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Mar 27, 2014 06:40 PM

Please help me finalize dining plans

Visiting from Chicago and would greatly appreciate a little help for my upcoming trip. So far, I have the following dinner reservations:

Raku - have been before, and will follow up with first ever visit to Raku Sweets.

Bartolotta - any recommendations? a la carte or prix fixe?

Carnevino - one purpose here, and that's dry aged beef. But I'll listen if you have any recommendations on sides or the like.

Kabuto - another favorite of mine, but I've always focused exclusively on nigiri. Considering expanding my horizons and adding the omakase menu that includes grilled items. Worth it?

So that's it for dinner, but I also need some lunch help. I was thinking of returning to Monta, but how is HinoMaru? Anyone else doing great ramen these days?

And how is Curry Zen?

Finally, I plan on getting some dumplings, most critically xiao long bao, and my current plan is to head to 1900 Asian (never been). What do you think? Worth mentioning is that I'd prefer a place with the best XLB even if the other items might not be as good. But if it's a real close call, then I'll go for best overall spot.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

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    1. Curry Zen is a must go, don't miss the optional 12-grain rice. The katsu (chicken or pork) topping is passable but the curry itself is fantastic, my favorite being the veggie version at a 4 on the spicy scale.

      Stick with nigiri at Kabuto, go to Yonaka for non-sushi items.

      4 Replies
      1. re: zack

        Hey, thanks zack! I'm probably going to have to make my way to Curry Zen then. And I think I can squeeze it into a lunch in conjunction with a visit to either Monta or HinoMaru since I'm having a very late dinner one night.

        I'm probably not going to be able to make it to Yonaka though, at least not on this trip. I have four nights and four dinners already locked. I'd be up for hearing of your recs at Yonaka though since I usually make it to Vegas once or twice a year.

        Also, were the grilled items at Kabuto just not up to par? I'm kind of leaning towards trying them with the more expansive omakase menu, unless people are really steering me away from them.

        Thanks again.

        1. re: BRB

          Yonaka gets a lot of hype, and I've never been, but it strikes me as a cheaper nobu. I did the Omakase at Kabuto and enjoyed every single dish.

          Carnevino - Beef Cheek Ravioli, Mascarpone and Guanciale Mashed Potatoes with a poached Egg, Foie Gras in Barolo.

          1. re: uhockey

            Thanks uhockey - appreciate the recs for Carnevino. That's an impressive lineup of dishes. Obviously, I'm there for the dry aged beef, but I know they go well beyond that so I'm glad to have some direction.

            And I was leaning towards omakase at Kabuto. Quite frankly, the nigiri I've had at Kabuto on two visits has rivaled some pretty pricey and excellent spots I've been to in Tokyo so I'm excited to see what else they can do.

        2. re: zack

          Made it to Curry Zen. The curry itself was one of the very best Japanese curries I've ever tasted - fantastic. But you were right, the pork itself was rather disappointing. It was crisp and perfectly fried, but way too lean and as a result, largely flavorless. I just got the regular rice, but I was so disappointed with the rice - overcooked, too clumpy, not fitting of a Japanese restaurant preparing curry so well. It just seemed odd. But oh that curry . . . that alone makes it a must visit.

        3. By the way, also considering a stop at I-Naba for lunch (I love noodles). Anyone been? Recommendations? Preference between their soba, udon, hot, cold?

          I would typically lean towards cold soba . . . but would like to hear from those who have been.

          2 Replies
          1. re: BRB

            I-naba was ok but the prices was reasonable. I would definitely go for their soba over their udon, as their udon was very run of the mill.

            1. re: snow78

              Thanks - the plan was soba so I'll stick to that.

          2. I have no recs for you, but I want to thank you for this thread! Husband and I are planning a trip in June and are will have one "mega" dinner on the strip. I had not read about Bartolotta before. The menu looks amazing, but still within a do-able financial range for a special dinner.

            We will have one day to run around off-strip, so we might check out Curry Zen and hunt down some dumplings.

            I am going to piggy back this thread for more recs...:)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Dagney

              You're welcome - and I'll report back.

              For me, the two musts in Vegas are Kabuto (honestly best pure nigiri I've had in the US, in terms of rice, quality of fish and knife work, and seasoning) and Raku (almost everything's fantastic, particularly robata items).

              If we didn't have so much great northern Thai food in Chicago, I'd put Lotus of Siam in this group too.

            2. XLB junkie myself. Have been on the hunt for in Vegas forever and have yet to fall in love. Some decent, never great. Have not been to 1900, would love to know if worthy! My personal favorites are Red Farm in NYC and Nan Xiang in Queens.

              1 Reply
              1. re: LVI

                Agreed on the state of XLB in Vegas, but I'll report back on 1900. I previously had pretty good ones at Beijing Noodle No. 9 at Caesar's and they were quite respectable. I understand that their dumpling chef came from China Mama which would explain why. And if you want to stay on the strip, that's a pretty good option (assuming things are still the same there - been over a year since my last visit there).

                Nan Xiang are the best I've had, and I had Red Farm's at the new UWS location in November - loved them and everything else there. I'm from Chicago and we are rather XLB-deprived . . . several places make them, but not particularly well. And Din Tai Fung's in SGV (CA) were excellent and beautiful if perhaps a bit soup deprived.