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Looking for the middle ground

Please help! I need some "in-between" dining choices:
My longtime high school girlfriends and I are taking a much-awaited trip--us only, no kids, no hubbies!--to Vegas in early Oct. We don't have a lot of extra money to spend, but we'd like to make our time together as fun and special as possible. And I don't think 'special' has to mean 'expensive' (no $89 per person dinners for us)...but it can mean a fun atmosphere, or a great view, etc. We can probably do one nice dinner (entrees around $20-30?) and some other lower priced things for other lunches and dinners.

Advice I've gotten in the past seems to be either very pricey places on the strip, or kind of diner-y places off the strip. Is there any middle ground?

I'm probably the only foodie of the bunch, so even tho I'm asking for somewhat affordable, I really don't want to put up with fried mushroom appetizers and honey-mustard chicken dishes the ENTIRE weekend (no offense intended to those who like those things ; ) I'd really like to have some good, interesting food while I'm there. Not a big buffet fan, but if it's really good, it might be an option.

thanks!!!!! : )

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  1. I think the key may be to go to a nice sit down restaurant where you get a good size portion but can share among the table. So if there are four of you then you can get two entrees and the four of you can share the portions.

    For example, Emeril's New Orleans Fish House in the MGM can be on the pricey side. However, if you go to the Cafe and order the Po Boy (I like the shrimp). The sandwich is a decent size to share. So a $16 sandwich becomes $8 a piece. Order the banana cream pie for dessert as it is big enough for 3 or 4 to share. So if there are 4 people and you order two sandwiches that is $8 a piece and finish with the pie ($9) which is $2.25 a piece then it is $10.25 a piece before drinks, tax, tip.

    So I would look for places that could allow you to order less items but share them rather than everyone ordering their own app, entree, dessert.

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    Emeril's
    3799 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

    4 Replies
    1. re: Scott M

      that's a great idea! thanks, we're not huge eaters anyway. Emeril's sounds good...can you suggest any others? We're fine w/ eating in the cafe part of an upscale kind of place.

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      Emeril's
      3799 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

      1. re: erinvp

        I wish some locals would chime in with suggestions since I don't live locally and restaurants tend to change frequently.

        Some ideas for more casual fare where you could probably split larger portion dishes:

        Hash House a go go: http://www.hashhouseagogo.com/

        Carnegie Deli at the Mirage

        Brunch at Mesa Grill

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        Carnegie Deli
        3400 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

      2. re: Scott M

        I thought most places charge extra for splitting like that.

        1. re: mucho gordo

          Typically a restaurant will charge if they split the item in the kitchen. Usually you get a little more food if the kitchen splits the plate. However, if you just order "family style" or order a number of items and just let them know you are splitting everything at the table there should not be an extra charge.

      3. How does Thai sound? You'll find lots of recommendations on this board for Lotus of Siam, a short cab ride off the strip. Prices just a bit higher than the average Thai restaurant, and food that's WAY better than average. Atmosphere and location aren't much, but the food is outstanding.

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

        1. My own personal opinion, but I'd skip splitting entrees, especially at better places, because it's tacky as hell. If you're not big eaters AND on a budget, go tapas. You could check out Julian Serrano, Firefly or a handful of other places in the Strip area.

          5 Replies
          1. re: invinotheresverde

            I am not suggesting going to Joel Robuchon, ordering the tasting menu and 4 forks. But I think it is perfectly reasonable to go to a cafe for lunch and order a few items for the table to share (ie. sandwiches). Often times in LV one gets a huge quantity of food for the price since they are competing with the buffets. Makes no sense to get saddled with a large plate of food that you can't finish just because you fear what someone might think if you share.

            1. re: Scott M

              I've been to Vegas many, many times and never noticed huge portions.

              1. re: invinotheresverde

                Spoken like someone who has never been to Hash House a Go-Go or had the Peppermill fruit salad!

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                Hash House
                2605 S Decatur Blvd Ste 103, Las Vegas, NV 89102

                1. re: Dave Feldman

                  Nope and nope.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    But seriously, I don't find Las Vegas portion sizes to be unusually large for an American city, with some notable exceptions.

          2. On the strip we like Julian Serrano, Sage & RM Seafood. Off the strip favs are Raku, Lotus of Siam, Todd's Unique, Rosemary's (wed ladies night 50% off food) and Firefly.

            1. And check out discounts available at restaurant.com. For more, see this post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7354...