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Aug 4, 2012 04:03 PM

uhockey heading back to Vegas. Anything new and noteworthy?

Yet another Frozen Fury in September (featuring the defending Stanley Cup Champs!) means another trip to Vegas and now that I'm within driving distance probably even more frequent visits than that. Obviously some old favorites need a return visit, but where else stands out? Obviously I've browsed the board, but some spots seem to get mixed reviews.

4 dinners, 3 lunches, 3 breakfasts:

Dinner: Joel Robuchon, e by Jose Andres, and Twist are all booked. Debating a return to Raku for the last dinner but where else should I consider? Can be any price range or within 30 minutes drive.

Lunch: Lotus of Siam is definite, very interested in Estiatorio Milos as well. For the third (can be a brunch as well) considering First Food versus Central or other options

Breakfast: Bouchon, Bread and Butter, and perhaps Verandah - though Central looks to have a pretty nice breakfast menu as well - again, open to options.

Thoughts, comments, and perhaps even dining buddies are welcome.

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  1. If you've never eaten there I would suggest Michael's at the Southpointe. The food is nothing revolutionary, but its quality and freshness are unsurpassed anywhere. You can close your eyes and imagine that you are Diamond Jim Brady. Reading the menu you might think you were transported back to the 40s, 50s or even earlier. Everything on the menu is good . The Dover Sole is the best I've ever had anywhere, even in England. Its small with a waitstaff ratio of one to one.

    9 Replies
    1. re: porkpa

      Interesting - never even seen that one mentioned. Menu looks pretty straightforward, but nice for sure.

      1. re: uhockey

        Several years ago when it was still at the Barbary Coast Hotel, Esquire magazine called Michael's the best restaurant in North America. Although its prices are anything but cheap, due to the high quality of the food, the low number of covers and large staff to customer ratio, the place loses a fortune even when every setting is sold. I've been told by a long time executive of the hotel group that owns the place that the restaurant is regarded as the piece de resistance of the owner's empire and that he is willing to have it keep hemorraging money as a loss leader and as the showpiece of his empire with no skimping done to it in any area..

        1. re: porkpa

          ...but how do prices compare to the Strip places? MUST be cheaper, I'd assume.

          1. re: uhockey

            At best they are comparable. My guess is that if anything they are slightly more expensive. Off the top of my head I would say that its going to cost between $150-$200 a person depending mostly on what you drink. Its certainly cheaper than Guy Savoy, Robuchon and Twist, but probably on a par with Picasso, le Cirque, Prime and SW Steakhouse.

            1. re: uhockey

              The Michael's price points are actually among the highest on the Strip, but note that the model came from a different era - because they have always been owned in-house, they developed under the older models of many of the meals being comped for bigger casino players and special guests. That also explains why the restaurant itself is not profitable - it was never really intended to be. The upside is that the service standards come from that prior era, and rival any restaurant in Las Vegas. The downside is that those paying the full sticker price may only be comfortable if they recognize that service as being an integral part of the experience (last visit was two years ago, but a Caesar Salad was $25, no entree under $50, a baked potato on the side was $15, etc.). That service can make for a special evening, if that is the direction someone wants to go, but if it is all about the food, there is a genuine value issue. So take that for what it is worth.

              It is not for a lack of enthusiasm that the Chowhounders have not been flooding you with replies this time around - the sad truth is that not much new has happened at the upper level in recent years, while some major talents are no longer around (Charlie Trotter, Alessandro Stratta, Bradley Ogden, and also the likes of Richard Chang and Jet Tilla at a different level). The natural problem is that there is nowhere near the silly amount of $$$ being thrown around our fair city that there was previously, which not only prevents new ideas from getting into play, but also unfortunately has those that remain with a vested interest here seemingly dropping their Las Vegas properties to a lower priority in their overall designs. The bloom is off of the Las Vegas restaurant rose, to the point at which we have seen the likes of Senor Frogs and Carlos 'N Charlies opening on the Strip, not too far from each other (Treasure Island and the Flamingo). A culinary abomination, but a sign of the times.

              At the higher end perhaps the only new player since your last visit is Gordon Ramsay, but his steakhouse at Paris is about the 20th restaurant under his umbrella, which brings the usual issues that we face with many of the other name chefs.

              We are looking forward to your reports once again; we just wish the local scene was not as stagnant (alas, you will miss Pierre Gagnaire being in the kitchen at Twist by a couple of weeks).

              1. re: QAW

                I'd be okay with "lower" recs, as well. Someone suggested DW which definitely has appeal and since I'm driving I'll have a car to check out places further off strip.

                No interest in Ramsay. Yawn. :-)

                I'm debating coming up for the Gagnaire menu - but haven't yet decided.


                1. re: uhockey

                  You might consider Marche Bacchus. Depending on what time of year you will be here, the outdoors dining is very nice - next to a small lake (really a big pond, but a "Vegas" lake). The Chef is Dave Middleton who was the Chef at Alex in the Wynn. They also have a good deal on their wines; corkage is $10 when you buy from their retail wine store.


                  1. re: Philber

                    I saw that one and was considering it for brunch vs. dinner. Still trying to recruit some locals to better sample LOS before I decide.


                    1. re: Philber

                      The beloved Alex at the Wynn..probably one of the best restaurants in Vegas and it is so missed.
                      I'll be in LV in September and Marche Bacchus sounds great.

        2. Check out the reviews on tripadvisor. They are alomst all very positive.

          1. Friends swear by the Oyster Bar at Palace Station..
            Lotus of Siam is an excellent call..lunch and dinner
            Country Club at the Wynn is one of my faves
            Secret Pizza for a slice at the Cosmo and drinks at the lovely Chandelier bar
            Hugo's Cellar at the Four Queens for old school if your going downtown LV
            Bouchon, Verandah or Peppermill.

            1. The Barrymore in the Royal Resort just off the strip has been getting good reviews. I have not been but it is on my list for when we go out in 2 weeks.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jimg28

                We just ate at the Barrymore two weeks ago. Very funky, interesting vibe. Service was excellent (Gabriel was our waiter). The menu is pretty straightforward and delivered as promised. The octopus app was quite tasty with a nice smokey char. Husband had the lobster Mac and cheese which he loved. Both app portions were large. For mains, I had the opakapaka snapper which was good, but both the duck and short rib mains were the winners at our table. My son found the peach tart a well flavored satisfying dessert. The Barrymore won't compete with the likes of Vegas' top tier restaurant, and the hotel it's in and that part of the strip where it's located looks a bit dicey (a bock or so past Tacos el Gordo), but don't let that deter you. It made for a nice night out. This was just one of the many meals I've had in Las Vegas during this past year (five trips), and it was a welcome change from all the other "fancy" meals we've enjoyed recently.

                Also, since I've been primarily a lurker on this board since my son moved to Las Vegas last summer, I did want to express my thanks to all the regular posters who have steered us to so many wonderful restaurants in that time.

              2. I would go back to Raku and try the 15 course kaiseki dinner.

                For lunch you can't go wrong with Estiatorio Milos. The grilled octopus and sea bass are outstanding. The three course lunch to me is a little on the light side, so I would add a few courses from the dinner menu.

                Bread and Butter is very good. We always leave with a box full of baked goods, cookies, cupcakes, etc. Chocolate and Spice on west sahara is another breakfast/lunch option. Megan Romano is the owner and former pastry chef at Aureole. We have only tried the desserts, but the banana cream pie, chocolate nutella bombe and dark chocolate tart are worth the drive.


                1 Reply
                1. re: vegasjlt

                  Good stuff. Had never seen that blog.

                  Someone else mentioned Chocolate and Spice - I need to look into it.