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May 7, 2013 05:26 AM

Ideas for adventurous 13 YO that won't break the bank

Hi all. I'm wondering if you can give me some good ideas for restaurants on the strip (not renting a car) that our 13 year old would enjoy that won't break the bank.

Staying at Aria.

She pretty much eats anything with sushi and Thai being her favorites. Spicy is the only thing I can think of that she doesn't like. Would prefer not to break the bank feeding her but want to show her what Las Vegas has to offer food wise. Also, she's a fan of a lot of the cooking shows so a celebrity chef restaurant might be cool.

I was thinking of Lemongrass. She can order the Tom Ka soup which is a large portion and delicious, as long as they'll make it non-spicy.

Also thinking HHAGG.

We'll probably meander down to Mandalay and have apps at Strip Steak so she can try the duck fat fries.

Spouse and I did happy hour at the bar at American Fish in Jan and that might be a pretty good way to do a celebrity chef restaurant, though I'm not sure Michael Mina is known to her. (he was sitting behind us when we ate there in Jan)

For a buffet we were thinking Wicked Spoon.

Jaleo is delicious and should could try various items but I'm thinking it may just be too pricey.

In N Out Burger. She's never had one.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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  1. Lemongrass is a good call. We've had our kids there before and there are lots of options. I think they have dim sum on the weekends, which is great. We've taken our kids to Fleur in Mandalay Bay and that is a great option since it is small plates and you can try a variety of dishes without breaking the bank. Strip Steak is one of our favorites too. Kids loved the fries and they have a great burger. Julian Serrano in Aria is also tapas and could be fun.

    1. Lemongrass is OK but it is not a patch on Lotus of Siam - shame you won't have wheels. You can eat a late breakfast/early lunch at Jaleo fairly cheaply - I love the eggs with chorizo sausage and matchstick fries (nice comfort type food) - then perhaps you could add one or two tapas dishes on the side.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kagemusha49

        You don't REALLY need a car to go to Lotus of Siam, as long as you are reasonably mobile. It is not located in the best part of town, but we (two women by ourselves) went twice to LOS by taking the monorail to the end of the line and walking about 15 minutes to the restaurant. Not sure I would do this at night, but during the day it was fine. Note lunch is only served on weekdays.

        1. re: cobpdx

          And you can also take a cab.

          I think when the 13 year old is older (or heck, even now!) she will appreciate having gone to Lotus of Siam. It's where the chefs go to eat. It's where contestants of Top Chef masters went to learn, and be judged.

          And it's a really great life lesson that a place doesn't have to be impressive on the outside to be breathtaking on what it does.

          Worse come to worse, you can do their fix price lunch buffet, which is not the best completely - but has items of brilliance. It's years later and my husband still remembers the wings. Still.

      2. Took my kids (11/11/10) to Lotus of Siam and Raku. All three loved both places. Being a 20+ year veteran of LV, both w/kids and w/o, I can honestly say that most every casino restaurant is intended to extract as much money as they can without being all that kid friendly. That is NOT to say that all places treat children poorly as many are fine. It's just that the crowds that they cater to are the 21 and higher crowd.

        As for not having a car, they are cheaper than taking cabs everywhere (all places are free valet and self park). And generally adding a car to a hotel reservation will lower the cost of the hotel.

        1. You are lucky to have an adventurous kid. An alternative to In & Out is Holstein's in the Cosmo -- better burgers and milk shakes, albeit pricier.

          But if you are going to sneak off the strip to go there, can I join the chorus and suggest you duck off the Strip to Lotus of Siam instead. They will absolutely make almost any dish with zero chilies if requested (just ask for a "zero" when they ask about your preferences between 1-10), although my guess is that she could easily tolerate a 1 or 2. In Thai cuisine, chilies are almost always introduced toward the end of cooking. Lotus and Chef Saipin were featured on the latest season of Top Chef, and she can look on the walls and try to identify some of the celebrities who have eaten there.

          The restaurant will be happy to call a taxi for you and come to your table to fetch you.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dave Feldman

            It seems almost every hotel has a gourmet burger place, so that's a possibility, but not necessarily "adventurous" unless fancy toppings or interestingly flavored milkshakes qualify. Lotus, as mentioned above, is great for kids of all ages. A very casual, and relatively cheap option, would be 'wichcraft at MGM, a sandwich shop owned by Tom Colicchio. My favorite, the meatloaf sandwich, doesn't appear on the current online menu, but anything that sounds good to you might make for a decent lunch.

          2. A few random thoughts:

            pick-up the free the shuttle from Bally's to the Gold Coast for a dim sum brunch at Ping Pang Pong.

            $22 3-course lunch at Milos

            purchase a certificate for Border Grill @ Mandalay Bay during a 50% off sale and take her to either dinner or the weekend brunch

            4 Replies
            1. re: westie

              I like this response the most. Dim sum should be fun to try a little bit of everything.

              Border Grill for the weekend brunch using the certificate is perfect.

              The $20.13 3-course lunch at Milos is awesome, and Comme Ca now does a $19.99 3-course lunch (where you can order the biggest creme brulee I've ever seen in my life as your dessert...and they maximize the surface area for the brulee).

              Here are a few more:

              Holsteins for a Rising Sun burger and a non-alcoholic milkshake (go early before music gets turned up to nightclub levels).

              Ice Pan at Harrah's so she can customize an ice cream of her choice (down to the type of liquid base) and see it go from liquid to ice cream right before her eyes. I like the soy peanut butter ice cream with bananas, oreos, and a slice of cheesecake mixed in.

              Max Brenner at the Forum Shops has great chocolate dishes. The fondues often come with a small fire so you can roast your own marshmallows at the table and then dip them into milk or dark chocolate. There's a "banana tempura" dish where you get panko-crusted fried banana pieces to dip into chocolate. And they have great hot chocolates and chocolate milkshakes. They have happy hour 3-6pm and 9pm-midnight on weekdays where the banana tempura would be $6 at the bar.

              Coke World 3rd floor has a soda bar where you can order a "Tour around the World" of Coke products. You get 3-4oz of 20 different sodas from around the world and a list identifying each one. It's very fun to taste them all and what people from other countries enjoy drinking. In the end...good ol' normal Coke is the best for me.

              At Hawaiian Marketplace, there is a place called Catfish Alley. They make great cornmeal-crusted fried catfish with all the sides you'd expect. Mini cornbread muffins come with the meal.

              NYNY has Fulton Fish Market which sells one heck of a fish n' chips. It's a huge serving and costs under $10. Definitely enough for two people.

              Secret pizza place at Cosmo (3rd floor). Call ahead and order an entire white pizza for $28. This place has no name, no sign, and is not on the property map. It's down the wide hallway that separates Blue Ribbon from Jaleo. Sit around eating one of my favorite items in Vegas.

              And go watch Jeff Civillico at The Quad. It's a $10 show with coupons you can online and he's a great family entertainer. Nice afternoon show to kill some time before dinner.

              1. re: ah6tyfour

                Thank you! These are great ideas. I didn't even know Ice Pan existed and I forgot all about Holsteins!

                Do you by any chance know where I could find the $19.99 Comme Ca lunch menu? I've googled and don't see it on their site. I found an old one from 2012. Says $17.50 so I'm guessing it is different now.

                Spouse and I have done the Milos lunch and I think we're the only people who hated it. Our whole meal was awful. The lobster I had a hard time cutting with a serrated knife! Didn't even finish it it was so tough.

                I was thinking of secret pizza but having been in the Cosmo I'm not sure it is a great place for people watching with my 13 year old. Of course I could turn it into a "what not to wear/do/act like" lesson. ;)

                1. re: RedBeans04

                  Here's a video showing how they make your ice cream at Ice Pan. They use real ingredients whenever they can (so they blend pistachios into your choice of base for pistachio ice cream, pineapple into the base for pineapple ice cream, etc) and it's not very sweet unless you want it to be. The fruit flavors are very light and refreshing. I like strawberry soy ice cream with blueberries and almond flakes. Or red bean soy ice cream with lychee and mochi. Or my suggestion in the previous response, which I save for days where I need a pick-me-up.

                  The $19.99 Comme Ca lunch used to be online when you clicked on the lunch menu link. It looks like it's no longer there. Hopefully they haven't done away with it! The menu you linked to is the exact same menu I had back in March. French onion soup, croque madame, and creme brulee for me.

                  I wasn't blown away by Milos either. Although their octopus app is really good.

                  If you order the whole pizza, you could have the rest of the family stake out a spot in the 3rd floor convention area. Then you can go pick up the whole pizza and bring it back to the convention area? It's usually pretty deserted over on that side.

                2. re: ah6tyfour

                  Holy cow! I'm a grown up and I love these idea! Great stuff!