What do you associate with Las Vegas?
Glitz, glamour … gluttony?
Sin City is hotter than ever, especially when it comes to food.
The city has become a traveling foodie’s dream with the introduction of new high-class eateries backed by well-known chefs and restaurateurs.
Check out this sinful guide to a successful three-day gastronomic adventure from the Strip and beyond.
Begin your Las Vegas vacation in true celebrity style by grabbing a quick lunch bite at Spago. The menu is in the same vein as the original Beverly Hills location that helped make Wolfgang Puck a household name.
Start off with a warm heirloom butternut squash stew or a hearty roasted chicken and vegetable soup. Then move on to a crisp salad—the Thai style chicken or shrimp Cobb, both have a distinct California style in both texture and flavor, which is a Puck specialty.
If you are still hungry, order one of the classic wood fire pizzas. They are especially thin and crispy; do not expect a soft bite. Any of them are delicious, but the interesting combination of the feta cheese and tzatziki sauce on the Greek option is definitely something to taste. 3500 Las Vegas Boulevard South; 702-369-6300, www.wolfgangpuck.com
B & B Ristorante is a great combination of your grandma’s Italian cooking and the vibrancy of a city that never sleeps. This restaurant is another venture from Chef Mario Batali and winemaker Joseph Bastianich, located inside the Venetian Hotel at the end of Restaurant Row.
The restaurant offers two tasting menus, but you can have a delicious meal for slightly less by ordering a three-course meal a la carte. Start off with a tongue-tickling appetizer like the goat cheese truffles or the warm lamb’s tongue (if you’re going to trust anyone with lamb tongue it’s Batali). For an entrée try either the gnocchi with braised oxtail or the grilled quail with a tangy Saba sauce.
As is true for most Batali restaurants, order as many sides as you can and share with the table. They’re perfectly seasoned and could be mini-meals by themselves. For dessert, try the grappa panna cotta for a super sweet bite or the authentic cannoli. And after dinner, take a gondola ride to complete your Venetian venture. 3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South; 702-266-9977, www.bandbristorante.com
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You can find great Asian food in the middle of a desert, as proven by Jasmine Thai Gourmet at the Bellagio. Despite the restaurant’s name, the menu is an upscale combination of Asian flavors, including Thai and Chinese dishes.
Begin your journey with the Maine lobster dumplings, a lighter version of a traditional stir-fried vegetable dumpling, served with perfectly tangy vinaigrette. Next, a three-soup tasting includes samples of the braised shark fin, wonton, and chicken corn chowder.
Stay away from the “live tank” specialties, which are pricey but no better in quality than the other menu items. For your main course, top choices are the tender wok-fried king scallops with black bean sauce or the spicy plum sauce duck prepared in a clay pot with braised eggplants. The menu does include dessert, but you may want to skip it and order another entrée instead! 4135 South Buffalo Dr. #101 – www.jasminethaigourmet.com
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In a quiet corner of the Mandalay Bay you will find the very intimate restaurant, Verandah, where the décor is warm and accented with tropical woods. Verandah has a great dinner menu, but an even better breakfast menu. Try the cinnamon raisin French toast with brandied bananas or the golden cheese blintzes with wild cherry compete and sour cream. The restaurant also has lots of low-fat breakfast options, such as an egg-white frittata, which will ensure that you can start your day at the slots without feeling overly full. 3960 Las Vegas Boulevard South; 702-632-5000, www.fourseasons.com/lasvegas/dining.html
The Vegas outpost of Mesa Grill inside Caesar’s Palace is Bobby Flay’s first venture outside New York City. The lunch menu includes the expected pairing of innovative Southwestern flavors and grilled options. Try one of the refreshing salads paired with a quesadillas—either smoked chicken and black bean or wild mushroom—or with tiger shrimp and roasted garlic tamale. If you are looking for heartier fare, order the Mesa burger, a thick cheeseburger with horseradish mustard and Southwestern-flavored fries, or the Yucatan chicken tacos that come paired with a peanut-smoked Chile barbeque sauce. 3570 Las Vegas Boulevard South; 877-346-4642, www.mesagrill.com/lasvegas
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It’s all in the name: THE Steak House may be THE best place for steak in Vegas. Located in the Circus, Circus hotel, the restaurant may look a little outdated on account of the dark cherry wood panels flanking the restaurant walls, but the food is nothing if not top notch. Watch the chefs at work from within a glass cube in the center of the restaurant. The dining area is dimly lit, and provides a respite from the screaming children who are ever present in the rest of the family-friendly hotel.
Start your meal off with some oysters on the half shell or a Waldorf wedge salad. As for your entrée, there’s only one option: the steak. Sure, the menu also features fish, chicken and lobster, but always get the steak. You can find pretty much any cut you desire, and have it made exactly how you want it. Don’t worry about filling up on dinner because dessert is nothing to write home about. 2880 Las Vegas Boulevard South; 702-794-3767, www.circuscircus.com/dining/the_steakhouse.aspx
If you are not interested in the turf, then go with some surf at RM Seafood. The restaurant is sleek, modern, and well lit, with leather booths lining the back wall and ocean-themed murals. One detail that sets this seafood restaurant apart from the rest is that Chef Rick Moonen is committed to using organically grown, sustainable produce and sustainably caught seafood.
The menu also includes items from R Bar Café, a casual late-night raw bar located downstairs. Start off with the refreshing tuna ceviche paired with a light seaweed and radish salad. Next, a top choice is the Alaskan king salmon complemented by a white corn pudding or the wild striped bass paired with Ipswich clams and a garlic rouille. Definitely leave room for dessert, like the English berry pudding or the 4x4x2, a tasting platter of 16 different ice cream flavors. 3930 Las Vegas Boulevard South; www.rmseafood.com
For good variety for your value, check out the $14 buffet at Cravings at The Mirage. Upgraded from a traditional Vegas-style buffer, this one features 11 stainless steel and marble stations. But it’s not necessarily the quality that sets this buffet apart, but rather the options of everything from eggs and pancakes to salad, pizza and even Chinese barbecue. 3400 Las Vegas Boulevard South; 702-791-7111, www.mirage.com
What’s a trip to Vegas without a little kitch? Yes, Hofbrauhaus does have waiters dressed in German attire, but it also serves top-notch food. Start your meal off with a cold brew—all of the house beers are imported from Munich, giving their German theme some street cred.
Try a giant pretzel served with special Obatzter cheese and sweet mustard sauce to begin your meal. If you are feeling adventurous try a Bavarian snack, such as a Munchner Wurstsalat, a sausage covered in onions and served on a bed of lettuce, or Bayerischer Biergulasch, a beef goulash in a beer sauce. Even though the dessert look great, don’t do it—instead, save room for dinner as there is still more Vegas food to be experienced. 4510 Paradise Road; 702-853-2337, www.hofbrauhauslasvegas.com
Walking into Andre’s at the Monte Carlo, you may feel as though you have been transported to the palace of Versailles. Chef André Rochat’s flagship restaurant, Andre’s, has long been a crowning jewel in Vegas’ gourmet dining scene, but the chef wisely expanded his empire to compete on the Strip. Executive Chef Andy Bouchard is committed to classic French preparation, always featuring incredible sauces. The restaurant has a magnificent wine list including a cognac from the Napoleonic era.
For your appetizer, order the Escargots de Bourgogne, which are traditionally cooked to the perfect consistency in garlic butter. If you’re in the mood for salad, try the phyllo-wrapped baked Anjou pear salad, paired with Roquefort cheese and some spicy walnuts. You can’t go wrong with any of the entrées, but fans of classic French-cuisine-with-a-twist will be impressed by the duck l’orange with kabocha squash and bigarade orange. To finish off your meal, definitely check out the dessert of the day, but a great backup choice is the Grand Marnier soufflé served with chocolate sauce. 3770 Las Vegas Boulevard South; 702-798-7151, www.andrelv.com/montecarlo
The Sedona Club is located a few miles away from the Strip, but is hip, modern, and cool, populated with beautiful people lounging on the outdoor patios. Start off with the ahi tuna chips that come with a citrus soy and wasabi oil for dipping. The entrée options vary greatly, from grilled flatbreads to pasta to meat dishes. You can’t go wrong with the Baja fish tacos, made with coconut rice and fried plantains, or the Cajun pork chop served with the sausage potato hash and a Creole mustard sauce. Once again, the desserts are nothing special, so instead opt for extra appetizers or side dishes. 9580 W Flamingo Road; 866-455-6610, www.sedonaclub.com
By Courtney Crowder for PeterGreenberg.com.
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