Vegas report: LoS, Raku, Burger Bar & BLT Burger, SeaBlue
4 nights in Vegas.
Stayed at the Wynn, and unfortunately decided on a whim to have our first dinner at Red 8: incredibly mediocre and overpriced (no duh) "Chinese" food (we were tired and hungry and didn't feel like venturing out that night).
In fact, prices were so ridiculous, we ended up just getting some stir-fried water spinach and steamed buns, nothing else. Even though I explicitly ordered the spinach spicy, there wasn't a hint of hotness. So they gave us some chili sauce. The buns looked like they had just been taken out of their wrappers in the freezer. A tasteless, insulting mess. Total waste of money.
Did the Sunday brunch at the Wynn sans the champagne. If I start drinking that early, it's gonna be a short day '-)
I guess I understand the people who aren't big fans of buffets. Nothing will really blow your mind, as many foods just don't stand up well to sitting around -- a steamed sea bass filet comes to mind that was dried out by the time I ate it. OTOH, the variety of foods one can get for very reasonable 30something bucks is pretty impressive. The pastry and dessert section alone is probably worth it, though I'm more of a savory kinda gal. I did get two helpings of strawberries tossed in light cream. They were simply awesome.
Our dinner that evening was at LoS, which I guess came with heavy baggage. My expectations from reading about this place on CH, plus its status as the supposedly 'best Thai restaurant in the US', were perhaps just too high... but it kinda left me cold.
Yes, we had the sour sausage & crispy rice appetizer, which was tasty and unusual. Not sure where the sausage comes in, but I guess it's just VERY finely minced '-)
The spice level for all three dishes we ordered could've definitely been higher -- I had asked for a 9, but it felt like a 5. The other two dishes were the fried catfish salad which was fairly uninteresting, and the garlic-fried prawns. Those were nice, but we maybe should've ordered less fried food. With two people, one unfortunately has a bit of a limit of what to order; we were a bit envious of a few tables of 10 or more who had a huge variety of dishes. It would've been nice to try the duck penang, or any of the sea bass dishes... maybe *then* I would've understood the hype. As it stands, and as I have commented in another thread, I left pretty damn unimpressed.
One lunch we shlepped all the way down to the South Strip to have a burger @Burger Bar.... totally overrated. Not sure it was worth the roughly one hour walk, but thankfully, the Strip's entertaining enough. Our lunch the next day at BLT Burger, OTOH, was great. Fantastic berry milkshake (not something I go crazy about, but this was just out-of-this-world) and a really good burger. My man had the prime rib burger which was a special that day, served with a very mild, perhaps too mild horseradish-sauce. I ordered the BLT burger med-rare which unfortunately came out med-well. The second edition was perfect. Good fat fries, too. Million times better than Burger Bar.
Dinner that night was at Raku, and I have to say that this place TOTALLY lived up to the hype. My gods, that was one of the best meals I have had in a long time. For this dinner alone, I am so very happy to know Chowhound.
We had Raku's special tofu half & half: one half served raw with ginger, scallions, and bonito flakes) and the other half deep-fried served in dashi.... O.M.G. I am even more of a tofu convert now :-D
The sashimi salad was nice, as was the tempura asparagus. We also ordered a few skewers -- the chicken breast w/skin = crispy and juicy; king trumpet mushroom with garlic; yellowtail belly (heavenly), the kobe outside skirt and the pork cheek, which I only had one bit of, b/c it was really just fat on a stick. Not my thing.
We got a pitcher of the Sapporo (on tap!), and it complemented the food well. The service was superfriendly, and I really liked the low-key atmosphere. I would return to Vegas just to eat at Raku again.
We also went to SeaBlue for their $1 oyster happy hour. VERY nice. The calamari were half-price, too, so we got an order of those. Really good deal, good service, nice atmosphere. They also have a great 'build your own salad' thing that I would've liked to have tried. But dinner was two dozen oysters '-D
Thanks for your reviews. I was thinking about trying Burger Bar when I return to LV in April. I enjoyed BLT Burger at The Mirage. I guess I'll skip Burger Bar (especially since I'm staying at the Bellagio and don't need to "shlep" to Mandalay Bay for an overrated burger.
We were at Mandalay Bay on Saturday, wanted to eat a Burger Bar, but were told it was a 45 minute wait, unless we could find a seat at the bar. We walked by five empty tables to find no seat at the bar. On the way out, they said to come back in 15 minutes to get a pager. No thanks. If you can't seat the people waiting there already with a pager, we're not coming back. I've eaten there before but SE had not, and wanted to try it. Not at all worth the wait.