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Looking to have my mind blown in one meal

Here's the deal. I will get one dinner in Vegas with my partner, and I'm looking for mind blowing. The problem here is that we are major foodies and a bit jaded, but at the same time we are not rich and cannot afford the full Robuchon tasting menu. I have a lot of questions, so answers to any of them would be much appreciated.

Some background info is that we are in our 30s, and my partner is a chef, we live in Idaho but have traveled and had great meals (though not at restaurants of this caliber). I guess I'm hoping for an inspired and creative meal that is not just traditional French. Our tastes far exceed our income, but we are willing to shell out a decent amount of money on this meal. Our trip isn't until July, but I need to get a budget going now so I can save the money for this one night. If I'm saving up for three months, I want it to be worth it!

I've poured over the Vegas boards and I'm torn between Alex, Guy Savoy, Twist, Joel Robuchon, and L'Atelier. I'm thinking we'll do a tasting menu, unless we do Robuchon in which case we'll do a prix fixe. Anybody have an opinion on which of these might have more exciting and interesting cuisine (a.k.a more mind blowing)? Other suggestions are also welcome.

Oh and I have a couple other questions on tasting menus (I've never had a tasting menu). Are wine pairings usually offered? Is gratuity built in? (wishful thinking)

What is the general dress code? We don't exactly have an elegant wardrobe. If I can save enough for Robuchon, I'm worried we'll look like clowns. I've worn jeans to every restaurant for the last 10 years, so I'm a bit concerned there.

Thanks for any suggestions or answers if you made it all the way through this!

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  1. I've eaten at all of the restaurants you mention except for Twist. My first comment is that they're all excellent; you'll enjoy any of them. I'd recommend L'Atelier.

    The full tasting menu at Robuchon was my favorite meal, and as you mentioned, there are cheaper options at that restaurant. However, if I were looking for something not quite so breathtakingly expensive, I'd opt for L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. The tasting menu there is very interesting, and quite a bit less expensive. The atmosphere at L'Atelier is completely different - the best seats are at the dining bar that overlooks the kitchen - but that's not a negative in my mind.

    Guy Savoy is my second favorite place in town, but given budget considerations, I'd probably skip it. The food is excellent, and the service is warm, but bang for the buck? I'm not so sure.

    Alex ranks number 3 for me. Food and service are nearly on a par with Guy Savoy, and it's less expensive. However, I don't find its food quite as exciting as the places I've mentioned so far. It's not that it's exactly traditional - just more so than Robuchon, L'Atelier and Guy Savoy.

    Hopefully someone else can comment on Twist.; it certainly sounds interesting. I plan to eat there in a couple of months.

    Now, about the dress code. Some places may request a sport jacket, but none of the above restaurants require one. I've seen jeans at both Robuchon and Guy Savoy, but I'd feel uncomfortable wearing them (and there's no guarantee they'd let you in). It's probably best to wear a pair of business slacks (or something like Dockers) with a collared shirt and leather shoes.

    1. L'Atelier to get mashed potatoes, foie gras burgers, and glazed pork belly.

      I know it sounds crazy, but the mashed potatoes are that good.

      I recommend not getting the tasting and opt for the regular menu so you can choose whatever sounds good.

      The dress code is pretty casual, I have seen a guy in shorts and sandals sitting at the counter.

      You can eat there for about $120 a person not including drinks.

      1. I'm a NYC foodie, and love LV for the wonderful restaurants. I'm coming back to LV in two weeks for another "foodie" week. My favorite "foodie" restaurant is Alex. Alex is so much better than either Robuchon or L'Atelier (I've eaten at both). I'm dining at Alex (my fourth visit) and Twist. I've dined at Guy Savoy in Paris, and didn't find it memorable (especially not memorable in comparison to Taillevent or Le Cinq when Legendre was the chef--actually Legendre was the chef at Taillevent too when I dined there). Unfortunately jeans are not appropriate dress for any of the restaurants that you are considering. Nice dark slacks will be fine. I do recall seeing men without jackets at Alex, but you should definitely check with the other restaurants that you are considering. I believe all of the restaurants can or do offer wine pairings. The sommelier at Alex is an absolute genius with creating wine pairings. I hope you have a great time.

        1. We ate at L'Atelier a few weeks ago and I would not characterize it as mind blowing. Yes the mashed potatoes are awesome, but mind blowing? No. Same with pork belly. Sitting at the bar/counter also put me off a bit. The servers have a huge reach to get the food to you, and my neighbor was a bit too close. Fine if you want to have a conversation with a stranger, but not exactly how I want to enjoy higher end food. We also ate at Stratta, Mesa Grill (Bobby Flay), CUT, Enoteca San Marco, Julian Serrano. Loved the Nebraska corn fed steak at CUT and we were VERY impressed with Mesa. I hope you find what you are looking for!

          -----
          Mesa Grill
          3570 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

          Enoteca San Marco
          3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

          Stratta
          3131 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

          3 Replies
          1. re: Duster17

            Thank you for the feedback on L'Atelier. I don't think it looks as exciting as some of the others but I guess it feels like doing Robuchon on a budget. I don't think I can have my mind blown by mashed potatoes no matter how good they are!

            1. re: dumplinz

              The mashed potatoes are one of his signature items, which are pretty amazing BTW.

              Guy Savoy is also very much in the same caliber as Robuchon, and some of the supplements can get pricey. But the artichoke and black truffle soup is one of my favorite dishes at Guy Savoy.

              Robuchon is also a great choice and I feel the cuisine is a touch better. The Les Crustacés is awesome, one of the three dishes is a langoustine raviolo in a truffle and foie gras sauce is amazing. And if you supplement for the kobe beef, which is A5, is great as well.

              1. re: A5 KOBE

                Thanks for a direct comparison of Guy Savoy and Robuchon. Helpful for sure. It's nice to hear about specific dishes as well.

          2. Vegas certainly has a bevy of options for suberb meals. With budget constraints, however, it makes it tougher. Vegas is not cheap. After reading your entry, I would have suggested for you to create your own tasting menu at the new Julian Serrano.

            But if you can stomach the bill, Alex, Guy Savoy and Robuchon are winners. We really enjoyed the tasting menu at Picasso last trip, but I wouldn't call it mind blowing. Food is outstanding, but the real appeal to that restaurant is the setting - original picassos to your left, gigantic water show to your right. Too too vegas.

            My suggestion is to price the tasting menus and narrow the list to your budget. My ranking for the top venues would be the same as the first response. Any of the restaurants you are looking at will do wine pairings, however you may get more bang for your buck if you just tell the sommelier your price range and let him pick one or two bottles. Also, you should wear a jacket. There are many in Vegas who can and do pull off the jeans/jacket ensemble at the finer LAS establishments. I'm not one of them. My opinion is that if you have to ask, you're not one of them either.

            Good luck.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Phil W

              Having said all that, if I win a decent amount at the tables next trip, I'm heading straight for the tasting menu with wine parings at Alex.

              1. re: Phil W

                I think I can stomach a large bill at many of these places, but the full Robuchon tasting menu plus wine does frighten me.

                Thanks for the note on attire, though we would not actually wear jeans to any of these places. I guess I'm paranoid that we'll look silly in our cheap dress up clothes (Dockers versus designer duds), but it sounds like slacks/jacket will work just fine.