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Birthday dinner for a pescatarian not stuffy atmopshere but money no object

tjinsf Jan 7, 2014 11:42 PM

Looking for a pretty specific suggestions. Have been to LV for business before and had business account type dinners with lots meat but need something more intimate and less meat centric for a birthday dinner for my spouse who is flying in.

-she is French and a pescatarian and likes vegetarian food but not vegan food much so places must have seafood or cheese filled vegetarian would be ideal. Doesn't care as much for very spicy. doesn't have to be all vegetarian.

-there is no limit on cost, she's liked Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin in NYC, likes Coi, Altier Creen, AQ in San Francisco, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London. The atmosphere at Le Bernardin was a bit stuffy to her, west coast style is more her thing. Mid-range places are good but I would like a nice place either modern or white linen. Ideally the place would be 75-175 a person without drinks.
She's been to RM Seafood and to the chef's table and liked it ok but I don't think wants to go back.

-no dress code-she wear combat boots and hoodies all the time including formal events.

-we will have a car so we can anywhere and don't drink so it wouldn't be an issue.

-can do a last minute reservation, the birthday is on Thursday and I probably wouldn't make reservation until late Wednesday at the earliest.

I've looked over the board but can't find anything that meets all that. I'm sure it's out there. Thanks in advance for suggestions.

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  1. c
    chewbacca RE: tjinsf Jan 8, 2014 06:23 AM


    1. k
      kagemusha49 RE: tjinsf Jan 8, 2014 08:42 AM

      If she is French I would suggest avoiding the French restaurants in Vegas. Perhaps Raku?

      1 Reply
      1. re: kagemusha49
        tjinsf RE: kagemusha49 Jan 8, 2014 02:31 PM

        we've been to Guy Savoy in Paris so yeah I think we will skip that.

      2. d
        DolceFarNiente RE: tjinsf Jan 8, 2014 10:01 AM

        It sounds like you would both appreciate Bartolotta at Wynn. Spectacular seafood flown in daily by the chef.

        1. f
          foggy_town RE: tjinsf Jan 8, 2014 10:46 AM

          The two places immediately come to mind: Bartolotta and Raku.

          1. q
            QAW RE: tjinsf Jan 8, 2014 12:49 PM

            If you have a car, and casual dress matters, give Yonaka a look. Not a lot of play from this board since we first posted a review (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8937...), but they continue to show a creative flair that your wife may enjoy, and John Curtas also paid a significant tribute this week (http://www.eatinglv.com/2014/01/heres...).

            1 Reply
            1. re: QAW
              lvnvflyer RE: QAW Jan 10, 2014 06:28 AM

              Agree wholeheartedly on Yonaka. We have been four times and really enjoy it. The food is creative without being over the top and has a whimsical element to it. It's also quite reasonable. It's not far off the strip. It is not a high end white linen place but it is very pretty inside and quiet enough for a couple.
              You might also consider Milos in the Cosmo. Delicious seafood and I have enjoyed all the food I have had there. Very nice atmosphere and surprisingly serene

            2. t
              tjinsf RE: tjinsf Jan 8, 2014 02:59 PM

              places that have be excluded because been to other similar places-
              we've been to Bouchon in CA
              Guy Savoy in Paris
              Le Cirque before and it's too fancy/stuffy
              Mario Batoli places-we don't care for him or his restaurants

              She's from the Côte d'Azur and lived in Vancouver and home base now is San Francisco so is used to exceptional seafood, her favorite meal last year was octopus in Barcelona.

              1. t
                tjinsf RE: tjinsf Jan 10, 2014 10:34 PM

                thanks for the suggestions. We ended up going to Bouchon, Sweet Raku and Raku in the order.

                Did the truffle potatoes, white truffle risotto and foie gras terrine at Bouchon at 6pm because we were hungry and it was in our hotel and we live primarily in California so no foie gras and the spouse wanted some truffles . Then tried to get into Raku with no res at 9:30, the guy said he could seat us in 30 minutes so we told him we would just go to Sweets Raku and come back in 30. We immediately got seated at Sweets Raku and order one 3 course dessert and the caviar. Less than 10 minutes later the host from Raku calls and says our table was ready. I went over and said we could be there in 20 minutes as we had agreed but he said he didn't know if there would a table then so I said we would come back even later if that would help.

                Sweets Raku was delightful. Loved all the tricks with the edible paper & rings and the play on the dessert name in the shapes. Cool unique all white space. Friendly staff.

                We got back to Raku at 10:30 and waited for a table and waited and waited, once it got past 30 minutes we should have left but it became a game to see just when we would get a table. It was 11:30 when we got seated and 1:45am when we finished. The service was incredibly slow. In the first 45 minutes we only got three dishes-one every 15 minutes. I've been Izakayas in Japan and in North America so I know that the ones in North America are very different and far more upscale and slow than the common ones in Japan. Usually if I spend that much time in one in Japan it's because there has been lots of drinking and lots of food.
                But the food, the food was good enough that I would go back and would recommend it to a diner with time to spare. The foie gras chawanmushi was awesome. We got a special of grilled langoustines that wasn't over cooked and served whole. the yellowtail carpaccio as well as the grilled yellowtail was good. I don't know if the tofu was the freshest I've ever had but it was really excellent in terms of texture. The cost was pretty reasonable, only 100 dollars for two people. They mixed up our orders twice. Towards the end there was a table of regulars that came in and they got served immediately and got 6 dishes in less than 30 minutes meanwhile there were two tables with reservations that had to wait with us and they waited quite a bit. So don't expect fair or quick service. I wouldn't recommend Raku for a vegetarian as many of the vegetable dishes have fish stock or other animal products in the prep.

                3 Replies
                1. re: tjinsf
                  kagemusha49 RE: tjinsf Jan 11, 2014 08:14 AM

                  Glad you liked Raku. I've only ever sat at the counter there. So wait time for seating and service was not a problem.

                  1. re: tjinsf
                    uhockey RE: tjinsf Jan 11, 2014 08:49 PM

                    Well played - that is a worthy trio!

                    1. re: tjinsf
                      Dave Feldman RE: tjinsf Jan 11, 2014 10:24 PM

                      That's annoying that you had to wait so long for a table after making an agreement . The only problems I've had with Raku have been associated with FOH. I'm befuddled by the slowness -- I've never encountered that. It sounds like you encountered some bad luck.

                    2. j
                      josephnl RE: tjinsf Jan 11, 2014 11:46 AM

                      Have heard that Rick Moonen's RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay is excellent. Have not been, but have read nice things. Any comments?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: josephnl
                        tjinsf RE: josephnl Jan 11, 2014 10:29 PM

                        We went to a private event there where Moonen demo'd some dishes for us and then his underlings made the dishes for us to eat. The seafood is an excellent quality, the preparations were excellent if not that creative. The service was seamless but of course the chef was there.

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