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Dining Out Forum Restaurant reviews, dining experiences etc

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Old 07-20-2018, 04:02 PM
ChowderMan ChowderMan is offline
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Default Las Vegas 2018

We've been to Las Vegas several times - I worked a consulting gig there for three years so the odd long weekend was not a major 'thing' to manage. We try to get in some "good eats" during our visits - this time we uncovered 3.5 pearls and one stinker.

The Pearls:

Top of the World (Stratosphere)
This a a rotating restaurant 870 feet (265 m) in the air atop the space needle styled Stratosphere. I long put off even considering it - just sniffs of "tourist trap." Being DW's birthday bash, she selected and we went - and what a nice surprise it was. Un-crowded seating, nice linens/china/flatware/crystal; experienced / attentive staff, no rushing pressure and a comprehensive menu.

Entrees: 10 ounce / 285g filet mignon and 10 ounce Australian Wagyu Skirt Steak; sides of asparagus, mushrooms and Caesar salad. All absolutely top notch - taste, flavor, service, portion size. This is not what one would expect from a "challenged" / tourist eatery - a small kitchen 800 feet in the air with the outside bit going in circles . . .

People who don't like to look _way_ down should not go. Otherwise I recommend it highly. Tad on the expensive end - excluding alcohol, about $90/head.

You want to time your reservation about 50 minutes prior to sunset for maximum WOW viewing; it takes 75 minutes for one rotation. Access to the outdoor observation deck is 'included' in your dining event.

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Bouchon (Venetian)
Well hidden in the fifth sub-basement of the Venetian - a Thomas Keller operation - and it shows.
We went for brunch - assorted pastry tray plus selections: "American" breakfast (eggs/toast/potato truffle/sausage&bacon/pastry,) eggs Benedict (with smoked salmon vs Canadian bacon slice), quiche.
Splendid service, atmosphere and everyone raved over the food. One glitch - my English muffin was toasted to the point it could not be cut - it had to be chipped into pieces..... I mentioned this to our server and before had explained anything he apparently was aware of the problem. Say who? The staff is aware there is a problem and Keller's staff decides to just ignore it and hard toast on? Something fishy there . . .

Anyway, if you're in the area - don't pass up Brunch at Bouchon. Consider all the food we ate (+two boxes of left over pastry that made 2x breakfasts - I was surprised they held so well....) Bouchon is also a bargain at $30/head. Tough to find Keller's dining level at that price.

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SEA: The Thai Experience (Ballys)
A compact Thai eatery, complete with lotus pond, and a totally from scratch fresh menu. Highly original, wonderful sauces and flavors, and a staff that is happy to advise you on the various dishes/heat levels/ etc. I'm not very experienced in Thai food - I like the basic sense of it but not educated on all the various dishes; I've gotten in trouble with the heat level due to my inexperience....

For dinner DW went with Thai Pad, I had the terriyaki salmon on a bed of Thai vegetable "salad" - i.e. julienned strips of everything in the book, some raw, some cooked, all very tasty. The salmon was absolute perfect - crunch to the (skin on) edges and warm red center.

Not a big name or splashy face - but at $55/head a very worthwhile dinner stop.

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the half pearl....
Robert Irvine's Public House (Tropicana)
Dropped in based on the "celebrity nameplate" for lunch. I had a mahi-mahi steak in a brioche bun; DW did the bread/deep fried chicken fingers. Now, one would think chicken fingers/tenders are pretty run-of-the-mill however DW was super impressed with (1) the breading talent - crisp, not too thick, not too thin, perfect color and (2) the seasoning was exquisite.

The mahi-mahi sandwich was also a stunner. Very nice mild but complementary flavored sauce, dressed with some water cress and very thin slice(s) of tomato. Splendidly done shoe string fries - with a secret seasoning as well - not ye' olde' sea salt routine. Had I a nit, the mahi-mahi steak was a big thick for the construction but golly gee, it's difficult to pick that one.

Based on our lunch experience, opted to return for dinner a couple days later. Oops. Two different burger plates got panned, I had the lamb Sheppard's pie - like Dude! the real deal from an English bloke - what could go wrong?
Although it was on the whole tasty, the bottom was awash in water. Ground lamb - bit tricky to even tell it was lamb and not hamburger. Apparently it's frozen ground lamb or vegetables or something that produces lots of water when baked.

Bottom Line: excellent choice for lunch ($20/head); bit an iffy value for dinner ($45/head)

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The Stinker
Heritage Steak (Mirage)
This is a Tom Colicchio property. We had one of our all time best steak dinners at his Las Vegas Craftsteak restaurant, tried Craft in NYC (never order fish at a specialty steakhouse - except for the pork trotter, bummer.)
Since we were going to a show in the Mirage, we opted to go with the Heritage location vs. Craftsteak (MGM).

The food/service was fine although DW did not find the lobster thermidor to her liking. The problem with Heritage Steak is it's location. It's basically a screened off portion of a very loud public entry area bordering on the casino floor. It's not possible to talk to your dinner companions, there is no "quiet zone" available. The constant intrusive din of thousands of happy/unhappy/yelling/cursing/drunk people wandering about on the other side of the open grates basically ruin anything Heritage Steak could even attempt to mount.

Recommendation: pass - it's a $100/head headache in the making.

the MGM collection of good places to eat . . .
Craftsteak + Emeril's Fish House + Morimoto + Wolfgang Puck

comp2s.jpg


Joel Robuchon (less formal A'telier + el'primo on the right)

JRs.jpg
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Old 07-20-2018, 04:46 PM
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Johnny West Johnny West is offline
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Default Re: Las Vegas 2018

We ate at Craftsteak after the Rock and Roll Marathon. It turns out our waiter knew Matt from Park City - needless to say the service was excellent as were the steaks. We all ordered something different and shared. I'd go back.

There are so many steak houses in Vegas but the next time I'd like to go to Lawy's just to get it off my bucket list - then Gallagher's.
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