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Las Vegas visit from the UK August 2011 - Thoughts on my list please

gourmetgorro Aug 3, 2011 01:08 AM

Hi all,

We're visiting Vegas (staying at the Aria) for a week in the middle of August and I'd really appreciate any thoughts on the list of eateries we're planning on visiting. We're only planning on eating at a few high end restaurants and rather want to sample some authentic US food + a few other fun places. Please let me know what you think of my list, whether there are any obvious omissions or substitutions to make and any dishes you'd particularly recommend. If I eat at all of these places I think I'll need to book two seats for my return flight! Thanks

Shrimp Cocktail
-Golden Gate, Fremont Street

Mexican
-ISLA - Treasure Island, 3300 Las Vegas Blvd. South
-LINDO MICHOACAN - 2655 East Desert Inn Road
Is it worth the taxi off strip to Lindo Michoacan or should I just stick with TI??

Barbecue
-Famous Daves
-Memphis Championship Barbecue
- BB Kings, Mirage Hotel
Again is it worth the taxi off strip or should I stick with the Mirage? If so which is best?

Ice Cream
-Luv It Frozen Custard
- Coldstone Creamery

Pizza
-Metro Pizza - 4178 Koval Lane

Soul Food
-Lola's Las Vegas - 241 W. Charleston Blvd
- M and Ms Soul Food Cafe - 3923 West Charleston
Any thoughts on which is best?

Breakfast
-Hash House a gogo - Imperial Palace Hotel

Thai
-Lotus of Siam - 953 E. Sahara Ave.

Burgers
-In n Out Burger, 2900 W SAHARA AVE

French
- Bouchon, Venetian Hotel

Steak
- Smith and Wollenskys, 3767 Las Vegas Blvd S

Buffet
-Wynn Hotel

Deli
-Canter's Deli, Treasure Island

Pastry
-Jean Philippe - Aria

Japanese
-Raku, 5030 Spring Mountain Rd # 2

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

Lindo Michoacan
10082 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89147

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  1. e
    Eric Aug 3, 2011 07:05 AM

    For the shrimp cocktail, make sure to get their players card for the lower price. Since you're going to be downtown, go to Mermaids for the fried Twinkies and fried Oreos. You'll pass by it on your way to the Golden Gate.
    I'm in the minority about Lindo Michoacan. I think the food is rather bland. I prefer Viva Mercados.
    The closest Famous Daves to the Aria is Flamingo and Fort Apache. It is a rather expensive can ride at about $35-40, at minimum, without tip each way. My preference is Buzz BBQ at Tropicana and Fort Apache and is an easy bus ride from Aria. The other place for BBQ is Ellis Island Casino on Koval Lane. BBQ opens at 4:00 pm with people lining up at 3:30 pm. Get the players card for a discount. This is the same place that has the Metro Pizza location. Ellis Island also microbrews their own beer and root beer. I'd skip the Metro Pizza at this location and go to the one on East Tropicana. The one on East Tropicana has better pizza and a much bigger menu.
    There have been a lot of negative reviews of the Hash House a Gogo at the Imperial Palace. You're better off taking the Sahara bus west and going to the Sahara location.
    There is a closer In n Out to Aria Tropicana and Dean Martin Drive just west of the 15 freeway.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Eric
      e
      Eric Aug 3, 2011 07:18 AM

      Here are a couple of links to In n Outs secret menu.
      http://mobile.aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/03/the-in-n-out-survival-guide-we-ate-every-single-item-on-the-secret-menu.html
      http://www.badmouth.net/in-n-outs-sec...

      1. re: Eric
        gourmetgorro Aug 3, 2011 08:49 AM

        Thanks!

        I've been looking forward to a double double animal style with animal fries for months.

        I'll check out Ellis Island BBQ. It sounds great. Do they serve the BBQ in the evening around 7pm or does it tend to run out? Mermaids sounds interesting too.

        Also some of your other suggestions sound great but look like they're an expensive cab ride away. I'm a bit useless with public transport. How much would a cab be to Buzz BBQ or Viva Mercados from the Aria for example?

        Thanks again.

        -----
        Viva Mercados
        3553 S Rainbow Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89103

        Buzz BBQ
        7121 W Craig Rd Ste 101, Las Vegas, NV 89129

    2. p
      palmdoc1 Aug 3, 2011 08:51 AM

      Thanks for doing some research of your own before posting. My first thought would be to look into a rental car. Without knowing how many in your party...you can likely find one(carrental.com) for less than $30-35/day, which as Eric noted, is the price for some of your one-way trips. Also, Aria has a decent self parking garage, not too bad a walk.

      On to your picks. I too am not a fan of Lindo, instead I would go down to Tacos El Gordo near the Wynn or take a drive down to Los Antejos(sahara/eastern). Same with Famous Daves. It is a chain and not bad, but I personally don't think it's worth the drive. A search of the boards on BBQ may provide better alternatives(I usually save my BBQ for trips to Georgia/No. Car.)

      Curious why Metro, any particular reason? It's not bad. Having said that, I would go to Pizza place at Cosmopolitan for some excellent slices(and it's next door). Had great meals at both Lolas and MM, way different atmospheres. Instead of Hash House, I'd go to Dupar's at Golden Gate, a combo of pancakes and shrimp cocktail, a great start to the day. Also, any reason for Smith and Wolls? Again, its not bad, but Las Vegas has so many great steakhouses, it wouldn't even be in my top 5, and it's basically in the same price range as everywhere else.

      Lotus and Raku are musts, in my opinion. Especially Raku, I've never found a place even close to as good in London. In n Out - go. Best burger? No. But it's pretty good and a cool tourist thing, esp. if from east coast or abroad. Bouchon - go, and if its nice outside, request a patio seat (though it will probably be hot). Las Vegas is not NYC or LA, as far as delis, so your choices are limited to offshoots of either Canter or Carnegie if you stay on strip, stick with Canters. Hope you have a great time here.

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

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

      Famous Dave's
      1951 N Rainbow Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89108

      1 Reply
      1. re: palmdoc1
        gourmetgorro Aug 3, 2011 09:42 AM

        Thanks for the amazing tips.

        A lot of the things on my list come from reading the Las Vegas Review Journal Best of 2011. We're not going to hire a car as we'll only end up using it to drive to the restaurants and I'm far too lazy to add any extra hassle to my trip! My best case scenario is ending up with a list of places which are pretty close to the Strip except for the odd place.

        I'll replace Metro's on my list with the pizza place in Cosmopolitan.

        I'll also add in Tacos El Gordo and Dupar's.

        As for Smith and Wollensky, I went there last year and had a really good bone in ribeye steak. I also liked the traditional steak house feel to the place. Is there something similar but better you would recommend on the Strip?

        Thanks again

      2. q
        QAW Aug 3, 2011 09:47 AM

        For Mexican, we would rate Mundo (495 Grand Central Parkway) or Sabor (594 North Stephanie Street) as a cut above the rest of what is being offered in Las Vegas. Mundo is a reasonable cab ride if you are planning to make a trek downtown; Sabor is a haul. Not sure that any others in Las Vegas are worth cab fare from your starting point. And a strong second to the El Gordo recommendation, especially if you are in the need of a late-night fix. Dollar for dollar the best bang for your buck of anywhere on the Strip.

        Las Vegas barbecue, sadly, is rather mediocre across the board. Not sure that even the better offerings are worth a taxi ride, if you decide to not rent a car. Perhaps you can make a decision based on what kind of experience you would like to have, because B.B, King's does have live music each evening, and would just be a short stroll for you.

        If you also want to combine something into an "experience", Luv It is not too far from "I Love Arepas", a cart that just opened a couple of months ago (1516 Las Vegas Boulevard). An Arepa or two and a visit to Luv It afterwards can give you an experience that you would not find at home. But as an additional ice cream option, if you do head downtown for your shrimp cocktail, consider Lappert's at the California Hotel/Casino.

        As for Pizza, both the Pizzeria at the Cosmopolitan, D.O.C.G. Enoteca at the Cosmopolitan, or Wolfgang Puck's Pizzeria at Crystals are all within walking distance for you, and are as good or better than Metro, which offers a quality product, but not necessarily one that would be memorable, or worth spending travel money to get to. If you were going out of your way for pizza, Settebello's (140 Green valley Parkway) is a cut above.

        Agree with the earlier comment about Steakhouses - Smith and Wollensky's is fine, but there are better options at comparable price points.

        The quality control at M&M has been a cut above Lola's, with the latter unfortunately uneven in terms of both food consistency and service.

        4 Replies
        1. re: QAW
          gourmetgorro Aug 3, 2011 10:13 AM

          Wow! Loads more tips. This is fantastic thanks.

          Which are the better steak options at comparable price points?

          1. re: gourmetgorro
            q
            QAW Aug 3, 2011 10:55 AM

            Think of it this way. Steakhouses on the Las Vegas Strip are as ubiquitous as you finding a Ladbroke's or a William Hell bet shop on your side of the Atlantic. And because of the competition, they tend to be pretty good. The difficulty is in narrowing them down.and there have been running debates on these boards for years that will continue. You can try this -

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/700540

            as a good starting point. Perhaps you can focus on what kind of ambience you would like, and maybe even some menu gazing to see if any particular places stand out a bit more for your taste bud (maybe even delve into the dry-aged of wet-aged debate)s. But you are within walking distance of about a dozen pretty good options, and within a short cab ride of several more.

          2. re: QAW
            rednyellow Aug 3, 2011 08:03 PM

            Second Mundo. I'm from Los Angeles originally, grew up with good mexican and Mundo is a great approach to mexican.

            1. re: QAW
              r
              rmb123 Aug 19, 2011 03:43 PM

              +1 on Mundo - wonderful modern mexican.

              Also second on the Ellis Island BBQ .

            2. k
              kagemusha49 Aug 3, 2011 01:20 PM

              I endorse the idea of renting a car - it is very liberating and the off-strip places like Lotus of Siam are often cheaper and better. Also, if you head about 12 miles west on Charleston you get to Red Rock Canyon State Park - nice scenic drive when you get there - also a visitors center and lots of places for short medium or long hikes. Along the way (on Charleston) you'll pass a Baja Fresh - it's a chain that is way better than average for Mexican fast food - their fish tacos for example are great - very cheap.

              For tapas there is Firefly (two locations). Another Brit Bishopsbitter has recommended the buffet at the M casino (way south on the Strip) - closer is the Wicked Spoon in the Cosmopolitan.

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

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

              1. j
                josephnl Aug 3, 2011 02:47 PM

                Rather than Smith & Wollensky's for your steak dinner, consider Emeril's Delmonico for an outstanding bone-in ribeye. Emeril is, of course, an American institution, and Delmonico will afford you the opportunity to experience some New Orleans specialities (gumbo, barbecued shrimp, etc.)..

                -----
                Smith & Wollensky
                3767 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

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

                11 Replies
                1. re: josephnl
                  gourmetgorro Aug 3, 2011 04:50 PM

                  Thanks for even more information everyone.

                  QAW, I like the gambling shop comparison to the UK! I didn't think we had that many betting shops but maybe I just don't notice them.

                  I've read the article on the best steak houses and it seems pretty inconclusive except for the fact Smith & Wollensky's doesn't even get a mention. I've perused all the menus and like the look of Delmonico's.

                  Josephnl - Is the Delmonico bone in ribeye pretty big (over 20 oz)? I like my steaks large because they're pretty tiny in the UK.

                  Thanks

                  -----
                  Smith & Wollensky
                  3767 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                  1. re: gourmetgorro
                    j
                    josephnl Aug 3, 2011 07:09 PM

                    I don't know how much the ribeye weighs, but it's a pretty big hunk of meat...definely not "tiny". If you have a starter...shrimp, gumbo or salad...then have the steak with some grits, potatoes, creamed corn, or something else...and a drink, wine and/or dessert...you're going to leave stuffed! I'm a pretty good eater, but I wouldn't be able to finish it all. If you do decide on Delmonico, definitely opt for the bone-in ribeye. You will not be disappointed!

                    I'm going to LV in 2 weeks (from California...a 4 hour drive)...been many times...and Delmonico's was the first reservation I made. The rib-eye is calling me!

                  2. re: josephnl
                    rednyellow Aug 3, 2011 08:05 PM

                    I agree with your opinion of Delmonico but I also love Smith and Wollenskys for a very traditional american steak house. What S&W does very well that I like is they get an amazing heavy crusty char on the outside, even on very rare steaks.

                    1. re: rednyellow
                      j
                      josephnl Aug 3, 2011 09:07 PM

                      I really didn't mean to belittle S&W in any way. It's a terrific steakhouse! Nevertheless for somebody from abroad, I think it might be more interesting to experience an Emeril restaurant, especially one like Delmonico which indeed does serve a wonderful rib-eye, and also serves some terrific and typical New Orleans starters and sides.

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

                      1. re: josephnl
                        w
                        westie Aug 4, 2011 03:22 AM

                        A few additional comments/recommendations:

                        Golden Gate shrimp cocktail - you can print off a 2/1 coupon from the following website by entering realvegas as the password:
                        http://vegasexperience.com/coupons/
                        Note: you will need to sign up for a fee player's card before redeeming.

                        Breakfast - Hash House A Go Go serving size is, in my mind, excessively large. I would opt for breakfast at Bouchon's or on the patio of Mon Ami Gabi.

                        Mexican - I like both Mundo and Sabor, but you are looking at another cab ride for the former and a rental car for the latter. I would head to Border Grill in Mandalay Bay. For something a little different, try the new $25 brunch at Border Grill on weekends. Whether you dine for dinner or the brunch, I would purchase a restaurant.com certificate - google "restaurant.com code", but do not purchase until there is an 60-80% off sale. Also, when registering enter any USA zip code - it doesn't matter which since you will be printing the certificate off from your computer.

                        Lunch deals - there are a few great deals that you might want to consider. Estiatorio Milos is an upscale Greek restaurant located in the Cosmopolitan. A $20.11 3-course luncheon special is offered Monday - Fridays that has to be the best value in town.
                        You may also want to consider Payard at Caesars which offers a 3-course lunch for around $23.

                        Buffet - the buffets at both the Wynn and Bellagio are excellent, but I would give the nod to the latter because of the desserts. Another buffet to consider is the Wicked Spoon in the Cosmopolitan. The food is set out on small dishes and replenished frequently so the problem with food being dried out is minimized.

                        BBQ - neither BB King's nor Ellis Island serve real BBQ, so I would choose Ellis because on a price basis. It is only open in the evenings and it is very popular so plan on a potentially long wait during prime time. The center bar close to the BBQ serves their in-house beer at reasonable prices so settle in and enjoy a few while you wait for your number to be called.

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

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

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

                        Border Grill
                        3950 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV 89119

                        Bellagio
                        3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV

                        1. re: westie
                          gourmetgorro Aug 4, 2011 03:34 AM

                          These are wonderful tips thank you. I'll get on the case.

                          1. re: westie
                            e
                            Eric Aug 4, 2011 09:52 AM

                            I disagree about Ellis Island since they have the smoker out front smoking the ribs and chicken. Cannot comment on BB King since I have never been there.

                        2. re: rednyellow
                          gourmetgorro Aug 4, 2011 03:33 AM

                          Yes. I loved the heavy char on the outside of the S&W steak. Is this not a feature of steaks at other restaurants? Now you're making me doubt my choice of Delmonico!

                          1. re: gourmetgorro
                            l
                            LVI Aug 9, 2011 07:13 PM

                            Let me ask this question. What did Emeril Lagasse become famous for? Short answer, not his steaks. I am not a local nor am I a food critic. But i can tell you unequivocally, Delmonico's is not a a place to go for steaks. Are they bad? Not a chance. But you will do yourself a disservice to go there for a steak while in Las Vegas. Why not try a Vegas institution like The Steakhouse in Circus Circus? Or better yet, The Golden Steer? Are they better? The Steakhouse no question, The Golden Steer, not convinced. But the Steer is steeped in history, cheaper, and very very good. SW at the Wynn...silly expensive but much better. How about the Cut of the Week at Charlie Palmer's in the Four Seasons? Not to mention Strip Steak, Striphouse, Prime, Del Friscos, and, oh yeah, Smith and Wollensky's. I think I have made my point. Delmonicos is not bad by any measure. But why go there when you have tradition (The Steakhouse, Golden Steer), value (Charlie Palmer's Cut of the Week), atmosphere (Prime, Del Friscos), and, oh yeah, experience (Smith and Wollensky's)? Did I mention the Prime Rib at Sir Galahad's in Excalibur?

                            -----
                            Golden Steer
                            308 West Sahra, Las Vegas, NV 89102

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

                            1. re: LVI
                              j
                              josephnl Aug 9, 2011 10:15 PM

                              Sorry, although Emeril did not make his name serving steaks, his bone-in ribeye served at Delmonico in LV or New Orleans is one of the best steaks you can get anywhere. For someone visiting LV from abroad and wanting a terrific steak, certainly he cannot go wrong at either Delmonico (definitely going for the ribeye)' or at Smith & W. My only point is that with the other items available at Delmonico, the New Orlean's specialities in particular, and with the great ambiance & service there, I personally think the overall experience will be better, especially for a visitor from across the pond.

                              I am a huge fan of the Golden Steer recalling great dinners with my parents there decades ago. It remains as good as ever and is a relative bargain, but it's not in a league with S & W, Delmonico's, or most of the other steakhouses on the strip.

                              -----
                              Golden Steer
                              308 West Sahra, Las Vegas, NV 89102

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

                        3. re: josephnl
                          r
                          rasputina Aug 28, 2011 02:27 PM

                          Emeril's Delmonico is incredible, but I've only eaten that the one in New Orleans, I have eaten at the Las Vegas location Fish House which is also great.

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

                        4. j
                          josephnl Aug 16, 2011 10:31 PM

                          I hope it's not too late, but I'd like to retract my recommendation of the ribeye at Delmonico's. Had it tonight, and it was very disappointing...not well marbled, sort of dry, and definitely not like that I've had in the past. Go to S & W for your LV steak dinner!

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: josephnl
                            gourmetgorro Aug 25, 2011 11:25 AM

                            I did go to Delmonico in the end and had a fantastic bone-in ribeye. I must say though that I didn't think it was any better than Smith & Wollensky's. Foresaw that I wouldn't have room for starters or dessert so I passed on them. However I was a little disappointed by the creamed spinach side dish and the beef samosa amouse bouche. The garlic wild mushrooms side was excellent though.

                            -----
                            Smith & Wollensky
                            3767 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                             
                            1. re: gourmetgorro
                              j
                              josephnl Aug 25, 2011 03:53 PM

                              Glad to hear that you enjoyed Delmonico's after I had recommended it so highly. Perhaps, I was just unlucky last week with what I thought was a subpar steak. In the past it had always been wonderful.

                              1. re: gourmetgorro
                                r
                                rmb123 Aug 28, 2011 10:28 AM

                                So what about the rest of your list? Where else did you eat?? If you have time we'd love to hear about it...

                                1. re: rmb123
                                  gourmetgorro Aug 28, 2011 11:25 AM

                                  I got on really well thanks. Didn't get to everywhere on the list but we had a pretty good go. Highlights were Delmonico, In-n-Out, Raku Grill, Canter's, The Secret Pizza place in The Cosmopolitan and Bouchon. Particularly disappointed not to get to Tacos el Gordo or have any proper barbecue. I guess I'll just have to go back next year. I've got quite a few reviews on my blog of the various meals I ate if you want to see some photos and hear some more detail!

                                  http://gourmetgorro.blogspot.com

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

                                  1. re: gourmetgorro
                                    d
                                    Dave Feldman Aug 28, 2011 01:19 PM

                                    Thanks for reporting back. I highly recommend CH'ers reading the blog reports: stunning photographs; some cool Gorroisms (I especially liked "bargainous"); and lots of enthusiasm.

                                    1. re: Dave Feldman
                                      gourmetgorro Aug 28, 2011 01:51 PM

                                      Thanks for the kind words. It's always to good to get a bit of positive feedback on the blog.

                                      1. re: gourmetgorro
                                        j
                                        josephnl Aug 28, 2011 09:57 PM

                                        Your blog is great! Certainly glad you enjoyed your steak at Delmonico's. I've always had an amazing ribeye there. My subpar steak there last week was an obvious aberration. I'll definitely return!!

                            2. r
                              rasputina Aug 28, 2011 02:24 PM

                              for pizza, forget Metro and go to Sammy's Woodfire, the one on west Sahara has the best consistent service IMO.

                              I like Famous Daves, for a chain place, but I'm not sure I'd bother unless you love it and live somewhere there isn't one.

                              I personally hate Memphis "Championship" bbq.

                              Lindo is good but I like Viva Mercado's on Rainbow better.

                              For French; Marche Baccus which has a gorgeous patio overlooking the lake and great food or Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris

                              Japanese I like Osaka on west Sahara

                              In-n-Out is a must

                              Pastry, there is a great French pastry shop in the Paris or there is Bonjour bakery on Rainbow but they don't have quite the selection as the other one.

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

                              Famous Dave's
                              1951 N Rainbow Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89108

                              Viva Mercados
                              3553 S Rainbow Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89103

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