Vegas Trip Review - August
Thanks to all for your recommendations and reviews. My wife and I were in Vegas last weekend to celebrate our anniversary and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Being from LA, we make it out to LV about 1-2 times a year and are slowly chipping away at our list. Here is where we ate during this past trip and how we fared:
CARNEVINO (Friday late lunch)
I was eyeballing the steak sandwich on the Taverna menu for a few weeks and, wanting to try the dry-aged beef at Carnevino without committing to a full steak meal. The steak sandwich seemed like a good alternative. Well, the beef used in the sandwich is unfortunately not the special dry-aged beef that this place is known for but it was still a mighty tasty sandwich.
Served on a slightly chewy French styled roll, the sandwich consisted of medium-cut slices of tasty beef (not sure what part of the cow), caramelized onions, wild mushroom medley (I only noted the enoki) and gorgonzola marscapone. Solid sandwich served with "Tuscan potatoes" on the side that were basically halved fingerlings roasted with garlic and rosemary. Very satisfying for a late lunch. My wife and I split this dish since we were trying to keep things light to keep room for dinner. I would definitely go back to eat this or to try the other offerings (particularly the 60 day dry-aged beef everyone seems to rave-dance about).
My Manhattan was also very competently made/poured and the service was attentive and friendly. It helped that we were the only ones dining there at 3pm and were sitting at the bar.
JALEO (Friday dinner)
A lot has been written about Jaleo already so I won't restate what is already been reported (re: dining room, tapas style, etc.) We ordered:
-Pan amb Tomaquet w/ Serrano - solid
-Croquetas de pollo (served in a Camper shoe) - enjoyable and actually better than the same dish we had at Tapac 24 in Barcelona
-Piquillo pepper stuffed with idziabal cheese - I feel like I make better ones at home.
-Lobster paella - too salty. Should have sent this dish back.
-Mini pepitos - juicy and delicious! These are basically jamon iberico de bellota sliders. So small yet so rich. Probably our favorite dish of the night.
-Brussels sprouts with dried apricot and diced jamon - not very inspiring. Flavors just didn't work well for us. The fat from the jamon pieces didn't mesh well with the apricot.
-For drinks we had the red sangria and it was refreshing.
Overall, this is a fun place with good energy. Service was a bit quirky but friendly. We prefer Jaleo to Julian Serrano.
BOUCHON BAKERY (Saturday Breakfast)
We grabbed some quick bakery items from the takeout window at BB. Enjoyed the beignets (w/ raspberry jam filling) but the chocolate-almond croissant was nothing special. Coffee was good. They were running a $5 coffee and croissant special for b-fast and we upgraded to the aforementioned choc/almond croissant for a $1 up charge.
GRIMALDI'S (Saturday Lunch)
I've been to the Grimaldi's under the Brooklyn Bridge and the product here was not quite as good but was still satisfying. While I prefer other pizzas in NYC (Di Fara's, Posto, Lucali), the Grimaldi's pie offered a decent NYC style pizza for what has now become a chain pizza parlor. We ordered the margherita pizza and were not informed that there would be a $2 additional charge for basil. We would have still ordered it but the information would have been helpful. While the pizza did hit the spot (thin and crispy - not true Neapolitan style as claimed) the service was pretty lackluster and the somewhat depressing location (inside a sparsely populated section of the Palazzo) would lead me to recommend take out instead of dine-in.
LE CIRQUE (Sat Dinner)
After much internal debate over whether to dine at Twist or LC for our anniversary dinner we chose LC. The overwhelming praise of LC (and ellenost's solid backing) led us to choose it over Twist, which garners mostly mixed reviews. We were happy with our decision.
We were seated with a view of the Bellagio fountains inside the colorful dining room. There were a couple of aloof moments on the part of the service (i.e. forgetting to provide napkins and then forgetting to replace my napkin after removing it from our table while I got up to use the restroom) but these were very minor points. While the service was mostly on point, I would say that LC seems to operate as a well oiled machine and was a bit impersonal as compared to Robuchon where we dined 3 years ago or Guy Savoy where we dined last year. While this not a major issue for us, the very warm and personal service we experienced at both of the above-named restaurants does set them apart from the fray in our minds. For the meal we ordered the Degustation menu with premiere wine pairings, as well as the A5 Wagyu supplement ($65 supplement charge). The food was delicious and faultless. I enjoyed the langoustine carpaccio w/ caviar, foie gras, potato wrapped sea bass and duck. My wife chose the crab salad, lobster risotto, same sea bass and the wagyu. Everything was delicious and the duck really stood out as being exemplary. The dishes were updated classics and nothing earth shattering in terms of creativity but very satisfying and enjoyable. This is one of the reasons we chose LC. We wanted to simply have great food that was comfortable without an intense intellectual focal point. It was our anniversary after-all and we wanted to enjoy with low risk.
Desserts consisted of the chocolate ball (splendid) and the Grand Marnier souffle (fluffy as a cloud). Both were excellent. We boxed up the mignardises because we were too full feast further.
Wines were well matched and we enjoyed a nice Pinot from Burgundy that stood out.
All in all we enjoyed our chowing in LV and look forward to returning soon. We still have E and Twist, as well as a number of off-strip restos on our list of places to try. Thanks again for the feedback on this board!
Thank you for the detailed post, S4D! My husband and I will be in LV in 2 weeks and made the Le Cirque decision based on factors similar to yours. It's always nice to get some affirmation close to our travel date :)
Glad you enjoyed your trip, and thank you again for the informative post!
Don't forget about the truly special riserva steak at Carnevino, 180-day dry-aged. Purchased by the inch, $100/per, cut to order.