Upcoming Vegas Trip - Aria restaurants, Raku...

Traveling and dining in other Arizona cities and beyond
bharbeke
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5 years ago

I'm researching a Vegas trip right now. For Caesar's, I would try Mesa Grill or Trevi as my top choices. If money is no object, Nobu is supposed to be pretty good.
Brandon
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5 years ago

bharbeke wrote:I'm researching a Vegas trip right now. For Caesar's, I would try Mesa Grill or Trevi as my top choices. If money is no object, Nobu is supposed to be pretty good.
Yeah...Caesar's is a little desolate. Been to Trevi a few times for group dinners. It's good but nothing I'd go out of my way for. Mesa Grill I left scratching my head, it's good (for Vegas hotels) but the prices are insane and eh...

I'm actually going to Vegas this weekend for a family trip and doing Gordon Ramsay tonight and Mon Ami Gabi tomorrow since we're staying in Paris. With a group of 20+ convenience was key and these options aren't so bad considering we're sticking to meals in our hotel. Gordon Ramsay I've heard great things about for a steakhouse.
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Dapuma
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5 years ago

Raku and Lotus of Siam booked...now we wait until May, need to write up Honolulu stuff, and I actually took pictures (for once)
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Christina
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5 years ago

BillBuitenhuys wrote:D,
Chris Hopkins just took over the cocktail program for all of the Wynn properties. He was formerly manager of Vesper and then oversaw all of the Cosmopolitan bar programs (Chris = rock star).
Yes he is! I met him at Vesper. :) I'm heading to Vegas again in April. We have a reservation at Bartolotta (Wynn) for my birthday, and, in planning pre-dinner cocktails, I just talked to Chris. His program is not resort-wide yet, but he's about to launch five new menus. Currently, his cocktails are at Wing Lei, Terrace Point Cafe, and the pools. Parasol Up, Parasol Down is my (and his) favorite bar there, but the menu isn't his yet.

Dinner-wise, we have reservations already for VooDoo Steak (huge fan of Chef Mecinas) for a chef tasting menu and then the Bartolotta reservation. For the other two dinners, we're thinking Guy Savoy's Bubble Bar, Fiamma, CraftSteak, or MiX at THEhotel. We're staying at the MGM Grand and would love suggestions for that resort. We have been to L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Joël Robuchon at The Mansion (amazing). We've been to Fiamma for drinks, apps and great service from bartender Kerry. We've been to Hakkasan in London and have heard mediocre reviews of the Vegas one, so that is probably out.

Edited: No more Bubble Bar at Guy Savoy. It's now a cognac lounge for after dinner drinks/dessert.
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Christina
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5 years ago

Okay, our reservations are finalized. We're staying at the MGM Grand. Couldn't beat the prices. It was even better than our Cosmo rate with 2 nights out of 4 comp'd.

First night: VooDoo Steak. This will be our 4th trip. We always do Chef Mecinas' tasting menu. This time we may even be joined by his brother (Mel Mecinas of the Four Seasons/Talavera) and wife, which should be fun!
Second night: Bartolotta for my birthday. We reserved one of the lagoon cabanas.
Third night: Fiamma.
Fourth night: Craftsteak (glad to see you had a great dinner here M_L).
Lunches: One at the Cosmo when we visit Vesper, Bouchon, Ramsay BurGR or Mina's Pub 1842.

Although E hates leaving the Strip, he has acquiesced to....Raku Sweets! Thanks Zach. Your FB pics helped seal the deal. Has anybody been there during the day? It looks like they have daytime hours Sat-Sun. I can't imagine that we're going to want to go after our planned 9 pm food-coma dinners.
http://vegas.eater.com/archives/2013/08 ... s-raku.php

Hoping also to get over to Vesper one day, so may do a lunch at the Cosmo. Probably Comme Ca. China Poblano is not on E's must-visit list any longer since his favorite mole tacos are off the menu. ;) I did end up getting hooked on their "When Pigs Fly". Savory-sweet fried pork BBQ buns with condensed milk for dipping.
poblano 007.JPG
When Pigs Fly at China Poblano (Cosmopolitan)
poblano 007.JPG (123.15 KiB) Viewed 4591 times
Last edited by Christina 5 years ago, edited 3 times in total.
M_L
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5 years ago

Christina wrote:Fourth night: Craftsteak (glad to see you had a great dinner here M_L).[/attachment]
I certainly did,though being up at the tables might have improved my mood. Either way I really enjoyed the dinner. I need to hit that sweet shop that picture looks amazing.
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Dapuma
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5 years ago

Looking forward to seeing your report (especially the cocktails part :mrgreen: )
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Lunchbox
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5 years ago

Raku Sweets was the highlight of my trip...


Edible Menu. Ask for the plum paste (they serve it to Asians but not gringos.)


We did a Foie plate and a cheese plate. The matchsticks were essentially pie crust and went really nicely with everything.


The main event! It was so much fun to sit at the bar and watch Mio plate these desserts and make it look so easy.


Check out the bathroom and the crazy Japanese toilet when you go... The sink is also a trip...
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Dapuma
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5 years ago

Do you have to make seperate reservations for the dessert place, or if you have reso's for Raku will they just slide you in?
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Lunchbox
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5 years ago

Dapuma wrote:Do you have to make seperate reservations for the dessert place, or if you have reso's for Raku will they just slide you in?
I believe it's totally separate... We just walked in and sat down. It wasn't very busy on a Tuesday night at about 9:30 when we went... It's really small so I'd suggest a rezzie if you know you want to hit it...
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Skillet Doux
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5 years ago

This is interesting:

Tony Hu Taking His Show To Vegas

Tony Hu's a Chicago restaurateur, and he's a damn good one. 15 years ago, he had only Lao Sze Chuan tucked into a corner of the Chinatown mall. And we all adored it, but when he said that he would be the nation's biggest Chinese restaurateur, we all kind of chuckled. So, now he has something like 20 restaurants and is moving into Vegas. Haven't been to the Chicago Lao You Ju (mixed reviews), but it will definitely merit checking out, whoever gets there first. Dude has some outstanding restaurants.
Dominic Armato
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Dapuma
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5 years ago

Is there a good sushi spot close to Encore?

Quick trip review from last time, no time to post everything but
Lotus of Siam, it was good but not as good as ATK in Chicago, best dish was the shrimp dish with the shell cooked and attach to the shrimp, the sausage and sour rice dish was good as well, nothing was bad, it just wasn't as memorable as ATK

Raku was excellent foodwise, service was so-so - but we all had a good time - lots of good sake
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The Cosmic Jester
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5 years ago

Dapuma wrote:Is there a good sushi spot close to Encore?
Define "close". As far as I know the only two worth eating in that area are Mizumi in Wynn if you're on an expense account, and SushiSamba in Palazzo, which looks like it's trying too hard to be trendy . I'd save my money and go to Hana when I get back, or Shinbay if Lady Luck was especially good to me.

I did get to sample some sushi from Blue Ribbon in The Cosmopolitan on a trip a few years ago and thought it very good, but that's probably outside of your search radius. There is also the new Nobu in Caesars Palace, which I'd love to try some time. Probably on someone else's dime.
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Skillet Doux
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5 years ago

The new Nobu is just like the old Nobu(s), just more expensive. If you like the others and don't mind paying more because it's in Caesar's, you'll enjoy it.
Dominic Armato
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Skillet Doux
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5 years ago

(For the record, I've always loved the old Nobu... I'm just not thrilled about the Caesar's surcharge.)
Dominic Armato
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The Cosmic Jester
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5 years ago

I just realized that since I got to sneak up to Vegas not too long ago, I should tell you all about it...

Since I had an exceptionally long Vegas drought (2 years when I was used to going 3 or 4 times a year for a good while), much of my eating was devoted to reconnecting with old favorites. The pancakes at Du-par's in the Golden Gate are as good as ever, I assure you.

For me, a Vegas trip just isn't complete without a stop at the Peppermill. Since it was a little after midnight when I got into town, I made a beeline for one of their comfortable booths. I tried the Munch's Breakfast, a big mess of stuff sautéed together (according to the menu, peppers, onions, linguiça, mushrooms, and tomatoes), mixed into hash browns, topped with three eggs (sunny side up, thank you) and cheese. And toast or a muffin on the side in case that wasn't enough for you. As the song goes in A Chorus Line, Dance: 10; Looks: 3.

But I wasn't really there for late-night breakfast eats.
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It so happens that The Peppermill has one of the finest hot fudge sundaes in all of creation. They overdo it on the hot fudge, just the way a hot fudge sundae should be made. I probably could have had this for dinner on its own. My eyes were probably bulging outward after crushing both the Munch's Breakfast and the sundae. But hey, it's Vegas. As Liberace said, too much of a good thing is wonderful.

Speaking of Liberace, you really should swing by The Cosmopolitan and see the Liberace exhibit they have going right now. It's small but fun.
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But enough of that, this is a food board.

I spent a lot of my time downtown, and a lot of that time and money at The D. The top floor is great, with old-fashioned reel slots, video poker with generous pay tables and coin payouts (!), and the very exciting Sigma Derby horse-racing machine. You've got to blow a roll of quarters on Sigma Derby the next time you're up there. There's nothing like a whole bunch of people screaming at the 200-to-1 long shot to come in and make everyone very happy.

Anyway, in The D, they have American Coney Island, a 24-hour hot dog stand. They do Detroit-style Coney dogs, skin-on dogs with good snap, grilled, topped with plenty of chili. They're messy, they're delicious, it's a good quick nibble if you happen to be downtown and peckish.

Oh, that reminds me! How could I almost forget about Pizza Rock! It's a block north of Fremont as part of the Downtown 3rd complex anchored by the Downtown Grand casino. I just had a pepperoni slice while walking around, but oh MAN was it good. Truly the pepperoni slice to end all pepperoni slices. They appear to get pretty serious about their pizza, offering a wide variety of styles. I'd very much like to go back to try their Margherita pizza to see how it compares to Bianco's.

One that had opened since the last time I was there is Fat Choy, a funky Asian/American diner in a little locals casino on Sahara just off the Strip. I'd heard nothing but raves about it, and I'm very glad I gave it a try.

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The Peking Duck Bao made for an excellent appetizer. Succulent duck with cucumber, scallions, and hoisin, what's not to love? The combination took me back to my Trader Vic's days when I'd do tableside preparation of Peking duck with the shredding and rolling up the... but I digress. It was the kind of first bite that made me wish I wasn't flying solo so that we could order a whole mess of things and eat half the menu in the process.

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While the Fat Choy Burger was mighty tempting, I went for the Short Rib Grilled Cheese that I'd heard more than a few raves about. The braised short rib and caramelized onions made for one very decadent grilled cheese sandwich. There was still enough cheese on it that it felt like a grilled cheese sandwich with braised short rib rather than a short rib sandwich with cheese. Also, I appreciate that the cook took the time to give the sandwich a good, thorough toasting. It was extra-crispy on the outside, all the better to contrast with the soft interior. With something as simple as a grilled cheese, it's the little details like that that turn what could be a very plain sandwich (Grilled Cheese Truck, I'm looking at you) into something transcendent.

I'd love to hit Fat Choy again to try more things. Especially the brunch menu, with its crispy pork belly Benedict, and Malaysian roti pancake stuffed with Nutella and mascarpone.

Naturally, for a Tiki fan like yours truly, a stop at Frankie's Tiki Room is practically mandatory.
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Yup, still damn near pitch black in there, and the drinks are as delicious and strong as ever. Does anyone have a few hundred thousand dollars they want to send my way so we can open up something like Frankie's down here? Hula's just doesn't cut it.

Apparently, this was a sandwich trip for me. In addition to the club sandwich at Mandarin Oriental (not pictured) and the hot dog at American Coney Island and both the bao and grilled cheese at Fat Choy, my last stop before heading out of town was The Goodwich. It's in the little stand that was the original home of Viva Las Arepas, which is now across the street in a full-size space (yes of course I went there, and it's even better now that they aren't in that tiny little stand). The Goodwich's menu changes on a regular basis, but this time I went with their most luxe offering.
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That smear in the sandwich is pâté de foie gras. Price: Nine bucks. How could I not go right for that? The pâté was accented with a cabbage slaw (providing crunch and acidity to contrast the soft pâté) and some of the most wickedly crunchy chicken skin I'd ever seen. It snapped when you broke off a piece.

And now that I've written all this, I want to go back up there and go to all the places I love and didn't get to hit this time around. Apparently in the same little shopping center that houses Raku and Monta Noodle House, there's an especially killer Japanese curry joint. I look forward to next time. Soon. Hopefully.
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The Cosmic Jester
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5 years ago

Skillet Doux wrote:The new Nobu is just like the old Nobu(s), just more expensive. If you like the others and don't mind paying more because it's in Caesar's, you'll enjoy it.
There is a second Nobu at the Hard Rock, but if Caesars is too far from Wynn, then Hard Rock is definitely too far.
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Skillet Doux
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5 years ago

BTW, jester, I posted about that curry place above :-)
Dominic Armato
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The Cosmic Jester
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5 years ago

Ah good, I should have known you'd have already been there. Glad to hear it's a winner.

This reminds me that the next time I make Japanese curry I need to make about eight times as much curry roux as called for and freeze the rest. Not that curry roux is exceptionally difficult to make...
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Christina
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4 years ago

I know I need to contribute more with my trip reports before I ask for more advice, but here I am asking again.

E's acquiescence of going off strip on our September visit will be Frankie's Tiki Room FINALLY. But since I got E to agree to that, was wondering if there was an off-strip restaurant near Frankie's to recommend so I can do a two-fer? Lunch or dinner.
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