hotel restaurant.

      B&B food is excellent but I had the same awful server two times in a row and will not go back. Also you are from LA and I find Osteria Mozza to be a lot better. San Marco is there more casual place in the Venetian. Good food and the street performers will keep your kid entertained

      Payard is a for sure. If you like desserts you must go.

      Places that weren't on your list that I think you would enjoy

      L'atelier I think it's one of the best restaurants in Vegas for the money. The food and service is top notch you will not be disappointed.

      Nob Hill Tavern just did a menu change for the better. Great comforting food with a relaxing atmosphere. Both are in the MGM

      Hope this is of some assistance

      1. Lotus of Siam is one of the best Thai reataurants I've ever been to (including Thailand), well worth the short jaunt off strip.

        1. You all are terrific! Great advice! I have checked out the Taste of the Wynn menus and the Recessionary deals ...and with so many of them, it can be hard to choose. Sorry for the typo...I did mean Stack and not Stark...we've got too many Phillipe Starke-decorated joints in L.A. Will definitely check out the menus for Alex, L'atelier, and Nob Hill.
          Out of curiosity...I know that July is pretty darned hot...will it still be okay to sit outside? Thanks very much to SD Gourmand for letting me know which places would particulary kid-friendly.

          1 Reply
          1. re: attran99

            In July I wouldn't really advise sitting outside, unless you like sweating whilst you eat. Some places have misters, but it's still really damn hot and I don't find it very comfortable. However, some places are so over air-conditioned it actually feels nice to go outside and warm up a bit. I had dinner outside last July at Social House at around 11pm and by the time we were through, my clothes (which I wasn't wearing much of, since we were off to a club afterwards) were totally sticking to me. Not fun. Even worse for my BF who is quite a big bigger than I and tends to have a higher normal body temperature than I.

          2. If you are staying at the Wynn, there is a cute little restaurant called Sugar and Ice, super casual, but their cobb salad and sandwiches are great. Their dessert selection is pretty drool worthy too.

            1 Reply
            1. Lotus of Siam is a must. Alex & PIcasso at the top end have been worth it. The Burger Bar for burgers is a good choice. My group likes Stripsteak for steak. Bouchon is a great breakfast and more than passable for lunch & dinner. I likely won't return to B&B after my last experience.

              1 Reply
              1. re: HoosierFoodie

                I think LoS is on the itinerary for sure. What's so special about Alex and Picasso? I would have thought Bartollota would be more impressive because of the seafood flown in daily from Europe. Bouchon sounds great, but us Angelenos are getting our own outpost here in the fall...should I wait until then or hit up the Vegas location? I haven't heard too many reviews on Stripsteak...will have to do more research on the board...thanks!

              2. another must try is raku, about five minute cab ride from the wynn (off-strip). a lot of posts on this board, a phenomenal dining experience.

                1 Reply
                1. re: palmdoc1

                  Since the OP is from LA, I'd skip Raku. A similar--and better--restaurant exists in Torrance, called Torihei.

                2. Thanks very much to you all for your wonderful suggestions. We did not arrive in Vegas until Friday evening, and spent much of Friday and Saturday with my son's martial arts group...no extaordinary foodie experiences there. But it was only uphill from there on Sunday....we checked out of the Tropicana and moved up the Strip to the Encore.
                  I made a quick vist to Payard Patisserie at Caesar's where I scored a lovely box of macarons and a lovely raspbery champagne dessert (for later). The macarons were everything that I imagined they would be...super crisp on the outside, nice and fluffly on the inside. With flavors so fresh and vibrant! The chocolate tasted like a brownie. The strawberry, lemon, and raspberry ones were divine! The raspberry champagne dessert was great....coated with a raspberry gelee with dragees and mini macarons, it looked as good as it tasted.
                  Lunch was at Burger Bar at the Mandalay. I had the Strawberry Cosmo shake to go with my Angus (cooked medium rare) burger that was topped with carmelized onions, foie gras, aioli, and Hubert Keller's wonderful black truffle sauce on an onion bun. It was simply the best burger that I have ever had! The burger itself was beefy and fresh...cooked to perfection. The carmelized onion gave it a slight sweetness. The foie gras was rich, creamy, and earthy...and the slight char added a nice texture. The aioli helped bind the tomato, lettuce, and onion to the burger (and was a nice dipping sauce for my sweet potato fries). The truffle sauce was maginificent! It took the already rich burger to the next level...giving it an even fuller, richer flavor. I was completely happy and satisfied. The shake only helped make the experience better because it was a strawberry shake that was spiked with contrieu and vodka citron.

                  1. Sunday's dinner was at Charlie Palmer Steak for their Sunday Supper. I selected the supper while my husband selected the 16 oz. NY Strip Steak with Buttermilk onion rings. The first course was a lovely antipasto: assorted olives, marinated artichokes, grilled (and chilled) zucchini, pecorino romano cheese, and an assortment of charcuterie. The meats were wonderful...perfectly seasoned and delicate. The cheese was good as pecorino romano could be...and the marinated artichokes were lovely. The hubby's not a big cheese person...and wasn't a big charcuterie person, either...until he tried the meats. Paried with the marinated artichokes, he thought it was quite good. Second course was a wild arugula salad with frisee that was seasoned quite well, and dressed simply with extra virgin olive oil and maybe a little lemon. There were some lovely slices of a perfect heirloom tomato, cubes of fresh feta, and dots of a wonderfully aged balsalmic vinegar. It cleaned the palate after the cheese and charcuterie plate. Third course was perfectly cooked fresh ricotta ravioli with some of the freshest tomato sauce that I've ever had...it tasted like fresh tomatoes off the vine. The hubby (who doesn't like ravioli) was thoroughly impressed with how perfect the ravioli was cooked and how it paired so well with the sauce. For my entree, i had a perfectly cooked Chilean Sea bass with broccoli rabe and cherry tomatoes drizzled with a fabulous piccata-style sauce. Those cherry tomatoes were the sweetest cherry tomatoes I've ever had. The entree course came with perfectly seasoned and roasted fingerling potatoes with hints on garlic, rosemary, and thyme and braised romano beans. My hubby's a la carte steak was perfectly cooked with a wonder red wine jus, and the onion rings were not a bit greasy, were super crispy, and really thick-cut. The onion itself was super soft and super sweet. Dessert was a rich dark chocolate tart that was on a crumb crust that tasted and dissovled like butter as soon as it hit your tongue. The rich dark chocolate was nice and cold, and was completely refreshing as it melts in your mouth. There was a bit of pistachio ice cream with a grasshopper-like cookie on the plate as well. Because this was a belated birthday dinner for me, the kitchen brought out a sixth course for dessert....three scoops of caramel swirl ice cream and two scoops of vanilla ice cream garnished with what seems like an entire basket of fresh, ripe raspberries. The caramel swirl ice cream was the best ice cream that I had ever had. The meal was magnificent...and I was so full, afterwards, that I think I needed to be rolled out to the car.
                    Service was excellent that night, too. I had the wine pairing with the meal, and had a nice chat with the sommelier, Michael. Our waiter was great that night, too...Raymond made sure that we were well taken care of and never rushed any of our courses. The chef in the kitchen was also nice enough to send out an additional salad and dessert for my husband even though he did not order the Sunday Supper. Overall, it was one of the best meals that I had ever had...and I was in need of a nap as soon as dinner was over.
                    Next time...Monday's meals.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: attran99

                      Have you been to Charlie Palmer @ South Coast Plaza? If you have, I'd like your take on how the two compare....

                      1. re: OCAnn

                        Hi, OCAnn...I'm actually planning a trip down to South Coast Plaza next month to try it out. I will totally let you know as soon as I finish that meal. Though, I heard from the Vegas waitstaff that it might now be up to par with Vegas location...still excited nonetheless...was really happy with Charlie Palmer Steak in Vegas.

                        1. re: attran99

                          Great! Looking forward to your report on the LA boards. =)

                    2. Lotus of Siam is great, just keep in mind that the food is hot. Order it mild or the kid (and possibly you) won't be able to eat it.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Claire

                        I so wanted to go to LoS, but we simply didn't have the time...and when we did (lunch weekends) it was closed. Will have to get to it next time....and I was so looking forward to it, too!