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Short trip, short report

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Spent three nights in Vegas this week. Loved it. Three dinners only:

* Mon Ami Gabi, group of 5 for post event early dinner. Vibrant atmosphere and line to get in if you didn't reserve. Oysters were limited in choice but quite tasty. Filet Mignon Merlot for 3 of us was quite good, tasty and moist. Hot baguettes for the tale were well received. House fries were not good at all-- cool temperature and Bland. More of a potato chip than fries. Hamburger and trout were fine. Wine by the glass was ok. Service pleasant if a bit rushed. Summary: ok for a large, not very discriminating group. 10 friends at a convention? OK. Best date? No way. Atmosphere is festive and fun. Food just ok.

* Raku, stunning Robata offerings in a Spring Mountain Road strip mall. Reservations required 5 calls to make contact as they don't return calls or use open table. Lined up at 5:50 for our 6:00pm reso. Lights were off, place was dark. At 6:10, the doors opened and we were seated.. Fabulous. Top items were yellowtail sashimi, Kobe beef skirt steak, and fois gras. As Californians, we are suffering from fois gras withdrawal syndrome. Cured. Also loved the whole fish (opal eye) prepared two ways: half sashimi and half deep fried presented beautifully in a sculptured recreation of the whole fish. Less successful was the beef tendon which was like cutting off the fat of a rib eye, grilling it and then serving it as a separate item. Tasty but too challenging on a cholesterol basis. Pitcher of Sapporo was perfect. Will go back many times to sample the enormous menu. A keeper.

* Bartoletta. Exceptional Italian seafood at Wynn. Superb octopus to share as a starter. Tender without any of the rubbery tendencies found in other places. Two half course of pasta: lasagnette with crustacians and simple spaghetti with tomato and basil. Both wonderful, delicate and flavorful. Shared entree of whole fish (sea bream with fresh tomato crudo of olive oil and basil topping) beautifully filleted and serverved table side. Delicious. Worth it? Not entirely. Wine offerings were priced at 3+ times retail price and selection was skimpy for a restaurant of this quality and price level. Fish is priced per gram and our sea bream was $110. Too much. We would go back but only to sit at the bar to share an appetizer and two half pastas. Would skip the fish based on cost only.

Great trip. Loved Vegas as always.

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