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Jul 11, 2009 08:02 PM

Las Vegas Recession Dining Deals Trip Report

For our trip this summer we decided to take advantage of the many recession dining deals being offered.

Hash House a Go Go brunch
Fried chicken and waffles.
Two fried chicken breasts with 4 bacon waffles. The chicken was good without being too dry. Waffles had a nice vanilla taste. Each had a slice of bacon embedded.
Wife had some kind of smoked salmon salad.

Charlie Palmer Sunday Supper
Charlie Palmer in the Four Seasons serves a $48 five course tasting menu Sundays.
Dinner started with a plate of antipasto with some cold cuts, spicy fried zucchini, marinated mushrooms and cheese. Nothing exceptional but all very high quality and tasty items.
Second course was a Panzanella Salad. Arugula and heirloom tomatoes over some poached prawn slices with vinaigrette. On the side was an excellent ciabatta crouton topped with gorgonzola. The use of prawns was a little odd but overall it was a very good salad. Fairly large as well.
Pasta course was a linguine with clams and pancetta. The menu says there was basil but I don’t recall any. For some reason the first bite of my pasta was uber salty but the rest was fine. Although it seemed like a light dish, the pancetta added heft and I was starting to get full.
For my main course I had the white sea bass with lobster and corn risotto. I got a quite generous piece of fish with a nice crispy skin. The risotto was excellent and would have been a nice course all by itself.
Wife had the beef choice which was some pepper crusted tenderloin with grilled asparagus and grappa sauce. She enjoyed it.
The mains also came with sautéed wild mushrooms and garlic mashed potatoes.
The sides didn’t really go with the fish but they were perfect with the beef.
I was really stuffed and barely finished half my fish.
Dessert was a lemon cheesecake on a shortbread crust with a canoli on the side.
I’m no judge of canoli and all I can say is I’ve never particularly liked them. This one didn’t change my mind. But the cheesecake was exceptional. Very light and the shortbread crust was good enough that I managed to finish it despite being very full.
They offer a wine pairing with the meal for $22. My wife had it with her meal. I didn’t keep track of the wines but the pours seemed quite generous and the sommelier was very personable and took the time to describe each wine.

In-N-Out Burger
We went to the one on Tropicana just west of 15. It was a madhouse at lunch time. We’d never been to In-N-Out before but had heard enough people going on and on about it that we tried it. I admit it was a good fast food burger but no way was it worth dealing with the madhouse crowd at that location.

There are a number of 25% off coupons for Puck’s Las Vegas properties floating around so we decided to try Postrio again. We’d dined at Postrio here and at the San Francisco location before.
Postrio has really gone downhill since we last dined there. Service wasn’t that great either.
We started with the Mezza Plate. It consisted of falafel (dry), stuffed grape leaves, feta cheese, and a couple of spreads. It was okay but nothing to write home about.
We then split an order of pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sauce. This showed up while we were still eating the Mezza. I hate when courses overlap. The food runner really didn’t seem to know what to do since there wasn’t really room on the table for more plates. The raviolis themselves were good.
My wife ordered a wild mushroom pizza for her main course. She liked it.
I had the schnitzel. The schnitzel came with some pucker inducing vinegar potatoes, sour cream cucumber salad, arugula and mustard sauce. My wife said except for the arugula, it all tasted like something her German grandmother would have served for dinner. It was all okay but nothing exceptional.
For dessert we had a peach tart topped with ice cream. This was by far the best thing we had that night. Fresh ripe peaches over a croissant like crust.
Overall, we were disappointed by the meal. It wasn’t bad, although service was somewhat marginal, but it wasn’t really great either.
I think we ordered some weaker dishes. The raviolis and dessert were good.
It did help that we had the 25% off coupon which also applied to alcohol.

Peppermill breakfast
It’s a surprisingly short walk from the Encore.
Corned beef hash and eggs for me. Decent hash in a gigantic portion. Waffles and sausage for wife. I love the fake trees here.

Cut lounge
We had reservations for Cut but ended up cancelling due to some afternoon Mojito excess. We did stop in the lounge for some appetizers before the late Jersey Boys show though.
Kobe beef sliders on brioche buns. Very good. Nice grilled onions.
Kobe steak tartare. They plate it different in the lounge than in the restaurant. In the lounge they portion it out in four servings on toast. In the restaurant you get a singe mound with a raw quail egg and toast. Either way it’s quite good. I missed the quail egg though.
We also had a summer corn and arugula salad which was very nice.

After Jersey Boys we headed back to the Encore where we were surprised to find that the only place serving food was the lobby bar (it was a bit after midnight) and they just got their food from the room service menu. We had drinks and a Reuben. The Reuben was good. Cocktail waitress was quite the newbie but she was cute.

We headed over to the Venetian with the intention of hitting Bouchon for breakfast but they were closed that day. So we had a horrible latte at the place on the top floor of the new part of the Forum Shops and then hit Joe’s Stone Crab for an early lunch. Joe’s has a lunch special of 5 medium crab claws, hash browns, cole slaw, and key lime pie for $22 which I ordered.
Hash browns were very good. They must have used plenty of beef fat to cook them. Cole slaw was nice if a bit juicy. Crab claws were good.
Wife had a crab Louie since she didn’t want to do any work getting at her crab.
Key lime pie wasn’t quite thawed out. It was okay.
We ate in the bar which was nice since they had Versus HD so we got to watch some Tour de France.

L’Atelier Joel Robuchon
We usually get the Discovery tasting at L’Atelier but we had it earlier this year and it’s substantially the same. Plus they have a 5 course summer tasting menu for $75 which we ordered with some supplements.
Amuse was a foie gras parfait topped with parmesan foam. Nice rich foie goodness.
First course was a little tower of eggplant, zucchini, mozzarella and sun dried tomato. Very nice if a bit ordinary. These things were a pain to stack. Sitting at the counter, it’s fun to watch them prepare the food. They served a lot of this dish and many of them had to be redone.
Next course was “la langoustine”. It was a langoustine fritter with basil. Simple but excellent. The langoustine was large but very tender. It sort of reminded me of fried shrimp from a Chinese restaurant though.
My wife ordered “les huitres” i.e. oysters as a supplement. They’re barely poached in butter. Excellent.
I supplemented with “le burger”. That consisted of two sliders topped with foie gras on brioche buns. These blew away the sliders at Cut. The beef was tender and flavorful and the foie was awesome. The crinkle cut fries were okay.
My wife had the salmon with capers and lemon. Very good perfectly cooked piece of salmon.
I had the braised pork belly with sweet onion confit. It was a bit heavy following up the burgers but I managed to eat it all. It was very good although I don’t know that I’d order it again.
Next we had a cheese course. Damned if I can remember what they were. I liked all three of them although I was pretty full by then.
For dessert we had a selection of traditional tarts. There were 6 small slices of various tarts. I think they were Swiss, chocolate hazelnut, coconut passion fruit, chocolate, something vaguely cheesecakey but much lighter, and strawberry. Each was excellent.
This was another excellent meal at L’Atelier. We’ve never been disappointed there and the $75 deal was quite the value considering the quality of food.

We were checking out so wife made a run down to the lobby bar to pick up coffee and pastries. I had a pretty good cherry Danish and she had a chocolate croissant.

Stack is running a three course $30 menu. We hit them right after they opened at 5 in order to make our flight.
Wife had the lettuce cups with chicken and mushrooms. She liked. It was a huge portion and was easily an appetizer sized for two.
I had the tomato soup with “mini” grilled cheese sandwich. Once again, this was a very large appetizer portion. Soup was a nice thick rich soup perfect for dipping the sandwich into.
We both chose the crispy chicken with green beans for main course. It was good but tasted like something we’d cook at home. Another large portion course although some starch would have been nice.
For dessert we got the jelly donuts. These were really more like beignets. Good and you get a lot of them. They had a what tasted like crème anglaise for dipping.

Summary – Las Vegas seemed as busy as we’d every seen it but the nicer restaurants (except for L’Atelier) and retail stores just weren’t that busy. We were kind of wondering what all those people were doing besides getting in our way. The Encore casino floor seemed rather empty although the Wynn was busy and that was the first time I’d ever seen the Palazzo casino floor busy. There were many shopping deals to be had at Neiman-Marcus and Barney’s too but that’s a post for a different message board.

L’Atelier was excellent and Charlie Palmer was a smokin’ deal considering the quality of the food. Postrio was a big disappointment and I was sad to miss a full meal at Cut and breakfast at Bouchon.

I think we ended up spending about half as much on food that we usually do. Not having a full meal at Cut was a big part of it though.

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  1. Thanks, Zippy, for a terrific report.

    1. Great report
      I have yet to see an In and Out that doesn't have a huge line of cars or is a zoo inside.

      1. Great trip report! I was in Vegas about a month ago and enjoyed the Sunday Supper at Charlie Palmers. We thought we had been pacing ourselves but were totally stuffed by the time the main courses arrived. The added wine pairing was a nice touch and a great deal too! I am headed back again with my parents and sister and will try to work in L'Atelier. Thanks!

        1. LOL Everyone I know doesn't care how long the wait is at In & Out Burger, they all, and myself, all say it's worth it for their burgers, about as good as BurgerVille USA in the Portland, OR, region or like what A&W used to be when they were independent franchises back in the day.

          8 Replies
          1. re: abba11002

            Finally got there (IN and Out Burger)...we don't get it...tasteles bone dry burger with crappy cheese on it...and sucky fries. Been there, done that, never repeat.

            1. re: foodiesnorth

              I wonder? Could it be you? If you grew up on frozen french fries you probably wouldn't get fries cut to order from fresh potatoes and that's how real fries should taste. Ditto beef that's never frozen and is ground fresh daily and cooked to order, hand leafed lettuce and so on. Out of the zillions of people who eat at In N Out you are in an incredible minority.

              1. re: Poerz

                Amazing the following of INO.

                My opinion: It's darn good for a fast food burger but still a fast food burger. You can do much better especially if you're willing to pay for it.

                1. re: climberdoc

                  Well put, climberdoc. And the same is true of their fries: the animal style version is pretty good, but there are better fries available elsewhere in town.

                2. re: Poerz

                  I always order my fries well done. I find them a little too underdone otherwise, and I like how the second frying gives them a crispy crust on the outside (and it turns the slivers into crunchy shoestring potatoes). Ordering the burger Animal Style is also a must for me.

                  1. re: Poerz

                    Thank you for the statistical analysis...I have not been to a fast food outlet (nor have my kids) in years...that is likely the source of my dislike of this product. It is so far beneath the quality of food we prepare and seek out that I can't say I was surprised it was crap. I have not eaten a frozen fry (to my knowledge) in 20 years, so that is not it. and of course "it's me"... food, as most things, is a subjective concept. We all have low grade food we love...for you it is In N Out, for me, well...sardines and smoked oysters from the can. In N Out is cheap though...I grant you that. It was also far less greasy than I recall MacD's to have been...but it was still crap....just a better grade of crap!

                    1. re: Poerz

                      Umm, I'm an INO lover and I think their fries taste horrible. If you look at any INO threads, there's a large minority of people who think their fries are horrible. I've eaten plenty of fries made from fresh potatoes and I still think INO's is bad. I've tried it several ways over many years. I've just given up.

                  2. re: abba11002

                    For anybody with a car... stay away from the Dean Martin In-N-Out location and instead visit either the one on Maryland Parkway between Harmon and Tropicana or the West Sahara location across from Palace Station.

                    Same food and a lot less waiting.

                    In-N-Out Burger
                    2900 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV

                    In-N-Out Burger
                    , Las Vegas, NV 89101

                  3. Foodiesnorth: If you've eaten french fries in any restaurant in the past twenty years there is probably a 90% chance they were frozen. Even full service restaurants rarely use fresh cut fries. Not only that but most frozen fries are blanched at the factory before being finished in a kitchen.

                    In N Out is definitely fast food (although orders are cooked to order) and certainly the burger I had in the bar at Bradley Ogden was was superior however it was also about 9 times as expensive. I think the comment that In N Out's burger was crap is inappropriate and certainly inaccurate. It seems to suggest a bias. I am happy that I can enjoy the merits of Bradley Ogden and not let my closed mind miss out on the pleasure of a good old fashioned In N Out burger with a toasted bun, Etc.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Phoenix99

                      I almost never order fries in a restaurant (except for fish and chips which may be frozen (but often are not)...I agree). My bias is against bad any price. I have had really bad food at outrgeously high prices...such as a $600 per person meal at Sketch in London and really good food at insanely low priices such as at the 4 Queens in Vegas...$7.95 for a prime rib dinner. That is not by any definition a "bias", it is an opinion and one expected on a board such as this. You need not agree with the opinion but surely respect my right to express it. The burgers at In and Out, in the opinjon of myself and my SO were crap...I could indulge you by finding a less pejorative term, but it will boil down to the same thing...they were crap - bland and dry with some sort of cheese product between two buns. The fries had no taste.

                      There is a cult like following with this restaurant and we really wanted to like the meal. We did not. I understand that there is a practice of ordering off would be helpful for you to, for example, tell me how best to do that. With that advise and your opinion in hand we would be pleased to try the place again.

                      No offense intended, but I will not dilute my views to avoid such offense. If you have helpful advise, please provide it.

                      1. re: foodiesnorth

                        The cult following that you refer to is a bit more complex than just putting out good food. Look at some of the crappy Cali cabernets that people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for. There has to be something more to it with In n Out cause the quality of the food sure does not justify the following. Not saying it's bad; just not that good.

                        In regards to Phoenix 69's accusation of bias on this site, I ask what's wrong with a negative fast food bias? Corporations such as Mcd, BK and your beloved In N Out all serve up products which have helped to make us an obese, hypertensive and diabetic society. They've even managed to serve their food cheaply enough so the ill-effects are able to permeate all socioeconomic classes. What they do is not a whole lot different than the cig companies. Nothing wrong with this bias bro/sis.

                        1. re: climberdoc

                          I have eaten at INO a couple of times, and that was enough for me. Hate the fries, and the burgers I got were really greasy. Lately I try to avoid fast food joints all together,and look for local Mom and Pop places. If you are in Henderson check out Fausto's Mexican Grill on Stephanie, or What a Sub by the auto mall.