Upcoming Vegas Trip - Aria restaurants, Raku...

Traveling and dining in other Arizona cities and beyond
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Location: Chandler, AZ


Dapuma wrote:So Vesper bar is no good anymore? That is disappointing

Is chandalier bar still cranking out fun molecular stuff or did that go down hill as well
I'd still give Vesper a chance. And Chandelier is still very good from what I've heard. Casino floor level got an upgrade with Adina Artstein moving to that bar from the high rollers club. Level 1.5 is more experimental focused.
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Went to chengdu taste last week while in Las Vegas. It is over in china town just off the strip. It was A++++. Ordered cumin lamb, cold garlic noodles, string beans, eggplant and a griddled beef dish that was burn your lips off spicy but oh so good. I walked in at 130 pm and had no idea what to order.

My party of 3 sat down at a community round table, with three locals who had just had there food served and it all looked amazing and we just said we will have what they are having. Superb.
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Live report from Vegas: Bouchon has absolutely gone downhill. A terrible sausage hash, famous chicken and waffles couldn't even save the day with terrible texture on chicken skin, plus very average beignets. Nothing inedible by any means just nowhere near where it was. Save the $80 breakfast will inevitably cost you there for a few hands of blackjack.

In better news after MAdoubleT contacted me personally to recommend Chengdu I struck a deal with my husband, who dislikes going off strip and grungy ethnic restaurants, to give it a try for lunch tomorrow in exchange for a trip to the White Castle here. Since I'm terrible about posting after trips I may do another live report!
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Oh boy, was MAdoubleT right. Chengdu Taste is AWESOME. I was describing it to some fellow PFN's as having my favorite version of every Sichuan dish from 4 different restaurants all at once. "Only" got 4 dishes since I ended up going alone (he ended up gambling until 5am...). Water boiled fish, wontons in chili oil, eggplant in spicy garlic sauce, and kung pao chicken to take back to him. Everything was just perfect level of heat for each dish, and the water boiled fish was out of this world. It was a $6 uber ride from the mirage too. I will note I got there at 11:30 on Sunday and sat right down. By the time I left there were about 40 people waiting in 100+ degree temps outside.


Plus some mediocre cell phone pics, not sure what the volcano dishes are but appreciated "Warning: hot stone not for consumption" had to be detailed" :lol:


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staying at MGM for this trip, is there any bar worth getting a cocktail at there?

Looking for some other places to try, already going to hit up Raku again - nothing looks that appealing at MGM

Don't want to go for JR or L'Alteir - steakhouses don't really do it for me

Herb and Rye was just okay for food, great cocktail list though

Beauty and Essex looks interesting, decent cocktail list - anyone been? It is hot on the vegas eater list...
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The Cosmic Jester
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Dapuma wrote:staying at MGM for this trip, is there any bar worth getting a cocktail at there?
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ MGM pays much more attention to nightclubs than they do to serving a decent drink.
Dapuma wrote:Looking for some other places to try, already going to hit up Raku again - nothing looks that appealing at MGM
Have you been to Chada Thai yet? It's where Lotus of Siam's old wow went. On the way back to the hotel, have a nightcap at The Golden Tiki.
Dapuma wrote:Don't want to go for JR or L'Alteir - steakhouses don't really do it for me
I wouldn't call L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon a steakhouse. I mean, they do have steak on the menu, but from what I know (and I could very well be wrong, I haven't been to any of these) L'Atelier is closer to Jaleo or Lago experience-wise. Speaking of Lago, I've heard good things, and even if the food is meh, the fountain view is unbelievable.
Dapuma wrote:Herb and Rye was just okay for food, great cocktail list though
Duly noted, thank you.
Dapuma wrote:Beauty and Essex looks interesting, decent cocktail list - anyone been? It is hot on the vegas eater list...
It's run by Tao Group, which runs Marquee nightclub at The Cosmopolitan, along with Tao Asian restaurant/nightclub/beach club at Venetian and Lavo Italian restaurant/casino lounge/sports bar at Palazzo. I feel like the summary of Tao Group gives me all the information I need about B&E.
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I have a dining credit to use for an upcoming trip and am weighing Le Cirque or Picasso in the Bellagio. Anyone have any opinions about the relative merits of each?

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artvandelay wrote:I have a dining credit to use for an upcoming trip and am weighing Le Cirque or Picasso in the Bellagio. Anyone have any opinions about the relative merits of each?

I went to Picasso about 5 or 6 years ago. Service was impeccable and great ambiance. Food on the other hand was tasty and well executed but really not anything that blew me away. For the price point I expect to be more wowed but certainly not a bad experience. I'm also not that into fine art, I'm sure if I was it would've made dinner much more interesting to be dining among actual Picasso's.
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Ok, heading to Vegas with the family (including #theweelees) in a couple weeks for a milestone birthday.

Main reason to go is to eat & probably catch 1 show.

Do we just go LOS and Raku?

Or are there other spots (that allow kids) that we should consider?

Looks like Chada Thai and Chada Street are both closed and we never got there?

Is Kabuto a great experience? Or even Morimoto or Nobu?

Will have the kids so can't afford anything super crazy like Robuchon.

Saw some interesting stuff but it's been years since we've been...

https://vegas.eater.com/2016/3/28/11310 ... best-guide
https://vegas.eater.com/maps/best-resta ... gas-38-map
https://vegas.eater.com/2018/8/29/17349 ... nt-profile

Flock & Fowl?
Eatt Healthy Food?
Yui Edomai Sushi?
Mott 32?
The Black Sheep?
Other Mama?
Wing Lei?

Or just stick with Raku & LOS??

Thank you!
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The only one on your new list I've tried is Flock and Fowl and it was outstanding. I got food to go, which often isn't a good reflection of quality, and it was amazing. I had the Hainese chicken, chicken schmaltz rice and a side of bone broth. I never leave Vegas without hitting LOS and that duck at Raku is life changing so I don't envy your dilemma. By the way, if you get to LA more frequently there is a Raku there as well.
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I went in December. I would recommend any of these places, bearing in mind that we have some of them in the Valley, too:

Crepe Expectations
Thai Food to Go (both off-Strip)
Buffets at Stratosphere and Bellagio
Shake Shack

If a place is still there after a year of operations in Vegas, it's doing something right.
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We're headed out in a few weeks (sans kids). I bookmarked this Twitter thread.

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Chris if the family is interested I continue to go and also send people to chengdu taste whenever in Vegas. I have yet to have a bad meal there.

I totally walked in there on accident and make sure I stop by every time in Las Vegas.
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Skillet Doux
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Got everybody fully vaxxed, waited a couple of months so others would have the opportunity to do the same, ready to return to indoor dining.

Sooooo, where can we really rip this bandaid off, then?............. VEGAS

Just got back from a long weekend and there's so much to report! I can't say our itinerary was my wishlist, exactly. Many competing needs among the brood. But we hit some high value targets, both old and new.

Estiatorio Milos

We kicked it off with a brand spanking new Greek seafood joint at the Venetian/Palazzo, and I mean...

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The hook is the "market" where you choose your seafood and they do something simple like grilling it, baking it in a salt crust or the like. We had a lovely little fagri with lemon and capers, but man, it's these fellows who stole my heart:

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Grilled Scallop

Can we talk about how idiotic it is that nobody serves the coral with the scallop? I mean, I get it, unless it's really freaking fresh the coral gets... ungood. But man, it upsets me that you can't get the entire critter 99.95% of the time in this country.

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'Greek Ceviche'

Gorgeous assortment of crudi. Damned if I can remember what it was other than the salmon on the left and the tuna on the right, but it was beautifully seasoned.

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Grilled Octopus

And this was basically as good as grilled octopus gets. So freaking tender and flavorful. Silky smooth fava purée was the perfect accompaniment.

ShangHai Taste

In early 2020, along with Dr. Doux, Desert Doc and Dessert Doc, I was fortunate to share what was literally the very first plate of shangjianbao that this tiny little Spring Mountain dumpling shop sold. Did they hold up?

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Yes. Yes they did. Damn, these are outstanding. I'm sure there's some room between these and the ceiling, but they're on par with the (admittedly few) SJB I've had in Shanghai. You can't see the bottom here, but it doesn't crunch, it cronches. And they're just loaded with luscious soup and tender pork. Big body, big flavor. I just adore these. Words to the wise: you know how you scald yourself because you try to eat your XLB too damn quickly? That goes 10x for SJB. These things are insulated. They retain HEAT. And they will destroy you if you aren't careful.

Speaking of XLB...

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Crab Roe Xiaolongbao

This is my jam. I mean, it's hard not to name the pure pork my favorite, but damned if that little bit of mustardy, seafoody funk doesn't put this over the top for me. They're folding in the window as you walk in, and this is the kind of place that exposes Din Tai Fung for what it is. Don't get me wrong, I dig DTF just fine, but they're clinical. Precise, exacting, pretty and a little soulless. This is just bursting with soul. And soup.

Per the little one's request, we also tried the shrimp and cucumber XLB, and I can't say I'm in a hurry to get them again, but they were an interesting diversion. Cucumber flavor came through STRONG. I just don't feel like this format is best suited to seafood, maybe. Oh...

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Scallion Pancake

Don't snooze on the scallion pancakes. Understated gem of the menu. Beautiful layers, crisp and oily, just a little bit of allium sweetness. Seriously perfect.


There's a new Korean dessert place that's opened up on the other side of the plaza from ShangHai taste, and this one's worth a stop. I've always identified taiyaki with Japanese, for obvious reasons, but I won't pretend to know enough about the history to comment. What I know is that this stuff is really good. You can get soft serve or you can get taiyaki, but the thing basically every single person in line was getting was this:

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red bean taiyaki with matcha and milk tea soft serve and macaron

Why choose? Basically, you pick a soft serve flavor (or two, if you choose one of the evening's swirls), choose a filling for your taiyaki, they griddle and fill the taikayi to order and stick it on top of your soft serve. I think, under normal circumstances, they also use the taiyaki as a cone, but there appears to be some kind of self-imposed COVID protocol re: handling that's limiting them to the upside-down version only for now.

In any case, this is really excellent. Perfect slightly chewy texture with a light crisp exterior on the taiyaki, intense smear of sweet read bean paste waiting inside, and this soft serve is THICK and robust and really intense.

Bazaar Meat

Bazaar Meat needs no introduction at this point. Nor, obviously, does Jose Andres. But hey, a few favorites worth mentioning. The steak was great, and the secreto de Iberico was great, but you already knew that. These were the surprises:
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Spanish meatballs, saffron tomato glaze, aji amarillo aioli, charred quindilla peppers

Sweet Jesus, that is a juicy meatball. I mean, it's a gusher. I know this is one fugly dish, but there's some mindblowing flavor on these little morsels, amped up, I suspect, with no small amount of gelatin. Plus an almost demi meaty intensity. Woo, buddy.

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Bagel & Lox Cone
dill cream cheese, salmon roe

On the opposite end of the delicate spectrum were these little morsels. Just a light little crisp with a heavily herbed bit of cream cheese whip and that beautiful saline pop of fresh salmon roe. Love it.

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Lucia Salad
Caesar dressing, endive, air crouton

I feel a little silly identifying this one as a favorite. I mean, it's basically a precious bite-sized Caesar. But it was cool and crisp and delightful.

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Josper Roasted Leeks
leek ash dressing

This, however, was my sleeper hit of the evening. They're segments of gently pickled leeks dirtied up just a touch with some liquified leek ash, and ohmaaaaaaan, this was surprisingly good. Again, just so light and delicate and hiding there at the bottom of the vegetable selections to go with your steak.

Brera Osteria

If you listen to the promotional materials at the Venetian and Palazzo, the VO talent has made the rather unfortunate choice to refer to this restaurant as "BREHR-uh oh-STARE-ee-uh," and once this had become the running gag of the trip, it was almost enough to keep us away. But I'm glad it didn't. Brera Osteria is located in the "Piazza San Marco," which I think makes this... pseudo al fresco? Al fraudo? Anyway, it's lunch in a Disneyfied Piazza San Marco that contains many Venetian details except, perhaps most notably, San Marco itself. Whatevs. It's a fun place to eat in that Blue Bayou kind of way. Except the food is actually pretty darn good.

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Fritto Misto
fried calamari and mussels, mushrooms, peppers, spicy sauce

This is a really good fritto misto! Suuuuuper lightly battered, light and crisp, fresh seafood, nicely seasoned. Heck, it doesn't need the sauce. (Good fritto misto doesn't.) But I didn't mind having it. I thought the mussels were a particularly nice touch.

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potato dumpling, arugula pesto, Reggiano cream, burrata

This is kind of Cal-Ital pushing almost from ephemeral into invisible, but it's still awfully nice. Very, very, very delicate flavor.

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braised veal filled pasta, mushrooms, butter, thyme, roasting jus

The tortelli have a little more meat on their bones. Though this is still a super light dish. Italians would drown this in butter. Here, the butter is cut with a light jus. It's almost too timid, but it works. And the pasta is lovely.

The X Pot

Fancypants trendy expensive Wagyu hotpot? Why not? It's Vegas. The entire clan digs on hotpot, so I figured we'd give the Vegas version a shot for our final night.

The X Pot is trying very, very, VERY hard. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Just know what you're getting into. It was, by far, the most extra of the restaurants we visited, and the competition wasn't close. The walls and ceiling are covered in animated LED panels. If you order noodles, someone will come out of the kitchen and do an acrobatic dance while stretching them. Some of your ingredients will be delivered by robot.

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Mushroom Broth

Give me a broth like this, though, and I find it hard to complain. You could serve this on its own as a soup, and I recommend eating it as such at the end. A LOT of care is put into their broths. Most of the tables sport individual pots, so I got to sample a few. The "chicken collagen" broth is thick and intense and almost creamy, really heavy with luscious gelatin. I was tempted to do the signature spicy pot, but I can get spicy hotpot (albeit probably not this good) anywhere. Lobster hotpot? Yeah, probably not going to come across that one again anytime soon. And man, am I glad I made that choice. By the end of the meal, my broth was almost like lobster bisque, buttery and rich and loaded with shells and chunks of lobster.

But this is hotpot, so there are plenty of things to toss in, most of them skewing rather expensive:

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That beef is as good as it looks. Even the low-end offerings on the menu would be premium beef in most places. Like I say, this is some Very Vegas hotpot. There's a huge a la carte menu of ingredients — meats, seafood, vegetables, tofu, the works — though they definitely try to skew you towards the tasting menu, which can net you a supplement like this:

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Intentional biblical reference? Anyway, I don't recommend the supplement. You eat some raw wagyu bits, a couple more are Himalayan salt-grilled tableside and a couple more go in your hotpot and it's all just kind of overly precious and difficult to really sink into. Better to stick to the basics, I say. The additional courses that come with the tasting menu are a little hit and miss, and sometimes skew form over function.

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X Special Swan Cake
roasted duck, minced onion, black pepper sauce

The filling on these dumplings, for example, is really exquisite, but it gets lost in an overly heavy coating. Less "swan," more duck plz. And if you have even the slightest issue with eating things that look like cute animals...

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...don't get the chocolate mousse. It is........ creepy.

All of that said, though, I wouldn't hesitate to go back here. Breeze by the more precious offerings and stick to a killer broth and a selection of simple hotpot ingredients and you'll have a helluva time. I wish there were something like this that existed somewhere between $160/pp and $20 AYCE, but alas, we seem to be a nation of extremes these days.

Delmonico Steakhouse
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Still the best freaking slice of banana cream pie anywhere ever. Say what you will about Emeril Lagasse, man, does he get this dish right.


I love popping in here on the way out of town. Still very Vegas, a nice break from the fancified stuff, but everything's still crisply done.

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I tried the shrimp cocktail for the first time, and I dig this one. the shrimp are gorgeous... just barely cooked, icy cold and smothered in freshly grated lemon zest and horseradish. I just wish the cocktail sauce had a little zip. It's super timid.

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Someday I will come to Sadelle's and not get a triple decker. That day was not today. (Incidentally, what the hell do they do with all of the sandwich trimmings?)

That was fun.

Estiatorio Milos
The Venetian
3355 S Las Vegas Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89109

ShangHai Taste
4266 W Spring Mountain Road
Las Vegas, NV 89102

4284 W Spring Mountain Road
Las Vegas, NV 89102

Bazaar Meat
The Sahara
2535 S Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Brera Osteria
The Venetian
3355 S Las Vegas Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89109

The X Pot
The Venetian
3355 S Las Vegas Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Delmonico Steakhouse
The Venetian
3355 S Las Vegas Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89109

The Bellagio
3600 S Las Vegas Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dominic Armato