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Jun 4, 2009 12:48 PM

Help! Too many great Vegas spots, too litte time

My husband and I are heading to Vegas with a group of friends next weekend. I'm in Vegas several times a year, but usually business or friends constrain my ability to construct a perfect dining agenda. This time we get two days to ourselves (our first time in Vegas together) and I am having so much fun plotting my course. A little background....newlyweds barely 30, staying at the Venetian. I enjoy good food of all varieties and am comfortable in any environment, however, my husband is new to the chowhound ways. He's a trooper, willing to try just about anything, but formal, haute cuisine environments can make him uneasy at times. We live in Denver, not exactly a culinary mecca.

Friends have dictated our Thurs/Friday dining plans...Thursday night is Social House, Friday night is Craftsteak (best I could influence with budgetary and palate constraints).

Leaning towards Alex for pre-theater dinner (Phantom at 9:30) on Saturday. Also considered Guy Savoy, Charlie Bar, Bradley Ogden, and L'Atelier. Alex edged out because we're already dining at MGM one night, (though would repeat MGM for Joel Robuchon but unfortunately the budget is just not there), worried the hubby would be uncomfortable in Guy Savoy, and Bradley Ogden style is similar to some of Denver's finer restaurants. I am I missing candidates for our one over-the-top date night dinner? Availability might affect this decision, probably need to act soon.

Our free time is over the weekend. I'd like to hit Mesa Grill for Saturday lunch, specifically for Burger Bar comparison. And here's where my plan falls apart. I'd really like to try Mon Ami Gabi for the patio experience, but fear it will be too hot during the day. We could try it for Saturday breakfast, but we're already having such an early dinner I'm not sure I could eat three huge meals in one day. Plus I really want to try the steak frites, which would not pair nicely with Mesa Grill burger a few hours later. So if we do MAG for breakfast, I am considering apps at Olives instead of Mesa Grill. I am tentatively planning Bouchon for Sunday breakfast and Lotus of Siam for Sunday late lunch before we head to the airport at 4pm.

What's missing? What could be cut? Are the steak frites at Mon Ami Gabi really worth it? How early - or maybe how late, if things don’t go according to plan – do we arrive at MAG to be comfortable on the patio in June? Is relegating Bouchon to just breakfast a mistake? Should I forsake MAG and Mesa Grill /Olives for one proper early lunch at Bouchon? Please help! TIA (wow this is long, my apologies)

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  1. First of all, DO NOT WORRY! You've made some excellent plans, and regardless of the few choices you still have to make, will have some great food.

    OK, now to some of the details. Alex is an excellent (you'll read that word a lot here) choice. I personally prefer Guy Savoy - but only by a hair, Alex is considerably cheaper, and the menu may be a little less intimidating to someone you describe as "new to the chowhound ways."

    Next: Mon Ami Gabi. I'm more of a fan of MAG for its patio than for its food. To me, the steak frites are decent, but you're not missing a once in a lifetime experience. I also agree with you about the heat problem; they have misters, but that isn't enough for me (others will disagree with me on this point).

    Going to Bouchon for breakfast is an excellent (there's that word again) idea. There aren't many top restaurants open for breakfast; Bouchon is one of the best. I also like Bouchon for dinner, but there are plenty of other places as good or better for that meal.

    I can't tell you anything about Mesa Grill or Olives.

    You're going to have a great time!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Larry

      Thanks Larry! Your input sealed the deal for Alex, I just made reservations.

      Hoping to hear more feedback for a Saturday lunch, Mon Ami Gabi vs Mesa Grill vs Olives.

      1. re: SE_ME

        While others have had mixed experiences with Olives, it's one of our favorite places for lunch. The pizzas/flatbreads are the equal of anything I've had in Italy, and every other item we've tried has been very well executed. Service, likewise, has always been spot-on for us.

        I don't know of anyone that's had a bad meal at Mesa Grill. I just prefer not to donate to the Bobby Flay cause.

        The MAG menu has never impressed me -- I think there's several much better bistro-style places in Vegas that I prefer (and you're already hitting my favorite in Bouchon).

        1. re: dgasser

          Mesa is definitely a solid lunch spot. I've had the whole menu and mostly everything is good. Not a fan of his burgers especially his cuban. It's just nasty.

          I think Olives is awful. All they have is their flatbreads that are decent. Plus I can't stand Todd English and his pretty boy persona.

          San Marco in the Venetian is also a great lunch spot maybe not this time but remember it for next.

        2. re: SE_ME

          i've had lunch at all 3. you can't lose. i would rate them mesa one, olives 2 and gabi three, but gabi is very good. the flatbread pizza at olives is so good, you probably should try it first.

      2. Unfortunately, Lotus of Siam doesn't open until 5:30 on Sunday. Or Saturday.
        And I would pick Mesa Grill over MAG or Olives for a lunch.
        Bouchon for breakfast sounds perfect! I really hope to get there in July, we've only had their bakery items and loved everything.
        Three big meals really is too much in one day, so don't stress, just enjoy yourself and save something for your next trip.

        1. Breakfast at Bouchon is fabulous. My favorite was the beignets - not like a New Orleans beignet, but more like a warm spice cake donut served with jams and nutella.

          Our favorite lunch on our recent trip was Mesa Grill. The burger really is great.

          4 Replies
          1. re: maestrette

            Mona Ami is now serving breakfast.

            1. re: maestrette

              I'm bummed that Lotus of Siam is closed for Sunday lunch. We're getting a car on Sunday to visit Hoover Dam, are there any great off-strip Sunday lunch spots? Or anything worthwhile between the Dam and Vegas?

              If not, we can just lunch at whatever spot we didn't hit on Saturday. Thanks for the feedback!

              1. re: SE_ME

                YES! The Coffee Cup in Boulder City has excellent breakfasts and lunches.


                1. re: Friend of Bill

                  Thank you! They are open on Sundays and apparently were featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Sounds perfect, we will give it a try.

            2. I was recently in Vegas and found myself not having enough time to make it to all the great restaurants I had in mind. Luckily I was able to drop in Bouchon and Daniel Boulud's. There was one night, we had just came back from the oulet exhausted. By the time we dropped off our goodies and rested, it was almost nine. We decided to go to the Noodle restaurant at the Venetian. We were told they had good spicy rice vermicelli so we tried it and boy was it good. It's very close to the ones I had in Guilin. We ordered the congee as well, very thick and smooth just like it should be.