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Apr 29, 2009 06:24 AM

Our recent Vegas trip

Just a few notes from our "weddingmoon" trip to Vegas last week (4/22 - 4/26).

Highlights, roughly in order of our favorites -

1) Carnevino. We had the $49 Pre-Theater dinner on Saturday evening prior to seeing Phantom. Absolutely fabulous - beginning with the rosemary focaccia and lardo, which our server tried to convince us was healthier than the unsalted butter that also accompanied the bread. For the first course, I had the calamari with marinara and pickled peppers. The calamari was perfectly fried, not tough at all and not greasy, sitting on a bed of spicy marinara. Hubby had the beef carpaccio and loved it as well. We both had the 8 oz filet mignon for our main course. Hubby's was rare as ordered; I ordered mine medium, but it came out with a dark red center, a little on the rare side for my taste, but tasty nonetheless. The risotto cake side was a bit overdone, but the brussells sprouts with pancetta and grainy mustard was perfect. Dessert was a key lime semi-freddo for me and chocolate malt gelato for hubby, who kept stealing bites of mine. Service was very attentive. Definitely would dine here again!

2) Bartolotta. We had dinner from the Taste of Wynn menu on Thursday evening after our wedding. No problem at all with ordering from the special menu once we got there, and although it may have been because we were still dressed from the wedding, but the service we received was amazing. Hubby had the charcoal grilled cuttlefish and I had the seafood risotto for first course. My entree was amazing - fish of the day, which was a similar cut to amberjack - 3 large pieces roasted with tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Hubby had the medallion of beef, which ended up being an 8 oz filet. He said it was excellent, but not as good as the steaks we had at Carnevino later in the weekend. He had a chocolate dessert that was tasty, but again, he ended up preferring my dessert - a ligurian lemon cake with a warm custardy center, served with a side of rosemary gelato. Sounds weird, but the lemon and the rosemary were wonderful together. All in all a great deal for $75 per person.

3) Mesa Grill - We had lunch on Friday at Mesa Grill. Started with the goat cheese queso fundido. We shared a Mesa Burger and a pork tenderloin sandwich. Everything was very flavorful, including the crunchy, spicy french fries. Our favorite lunch of the trip.

4) Zeffirino - Sunday Brunch. A huge selection served buffet style. Distinct focus on seafood, including steamed shrimp and lobster, marinated jonah crab claws, and oysters on the half shell shucked fresh to order. The carving station included filet mignon, pork tenderloin, and rack of lamb. Not a lot of traditional brunch type foods, although they did make omelets by special order. Everything we tried was fabulous, including the bellinis. Definitely worth the $55 per person price.

5) Bouchon. We had breakfast on Friday at Bouchon, which was just an elevator ride down from our suite in the Venezia tower (which I highly recommend). Started with the beignets. Not like a typical New Orleans fried bread, but more like warm spice cake doughnuts with homemade jam and chocolate nutella. Very tasty. Hubby had the omelet special, which had roasted chicken, tomatoes and cheddar cheese, with a side of perfectly cooked bacon. I had the french toast, which was a brioche bread pudding with chopped apples. Amazing! Definitely on my must-go list for future Vegas trips.

6) Aquaknox. We had a late light dinner here on Wednesday evening. We had a bowl of the lobster bisque and a seafood plateau, which included oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, lobster, jonah crab claws, shrimp ceviche and ponzu oyster shooters. All of the seafood was perfectly cooked and very fresh. Dessert was a chocolate hazelnut mouse cake that was mediocre and a creme brulee which had an odd garnish of citrus salad (kumquats, orange and grapefruit) with mandarin orange gelato. The creme brulee itself was good, but the gelato was not a good match - the textures did not work together.

7) Table 10. We had lunch there on Saturday - a huge disappointment. I had a mahi-mahi sandwich, which was grilled and served with a pineapple salsa on what appeared to be a plain white grocery store hamburger bun. It was a soggy mess by the time it arrived at the table. Hubby had the carnitas poboy, which in reality was a bbq pork sandwich drenched in cole slaw. The side for his sandwich was fried sweet pickles coated in unseasoned flour and dripping in grease. Hopefully they were having a bad day, but neither of us finished our lunch and we would not go back on future visits to Vegas.

One other highlight was the in-suite dining from the Venetian - perfect omelet and eggs benedict, along with thick-sliced wheat toast that somehow made it to our suite still warm and crunchy. The server even sent hubby's espresso up separately to insure that it would arrive still hot when we sat down to eat.

In addition, we had meals at Grand Lux, Rainforest Cafe, Enoteca San Marco, and Isla. All adequate but nothing special.

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  1. Very nice report. You answered a lot of my questions about these places. I was just wondering if you wouldn't mind elaborating on the Zefferino brunch, Aquaknox and Enoteca San Marco with regards to service, atmosphere, how you were treated, etc.? I'm particularly curious how Zefferino's brunch measures up to the Sterling Brunch -- if you have ever had that, and what food you had at ESM? It seems to get a cold shoulder.

    3 Replies
    1. re: grimaldi

      The service for Zefferino's brunch was wonderful. We had a pair of staff assigned to our table - one who removed a used plate and one who promptly replaced all of the silverware whenever we got up from the table for more goodies. Champagne, bellinis, mimosas, and bloody marys were included with the brunch and our glasses were never empty. They even threw in an espresso gratis for my hubby. We were seated upstairs overlooking the canal and could hear the gondoliers singing in the background. Very classy and I would choose it over a casino buffet any time. I haven't had the Sterling Brunch, so I can't compare.

      Aquaknox's atmosphere was nice. We had a semi-private curtained booth which I thought was a nice detail. Our waiter was a chef himself, so he stopped by the table several times to "talk food" and even threw in one of our desserts for free just because it was a new dish and he wanted our opinion.

      Enoteca San Marco is very dependable. This trip we had flown in from Atlanta and stopped by the marriage license bureau on the way to the hotel, so we were tired and hungry by 3:00 when we finally got to stop for lunch. That probably had a lot to do with why it wasn't one of our favorite experiences this trip. We had the marinated olives, arancine (just like we recently had in Rome), a three-cheese plate with assorted condiments, and a meatball pizza. Oh, and lots of prosecco! Everything was tasty, with the exception of the bread, which had been way overbaked. ESM is a fun place to eat, being right on the square with live entertainment, but I find that that the service tends to be a bit slow and not as attentive as some other places.

      1. re: maestrette

        Thanks for your prompt reply and providing those details. Congratulations on your marriage and the "weddingmoon". It sounds like you had a wonderful time. We've dined at most of the places you mentioned with the exception of the ones I asked about. We were considering those for our next trip and you helped narrow it down.
        Thanks again.

        1. re: grimaldi

          I think San Marco is a great lunch spot. The food is always excellent but I agree with service it can be a little slow at times. Overall it's still on my top lunch spots in Vegas.