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Xmastime in Vegas-- Family-Friendly Joints...?

Last year convinced us that Xmas at home-- specifically, hosting a Xmas Eve party with family criticizing just about everything-- isn't all it's cracked up to be. My husband and I are going to Vegas.

But not by ourselves. Oh no. All indications are that my sister, her husband and her children (21, 17, 15) will be coming too, along with our mother (nearly 80 and in fair health, although a bit cranky) AND, possibly, my mother-in-law (76 and ornery, but sweet).

The Strip is cheap during Xmas, so we'll probably all be staying at the MGM Grand. Basically all cuisines are fine (but no offal, please!), and we may have at least one car at our disposal (we may fly there-- my preference--, if airfares from SoCal drop a bit).

At the very least we will need someplace halfway decent but not crazy-expensive for Xmas dinner. Is there anything that might come in less than $50 per person (including wine, but before gratuity) that's not too far from the Strip (or on it)?

Lotus of Siam is a place I'm dying to try, but we may have resistance on any spiciness beyond "discreetly piquant and tastefully hot". Is LoS still good if you're not blasting up the spice?

Is there anything notably Chow-worthy AND suitable for a three-generation family not too far from the Strip, or maybe Downtown? I suppose we must hit Fremont St. at some point, so suggestions for Downtown are welcome.

Thanks in advance!!!

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  1. Sorry, can't help you with recs, but who on earth criticizes everything about a Christmas Eve party? What were the problems and can you avoid them by going out to certain places? Or just slip off by yourself to avoid your fun being spoiled by critique?

    1 Reply
    1. re: charlesbois

      Without airing specific family laundry, let's just say my husband's sister-in-law spread a little Xmas misery, which spread to my mother and mother-in-law. Said sister-in-law will be celebrating Xmas here in town, with her family nearby. As she likes it.

      And we will be one state over, not hearing the passive-aggressive b!tching. As WE like it.

    2. I'm a fourteen year Las Vegas local originally from LA. Two places I would checkout Downtown are the Flame at the El Cortez and Triple George Grill by the Mob Museum. The Orleans, on West Tropicana, has The Prime Rib Loft and Canal Street. Both restaurants have Christmas menus. They usually don't post the menus until sometime in December. At Paris is Mon Ami Gabi. I don't know if they have a Christmas menu; however, the prices are what you are looking for.

      1. To answer your question about Lotus, yes, it's still great, even at zero or one spice level. Besides, you can always order just a couple of spicy dishes.

        1. Thanks for the tips so far.

          You know how they say "Life is what happens while you're making plans?" Life is already throwing a wrench into my initial OCD-fueled planning. At this point it might just be me, my husband and my mother (whose health has taken a sudden, happy turn for the better and is MUCH less cranky, although we still will not be able to talk about politics and she's still a goddam NAG, but we love her dearly-- wait, where were we...?).

          (By the way: Does it get more cliché in the world than a middle-aged gay couple entertaining one of their elderly mothers in a vacation mecca like Vegas? I didn't think so.... But I digress.)

          However, it also means that a splurge might be in the cards. Not Joël Robuchon menu dégustation or Picasso splurge, but a celebration splurge that might go up to $200 per person, including wine and dessert.

          Ordering off the regular menu at Joël Robuchon is, therefore, not out of reach. Are there other excellent options on or near the Strip (short drive OK, we will indeed have our Prius!!)? Another nice thing: My mom is a bit of a night owl, likes to gamble and have a great time, and drinks in moderation; when she's not nagging or carping about young people, she's a riot. Places with good bars/craft cocktails and good wine lists will, therefore, be appreciated.

          Thank you love you mean it kthnkxbye!! ;-)

          2 Replies
          1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

            I would recommend Sage. Very nice bar and great prix fixe and menu options.
            You might also consider andiamos downtown for an old school but tasty steak or the Barrymore for a fun, retro atmosphere

            1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

              Don't discount Picasso. Definitely will get in under $200pp and it is such a beautiful restaurant. Food is great, no not the best, but always expertly done, and service is wonderful.

              I was going to post to your original request with the following but I think it is still appropriate. Why not do the Wynn buffet? Trust me, I am by no means a buffet guy. Not at all! However it will satisfy all, will be beautiful at Christmas and you will save a ton. True it's not a full service restaurant but it was my original thought when you had the whole family going.

            2. I've had Christmas Brunch/Lunch at Bouchon two of the last three years and loved it - would definitely fill all your needs.


              1. We're going the first week of Dec. at the Trump 5* resort for $90 plus $50 spa credit.
                Don't know what the MGM rates are but Trump is across from Wynn and like the proximity and don't get bogged down in all that strip traffic.

                Bouchon for brunch..Country Club at the Wynn, Peppermill or Delmonicos at the Venetian for Christmas.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Beach Chick

                  What about Charlie Palmer's 'Deal of the week' for 3 course meal with wine for $48 pp..
                  It's at the Mandalay Resort.
                  Burger Bar and Milos for lunch at the Cosmo for the $20.13..3 course lunch special.
                  Palace Station has the famous Oyster Bar too.
                  Happy Hour at Todd English PUB has some decent beers and apps.
                  Don't forget about the secret pizza place at the Cosmo..third level for a late night slice or two..

                    1. re: uhockey

                      Thanks Mike!
                      Might have to hit that up since its next door to Cosmo at the Aria.
                      BTW, are you still in PHX or did you move to LA?

                    2. re: Beach Chick

                      We ate at Charlie Palmer's in May. Holy Cow! The deal of the week was great and wine is included. Real wine, good wine.
                      Also, for a lady of a "certain age" we saw the staff being especially nice to them.
                      Happy Holidays!

                  1. Great ideas, everyone. All are appreciated.

                    We are now looking at BOTH of our mothers on this little junket. Since they get along like sisters, this relieves a bit of pressure on me and my husband. But then they will gang up on us and move into Mega-Nag mode, which ups the pressure. Oh well, we will deal with it.

                    (Off-topic but something I'm curious about: Is it just our mothers, or do ALL elderly people become motor-mouths at mealtime, never bothering to stop talking long enough to close their mouths and thoroughly chew their food?! It's really beginning to bug us...!)

                    The idea of buffets for Xmas brunch/lunch is very appealing, but I'm leaning to doing something light and cheap for late breakfast, then splurging on L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon for dinner (it looks like it will be open). Is it worthy of our holiday dining dollars?

                    Bouchon looks wonderful, so it is coming in as a VERY strong possibility. Choices, choices...!

                    Don't worry, we will hit one of the better buffets at least once. Vegas traditions die hard, especially AYCE prime rib and crab legs...!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                      Robuchon is open both Christmas Eve (went last year) and Christmas Day - and the main staff including Chef Le Tohic was there at least on Christmas Eve with no price hike whatsoever.

                      ...and no, I don't think ALL older people do that, but I know a few who do and it drives me bat-s**t crazy.


                    2. I would, strongly, recommend Ferraro's on Paradise, across from the Hard Rock. Not only can they provide you with a dining room for your family, but, IMHO, Italian food and Xmas are the best combination. PS: The best Osso Buco in the U.S...and, if Alessandro is working...ask for him as your main waiter....he will take care of you like "family."

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: VegasGourmet

                        Funny thing-- one of the Ferraro family's cousins used to own the Calabrese-style restaurant a block from my house here in Long Beach!! He sold to open a lunch place in Dominguez Hills (less stressful)-- and his old place has gone seriously downhill under the new owner. What a shame....

                        We've had this place on our radar for years (is this the place that used to be on Flamingo?), so we just might try to go there this time. Thanks for the reminder!

                        1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                          Yes...they moved from Flamingo (to stay in business...needed more tourists) and have a larger space; but divided into rooms that could suit your needs greatly The kitchen is now run by Mimmo (the son)...Dad is still around out front with the stead customers....Good, solid food and one of the best winelists that I have ever seen.