Babymoon in Vegas
My wife and I are due to have our second child in about a week and I have booked a trip to Vegas in November as our first opportunity to get away together. We are going the weekend after Thanksgiving and staying that Friday and Saturday. I learned later (to my dismay) that it only gets up into the low 60s that time of year and so we will be probably not spending time at the pool and instead spending our time eating and drinking. It's my wife's first time to Vegas and only my second. The first time for me was a bachelor party and we didn't do much in the way of fine dining so I have come to this board to sharpen my focus. We both love fine dining and would go to e or Guy Savoy or Joel Robuchen if we could afford it, but we really can't. I was looking for guidance on the best values for fine dining. I'd like to spend no more than $300 for dinner one night and $200 the other night, and that is with a couple bottles of wine and cocktails. We were also looking at going to at least one show. I was leaning towards Ka and she kind of wants to see Love. We are staying at Vdara next to Aria so I was leaning towards restaurants in walking distance. I was thinking Sage for my more expensive night, and Wicked Spoon or the Bellagio buffet the other night. I also saw a post for Charlie Palmer's cut of the week deal and that looked promising. The other restaurants I was considering were Bouchon and the Public House (I brew my own beer). We like all types of food and are looking for a good meal and a fun time. We are in our early 30s. Any help is appreciated.
Plan on a thirty minute walk from Vdara to Bouchon. You can't go wrong with either buffet. Each has its pluses and minuses. Per the Bellagio website the prices for the buffet will be higher for the entire Thanksgiving weekend. The lines for their buffet during a holiday weekend can be up to two to two and half hours. I'm a local. Locals have a trick with the Bellagio buffet. It doesn't close between meals. It switches to dinner at 3:30 pm. In past expierence, if get in line at 3:00 the line is very short. Plus you pay the lunch price and stay for dinner. However, I've never done this on a holiday weekend.
I'd highly recommend Julian Serrano at the Aria. The tapas format allows you to sample multiple great dishes without ringing up a huge bill right away. Also, in terms of wine, it might be worth investigating the corkage policy at some to the places you're interested in.
I think you are going to have a tough time getting out of any of the nicer restaurants for under $300 if you have cocktails and “a couple of bottles of wine”, appetizers, entrées and dessert. Even one bottle of wine would be really pressing it. Wine prices on Strip properties are typically pretty high; around 200%-300% markup from retail. If the menu is to your liking, the Cut of the Week would be the way to go. You might want to consider renting a car and going off strip.
As for corkage; here is some information on several places that offer lower/no fees.
Pinot Brasserie (The Venetian) doesn't charge for corkage.
On Wednesday's Todd's Unique in Henderson doesn't charge a corkage fee.
Roy's Hawaiian Fusion doesn't charge a corkage fee certain times of the year - give them a call to confirm for your visit.
Marche Bacchus doesn't charge a fee on Monday's but ONLY for wines from their store - prices aren't bad.
Normally they only charge the retail price plus $10 so you are saving $10. Their regular corkage is $25.
Most of the Strip restaurants that I have been to charge between $35 and $50; but there are some at $25 and some at $100. Some options at $25 include Delmonico (Venetian), Kokomos (Mirage), Morels French Steak House (The Palazzo), and Smith and Wollensky.
I am a fan of Bouchon. As to the corkage, you can save some money bringing your own wine. We've done it many times. Be advised that last time we checked MGM properties limit corkage to two bottles per table.
Lotus of Siam is a cab ride but relatively cheap with a great and very reasonably priced list with excellent food.
The Beatle's Love is fantastic.