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Looking for Fine-Dining Recs.

I get to LV maybe once per year, though wife is there about 4x per year, for business meetings. I only attend, if I can get her alone for a couple of meals. However, we have just done two recent trips, with ups, and downs.

In the past, we have had several great meals at Picasso, but have not been back in some time. Just did Joël Robuchon (La Mansion), Guy Savoy, Michael's (Southpoint) and Gordon Ramsay Steak. While Guy Savoy was good, it fell far behind Robuchon. Let's just say that Ramsay's is out of the mix for us. Years ago, we did Andre's at the Monte Carlo, and it was really good for food and service.

I see LeCirque mentioned on this board, and wonder a few things:

How does it compare to Robuchon's?

Is Picasso still going strongly, or have they slipped?

Which other fine-dining restaurants should I include on my list for the next trip?

We are much less "steakhouse people," but have had some great steakhouse dining, though elsewhere. Still, if there is somewhere, that we just must try, I would not avoid a steakhouse, though we have a ton in Phoenix, and are so often guests at those, plus steakhouses around the US. I do not really need to do something that I have in AZ, or that we experience in SF, LA, Chicago, or NYC. We'd just rather go with a more chef-driven fine-dining restaurant, than even a good mini-chain.

All cuisines are in the mix, and we really appreciate dishes that we cannot find just anywhere. Wine lists are a great big plus, and venue, itself, carries some weight (one complaint with Andre's at the Monte Carlo).

Personally, we care more about the Exec. Chef, rather than some big-name absentee chef being attached to a restaurant (though Robuchon is obviously not at the helm, many of his staff in Paris, London and the US, declare that the LV location is his favorite).

Thank you for the updates, the thoughts and the suggestions,

Hunt

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  1. We don't do much fine dining here, but we follow the boards, and everyone seems to like Sage a lot.

    Not really what you asked for, but we love Lotus of Siam -- many consider it the best Thai restaurant in the US. Nobody we've sent there, (or gone with), has been less than thrilled. Not a dump, but not exactly elegant either. The stripmall it's in _is_ dumpy. http://www.saipinchutima.com/
    If you click on "Menu", dropdowns eventually appear, usually. In case they don't: http://media.wix.com/ugd//946df5_4cc2...
    We aren't into wine, but apparently they have some good ones there. http://media.wix.com/ugd//946df5_1e60...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Steve Green

      Steve,

      Have not done Lotus of Siam in some years, but I agree, plus hear the same from most, who dine there.

      Thank you,

      Hunt

      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Hi Bill,

        I don't know what "some years" mean, but if you haven't been to Lotus since it more than doubled in size, you also haven't experienced the tremendous growth in their wine program. Robert Parker has said it has the best German wine list of any restaurant in the U.S. Some German winemakers went farther when I talked to them, and called it better than German restaurants (fine dining restaurateurs in Germany are notorious for emphasizing French wine). The wine list is huge, but there are also many reserve bottles that are not on the list. Bill Chutima started this progression, but he is often not at the restaurant these days. You would want to ask for Aevil, who is now wine director and general manager.

        Bank, who headed the wine program before, has opened his own Thai restaurant, Chada Thai, at Spring Mountain and Jones (3400 S. Jones). He is focusing on small growth providers and is experimenting more with red wines of late to pair with the Thai food, which is excellent. His list is mostly inexpensive, but he too has wines in the back. Bank was just featured in Food and Wine, and has become a true wine nerd, and Chada, open until 3:00 a.m. every day, has become a hangout for somms and chefs after hours.

        I remember you back from Prodigy days, and know your fondness for fine dining. For the most part, I don't share it. I'm almost invariably disappointed by most fine dining establishments I visit, including in Las Vegas. I mention this slant only to indicate that in terms of food quality and wine adventures, I don't think you are going to do much better than Lotus or the better dishes at Chada. Lotus is a bustling place; Chada is serene and spare (but lovely), but neither is going to be confused with a fine dining atmosphere.

        Raku is justifiably touted as a great restaurant, but the wine program is not comparable (I don't know much about sake other than enjoying it).

        If you don't enjoy Thai cusiine, it might not be worth a visit just for the wine, although I think it is.

        1. re: Dave Feldman

          Based on my memory of it being quite small, I would say that it WAS before any expansion.

          Yes, we DO need to get back. I find myself in many conversations, where LOS gets mentioned, and everyone is in agreement that it is stellar.

          I think that our problem is that we have too few trips, with open dining options, but I could say the same for New Orleans, San Francisco, Honolulu, and many other cities - too many great restaurants, and too little time. Such is life.

          Thank you so much for the updates. I will try to get back, as it appears that I have missed far too much.

          Appreciated,

          Hunt

    2. If you like molecular gastronomy I would try e.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PorkyBelly

        Thank you. They had not appeared on my radar screen yet.

        Molecular gastronomy is not the ultimate draw, unless done well. I encounter too many "me too, me too" iterations, but when done correctly... it can be wonderful.

        Appreciated,

        Hunt

      2. Aloha Bill!
        Twist by Pierre Gagnaire at the Mandarin Oriental gets lots of love on this board and from Uhockey too.

        e by Jose Andres gets raves as well...don't know if molecular gastronomy is your thing but all reviews are out of the park.

        Country Club at the Wynn has been one of our faves since Alex..classic understated.

        Sage gets a lot of love on this board but have not been.

        Bouchon at the Venetian for breakfast or oysters and champagne at the bar.

        Milos at the Cosmo for lunch with their 3 course $20.13 is fantastic in food and price.

        Old school downtown is Hugo's Cellar at the Four Queens.

        We stay at the Trump since they take dogs and they have a steakhouse there but haven't been...great happy hour in the clubby lounge.

        Delmonico's at the Venetian has always been great through the years for us.

        Lotus of Siam is incredible for Thai...one of the best Thai resto's in the US..go for lunch..divey strip center but don't let that fool you...past the LV Hilton.

        Have a wonderful time and can't wait to hook up with you and the wife in the islands or PHX this year!

        11 Replies
        1. re: Beach Chick

          Aloha!

          As always, some very useful comments, and some names that I have never heard of.

          Is Delmonico's at the Venetian one of Emeril Lagasse's restaurants (have not checked the Internet yet)? We did Delmonico's in New Orleans, and it was just above OK - unfortunately, we both remembered the original Delmonico, so it was probably not fair to Chef Lagasse.

          Mahalo nui,

          Hunt

          [Edit] Yes, Delmonico is an Emeril Lagasse restaurant. We did love Emeril's, when it was in operation in LV.

          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Aloha Bill..
            Forgot to add that Le Cirque would be fab for you and your wife.
            Have fun and report back!

            1. re: Beach Chick

              Gracias!

              We hope to do it, next trip (with any free-dining nights), and will report back.

              Mahalo,

              Hunt

            2. re: Bill Hunt

              Emeril's is still there in the MGM. We go there each time we're in town. They make a wonderful tasting menu.

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                We don't go to NOLA without a trip to Delmonico's and find it outstanding in food and service!

                Stephanie
                Charleston Foodie

                1. re: Shartzog

                  Unfortunately, the past few times I've been at the LV Delmonico's I was a bit disappointed...it was definitely not up to the standards of the one in NOLA.

                  1. re: josephnl

                    We are going to LV in September and are not going to visit any of Emeril's restaurants. Saving them for NOLA.

                    1. re: josephnl

                      We have never done the LV version, but only the NOLA version. Now, going back when, I enjoyed the Emeril's LV, but it is history.

                      Hunt

                      1. re: josephnl

                        josephini, i was considering going to delmonico's in LV on my next trip -- partly for the scotch/bourbon collection, partially for the bone in ribeye -- what didn't you like about the place?

                      2. re: Shartzog

                        We still have great memories of the original Delmonico's, but have only done the Emeril version once, not too long after opening. Things were a bit sketchy, and we are fans of much of Chef Lagasse's food (having known him in the Commander's Palace days - way back when). Things were just not up to par, from food, to service to wine service. Need to get back now, as they have been opened long enough to smooth out the rough edges.

                        Hunt

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          I was last at the Delmonico's in NOLA probably 20 years ago, and loved it then. I've been at the LV iteration x2, and it was not even close to what I recalled from NO.

                  2. Kabuto. If you can find it and get a table/seat, it's a lovely edomae sushi dining experience. Not a white linen fine dining place but they are so attentive to detail and the service is great.

                    1. Hunt,

                      I've been following your wonderful posts for years, and I think that you would love dinner at Le Cirque. First of all, the room is beautiful and generally quiet. The ambiance is quite elegant, but not overly stuffy. The service is spot-on, attentive, warm and informed but not overbearing. The food is terrific, the wine service is excellent and everything is very well done. The menu is contemporary French, generally rather light and delicious. There is none of the smoke, foam and other nonsense that seem to be in vogue at some other very upscale places.

                      If you decide to go to Le Cirque, call Ivo Angelov the Maitre D'/General Manager in advance. If you let him know about your specific wishes regarding wine service, any particular wishes, you will be very well looked after. You might ask for one of the 4 corner banquettes...the most choice seats in the house. I'm pretty confident that Ivo will see that you have a very special evening. (Perhaps he will even spread rose petals along the path your beautiful wife takes to your table...but I doubt that you'll be comped for your 19 course tasting menu with wine pairings...sorry!)

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: josephnl

                        Agree 100% with you about Le Cirque!

                        1. re: josephnl

                          Predicated on the wonderful recs., I WILL include Le Cirque (sounds just like MY kind of restaurant), and will try to get back to Lotus of Siam too.

                          I also greatly appreciate the contact info. Knowing the right place to call, FAX or e-mail, can be very useful.

                          After our evening at Guy Savoy, the GM gave me instructions on how to secure reservations for Guy Savoy, Paris. Last trip, we wanted to do them, but with timing, and a little change in the trip (got hung up in London for an extra night), we missed them. I think that we will be able to rectify that, next trip (actually the next, after the next, as Paris will only be an airport coming and going, for my wife's birthday trip to Burgundy).

                          Actually, the "rose petals" have become an inside, family joke. I had booked that greeting, for our Oct. Paris trip. Unfortunately, between the time we left for London (doing EuroStar to Paris, after business), that hotel changed management, and we were fortunate to just get a suite, but no rose petals, and no Bollinger RD waiting for her. Still, we survived, had a lovely trip (regardless of the rain nearly every day), and enjoyed ourselves. Wife is still "waiting on rose petals," so maybe I CAN score points with her?

                          Thank you,

                          Hunt

                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            Raku. Not high-end, but fabulously delicious Japanese food. Tofu made fresh in house daily. Foie. Skewered delights.

                            Tell the chef your budget which, presumably, is infinite, and have them keep the food coming.

                            Petals in the ladies room.

                             
                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              Hunt,

                              Do call Ivo in advance of your visit to Le Cirque, and be assured that if it is a special occasion, he'll make it very special...although I'm not quite sure about the rose petals.

                              1. re: josephnl

                                I just had (an hour ago) another exquisite dinner at Le Cirque. Unfortunately Ivo wasn't there, but I think he made doubly sure that the staff took extra wonderful care of me. I was seated at a lovely table in front of the window so I had a perfect view of the fountains. The new chef made a special tasting menu for me which included langoustine carpaccio, crab, foie gras and duck. Two desserts: the chocolate sphere and the new Baba. Felt bad that I could barely touch the Baba. All of the mignardises were boxed for me to take back to my room. Food was wonderful. There were many families with young children that were well behaved. The rest of my restaurants for this trip have a tough act to beat.

                                1. re: ellenost

                                  Thanks for reassuring me about my recommendation to Hunt. We'll be visiting LV in about one week, and are looking forward to dinner again at Le Cirque. I can't get past the chocolate souffle for dessert. I still can't figure out how the top of the souffles are imprinted in gold with the Le Cirque logos!! Quite amazing and magical!

                                  1. re: ellenost

                                    Sounds fab and love the way you roll..

                                  2. re: josephnl

                                    <<although I'm not quite sure about the rose petals.>>

                                    Add a big GRIN here. The "rose petals" are not necessary. We are over those now. Just having a room in Paris was enough, though we paid for extras, from rose petals to a certain Champagne, we go by.

                                    Thank you,

                                    Hunt

                                  3. re: Bill Hunt

                                    And when you speak to Ivo, make sure to tell him that because you will be likely having more than one wine, you'd appreciate a larger table...perhaps a corner banquette!

                                2. Just had another outstanding dinner at Le Cirque 2 nights ago. The food was great, as always (foie gras, Dover sole, and Grand Marnier soufflé). Service was perfect, as usual...very warm, informed, professional and attentive, without being obtrusive. Ivo Angelov runs a wonderful restaurant!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: josephnl

                                    Thank you for that info.

                                    Looks like Le Cirque, e, Twist and Sage will be on the list for the next trip.

                                    Thank you,

                                    Hunt

                                  2. Did you ever get to Le Cirque? Love to hear you thoughts re food and wine service...and if Ivo took good care of you?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: josephnl

                                      Not yet, but it is at the top of our list.

                                      Will report, when we do.

                                      Hunt

                                    2. Hello Bill....As I mentioned in another posting....SW at The Wynn is run by (and, yes, he is almost always on the line in the kitchen at night) David Walzog. He put Michael Jordan's at Grand Central Station in NYC "on the map" years ago...and when Steve Wynn opened The Wynn, he enticed David to come out and run his namesake steakhouse. The food is top-notch (I am a sucker for the crust that David creates on his ribeye), the ambiance is a "little Vegas"..but still with style, the service is solid.
                                      Off the Strip....only a few minutes....on Paradise, across from the Hard Rock Hotel, is Ferraro's. Mimmo Ferraro is in the kitchen creating the best Osso Buco in the U.S. and accompanied by one of the best winelists that you will see. While the ambiance is not as great as their original resto and is geared to lots of covers each night (which does keep them in business), and while some of the dishes are also geared to the tourist crowd and can be "pedestrian"....this is still great, homemade Italian, with an excellent chef in the kitchen.