One month in Vegas = one long trip report
We try to make it out to Vegas at least once a year and this year, we had the time and decided to drive out from Montreal. While most friends and family thought we were crazy, it was an amazing adventure and sandwiched between the travel was a month in our favorite place, Vegas! I'm posting here where we ate and shopped. Thanks to all Vegas Hounds for the great rec's over the years, we have never been let down by you guys!
• Charlie Palmer – We make a point of going here at least once every visit for the Cut of the Week. We made it twice this year and since the menu changes, I won’t detail much here but would say that this is seriously the best deal going. Our steaks were cooked and seasoned perfectly, the sides were great (drooling now thinking of the creamed spinach) and dessert was sublime (had the chocolate peanut butter bar on both of our visits so this may be a more recurring item on the menu.) Reservations are always available and we noted many tables around us having the CotW as well. I would note that you have to ask for the menu, as they do not give it to you initially, nor do they include it on their menu easel outside. Service is professional and efficient. On our first visit, the sommelier came by and chatted us up. We ended up taking his recommendation to take a mini “vacation within a vacation” and go out to Temecula Valley for a few days. Love this place, can’t recommend it enough!
• Lotus – We made it to Lotus 3 times during our stay, one dinner and 2 lunches. We made sure to get there early and never had a wait to be seated. Standout dishes were the penang crispy duck, spicy chicken wings, squid salad, and tom yum noodles. Everything was really amazing though. Only thing we probably wouldn’t get again was the beef jerky, it was a little too tough to eat in any civilized manner.
• Marche Bacchus – I will preface this by noting that we first went here last year. We had just landed at when I checked my phone at the airport, I had a message from Milos stating that they had to cancel our lunch reservation due to a kitchen malfunction, so we had to audible and I found this place and was able to make a reservation. We were tired and hungry and when we arrived, we were enchanted by the view and thought the food (had a cheese plate and steak frites) was very good. In retrospect, our fatigue and hunger may have influenced our opinion. Went back this year for lunch, hoping for another great time. The view was again beautiful, and the fans/misters made the patio seating quite bearable on a hot day. Unfortunately, the service and the food were not as we remembered. We each had the lunch special (a 2 course offering of either app/entrée or entrée/dessert with a glass of house wine). With the special, we had a soup, a burger, a veggie burger, and crème brulee. The burger was cooked perfectly but was underseasoned and fries were very good but sadly, the rest was pretty forgettable. We also added on an heirloom tomato salad, which for $13 should have been much better. Only pronounced flavors were the strawberries, go figure. Also telling when the server noted that the salad is known for its presentation but didn’t mention the flavors. Other than the tomato salad, the special is fairly priced and not a bad deal. However, the food did take a while and ultimately, the service was not great. Had to ask the server for bread after he had initially said he would bring it while we were deciding and he must have forgotten. He seemed to be the only server on the patio and had too many tables, with another one nearby getting pretty grumpy after having to repeatedly ask for things. Our server did apologize for himself several times, but it didn’t really get any better, as we waited a while for everything, including mustard for the burger and waiting to pay. It also did not help that a table farther away on the patio was getting what seemed to be extra attention, with a few bottles of wine on the table and the chef and manager stopping by to chat with them, which would have been fine if the other tables were getting better service in the mean time. Overall, we were disappointed and would not return. I’ve seen some similar sentiments on CH here recently and have to agree, it’s not what it could be.
• Milos – We have the flagship Milos here in Montreal and had to go for the lunch special at least once to compare, especially since they cancelled on us last time. It was as good as the original, albeit $2 more :) Service and food were top notch, highly recommended whether you are in Vegas or Montreal!
• Yellowtail – We needed a nearby place to “O” at the Bellagio and we ended up here. Had 2 cocktails a tuna pizza and 2 small sushi rolls and the bill was $100. Food was ok, nothing too memorable. I guess that is to be expected in this location and it was on par with prices at other places we looked at but would not likely return.
• Ale House/BWW – After many years living in a Florida college town, I have a special place in my heart for the Ale House. It is what it is, a sports bar with reliable, not gourmet food and generally efficient service. I have been to AH’s all over Florida and was happy to see that the Vegas locale has the same layout with ample TV’s and seating. We went twice, once for NBA and another for NHL. Needless to say, it was busier for basketball. Service was great both times, which is a plus when they were swamped for the b-ball game. They have $4 Leinenkeugel pints all the time, a favorite beer of ours. The wings were fresh and sauced well both times. While it isn’t necessarily “chow worthy”, if anyone is looking for a reliable, reasonably priced place to watch a big game or if you’re just in the mood for wings and a beer, I recommend it. On the other side of the beer/wings spectrum is Buffalo Wild Wings. We decided to go to a BWW the NBA Game 7 night because it was close and we could get in to get seats. It was busy as expected and service was a bit delayed (think our server had at least 6 tables at the time). Food came out quickly but as we have experienced at other BWW, it wasn’t particularly hot or fresh. Just meh. I wouldn’t normally even have noted this place on CH, but felt it was worth mentioning in contrast to the Ale House.
Happy Hour / Bar
• PJ Clarke’s – We headed to PJ’s for the happy hour and liked it enough to return another day. Can’t beat the $1 oysters on HH. Enjoyed a few $3 pints and $6 prosecco. Both times we sat at the bar (not the oyster bar but the booze bar) and they put on playoff hockey on for us each time. We wanted to go back for the steak special for 2 but never made it, will add that to the list next time if they still offer it.
• Mix – Have never eaten here but it is a great place for a nightcap after dinner at Charlie Palmer’s. I am not sure when and if they charge cover, but we’ve never encountered it. We have always been able to get a table and while the drinks are not cheap, paying $12 or so for a gin and tonic and seeing the spectacular Strip view is well worth it. Service is reasonably efficient and not invasive, easy to start a tab or pay as you go if needed.
• Hostile Grape – We first checked out the HG a few years back when the M was fairly new and while they let us walk through, it was not open yet that day (they open at 5 pm I believe). We decided to go back another day and check it out. Tried again the following year and it was closed for a private function, unfortunately we had taken the drive out for that only. We went again this year and third time was the charm, it was open. There are wine tasting stations that you must buy a card for (costs $5 for the card.) You can then use the card for tastings that average about $4 for 1 oz. We put $25 on the card and got started. We realized that the prices were pretty steep for bottles of wine that retailed much cheaper. We started with a few white wine samples and were disappointed that the wine was borderline warm. For the price, the machines should keep these much colder. Maybe it was because they had just opened and would chill more, but really not sure. We then tried some reds, nothing spectacular and were out of money on the card in about 25 minutes. When we first arrived we considered ordering a cheese plate and staying for a while, but once we what we would be getting for $25, we decided not to drop another $20 on food. Overall, the selection was ok, but we didn’t really come across any wines we hadn’t seen elsewhere.
• Border Grill – Wanted to do at least one Brunch deal and decided on this one for Sunday Brunch. When we ordered we were asked how we would like our eggs cooked, and I am guessing that unless you specify, all dishes with eggs will proceed to come out the way you asked. We received perfectly cooked sunny-side-up eggs on each dish we ordered, so no complaints here. A highlight was the steak and eggs and lowlight was the peanut butter + jelly + jalapeno sandwich. Overall, we were surprised by how timidly the food was seasoned, would have liked to have seen a bit of kick with some of the dishes. Service and timing of plates was a bit spotty but efficient otherwise. Not sure we would rush back, but enjoyable and glad we tried it.
• Hash House a Go Go – While not the best place, we feel obliged to go at least once when in LV. It’s kind of fun to see people’s reactions to the plates when they go for the first time. We had the brown sugar pancake and the chipotle fried chicken benedict. Both were better than other dishes we’d had previously. Nothing earth shattering but a good brekkie, even more so when hungover!
Shopping sites here:
Grocery – As we were here for an extended period, we had the chance to go to several grocery stores, and were super excited to be near Trader Joes for a month! For TJ’s we made it to 3 locations, with the Washington Ave location being our favorite for space and selection. Another highlight was Glaziers, which was near our condo. Very helpful and friendly staff, particularly behind the seafood/meat counter and great prices and specials ($4 lobster tails and cheap yet decent quality rib steaks come to mind.) We also made it out to the International Market and had a great time browsing each aisle with different country’s products. Picked up a few German mustards and an Italian vinegar.
Bakery - After reading about it on CH, made the trek out to Bread and Butter in Henderson one day to get some bread and see what they had. Was disappointed to see that they only offered one type of bread on a weekday, that being a baguette, so I picked up one baguette and 2 bakery items, a chocolate chip cookie and something else that escapes me. Cookie was very good, baguette was meh. Apparently they offer other bread types on the weekend, but never made it out again to see what they had. Also went to Drago Sisters on Rainbow, where we got a variety of things to try, including a chocolate cookie, a cherry mini-pie, and a cream cheese brownie. Cookie was rich and fudgy, tart had excellent pastry to filling ratio (boyfriend said it tasted like freshly made filling) and brownie had a great, chewy texture and wasn’t overly sweet. DS was very reasonably priced (around $8 total for everything) and had friendly service. Highlight of bakeries is Ronald’s. Oh Ronald’s, how I wish you were closer, yet am equally grateful you are not. We went twice and tried several doughnuts, highlights being the buttermilk, raspberry filled, apple fritter, and cream filled. This place is unbelievable, so crazy cheap and the quality is just top notch. I will dream of the buttermilk doughnut until we return again.
Butcher – We went twice to the Butcher Block on Rainbow. Found the selection to be good and somewhat reasonably priced. Tried the ribeyes and wagyu sirloin, excellent quality on both counts. Not sure that it would be worth a drive but it was close to our condo.