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Raku (Splendid), Charlie Palmer (Good), B&B (Waste of $), Sinatra (Bad/Sad)

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I will give general reviews of each of the places that we ate and spare you the bite for bite details. Before I do I will make one general observation which I would love to see if anyone else agrees/disagrees with. The one thing I found was that restaurants that are owned by the casinos have suffered more than the ones that are independently owned. Not only in terms of the bottom line but service and product. Which will lead me into my first review.

Sinatra. What a difference a year makes. This used to be one of my favorites places to go. First let me say that our dinner was eaten at the bar, although that should have zero impact on the food. The 1st 2 years I went to this restaurant it was excellent. And the service was equally as good. This time…mehhh. The one good…the Osso Bucco continues to impress. Perfectly cooked and good flavor of the veal and the accompanying risotto made this dish really good. However the rest fell on its face. Cold clams in the pasta dish, not to mention a fair amount of grease. This dish was simply inexcusably horrible! Agnolotti that had obviously been sitting under a heat lamp as the edges of the pasts were starting to dry. Chicken parmesan that was bland. Service was horrible. I understand we were sitting at the bar but if you gladly seat people at the bar you need to be prepared to serve them. No utensils and pouring our own wine is inexcusable (trust me I do not mind doing that but when we had to do it 90% of the time I think that’s poor execution), IMHO. Was bad enough that I am not sure I we will return. And on an aside, I ran into a good friend of mine that used to work for Encore (at one of the restaurants. I don't want to give the name as he said that the managers of a lot of the restaurants do in fact read different sites like CH to get feed back on dining experiences.). He said that many of the most creative chefs at Encore and Wynn are being handcuffed in terms of execution and creative expression to keep costs down and to "dumb down" the menus.

Charlie Palmer Steakhouse. Quality was good, not great but value was outstanding. The "Cut of the Week" was something that nobody should pass up. Ours was the 16oz Dry Aged Rib Eye (good, could have been cooked better in terms of crust) along with the Caesar's salad (outstanding), black truffle twice baked potato (yummy), seasonal mini squash (boring not bad though), and a very good Hazelnut Chocolate dessert (and I don't like Hazelnut!). All this and endless wine for $48pp. Don't miss this deal!

B&B. I am done trying this place. Was my 4th time trying B&B and it does nothing but disappoint each time. And it wasn't just me. Everyone commented that while nothing was bad, the quality/price ratio was not justified. The quality is ok but it is nowhere near the quality of its older NYC sibling. Prices are way too high for the portion size. GREAT drinks poured with a heavy hand but prices that match. Decent service but lose the "you are lucky to be here" attitude!

Raku….ahhhhh, finally a positive. Not only a positive but this place continues to shine. EXTRAORDINARY! Everything was great. The fried tofu in the mushroomy broth w/the mushrooms, salmon eggs and green onions is so friggin good! The flavors are astounding. How many of you have had the Kobe Beef Tendon? Wowza! Really great raw fish quality which eludes most places in Vegas (only one that I think is close is Sen Of Japan) and the different preparations of. This place really rocks. Raku should be at the top of everyone's list when coming to Vegas, even ahead of Lotus of Siam. OHHHHH my, did I really just say that?

Quick Breakfast note: The Verandah at the Four Seasons still head and shoulders above all other spots (pricey but great). Wynn Breakfast Buffet Sunday Morning. Expensive, good, outstanding selection but not worth the money IMO. Compared to the Verandah, not in same league. While selection of the Wynn brunch in much more extensive, the quality is well below that of the Verandah weekend buffet, not to mention the menu selections.

Lotus of Siam
953 E Sahara Ave Ste A5, Las Vegas, NV 89104

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  1. Thanx so much for your feedback. Husband & I are staying at Palazzo(3rd time) & were seriously thinking of Sinatra . But...will have to RETHINK this option!

    1 Reply
    1. re: johnmaggie

      Every restaurant has an off night, there is no doubt about it. And sitting at the bar may have played into the poor service aspect of our meal. But as a regular tourist I have little if no tolerance for poor service and if the food is bad, forget it. What I found surprising was the poor quality/execution of the food. The last two times were really great so to have only 3 dishes out of 11 (6 entrees and 3 were the Osso Bucco, 2 pastas, 3 appetizers) be really good was, in my mind, totally inexcusable.

    2. B&B really needs to reevaluate itself.. For every 1 good review there is 10 bad.. I personally gave it 3 tries, the service got worse and worse each time.. It's sad because I really want to like it, but there are a lot of other options available.. Especially with Scarpetta coming into the Cosmo..

      1. Sinatra was on my list for our upcoming trip!! Hmmmm.... wonder if I should rethink or if they were just having a bad day. It was one our favorites last trip! Was also batting around Okada for the ROBATAYAKI grill. Anyone had that lately???

        3131 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

        3 Replies
        1. re: lorishea87

          Over priced, mediocre quality. Go to Raku. And as I mentiond, it was only one trip. But the more distrubing aspect was that service and quality, minus one dish, was all pretty bad.

          1. re: LVI

            Thanks for the tip --- I think we might have to try that..... it's a cab ride away isn't it?? And we have tickets at 8 pm that night, Is it a quick ride back and forth from the Wynn?? The photos and reviews are amazing, very hard to find a negative review.

            1. re: lorishea87

              It's actually very easy from the Wynn. Shoot straight up Spring Mtn. and it's is all of 5 min, tops. I would make a 6pm resy which should leave you plenty of time. Make sure to get the homemade fried tofu in the broth…OMG! So many great things on the menu there, I so want to go back tonight! I don't know how you feel about renting a car but I just got back from a trip this past weekend and got a rental car through Priceline for $11 a day, full size. And Wynn/Encore so easy to either self park or valet.

        2. OK after reading so many rave reviews of Raku, and clearly this is one popular place, how far in advance should we be making reservations and will they take them on-line?

          5 Replies
          1. re: breezey

            As far as I know Raku isn't on Open Table or any of the other reservation services, but you can email them at contact@raku-grill.com or call them. Or call at: 702-367-3511

            1. re: breezey

              I emailed Raku on Sept 2 about reservations, and got this information:
              "Yes, we do accept reservation at the bar.
              I am sorry but we cannot accept reservations through email.
              Please call us at (702)-367-3511 during operation hours for reservation."

              1. re: Larry

                Thanks. I did see that Raku wasnt on Open Table (which I think is a fabulous service) so will call the restaurant directly. For those who have been before, how far in advance needed for a reservation fror both Raku and Lotus of Siam.

                Lotus of Siam
                953 E Sahara Ave Ste A5, Las Vegas, NV 89104

                1. re: breezey

                  Unless there is an unusually large convention, a few days in advance at either place should work. If you have a group larger than six, I'd give both more time.

                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                    Dave, seems people could always count on you for a timely and thorough response. Thanks a lot.

            2. Spot on with B&B!!! We had the EXACT same reaction and to think that Delmonico was mere steps away, well that just added to fuel to the fire.

              I have see Raku mentioned a lot here and I am looking forward to trying it. Are there any Sam Woo fans here on the board?? I always make it a point to stop by there when in town and the LV location is just as good as the LA (valley) branch.

              1. I think all the Wynn properties are suffering now... Hubby and I planned to go for a 3pm lunch at the coffee shop/clubhouse... guess what nothing in this whole place was opened. They are obvioulsly cutting back in all the wrong ways. In vegas, coffee shops are 24/7... there is no excuse. They might be cutting back on kitchen staff at Sinatras, but I personally haven't seen a difference in my food(but i never sit at the bar, which i've never had a good experience doing anywhere). But last month when i went in and had the caesar/lemon vinnagarette salad w/ osso buco(still best in town)... I did notice that the salad dressing wasn't at its usual perfect consistancy.
                B&B is DISGUSTING! Run People! RUN! My favorite Italian is Terra Rosa, but its at Red Rock Casino, so only tourists with cars can get there.
                Raku is a no brainer... I was turned on to it by a friend of mine who was a head sommilier at one of the best restaurants, and her hubby and executive chef of a highly aclaimed restaurant. Both amazing chef's, and guess what... regulars at Raku.

                Red Rock Bar
                1729 E Charleston Blvd Ste A, Las Vegas, NV 89104

                6 Replies
                1. re: BedazzledLV

                  "In vegas, coffee shops are 24/7..."

                  They used to be 24/7 but no longer. Many hotels do not have *any* food outlets open after 11:00PM. e.g.: Bally's.

                  I hate to burst your bubble but Las Vegas is NOT a 24/7 town. Hasn't been for many years and it's most evident with Strip hotel coffee shops.

                  o Most shows are dark 1 or 2 days a week. Same goes for some nightclubs and restaurants,

                  o Ever since the Grand Luxe Cafe introduced their time sensitive menu, the 24 hour coffee shop that serves a full menu has all but disappeared. The coffee shops at Rio and Bally's are only open one shift, 6:00AM to 3:00PM. Most other coffee shops serve a menu similar to the Grand Luxe menu... Breakfast from 6:00AM-11:00AM. Lunch from 11:00AM to 4:30PM. Dinner from 4:30PM to midnight. Late night menu from midnight to 6:00AM. One exception is Jerry's Nugget Famous Coffee Shop. It is on Las Vegas Blvd, just north of downtown. They serve everything 24 hour a day. The Station Casinos are changing their coffee shops from vendor branded and operated to good old fashioned 24/7 restaurants serving almost everything on the menu at any time.

                  o Fine dining restaurants are only open 5:00PM to 11:00PM.

                  o Nightclubs are only open 9:00PM to 4:00AM.

                  o Pools are only open 9:00AM to 7:00PM.

                  The notion that Las Vegas is a 24/7/365 town is utterly bogus. The only things that are always open are valet parking, check in desk, gas stations, supermarkets, slot machines and bars. In most casinos most of their table games will be closed in the wee hours. Some casinos completely close all table games for a few hours when it's very slow.

                  The idea the Vegas is 24/7 is a myth.

                  1. re: shamu613

                    The Coronado Cafe at South Point offers the a big menu (with breakfast, lunch, and dinner)24/7. It does offer a few graveyard specials only available late-night, but that was true of old-school coffee shops, too.

                    1. re: Dave Feldman

                      The Coronado is my go to when meeting friends who are just passing through town. It's close enough to me and just off the I-15.

                      These days, I'm asking more questions of the coffee shops I eat in. I want to know if I'm ordering food that comes in boxes from Sysco or something scratch made.

                      1. re: shamu613

                        Ever get anyone to admit to being Syscofied?

                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                          Yes. The new coffee shop at Sunset Station.

                          I saw Eggs Benedict on the menu. Asked the waitress if the hollandaise sauce was real. She checked with the kitchen, returned and said: "Yes, the hollandaise sauce is real. It comes from a can that says Hollandaise Sauce right on it."

                          Almost fell over laughing.

                    2. re: shamu613

                      Shamu, I know the last few years have led casinos to cut back on their available eateries. I know how Vegas works, obviously you take 24/7 to a whole other level. For me it means at a reasonable coffee shop hr. 3:30pm... Hubby and I could not find a coffee shop open to have a late lunch at either of the wynn properties. To make things worse, we asked multiple emploees on the floor what would be open, only to find it closed after walking miles to get there.
                      For any prominent casino, let alone 2 connected casinos to not have an eatery open in the middle of the day is rediculous.

                  2. I would put Charlie Palmer's in my 'Great' category: we found the food to be excellent and the sommelier to be very knowledgeable and down-to-earth. The atmosphere is a welcome break from the 'ding-ding-ding' you seem to hear everywhere else on the Strip