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Jan 29, 2011 04:01 PM

Mozen-The good, the bad and unfortunately the ugly

So my wife and I dropped our 17-month old daughter at Grandma's house in Northern California and headed to Vegas where we had a suite reserved at Mandarin Oriental. There was lots of anticipation for the first babyless time we've had since prior to our daughter's birth. Not too many Vegas trips in the recent past. To complicate things, this foodie/gourmand (not sure) who previously enjoyed venues like CUT, Alex and Aureole was returning to Vegas after becoming a vegan last year. Our plan was to make our rounds through the new Wynn vegan offerings. Since I lack the ability to dine out 3-meals a day without repercussions like uhockey my plan was to enjoy mellow breakfasts and lunches at Mozen to save my appetite for dinners. I had 3 breakfasts and 3 lunches at Mozen (2 lunches were in-suite which uses the same kitchen as Mozen). I got to know this place pretty well.

Lunch #1 (in-suite)
No vegan options on Mozen/in-suite menu. No worries. I'm used to that. I ask if the chef can make a stir-fry with whatever veges are fresh with some jasmine rice sans butter (no brown rice offered) and was told yes. Food arrives with great, fresh and varied veges but no rice. I borrow some of my wife's rice and call down for some more. Rice arrives and I spoon some over my delicious veges only to find out that this batch was buttered. This rendered my dish inedible to this vegan. They were quite gracious about replacing everything but overall not a great start.

Breakfast #1
I am a boring breakfast person. At home I make a mixture of a ten-grain cereal with some rolled oats with hand-sliced banana, fresh berries, chopped walnuts and a tough of molasses. It's close to breakfast perfection, so I don't have unrealistic expectations when I'm forced to eat breakfast at restaurants. Ordered oatmeal with fresh berries, nuts and brown sugar. Oatmeal comes lukewarm, sent back, came back fine. Enjoyable enough. Service as expected for restaurant in 5-star hotel.

Lunch #2 (en suite)
Ordered same as Lunch #1 and arrived as ordered without issue. They added some Japanese eggplant which really enhanced this dish. Quite enjoyable!

Breakfast #2
Repeat of breakfast #1 despite some of the same staff being present. One would think that a place like this would have flagged in the computer system what had occurred 24-hours prior. My wife had the croque madame which she thought was good but hardly "life-changing" like previously advertised on this site.

Lunch #3 (at restaurant with wife and friend)
Ordered the grilled vege wrap which was downright fantastic. Fresh, meticulously cut veges with vinegerette dressing wrapped in a perfectly warm and pillowly spinach tortilla. This was one of the best restaurant lunch items I've had in some time. My wife ordered the turkey club which she was really was enjoying until noticing that the paper that separates the cheese slices was still on the cheese. The servers were understandably appalled and comped the dish. Yet one more thing that shouldn't happen at any restaurant, let alone one in a high-end hotel. My friend seemed to enjoy his Kobe burger but really didn't comment much.

Breakfast #3 (the ugly)
Hate to say it, but oatmeal cold again. Staff gracious. Whatever.

I had real high hopes for Mozen which were expectantly exceeded but mostly painfully unfulfilled. The staff was quite personable and mostly professional although this should be expected in a place like this. I'll admit that I'm not the easiest customer around, but Mozen's shortfalls left me quite disappointed.

Dinners at Wynn generally greatly exceeded expectations. If the Chowhound community cares to hear reviews of the Wynn vegan offerings then I'd be happy to write them up. If not, I'll have to look for more vegan-friendly spaces on the internet.

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  1. After 3 stays at the same property (Mandarin Oriental LV) and 5 total experiences to moZen Bistro, I feel qualified to comment.

    As a self-described foodie/gourmand, surely you must know that moZen Bistro was never intended to be the "star" culinary establishment of the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (that honor goes to Twist by Pierre Gagnaire).

    Most high-end hotels feature a casual cafe or bistro for breakfasts, many of these in keeping with a specific "theme" of its mother property. While not considered "destination dinner" eateries, these casual serve a vital need for patrons as a place to congregate and have breakfast or brunch. And while expectations for service at any Mandarin Oriental-related venue should be high, my expectations for food at these casual eateries are certainly NOT high.

    The Mandarin Oriental, as its name implies, has a slight Eastern flair to its sensibilities. I found that the Asian breakfasts at moZen Bistro were done extremely well on each of my 3 breakfasts there. Knowing this, I always go with the "Eastern" breakfast/brunch menus there. I'm not surprised that Western breakfasts are not the forte of moZen Bistro whatsoever.

    You mentioned enjoying dinner destination venues like CUT, Alex and Aureole in the past, yet you lament about the lack of vegan offerings for breakfasts and lunch at a non-destination eatery in a different hotel of a different theme.

    Apples & oranges.

    4 Replies
    1. re: J.L.

      "You mentioned enjoying dinner destination venues like CUT, Alex and Aureole in the past, yet you lament about the lack of vegan offerings for breakfasts and lunch at a non-destination eatery in a different hotel of a different theme."

      You completely misread what I was saying. There was no "lamenting" going on, As I stated, I really was going into Mozen with no expectations on par with Cut, Alex etc. All I wanted was hot oatmeal and lunch as ordered (i.e. without butter). This is not alot to ask in a high-end place even if the purpose is simply to "congregate". Thanks to Mr. Wynn, my expectations for high-end dining were exceeded on my dinners at Botero, Wing Lei, Stratta and Sinatra.

      "As a self-described foodie/gourmand"

      That was tongue in cheek. I actually don't consider myself either. It was actually a jab at a previous conversation on this board.

      Although it's been a short time since I've made this decision, I've run into intolerance from family, friends, coworkers, high and low end restaurants as would be expected in a carnivorous society. Although not directly stated, your tone exudes intolerance. I can't describe it, but I know it when I see (or feel) it.

      Wing Lei
      3131 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

      3131 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

      1. re: climberdoc

        No intolerance intended at all. Sorry if you read it that way. I have many friends who chose vegetarian, pescatarian, macrobiotic, and vegan lifestyles. But many omnivores like oatmeal too; whether you were vegan or not wasn't pertinent to this particular issue.

        I wasn't aware of the prior thread you were referring to, so I wasn't privy to the tongue in cheek nature of your original thread above. Such is the nature of a Chowboard.

        "I had real high hopes for Mozen which were expectantly exceeded but mostly painfully unfulfilled." -- Again, apologies on my part if you didn't mean for this to sound like a lamentation.

        I think we simply spoke "past " each other, for lack of a better phrase. But I'll take the step to apologize if you felt slighted in any way.

        1. re: J.L.


          Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I agree, we spoke "past" each other and I apologize as well.

          Let me clarify my expectations going into a place like Mozen. Although nobody refers to Mozen as a "coffee shop", the reality is that it is the "go-to" venue for guests of MO to eat and congregate as is the free breakfast at the Comfort Suites. My experience with restaurants in this level hotel (i.e. 4S, Ritz, MO, etc.) is they specialize in simple choices made with quality ingredieints, served professionally usually in an attractive venue. I believe that part of what you are paying MO prices for is this level of service.

          I guess I made the mistake of having too many undertones in my original post since my diet choice had very little to do with my unrealized expectations. The sole diet issue (butter in rice) was quickly and professionally dealt with including multiple apologies.

          The oatmeal thing is really what seems discordant with my expectations. I'll give them the first day. Perhaps I like oatmeal exceptionally hot and the temp they served it was consistent with the Health Dept requirements. Perhaps I am an outlier here. To me it really does not matter.

          The old adage that greatness in anything comes not from how you perform day in and out but how one deals with adversity and uncommon problems applies here. I would expect that after day one, a place like Mozen would go out of their way to make sure it did not happen again which they did not. They even carried the issue into day 3.

          This was an interesting and unique experience for me. We typically stay in either condos or home rentals when in Vegas preferring to make our own breakfasts and lunches while immersing ourselves in the Vegas culinary scene for our dinners. Since this was a babyless trip, we decided to go the hotel route. I was loosely expecting Mozen to be my pantry of sorts with the addition of attentive service and some things which I would not ordinarily eat (i.e. the amazing vege wrap).

      2. re: J.L.

        You're not surprised that a restaurant in an MO is unable to serve hot oatmeal?

      3. Hi climberdoc!

        Even though I'm not vegan, I'd love to hear your reviews of your dinners at Wynn since I'm staying at The Wynn when I return to LV in April. I'm still heartbroken over losing Alex--how could they do that to me?! I was planning to go twice this trip. Bummer! I'm going to CUT for my first dinner. Other restaurants are Sage, Joel Robuchon (giving them another chance) and Guy Savoy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ellenost

          Hi ellenost

          I share your heartbreak over Alex. I still don't understand why it happened. Alex was the signature restaurant at the Wynn and I would have assumed that it would be more resistant to economic considerations.

          I either post reviews here or give a link if I post elsewhere.