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Trip Report

k
kmbeer Jun 6, 2012 10:06 AM

Was in Vegas from Sunday, May 27 through Wednesday, May 30, and ate some great (and some not so great) food.

Bouchon - Couldn't pass up the chicken and waffles, which are only served on Saturday and Sunday, upon our arrival Sunday morning, despite the fact that we planned on having breakfast there the following morning. We started with the Kumamoto oysters, which were plump and delicious. The chicken and waffles are amazing, probably my favorite meal in Vegas. Perfect blend of sweet and savory. My boyfriend had the omelet of the day, which was short rib and cheddar, if I remember correctly. Definitely tasty, but it didn't hold a candle to my chicken and waffles. Tasty mimosa's made it a perfect start to the trip.

Pink's - mid-afternoon snack. I forget what it was called, but my hot dog had barbecue sauce and cold slaw. Satisfied a craving, but was nothing to write home about.

RM Seafood - I was impressed by the food here. We ate downstairs since we wanted something casual for the first night, and although I was apprehensive, it turned out to be a good meal. My parents joined us for dinner are we split three appetizers: the grilled octopus, the fried calamari with hot peppers, and the crab cakes. The octopus was grilled perfectly and was a great texture - not too tender, but not too tough. The calamari had a nice coating for a great crunch and the hot peppers added a bit of much-needed spice to the dish. The crabcakes were also excellent, as they consisted of real lump crab with little filler. For dinner, I had the scallops with pork belly, which was excellent. The scallops were subtly sweet and perfectly cooked and the salty pork belly provided great flavor balance. Would definitely come here again.

Bouchon (again) - When I saw that the special of the day was chicken and waffles on Monday morning, I momentarily debated getting it again, but figured that I should try something new. Going off of recommendations provided on this board, I got the Ouef with Boudin Blanc. The eggs were delicate and perfectly scrambled, and the white sausage was tasty (though I will admit that the flavor took some getting used to), but the standout was the croissant. Buttery, flaky, and huge, it was incredibly satisfying.

Sensi - I had reservations at Michael Mina for Monday night and, when we arrived, they informed us that they did not permit men to wear shorts in the restaurant. Of course, my boyfriend was dressed in shorts and a polo shirt. Although I wanted to run back to the hotel with him so that he could change, I was vetoed, and we made the short walk through the Bellagio lobby to Sensi. I had never heard of Sensi before and was quite upset that I wouldn't be able to try the tartar and lobster pot pie at Michael Mina, so I suppose I had a bad attitude going into the meal. Sensi is strange in that it has four very different and distinct portions of the menu (Italian, Indian, grilled items, and seafood). I don't really understand the restauran't concept. The bread basket was great -- doughy, grilled naan bread and crunchy chickpea bread flats flavored with curry. The appetizers were decent -- we split the grilled octopus (too chewy for my taste), the steamed pork buns (average), and the steamed shrimp (essentially shrimp cocktail). I had the pork duet for my main meal and was very underwhelmed. It was far too bland and fatty (and I LOVE fatty pork belly). The saving grace was the dessert sampler, which, at around $35, we figured would just be four selected desserts on a plate, but what turned out to be a four-tiered sampling of every single dessert on the menu, including mini ice cream cones, macaroons, mini doughnuts with dipping sauces, cakes, pies, etc. We were stuffed that point, but the dessert was excellent. I would return to Sensi just for that sampler (hopefully next time after dining at Michael Mina, sans shorts!). It is worth noting that the service was excellent at Sensi. Wine and water was constantly refilled, and we lingered for about an hour after dinner and never once felt rushed.

Verandah - I was looking forward to the huevos rancheros at Verandah for days, but it fell flat. There was too much cheese, the black beans were under cooked, and it think the dish would have been more successful had the chorizo been sliced and spread throughout, rather than in two thick links. I tasted the eggs Benedict, which was decent. The coffee was probably my favorite part of the meal. Service was mediocre as well -- not terrible, but the waitress was simply not friendly. I certainly won't go out of my way to return.

Holsteins - I love this place. We stopped in for a few beers and sliders before heading to the pool. I had the Ommegage Abbey Ale, which was great. Awesome selection of Belgian bottles and different American crafts on tap. I had the ahi tuna sliders, which were filling enough to satisfy me until dinner but not so heavy that I didn't want to eat for the rest of the night. Great flavor profiles with a spicy mayo and an asian slaw. My boyfriend had the Oreo milkshake (definitely dessert, but it was amazing), and a nut brown ale, the name of which escapes me. He also got the el machete burger, which was pretty bad ass. We ate at the bar, and the bartender and barback were great -- both were super friendly and the bartender bought us a shot. I'll be in town for a bachelorette party later in the year, and will definitely make this a must stop -- seems like it would be a fun place to hang out with a bunch of friends.

Sage - I love Sage. My favorite restaurant in Vegas (followed closely by Bouchon), and, quite possibly, my favorite restaurant anywhere. From the drink selection to the impeccably executed food to the incredible service, it just doesn't get any better. I love that an amuse bouche and tiny dessert is standard. We did the four course tasting menu with beer pairings (couldn't do the chef's tasting menu as it requires participation of the whole table and my parents didn't want to go for it). For my first course, I had the foie gras brulee paired with a saison -- I won't get into it since its covered extensively on this board, but it is heaven. Also tasted my boyfriend's artichoke dish and it was delicious. For the second course, we had scallops with oxtail and mushrooms, and it was phenomenal -- maybe even my favorite course of the night. Scallops were perfectly cooked and everything just worked wonderfully together. The third course was the 48-hour beef belly, paired with Chimay reserve (quite possibly my favorite beer ever). Finally, I had the pine nut tart, paired with Lindeman's Raspberry Framboise. It was a great end to the meal, the sweetness of the beer complimenting the nuttiness of the tart. Service was, as always, incredible. And the bacon rolls at the start of the meal are still in my dreams.

Jean Philippe Patisserie - since it was in the Aria and we wanted to squeeze in some more gambling before our flight home, we picked up a chocolate croissant, an almond croissant and some coffee for breakfast on our last day. The almond croissant was a little too sweet and the filling seems concentrated in the center of the pastry, but the chocolate croissant was excellent. The coffee could have been stronger, but it did its job. Though it pains me to pay $20 for two pastries, an OJ, and a cup of coffee, it was a good end to a fabulous trip.

  1. f
    freshlycured Jun 6, 2012 01:46 PM

    Thanks for the detailed report. I'll be there for my annual trip in August and you stirred up some new possibilities. Might have to make a trip for the chicken and waffles. I'm always surprised that RM Seafood doesn't get more positive press here. I ate upstairs a few years ago and had a tremendous meal.

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