End of August 2011 trip report
This is my first post and my trip report for this year. We (my wife and I) went to Vegas for our first time last year. We fell in love with the place and had some wonderful meals thanks to this board. These meals included the Mesa grill which was paid for with timeshare comps and a terrific burger as well as the best fish and chips I've ever had at Bradley Ogden's lounge area. We have a limited budget but were able to eat some terrific food this trip. Here goes:
1) The travelzoo deal at Comme Ca. Wonderful! They bring you a bottle of house wine- red, white or rose. We had red and it was terrific- way good for a "house wine". Then the amuse bouche comes, we had spoonfuls of beet salad with candied walnuts and a horseradish cream, sounds interesting but it was amazing! Next I had the mussels frites and my wife, the beef cheek bourguignon. The mussels were amazing, fresh as can be, sitting in a broth which was flavored with Pernod. The fries were perfect and they came with a dipping sauce which I can only describe as heavenly. Eat a mussel, dip a fry, chew, close eyes and dream, wash down with wine, repeat, I loved it. Lauras beef bourguignon was delicious but it was more like a really good pot roast than the beef bourguignon I'm used to as it was missing a sauce in my opinion. Then dessert, profiteroles were perfect and so was the creme brulee but creme brulee always tastes the same to me, nothing too special. I highly recommend Comme Ca and would be interested to know how their burger is.
2) Pastries at Jeanne Phillip in the Aria, Very good except for the croque madam (or monsieur, I always get them mixed up, was just ok, I was spoiled last year by the one at the Payard takeout counter in the Bellagio, it was UNREAL!! One of the best things I ate on the trip believe it or not)
3) A little precursor, I am a dedicated fan of specialty coffee (top 5% of all coffee in the world) and I am considered a coffeegeek, if you will. I go though lengths to make sure that I am brewing coffee which is as perfect as can be, almost like a chemist. I even roast my own beans. This being said the only great coffee I know about in all of Las Vegas comes from a barista/bartender named Jonah at Social House in Crystals. If you are interested in true espresso, or a terrific siphon coffee experience, call ahead to make sure he is there and go in and share a pot. Perhaps you will be converted to geekdom as well.
4) My wife and I loved last year as well as this year going in to the Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill in the MGM and having pizza and a salad. It is an economical way to experience his food as well as a delicious one. The chopped vegetable salad was very good and you really do feel like you're eating something healthy while you are on vacation. Do not miss his baked alaska for dessert, eating that thing is a wonderful culinary experience all in it's own. I'm pretty sure that you can go to any of his restaurants to have pizza, salad and dessert. We have always just ended up at the MGM.
5) Jaleo- Jaleo, Jaleo, Jaleo... Probably one of the funnest and most delicious dining experiences I have ever had. For those who don't know it's a tapas bar. In my opinion it blew Firefly out of the water. (Firefly was last year) This opinion is however, not very strong as last year I ate at Firefly after experiencing the beverage Absinthe for the first time. I was feeling really weird and I'm sure my taste buds were off. Here is our Jaleo meal in close to the order that we recieved it:
They were really pushing an $18 gin and tonic saying that it would be the best gin and tonic I have ever had. Maybe somebody could comment on this as I opted out. This being said- the $9 sidecar was the best sidecar I have ever had.
Beet salad with grapefruit- a VERY good salad.
I can't find it on the menu online but we each got a fried cone of some sort which had quince paste on the bottom and was filled with a liquidy, sour cheese of some sort. It was about two bites and it was delicious.
Gazpacho- Very pretty presentation- they pour it against a line of veggies in your plate in front of you. The gazpacho was very fresh and good, this being said, I make the best gazpacho I have ever had and mine is better. Jaleo's was the second best.
Serrano ham sandwich- I don't remember how it was listed but this was basically what it was. I was very skeptical as it looked extremely plain when it came but it was absolutely fantastic. I don't know what it was but that was one delicious ham sandwich.
Scallops- two large scallops- very fresh, nothing two special just two perfectly seared scallops with some accompaniments.
Skirt Steak- sound simple right. It was spelled out simply on the menu. Again, I was skeptical as what is it that could possibly make a skirt steak be amazing? It was one of the best things we ate on the whole trip. It was served on top of a gigantic sweet red pepper. It had a perfect amount of smoke flavor and I was told that the wood they use comes from orange trees. I don't know what they basted it with but I'm telling you it tasted like butter in my mouth.
Chocolate Flan- don't think of flan just think of this as a delicious chocolate desert. It was a whole concoction with a pastry part of it and everything, very good.
Out the door we spent $120. A very good deal. I highly recommend Jaleo.
Tea at the Imperial Palace- we did not go for the $40 teatime tea. We just got a pot of tea with some delicious scones. It was very nice and the tea was excellent.
Estiatorio Milos 20.11 lunch meal- I'm not going to say that I was dissapointed with this meal. I consider it to be a very good value. This being said, I think I'll pass next year. My wife got the tomato salad which was decent, but the vegetables including the tomatoes didn't seem to be a very high caliber. I had the hortopita which also was decent, but it came out cold. I had the lavraki (sea bass) which was very fresh and delicious, yet just a tad salty. (I have, however been very sensitive to salt lately it seems so don't let this stop you) My wife had the lamb chop which was a good lamb chop with some accompaniments, nothing more. We were full for desert so we shared my walnut cake and my wifes fresh fruit. The cake was good. It has a a small scoop of very interesting greek ice cream on top which is made from some sort of tree sap. The fruit was completely unremarkable, almost like the fruit you would get at Denny's. I would consider this meal to be more of a gourmet meal as opposed to a foodie meal if you know what I mean. If you are leaning as to whether or not to get this lunch, I would still say go for it at least once as it is still a great deal.
We went to Emeril Lagasses Table 10 for their happy hour and were unimpressed. My tequila cocktail was just ok, my wifes sangria was just ok, the spring rolls were just ok, the shrimp skewers were good but too expensive, the muffaletta was ok ,and the oyster shooters were fun. Altogether we spent a good bill and just weren't very happy with the value of the whole experience. I don't know how the actual restaurant is but I would be very cautious about trying it after the bar experience.
My wife begged me to try a buffet and I was always hesitant. We happened to be at the Wynn so we tried that one. It's not that the food was bad, it just wasn't great. I know that for my $80 I could have eaten so much better at so many other places. The only buffet I would still like to try at this point is maybe the wicked spoon. Anybody here have any feedback for me on this?
We again missed Bouchon for breakfast. It closes down at 10:30 and we are never even up by that time. I found out, however that it stays open for brunch until 2:30pm on the weekends so we will have to go that route next year. For those of you who don't know, the consensus is that Bouchon has the best breakfast in the city but that their dinners have mixed reviews for the money you spend.
L' Altier de Joel Robuchon- The only and I mean only reason we walked in to this place is because we went to a timeshare presentation (never again!) and had $150 worth of dining credit to spend. (not to mention ticket to Phantom of the Opera). I knew that this was my chance to actually eat some of the best and most expensive food on the strip so I took it. I started with a chambord mojito, really liked it and ordered another one. (not that it was unreal- i'm also a hobbyist mixoligist- it just tasted really good at the time) My wife had a cocktail with Redbull in it which I was surprised to see at this location. Next- the heirloom tomato salad- about 5 half wedges of tomato dressed with accompaniments. Amazing- yes- gone in about 6 bites- yes- worth $29- no. Then the filet came. Amazing- yes (the best piece of meat I have EVER put in my mouth) worth $70- maybe. My wife had the macaroni with asparagus inside, very good but again very small and not worth $20. My wife had the hanger steak which she liked even better than my filet. I don't remember how much it was but it was cheaper than the filet and delicious.
Dos Caminos for their late night happy hour. I don't know how their regular menu is but this happy hour is alot of fun. The restaurant decor is really cool and the food is a great deal. The tacos were really good the guacamole was really good and the drinks were definitely passable and a good deal to boot. Stay away from the empanadas, they weren't all that.
Serendipity- Not too much beats a $14 frozen hot chocolate for two at Serendipity on a hot day. Expensive- yes. Worth it- yes.
There were a few couple things on my "list" that we did not end up getting to. Perhaps I could get some feedback to know if they would be worthy of next year:
happy hour at society cafe at the Encore
A burger at BLT burger
Happy hour at Sushi Roku
Happy hour at BOA steakhouse
Happy hour at the Palms
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV
3570 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
3799 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
3325 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89109
3327 Las Vegas Blvd South Suite 2900, Las Vegas, NV 89109
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
It looked like it would be good but that was just in walking past it. The consensus seems to be that of it's competitors, Burger Bar, has gone downhill. The other competitor, BLT burger, I don't know much about. Make a mental note, the hidden pizza place at the Cosmopolitan was great and also another tip I haven't read on this board, China Poblano, the dim sum and taco spot by Jose Andres has a to go window. We didn't try it but that would be a great and affordable way to try the food there without running up a big bill. Ditto on the buffet, skip it. As a matter of fact, here's a pic of one of my plates, you tell me if it looks appetizing to you or not: