Vegas - hilton, cocktails and Batali
A few questions - Ive looked at the board, but would like a little more specific guidance.
Im in Vegas for the next three nights and have been booked at the Hilton. Is there anything worth eating there? Or should I just use my hand and hail it out of there. Along the line, any good bars/clubs there?
Drinks - are there any cocktail bars in Vegas that are in the same vein as Drink in Boston, or the many high-end artisan places in NY (Mayahuel, Little Branch, M&H, Death&CO, Pegu, etc). Im talking great cocktails with fresh artisanal ingredients, not just a place to get a good G&T or check out a few hotties.
Batali restaurants - how do these places compare to Babbo and the other Batali high-end places in NY? In particular, how is B&B? Does it come recommended? Is it the best in Vegas for Italian, at least at the price point? Whats the ambience like? I will be either alone or with a few other guys, so Id prefer a laid back environment.
Thanks for your thoughts.
Dined at B&B several months ago. Decor is sophisticated - dark, black accents. We were off to a bad start when they didn't have the reservation I'd made by phone 6 days before. However, they did the right thing and got us in quickly. And they were packed (our reservation was for 8:30). Service was leisurely at best -- we didn't see a server, or a menu, for at least 15-20 mins. Then it took forever for the sommelier to arrive. He, at least, was apologetic and made up for the wait by making an excellent wine recommendation well within our price range. Our waiter, on the other hand, could have used a refresher course in people skills. We knew way more about him by the end of the meal than we really needed to. The food -- good. Expected to have my socks knocked off, but didn't. If I returned, I'd sit at the bar and order several small plates -- that's the menu area where I found the most interesting dishes. This is definitely not classic Italian. Includes dishes with rabbit and ox tail (that's Mario!). The environment is definitely relaxing, so I think you'd be comfortable. Just depends on how adventurous a diner you are. And it's not inexpensive, but nothing in Vegas is.
I completely agree with you about B&B. The service has been lackluster at best for me on 3-occasions now. It is quite discordant with the prices they charge for which one would expect top-notch service. That said, Batali has some don't miss type plates which I'd like to have again. Most memorable are the mint love letters which is one of the finest dishes I've tasted in a restaurant. Simply immaculate! Dining at the bar will take the whole service (or lack therof) aspect out of the equation and allow you to focus on Batali's food which can be incredible. For a 4-5 star Italian experience I would choose Bartolotta or Sinatra over B&B without any doubt.
My wife and I are huge fans of Babbo....we are certainly not fans of B&B. They sat us in the "wine room" with cramped seating and bad lighting. I had move around so the staff could get bottles of wine. The food was good, far from great, and the service lack-luster. There are too many good places in Vegas and I won't waste my time on this place again.
Sorry to say that there aren't any terrific restaurants or bars at the Hilton, although I have some affection for the usually desolate bar in the sports book, because it feels like old Vegas.