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Dec 9, 2009 05:45 PM

Looking for adventurous and inventive food on the strip in Vegas!

Alright folks, I've been to Vegas several times and am going back next week. I'll be there for several days, so tons of time to try new places! The problem I've encountered is that most restaurants are "safe". So I'm hoping you can provide me with some suggestions of what to try that's on the more inventive side that won't break the wallet.

Criteria is:
- Must be on the strip, purely for convenience, preferably at the north end (staying at Wynn)
- Price range is ~$50 per person for app + main + shared desert (excluding drinks and tip)
- Prefer to stay away from predominantly seafood restaurant, due to food restrictions

That's about it!

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  1. Maybe you could help by giving some examples of places you've been and why you consider them "safe."

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Good question. First, all of the steakhouses seem to have the same menu. The steaks and sides are pretty much all the same. Don't get me wrong - the food and preparation is excellent, but it's not unique. Looking through menus of Carne Vino (which I've enjoyed in the past), CUT, Stripsteak, Craft Steak, etc., I'm seeing basically the same main courses for high prices. A second example is the menu of Bouchon. I'd really like to go, but don't find the menu inspiring - again, I'm sure the food is outstanding, but menu items such as "pan-roasted trout with haricots verts, almonds & beurre noisette" are "safe". I've enjoyed Mon Ami Gabi in the past... for both the food and fun bistro-style atmosphere. The menu and atmosphere of Botero looks promising.

      Hope that helps? If I'm wrong about the above, I'm happy to hear another perspective. Maybe I've just become jaded by reading through too many menus trying to find some fun places.

    2. I think you're going to have a tough time finding places that meet such a wide range of restrictions. Drop the location restriction, and there are some off Strip possibilities. Drop the price restriction, and there are some possibilities on Strip.

      Having said that, it should be possible to find some "safe" restaurants that still have an interesting choice or two. For example, Bouchon has (or had, the last time I was there) boudin noir (blood sausage) with potato puree and sauteed apples; I thought it was pretty good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Larry

        Right. Restaurants on the strip need to appeal to a wide audience, so they aren't going to be very inventive, except at the top end.

        I would go to the various hotel websites, look at their line-up of restaurants and see what appeals and/or what they have special promotions on. Then you can check whether the places that look like they might suit get a thumbs up or not.

      2. A few options in your range at the Palazzo would be Woo, Table 10 or First Food and Bar. The last is more casual but might have the atmosphere you're after.

        1. SMOG - now entering the third decade as a resident here, we understand where you are coming from. Having access to the great food on the Strip is a wonderful perk of living here, but the frustration over time is that for all of the big-name chefs that we have, there is indeed a lot of playing it "safe". The majority of high-end places on the Strip do not turn their menu over all that often, and it is combination of both trying to appeal to the audience that was spoken about in a post above, and also the fact that outside of a small handful of places the chefs that created the cuisine are not around very often. As such they limit the offerings to dishes that are not nearly as challenging to produce as if they were in the kitchen themselves (Bouchon, the Michael Mina properties, etc.). So while the names on the marquees can look impressive, the day-to-day realities are a bit different.

          The one place that has consistently been an exception is B&B, which turns the menu over regularly and is not afraid of taking risks. You will find mixed reviews (deservedly) from this board, because service issues are not uncommon, and in trying some more challenging concepts the kitchen has run into consistency issues. But over time they are finding their rhythm, and at least they present us with new seasonal options throughout the year, (they just added some winter items that will definitely get us in the room, since this is a particular season that the other restaurants tend to neglect). The price point is not easy, but can come close to what you are looking for.

          2 Replies
          1. re: QAW

            Thanks all, good points here. Yes, I've looked at B&B. We actually enjoyed our experience at Carne Vino last year, so have been debating whether to go back for one of our "nice, expensive" dinners, or to try B&B.

            Ok, I've got a few ideas now. I'll check out those Palazzo recommendations, as for some reason, I didn't even consider them previously.

            1. re: SMOG

              I would avoid B&B. My wife and I were there in the last year and won't go back. Shame b/c we love Babbo.

          2. I know you said "Strip" for convenience. But considering the nightmare the strip can be at night I would take the $5 cab ride from the Wynn and head straight for Raku. No question you will have one of the more varied menus in Las Vegas but also one of the better dining options, especially at that price point. And it really is a short cab ride (it is <2.5 miles).

            1 Reply
            1. re: LVI

              Raku is good, but $50 is about the minimum you could spend there without wanting to fill up at in n out burger on the way back to your hotel. Ichiza might be a better choice... same great variety of menu, lots of adventurous choices (beef tongue, black cod, yellowtail collar), the food is still very good, but the prices are a bit more down to Earth. The menu is on papers pinned up on every available surface and portions are small, encouraging you to try many things and share with your companions (think Japanese tapas). It's on Spring Mountain, easily reached by cab, and they're open until about 3am.