MGM Dining - Las Vegas
We were in desparate need of a vacation and some time away but have been unable to plan anything. So, since we had tickets for the recent Jimmy Buffett concert in LV we decided at the last minute last week to turn what was originally planned as a one or two night trip into a 6 night trip. This is the longest we've ever stayed up there in the many times we've been there over the past 20+ years. Given the long stay and our non gambling and non partying ways we opted to stay at the Signature this time which put us on MGM property. This gave us the opportunity to try several of the options on property:
Fiamma - we ate here the first night after a horrific flight up from Phoenix(the people behind us were the loudest, foulest, crudest people I've ever experienced. You konw it's bad when, while getting of the plane and walking through the terminal, other passengers approach you to offer condolences for your horrible experience. Thank goodness it's such a short flight). Anyway, this was followed up by a two hour ordeal with engineering trying to fix the lock on our door. So it was closing in on 10:30 when we finally got out of the room to look for dinner. All we wanted at this point was some comforting food and pasta sounded like a good option. Fortunately, the hostess sat us(it was a few minutes after 10:30 when we approached the station). I started with the grilled prawn salad and my husband with the calamari. The prawns were excellent. Perfectly grilled and delicious smoky flavor. The calamari was nothing special, though the portion seemed enormous. We laughed we needed to find some friends to share it with. MY entree with the gnocchi with lobster and truffle creme. I don't know why I ordered this as I don't typically like gnocchi and I'm not a fan of cream sauces...but it was late, the kitchen was closing, I was starving and when the server suggested I quickly said "sounds great" Anyway, the gnocchi didn't excite me. Mushy and kind of pasty, but like I said I'm not a fan of gnocchi to begin with. The sauce was nice, a bit on the salty side, but lots of tender lobster and a nice undertone from teh lobster. Husband enjoyed his pan seared salmon. For dessert we split the tiramisu(Husband had the spring tasting menu so all three of his choices were on that menu). The tiramisu was excellent. All in all, we enjoyed our meal here despite not loving the calarmari and gnocchi. They weren't badly prepared, just not our tastes. Lots of other things on the menu we'd like though. Prices are reasonable for Las Vegas and service was no issue despite our sitting down late. We weren't rushed and not made to feel unwelcome at all. Cost was $147 including one glass of wine, one bottle of Pellegrino and tax.
Seablue - the next night found us at Seablue. We ordered the Spring tasting menu which has to be ordered by the whole table. We loved the meze platter, fresh naan and pita bread that started off the meal. The date/carrot salad and the saffron marinated cauliflower particularly stood out. The hummus was our least favorite, but the red pepper spread was quite good. Platter also included olives and marcona almonds. Next was the create your own salad course which is harder than it sounds! So many options, one could easily get carried away and create a disaster. Reminding ourselves to keep it simple we enjoyed this. Next came the paella and some skewers. The paella is presented as a tagine and is chock full of seafood, rabbit, quail, and chorizo. This was also very good. The skewers were tasty though we left a lot of that to finish off the paella. We were quite full by now and the server was kind enough to pack our lemon polenta cake and berries for us to take back to the room to enjoy later. All in all we enjoyed our dinner here a great deal. The mediterranean flavor profiles featured are a favorite to us. This is the kind of thing we could eat every night so we really enjoyed it. All the ingredients were high quailty and service was excellent. With two bottles of Voss sparkling, a glass of wine, two espresso, and tax the bill was around $160 I believe.
'Wichcraft- a complete disaster. we'd grabbed a sandwich here in the past so thought we would again for lunch while at the pool one day. We opted for a simple gruyere and carmelized onion panini with some zucchini dill soup. The sandwich was terrible - lousy bread, little cheese and onions that were dried out seemed to have been prepared days ahead. The soup tasted like cream of chicken with no sign of zucchini or dill(though we could see some dry dill in it).
Studio Cafe - this is the hotel coffee shop. We had breakfast one morning here. Nothign special but a solid breakfast. I couldn't decide what to have so went witht he Grand Breakfast which included everyting: eggs, hash browns, silver dollar pancakes, and ham. No way I could eat it all but satisfied my indecisive cravings. Husband enjoyed his quiche lorraine omelette. We ended up here again after the Jimmy Buffett concert for a quick bite. TONS of cheeseburgers coming out of the kitchen(likely due to all the Parrotheads stopping in to eat). After midnight the cheeseburgers are $9. They looked huge and handpressed and the ones around us were all perfectly cooked medium rare. We were actually sorely tempted but opted for pancakes instead which were large, fluffy and also tasty. Nothing fancy here but solid, quick, and inexpensive food.
NobHill - Another Michael Mina option. Again we really enjoyed our meal here. I started with the Ahi Nicoise: seared ahi, green beans, olive tapenade, potatoes. Very nice, well balanced flavors. Husband had a classic caesar and really liked it. For entrees I had the bacon wrapped scallops with lentil stew. This might have been the best thing I ate all trip. Very large portion of four enormous scallops, delicious Lentils de Puy, and carrots. I love lentils and wasn't leaving any of those so had to leave one and a half of my scallops which killed me as everything was so good. Perfectly cooked scallops, smoky bacon, matched perfectly with the lentils(themselves involving a bit of bacon fat). What's not to love? Husband had a Berkshire pork chop which was again well prepared and served with an apricot-mustard sauce. Large pieces of meat don't do much for me but there was nothing to fault in this. For dessert we went with the strawberry/rhubarb crisp which we loved. Service was excellent, room was comfortable. Bill was around $150 including two glasses of wine and two espressos. There is a spring tasting menu offered but we didnt' opt for it, I believe that runs $50?
We preferred both MGM Michael Mina options to the signature restaurant at Bellagio that we've eaten at previously. This might be a reflection of our personal tastes and the less formal atmosphere at the two MGM restaurants. Of the two at MGM, both are excellent. Seablue is the kind of place we'd eat at regularly due to the menu (mediterrane and seafood focus being more our daily taste) but Nob Hill was quite excellent and something I wouldn't hesitate to seek out if craving what they offer. Both will likely be on our list for our next visit to Las Vegas.
Stage Deli - for a quick lunch we grabbed some matzoh ball soup and sat in the sports book to watch some of the Houston/Lakers game. The soup was a pleasant surprise! Fluffy matzoh ball, tasty stock, and lots of real chicken(white and dark meat throughout). This was a steal at $2.75/bowl.
Emerils Fish House - We decided to try this for lunch one afternoon. I had gumbo and my husband a shrimp and oyster po'boy. Both were tasty but nothing extraordinary. We did try the banana cream pie for dessert. Tasty but very rich(my brother in law's grandmother still makes the best banana cream pie I"ve ever had). It was $40 for lunch which wasn't too bad. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here again and nothing impressed us enough to try a dinner here. Definitely better options in Las Vegas and at the MGM, though lunch options aren't many at MGM
All in all we were quite pleased with the options and ate quite well on MGM property. We did make it off property for a few meals so will review those as well. The concentration of good options at the MGM is really nice though. We really needed to just get away and destress and spent a lot of time just relaxing by the pool so it was nice to have so many options for a nice dinner without having to deal with the chaos on the strip itself. We didn't make it to L'Atelier this time, maybe on a future visit but that, and of course Joel Robuchon, only add to the great options.
Your sentiments echo mine almost to a "t", although I actually like Witchcraft possibly a little LESS than you as well as Emeril's ( I just don't see what all the fuss is about ).
I've said it before ... I think the MGM has the best concentration of great restaurants out of all the resorts. Glad you had a good time.
We stay at the MGM every 90 days for some R&R. Your report is spot on.
For Fiamma's. Ignore the gnocchi. Next time, try the Short Rib Raviolini. An incredible dish. And the "donuts" for dessert are a pleasant surprise.
Yep, delete 'wichcraft and insert Stage Deli.
There are tons of dinner options, but breakfast and lunch are much more problematic. For breakfast, walk across the street to NYNY and go to Il Fornaio or just visit their bakery. Lunch, Wolfgang Puck's place offers some reasonable options.
Yeah, Emeril's is a no go. Diego's is far better (selectively) with good 'ritas.
Next dinner trip, try Craftsteak, it never disappoints. And most the restaurants have the pre-fixe menus that they are changing every season. Those can be checked online b4 you get there. And if you want "prime time dining" I suggest making reservations before you get there as sometimes MGM has a convention going that makes getting the res. you want complicated. Enjoy.
Thanks so much for the wonderful report -- we need more of these, especially if they are as thoughtful and well-written as yours. I've often wondered about folks who were stuck in a less interesting hotel, perhaps for a convention. Can you imagine a similar report about the Silverton or the Hilton?