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Sep 22, 2010 08:38 AM

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

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 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.