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pathetically mixed bag of questions

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My beau and I will be spending 5 nights in Vegas beginning Dec. 5th. Vegas has never held much appeal for me (so not a gambler) but I am a foodie so was soothing myself with the thought of Joel Robuchon. Yeah, right. OK, I'd lower myself to "Alex". sigh. Then I began getting an idea of price in Vegas if you want to dine fine. So I'm asking (and Ellenost, I do like your opinions as I run through different posts) is it possible to have a truly wonderful meal for $150 each and if so, where? We will have a car. We both like French, Chinese, Sushi......most anything really, except not so much Greek. We are hoping for one night at a lovely spot, then would be great with dives with great food. I loathe buffets, but maybe they're different in Vegas? (Read in a Chow posting about restaurant.com coupons for $2 but I sure can't find that coupon code!)

We plan on seeing a Cirque de Soleil (the racy one, not my pick!) Other than that, not much seems to be going on when we are there show-wise. I do sound horribly whiney, don't I. I apologize for that. It will be fun when I get there.........am just disappointed in the prices. (I'd pay $250 for a 6 course at Joel's, but my guy says No Way)

Will appreciate any and all help and thank you in advance.

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  1. Have you checked out some of the dining deals, like the Taste of Wynn menus (on Wynn website) or the CUT pretheatre menu? There are some really good deals out there. We just returned from the Wynn and dined at Alex, which was amazing - we didn't do the Taste of Wynn this time, but we have in the past and it's a great deal at $89 a person. The wine will do your bill in though, so if you want to save money, skip the alcohol! MGM usually has a lot of dining deals as well -- just start poking around on the hotel websites and look through the different menus, most post the deals right online.

    To get the current code for Restaurant.com 80% off is: GIVE

    3 Replies
    1. re: lorishea87

      As a follow-up to your Alex inquiry, were the menus that same as the website? If not, how did they differ?

      1. re: Scott M

        The menus were different than the ones posted the week before we went, but I just peeked today, and Alex has the current menu online that we were offered. Everything was excellent . The standouts always seem to be in the amuse offerings and the appetizer course for me. This time, it was a duck pate (and I didn't think I liked pate), the cheese-filled pastry (smooth, almost liquid, and intensly-flavored cheese filling), a velvety custard topped with duck confit & chicken jus (heaven!), and the melt-in-your-mouth ricotta gnocchi & chicken oysters. Everything else was great, but I feel those first small, extremely focused bites are the best of the meal --- until you get to that warm basket of madelines of course! They also offered a special appetizer that wasn't on the menu of Taglliatelli pasta with truffles for a supplement of $45, but I passed on. It sounded wonderful though.

        1. re: lorishea87

          Great, thanks for the info. I see they have updated the online menus. I also appreciate the insight into the amuse and special appetizer.

    2. In no particular order...

      Although I like Zumanity (the racy one) the only really good view is from the center of the house. The audience seating is horseshoe shaped and the sides have terrible sight lines. I've see all the Cirque shows in Las Vegas and most of the older ones on Santa Monica. My favorite is BY FAR, Mystere.

      Sushi in Las Vegas is either unremarkable or WAY overpriced. If you enjoy the sushi where you live, pass on it while you're in Vegas.

      Fine dining in Las Vegas is obscenely priced. You can get really good and interesting food off the strip at reasonable prices. Todd's Unique in Henderson, Lotus of Siam, Raku. Check ou the Cut Of the Week at Charlie Palmer's in the Four Season's Hotel. Prix fixe dinners with bottomless wine for less than $50pp. Mon Ami Gabi in Paris does good, reasonable French. It ain't Joel Rubuchon, but you'll get out for $50-60pp.

      -----
      Mon Ami Gabi
      3655 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

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

      1. Raku. Fantastic food at very moderate prices, Sapporo on tap, nice atmosphere, away from the Strip... what can I say. It was the best damn meal I had in 2009. Go!

        1. Since you have a car, the world is really your oyster. For my expensive meal, if I were you, I'd seriously consider Bouchon. I have never had a bad meal there, and think it is a really terrific experience. The other restaurant that would make my short list would be Sage. I've eaten there several times and the food is outstanding, interesting and very contemporary (in a good way).
          You could also consider L'atelier Joel Rubochon, as a kind of compromise, but if I were going to only have one higher end meal on the strip, I'd do one of the other two.

          Off the strip, definitely give consideration to both Raku and Lotus; terrific food at reasonable prices. Sen of Japan is a very good sushi restaurant but is a pretty good drive from the strip. Origin India is a very good Indian restaurant over near the Hard Rock (albeit not inexpensive).
          There is also very good Vietnamese food in Chinatown, which is a stretch of Spring Mountain Road west of the Strip. There are numerous other inexpensive, and good restaurants in that stretch for Chinese, Malaysian, and other asian eats.

          -----
          Bouchon
          3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

          Origin India
          4480 Paradise Road, Suite 1200, Las Vegas, NV 89169

          Sen of Japan
          8480 W Desert Inn Rd F1, Las Vegas, NV

          Hard Rock Cafe
          4475 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169

          1. Thanks for so many ideas. In reply to questions, esp. the sushi....he is living in Montana. "nuff said. I am in central Ohio. feh. We are staying at the MGM Luxor....no clue as to what it is like, a friend of his got us a discount. Have realized it will be like schlepping from NYC to get to anywhere. Really appreciate the tip about Zumanity seating so have left him voicemail to hold on the tickets. I am trying to think of restaurants I've loved that might have an equal in Vegas area w/o the killer tab: Chicago': TRU, Pasteur, a Vietnamese gem; NYC: Shun Lee Palace and Union Square Cafe; of course, sigh, Lutece. Is Taste of Wynn something at Alex or....? Will look up the other spots so kindly recommended. If one ordered a la carte at Joel Robuchons....say appetizer, entree, dessert, one glass of wine....what kind of money are we talking? Meanwhile........back to my searches of everything mentioned by my new Vegas buddies!

            -----
            Lutece Restaurant
            3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

            4 Replies
            1. re: montanacsl

              Right next door to you at Luxor is Mandalay Bay, where you can dine quite finely for less than $150 p.p. or right around that. My wife and I have had two lovely experiences there within the last year and we are tough to please. And for that little something extra ask to be seated in the Swan Court area of the restaurant where it's much more quiet, serence and roomy, and where you have views of a pond with swans. Excellent service and well prepared Calif/Medit. cuisine.

              -----
              Aureole Swan Court
              4510 W Diablo Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89118

              1. re: mcgrath

                I would second the recommendation for Aureole.
                Aureole certificates are also available on restaurant.com.
                Also note that Swan Court is an additional $10 or so.

              2. re: montanacsl

                Taste of Wynn is a selected discounted menu for each Wynn/Encore finer dining restaurant. You will usually have to eat before 7:00 PM and/or on selected days. The list of participating restaurants and menus are available at the Wynn website.

                1. re: montanacsl

                  Regarding Joel Robuchon, they have several prix fixe menus to choose from. The one closest to what you are looking for would probably be:

                  L'Amuse-bouche
                  One Main Course
                  Dessert
                  Moka - Thé

                  This is $115 per person. This includes an amazing bread cart.

                  So adding a glass of wine, tax and tip, you are probably some where in the $150 neighborhood. Well worth the splurge and I believe they will limo you over from another hotel on the strip.

                2. OK, an update: having plowed through a million reviews and all your tips and suggestions I finally chose Alex for our big wonderful blow-out meal. Are you ready? Remember we arrive the eve of Dec. 5th? Alex closes Dec. 5th-23rd for their winter vacation. (They must be going somewhere with Cher.) The Beau has agreed to go $150 each for our Big Night Out. So, I begin again. Unless someone can figure out some crafty ordering at Joel Robuchon's? Planning on driving out to Raku. (Have spent so many hours on the computer researching Vegas restaurants I think I have some kind of vision disorder now)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: montanacsl

                    I'm a big fan of Robuchon's but probably wouldn't recommend it for less food than the 4 course prix fixe, which is $180 (plus a charge for water), so that's probably out.

                    Maybe Guy Savoy or Picasso? Savoy is a Michelin 2* and has a 3 course "pre-theater" menu available early in the evening for $98, or a four course "TGV" menu for $140 in addition to the longer, more expensive menu options. We're eating there next week and looking forward to it very much.

                    Picasso, which many people think is now probably the 4th best French place in Vegas and is also a Michelin 2* like Alex and GS, has a 5 course 'degustation' menu for $123 and a 4 course prix fixe menu for $113. Either of these would likely be fine too.

                    I would probably compare these menus and see what looks most appealing.

                    1. re: montanacsl

                      Have you considered L'Atelier? In many ways wifey and I prefer the vibe there to Robuchon next door.

                      1. re: montanacsl

                        Take another look at Todd's Unique. http://www.toddsunique.com/ Truly special food at half the prices on the Strip. You might also look at the Cut of the Week at Charlie Palmers inside the Four Seasons. "Bottomless Glass" Wine Pairings all at $48pp.

                      2. Sorry to hear that Alex is closed when you'll be in LV (as you know, it's my favorite LV restaurant), and the Taste of Wynn would have been perfect. I highly recommend CUT at The Palazzo; my sister and I had a great dinner there last spring. I'm not a particular fan of Robuchon (had dinner at the expensive restaurant 3 years ago, and thought it was "okay"; I've dined at L'Atelier in NYC, and it can easily become very pricey).

                        Would Le Cirque at The Bellagio be of interest to you? I've loved it (but only in LV; absolutely hate it in NYC). I've had three great meals at Le Cirque at The Bellagio.

                        I'm interested in trying Sage when I return to LV in April.

                        Okada at They Wynn for sushi was excellent.

                        Since you have a car, I've heard only wonderful things about Lotus of Siam. LOS has just opened a branch in NYC, and am trying it next week. Definitely want to try LOS in LV when my sister joins me for a future visit.

                        Hope some of these suggestions help. Have a wonderful time! I'm not a gambler either, but absolutely adore LV!

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

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

                        Le Cirque
                        Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: ellenost

                          Ellenost! Love reading your reviews and hoped you would sign in with your opinions. Loved the Le Cirque idea and guess what.....they are closed for our entire stay. I am definitely having Bad Vegas Kharma. While I look at Cut and Sage, tell me what you and your sister do for fun since you don't gamble. (Beau didn't listen and bought tix to Zumanity which are "slightly off-center".......big sigh) Even though we will have a car, I have stomped my little foot and declared I'm not going out to see some damn dam. Have you been to Raku? I think it's sushi....out by Lotus of Siam perhaps? Adore Chinese...Peking Duck is a favorite. Wile living in Montana and desperate would even make it myself inc. the pancakes. Thank you so much......please continue...........................one and all!

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

                          Le Cirque
                          Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                          1. re: montanacsl

                            Just so you know montana, it's not you or bad kharma. December is a slow month in LV (not towards New Year's, of course)-so lots of places close/refurb.

                            1. re: montanacsl

                              Funny you should mention Chinese. John Curtas did a big article about Las Vegas' Chinatown. Many of us locals scoffingly refer to it as Chinablock because it's just a two story strip mall. However, since it's construction, Asian restaurants of all persuasion have moved into the area. A drive along Spring Mountain to the west of Valley View out to Rainbow will yield dozens and dozens of Chinese, Japanese, Yietnamese, Maylay and Korean restaurants. Oddly, there are few Thai restaurants in that neighborhood. Lotus Of Siam is along E. Sahara in the city's oldest shopping mall, Commercial Center.

                              Anyway... here's a link to the guide to Chinatown.
                              http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/news/20...

                              Raku is not sushi. It is an izakaya. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izakaya

                              1. re: montanacsl

                                Raku is a robata grill, which means that a lot of the foods are little wooden skewers with tasty delights. There are also some sashimi dishes, soups, and other things, but it is not a sushi place per se.

                                1. re: montanacsl

                                  Hi montanacsl!

                                  It's a shame that both Le Cirque and Alex are closed when you're in LV. My sister and I went to LV in early December three years ago, and we were lucky with Alex being open. But I did notice a number of restaurants at The Bellagio were closed the week we were there. Since my sister and I aren't much gamblers (although we do love the new Sex and the City slot machines), we love to shop and go the the spa (love Qua Spa at Caesar's Palace, and they have an excellent fitness center too!). When we were in LV in April this past year, we did spend a lot of time at the pool (in the shade for me since I only burn) reading and relaxing. We're usually planning our next meal. She loves (and I like) Cheesecake Factory at the Forum Shops at Caesar's. Have you considered Bouchon in the Venezia Tower at The Venetian? My sister and I love their breakfast, and I'm sure it must be very good at dinner too. Wishing you a great visit to LV!

                                  -----
                                  Bouchon
                                  3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                                  The Cheesecake Factory
                                  3500 Las Vegas Blvd S Ste M03, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                                  1. re: ellenost

                                    Great to hear from you again. Looked at Cut. As long-time Montanans, the idea of steak is maybe not top on our list. Sushi recommendation is great. Still hoping for someone to give a shout-out for an outstanding Peking Duck spot. When Wynn told me Alex was closed, she really pushed Bartolotta. Have been reading reviews and Oy! are they mixed. Anyone out there have a good feel for that spot esp. the tasting menu? We never get good seafood, nor fabulous Italian. Bartolotta equals that don't charge by the gram (good lord) would be welcome. We have a Cheesecake Factory close by. Forgot: we love Tapas (he's a Basque Boy) I cannot believe how I am obsessing about all this, but I do love to eat. P.S. Ellen, even though I am 5'4" and weigh 110, no one could legally sell me a bathing suit. My ass is now behind my knees. P-o-o-l is not an option. :-)

                                    -----
                                    The Cheesecake Factory
                                    3500 Las Vegas Blvd S Ste M03, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                                    1. re: montanacsl

                                      We too are heading out to LV about the same time as you (Nov 30) and were debating where to eat. Like you our first choice would be Sushi, but we are concerned with the quality. Ever since we tried Yasuda in NYC, nothing compares. We also don't want to spend more than $150 each for a meal as we want to eat well more than once. I'm not too interested in Italian as we are from Toronto which has a very large italian community.
                                      We were thinking about the Taste of Wynn at Alex as well and are not sure if it will be open. We also wanted to wait to see what the menu looked like. As we will be there during the week, we don't think we will have any trouble getting reservations.
                                      I've already chosen Charlie Palmer cut of the week as one meal. Thinking Okada or Nobu for sushi meal, and either Alex or the 3-4 course at Robuchon for the "big meal" and somewhere for seafood, just not sure where. (sorry to hyjack your thread, its just that we seemed to be thinking along the same lines.

                                      -----
                                      Nobu Restaurant
                                      4455 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169

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

                                      1. re: BlueTeam

                                        Hi Blue Team, Alex closes Dec. 5-23, so hurry and get reservations...they are only open, I think, Weds-Sat, so don't know if your dates will work. For Sushi, I'm going with the recommendation of Ellenost which was Okado, even though I've been to Nobu in Malibu and thought it was fabulous. (also have loved Marais (sp?) in Chicago) I'm still waiting for someone to come up with a spot for great Peking Duck (beau has never tasted it) and somewhere for seafood. I'd like tapas although he's going to visit family in Spain in a few months and so it's not exactly primo on his list. I hope you luck out with Alex...hurry, hurry. That was finally my dream choice.

                                        -----
                                        Nobu Restaurant
                                        4455 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169

                                        1. re: montanacsl

                                          Wing Lei at The Wynn offers a Peking Duck tasting menu, but I've read very mixed things about the restaurant so I haven't mentioned it to you. I love Peking Duck (used to have a wonderful Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn, NY that prepared 2 courses that were fabulous--unfortunately the restaurant was sold). I haven't read about other restaurants in LV that offer Peking Duck. Maybe others will post their experiences.

                                          I've been to Nobu in NYC, and I think Okada was excellent for sushi. Since I'm staying this visit at The Wynn, I may return (especially after Alex and CUT--will need something lighter).

                                          1. re: ellenost

                                            First - don't angst over the seats at Zumanity. They will be fine. And yes, it's racy - but it is also very, very funny. I was a bit nervous to see it but enjoyed it very much.

                                            Onto the food - I'm surprised no one has mentioned Rosemary's. I know there have been some mixed reviews lately, but especially since your beau is price conscious it may be a place to consider. Wednesday nights all ladies receive 50% off of all food purchases.

                                            I was there last year and had an 80% positive experience - the only down was I thought the kalamata olive mashed potatoes were too salty for the lamb dish. But the lamb, and all the other dishes were marvelous, as was the top notch service.

                                            As a matter of fact I will be there on the Wednesday of the week you are visiting, just made reservations with a girlfriend.

                                          2. re: montanacsl

                                            OK, now ........really. The gods are against me. Decided to make a rez at Aureole and do the Parallel Tasting menu and made the phone call only to be told......they are closing for a month to knock down the "wine tower". I have been successful in one spot: "Rosemary's". I am crossing my fingers. Someone has recommended KJ's Kitchen for good Chinese.....does anyone go along with that? I have spent soooo many hours researching food that I am almost not hungry for anything now. :-)

                                            1. re: montanacsl

                                              KJ's Kitchen is very good. There may be a language barrier and much of the menu is not Americanized.

                                              1. re: montanacsl

                                                I hear you. I too am getting sick of researching food. Since we are traveling during the week in early December (dead zone), we are making no reservations and taking our chances. We have decided on the following things:

                                                Diner one night @ Charlie Palmers for the Cut of Week (assuming its a cut I can stomach). $48 for a prix fix that includes bottomless glasses of wine is too nice to pass up. Since we are east coasters (3 hours ahead), with little children (at home), it won't be a problem to eat early and take advantage of pre-theater specials. My wife who doesn't drink or like steak will probably just get the lobster (assuming they can make it simply steamed/boiled).

                                                Excellent sushi. Still unsure on one of: Bar Masa, Nobu or Okada. Probably the later as we have a $50 diner credit at the Wynn/Encore (came with our reservation due to an online code we found on some website). I'm afraid Masa will be so expensive, it won't be able to meet expectations. We ate a quick meal 7 years ago at Nobu and really enjoyed it, but it wasn't the best sushi we've had. Still very unsure. Might come down to which area we happend to be in when we decide to dine.

                                                One approx $100 tasting menu from somewhere fancy. Probably a pre-theater menu or Taste of Wynn. Places being considered are Sage, Alex, Atelier, or somewhere like that.

                                                My wife is a big fan of the Canyon Ranch cafe so I'm sure we will have some lunches there. If any plans fall through we might try Mesa Grill as our kids love Thowdown and we have never eaten at a Bobby restaurant before.

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

                                                Nobu Restaurant
                                                4455 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169

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

                                                1. re: BlueTeam

                                                  Hi......just remember that Alex closes Dec. 5 for almost the entire month. Perhaps you are arriving before that date. We show up that evening so that blew Alex away for us. What a disappointment. I did make reservations for a Weds. night at Rosemary's. Who knows. I'll report on it when I get home. Ellenost recommends Cut, but since we are long-time Montanans, beef just doesn't get our pulse racing. I should check their menu, though, for other options. (allergic to lobster, wouldn't you know!) Considered L'Atelier Joel Robuchon but whoa, reviews are all over the place on that one so I backed off. Let me know where you end up dining and maybe it will be in time to save us! "-)

                                    2. re: ellenost

                                      I also loved my meal at Le Cirque, Vegas - a truly good deal compared to many of the on strip gems as well.

                                      http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                                      -----
                                      Le Cirque
                                      Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                                      1. re: uhockey

                                        I too had a great meal at Le Cirque about 10 years ago. I wanted to eat there, but I think it will be "under renovation" while we are there.

                                        -----
                                        Le Cirque
                                        Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                                    3. Holy crap! $150 per person, I only spend about half that a month on groceries. I truly can't see spending that much on a dinner. The most I have spent including the tip was $75 at the Painted Pony in St George Utah , and that was for both of us. Then again I prefer to have a cookout with friends than eating in a stuffy restaurant.

                                      Namaste is a really good Indian place, and it is next to the Lotus of Siam. I ate there with my Meetup.com group Adventures in Dining. Go to www.meetup.com and pull up that group. Look at the past Meetups, and see some of the other places that they have gone.

                                      Sage Sushi on the North end of town between Jones, and Rancho on Craig. My friend who was stationed in Japan for 11 years told me that was the best sushi he has had. It is all you can eat for around $25. Sunday you get free Sake. There are several sushi Meetup groups as well that you can research the past events.

                                      Casa Don Juan is a good Mexican joint downtown, not too far off the Strip.

                                      Can't help on the expensive places to eat, as I prefer the lower class dining establishments like Kerry's sports pub - all you can eat ribs for around $14 every Thursday. Fausto's Mexican grill, and Del Taco =) www.urbanspoon.com also has reviews.

                                      Lots to do off the strip. The dam just got a new bridge added, so you may want to check it out. Parking is free on the AZ side. The tour is pretty cool too. It just celebrated it's 75 anniversary.

                                      Tues. and Thurs. you can go to Nellis AFB and visit the Thunderbird museum. Nellis is their home base.

                                      Then there is also red rock rec area, valley of fire state park, Mt Charleston, atomic testing museum, pinball hall of fame, 18b arts district (you'll miss the First Friday event there on the 3rd) , Zion nat'l park is just a couple of hours away in Utah, Springdale Utah heading into Zion is an artsy area with some good places to eat. If you go - don't eat at Baristas in Hurricane Utah. I live in Logandale NV, but work in LaVerkin Utah. Kayenta is another art community in Utah on the way back to las Vegas on the old 91, Boulder City is a cool little town to check out, The drive from Henderson through Lake Mead to the Vally of Fire is really scenic-watch out for the bighorn sheep.

                                      When you get into town grab a copy of City Life, las vegas SEVEN, and Weekly to see what is happening, and look for coupons inside. They are freebies in gas stations, etc. I grab all of them in the Arts Factory down in the 18b arts district. The district is at Charleston, and Main right off the Strip by the World Market Center.

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

                                      Casa Don Juan
                                      1204 S Main St, Las Vegas, NV 89104