Upcoming Vegas Trip - Aria restaurants, Raku...

Traveling and dining in other Arizona cities and beyond
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Christina
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uhockey wrote: The better bet is their roasted chicken w/ waffles on the brunch menu.
Looking like it will be our Sunday plans, thanks.
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Dapuma
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We like the BH Bouchon better than the LV one

For some reason they seem to not do pork belly for the Sunday brunch in LV

best Bouchon Brunch was a special one day in BH, they did a toad in the hole with a pork belly steak

pork belly steak...at bouchon...now that is breakfast!
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uhockey
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I had the exact opposite experience - been wowed by Bouchon LV 4x and found Bouchon BH to be a total shitshow both times I've been. You put one celebrity in that place and everyone else seems to matter much (MUCH) less. It falls so far below the Keller standard I had trouble believing it was related.
DesertDoc
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Ok...add Chada Thai and Wine to your list of places to go in Las Vegas. Really really good. Owned by the former sommelier from Lotus of Siam, it just opened 2 weeks ago but they are making amazing food. Best news, they are keeping late hours like Raku.

http://vegas.eater.com/tags/chada-thai-wine

http://www.eatinglv.com/2012/10/chada-thai-riffic/
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uhockey
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DesertDoc wrote:Ok...add Chada Thai and Wine to your list of places to go in Las Vegas. Really really good. Owned by the former sommelier from Lotus of Siam, it just opened 2 weeks ago but they are making amazing food. Best news, they are keeping late hours like Raku.

http://vegas.eater.com/tags/chada-thai-wine

http://www.eatinglv.com/2012/10/chada-thai-riffic/
This could be really good for my trip in December - we'll be getting in late on 12/21
sinosoul
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DesertDoc wrote:Ok...add Chada Thai and Wine to your list of places to go in Las Vegas. Really really good.

http://www.eatinglv.com/2012/10/chada-thai-riffic/
Hopefully you're not the writer of ELV, but out of the 5 pix in that entry, and couple of dishes described verbally (as well as the Yelp photos & reviews), Chada Thai seems an Asiany wine bar, and not a serious Thai joint. There isn't one Southern dish spotted out in the wild yet, despite the place calling themselves Southern. As long as everyone's focused on the BYOB and the upcoming rieslings, this place will stay the butt of Thai-food lovers' jokes. They took everything that sucked about LoS, and jammed it all into a nicer room. Of course, time will tell, and I could be absolutely wrong.

( Edit ) Re-read the Chada menu, there are a handful of Southern dishes: kua kling, the shrimp paste nam priks, etc. But still, there's far more Issan dishes than Southern, and literally, not one single kaeng.

Bouchon Beverly Hill's strength has always been the the faux-Parisian first floor bar, and they do go out of their way to accommodate children upstairs, which they absolutely don't have to. So good on them. But the food has always been rather tame, and the fried chicken dinners obscenely priced.
DesertDoc
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Sinosoul,

Would recommend trying the food before slamming them. I'm sure that Bank and his family would make you any other dish that you wanted to try. I'm guessing their menu is a work in progress...at this point they have been open for 2 weeks. I just wanted to pass along that I thought the food was well prepared with a nice flavor profile. I'll leave it up to other more experienced Thai fans to decide if it is serious Thai or Asiany wine bar. I just thought it was really good.

On a more esoteric note, I think the conversation about what makes a serious Thai restaurant is challenging at best (or any other cuisine). Does it need to be made by people from Thailand? In the same way as they make it in Thailand? I'm guessing Andy Ricker and Pok Pok make this all the more confusing.

Would be interested to get your thoughts on this...
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Dapuma
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Love the bar downstairs at the BH one - have been to the BH one more often but never for dinner at either location - Sunday brunch or afternoon bar and wine on the sidewalk - the room is nicer in the BH one and the Sunday brunch is better there as well

I don't like fried chicken at all so cannot comment on that just the brunch, plus the LV outlet doesn't do pork belly for brunch so that is a deal breaker for me, the BH always has a good special on the board with some awesome pork belly
sinosoul
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DesertDoc wrote:On a more esoteric note, I think the conversation about what makes a serious Thai restaurant is challenging at best (or any other cuisine). Does it need to be made by people from Thailand? In the same way as they make it in Thailand? I'm guessing Andy Ricker and Pok Pok make this all the more confusing.

Would be interested to get your thoughts on this...
The discussion on Asian-powered "authenticity" blew up as a cocktail party conversational piece this summer, so it isn't esoteric at all!

Ozerskey penned this piece on the "A-funk Collective" in June. And it was a ridiculously (stupid) read.

It came a few weeks after Eddie Huang went to town on a NYT piece by his buddy Francis Lam (both gents are Asian, obvs). I thought the Gilt Taste piece just shot itself in the foot as soon as the word "fair" was used in the lede, and stopped reading.

Personally, I'm mixed on the subject. Yesterday, I stayed up until midnight writing about a son, and his mom, both from Northern Thailand, cooking some of the finest Thai food in Los Angeles at Darabar. I was driven to finish it partially because Chada is blowing up in Vegas right now, partially because Darabar deserves more business (than Night+Market Restaurant, chefed by one of the "A-funk" collective guys). How apropos your question pops up today.

Do I love the fact that a Thai granny from Chiang Rai is making that khanom jeen nam ngiao? Hell yes. Do I really want the "A-funk collective" (all Asian, obviously), some of whom never cooked before Twitter was invented, some of whom relied on their parents ownership of a Thai Market as cache to get into cooking, to cook the same noodle? Not really. The entire population of foodies in Korea, as far as I'm know (confirmed by first hand source), doesn't think Choi can cook Korean food. They're proud of him as hell, but they don't care to see him cook up a dalk keh jang.

David Thompson arrived at this conundrum way before Rickter. He had the balls to open a Thai restaurant in the middle of Bangkok, and publish a Thai cooking encyclopedia. McDang, one of the most flamboyant, respected and knowledgeable Thai cooks, finally visited and LOVED Thompson's cooking. Rick Bayless's haute Mexican cuisine is also eons above anything LA in that niche. Alex Stupak would probably make a killing in LA because of course he's "elevating Mexican cuisine" (Huang disagrees). All these dudes are white as can be, and are cooking (or should I say, designing) really glorious, ethnic cuisine that's less "fusiony" than one presumes. Meanwhile, the A-funk collective remains constantly in the PR lime-light, serving shtick like crack pie, co-opting gua bao as Korean food, and insisting on wine pairings with Thai food.

Give me the studios gringo/farangs constantly inspired by their massive culinary repertoire any day. But still, I love knowing VJ's mom is making my soop nor mai at Cancoon. Also prefer eating at Pailin over Marea, so maybe this is just a personal daily demon.
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uhockey
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I'm not going to judge you on Hash House a Go-Go - it is certainly gluttony, but it is really damned good too. :-)

I'm heading up on December 22nd and already have my gameplans pretty much made, including my first trip to LOS. From what I've heard from many people I trust the best bet is to tell them your comfort level for heat and let them serve you as they like.

As to how to get out of the rut - perhaps rent a car and do some off-strip dining?
PHXeater
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uhockey wrote:I'm not going to judge you on Hash House a Go-Go - it is certainly gluttony, but it is really damned good too. :-)

I'm heading up on December 22nd and already have my gameplans pretty much made, including my first trip to LOS. From what I've heard from many people I trust the best bet is to tell them your comfort level for heat and let them serve you as they like.

As to how to get out of the rut - perhaps rent a car and do some off-strip dining?
I deleted the post because I felt like it was too standard whiny "where should I eat"? But since you responded I'll put it back. I know I should get off the Strip but like I said the preference is to stay on strip and I try not to make it all about me :). Sounds like I really need to get to Raku though, can anyone give me an idea of cab cost?

Here's the post I had put:

So I'm feeling uninspired about my upcoming Vegas trip. 3rd time this year, and god only knows how many times I've been overall. Staying in Mandalay this time around. My itinerary looks good but I've been to every one of those places already. The +1 likes to stay on strip but finds LOS close enough to be acceptable. We went to Robuchon in June so maybe I'm uninspired since nothing comes close to comparing to there (and it is not in the budget for this trip). In fact, I'm feeling depressed at the thought of never experiencing Robuchon again :(

Wednesday
-Dinner: Charlie Palmer Steak for their Cut of the Week menu for $50 and bottomless wine.

Thursday:
-Breakfast: Hash House a Go Go. Disgustingly huge portions in the Imperial Palace. Don't judge me.
-Lunch: Anywhere in Mandalay for a light snack?
-Dinner: LOS.
Here's where I need help, I've been before and enjoyed it but don't know Thai food well enough to be adventurous. Should I just tell the waiter we're open to anything? Are there standout dishes not to be missed? CH has far too many threads for me to make sense of.

Friday:
-Breakfast: Bouchon if I feel okay, most likely room service.
-Lunch: Burger Bar - this is a demand by my +1. He rarely makes demands so this is unmovable.
-Dinner: Sage.

Help me out of my Vegas rut, any ideas?
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uhockey
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IMO Twist and Savoy are "close" but not quite as good as JR - and yes, you should get to Raku.
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Skillet Doux
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Do Raku instead of LoS. Particularly since you've been to LoS before, and especially if you got any of the good stuff at places like TAC, Spoon, Aroy, etc. while you were in Chicago. I can't speak to cab fare, but from Mandalay, it's closer and easier to get to than LoS, since you can just shoot straight up the 10 and not deal with the strip at all.
Dominic Armato
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uhockey
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...if you're not very bright you can walk to (and from) Raku...but from experience I'd not advise it. :-)
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Skillet Doux
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BTW, DesertDoc wrote about Kabuto in this thread, and since he mentioned it, I've heard awesome things from four or five other people. Y'know... just in case your decision wasn't hard enough already :-)
Dominic Armato
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Lunchbox
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PHXeater wrote: Thursday:
-Lunch: Anywhere in Mandalay for a light snack?
My wife and I had tacos (not Border Grill) at a little place in the mall area between Mandalay and the Luxor. I don't know what it was called but the tacos were good and cheap. We ate at Border Grill the day before and we thought this place was better... There was a big bar with lots of TV's (I think we were there on a Sunday morning before we left town) and it was enjoyable for what it was...
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Skillet Doux
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Lunchbox wrote:
PHXeater wrote: Thursday:
-Lunch: Anywhere in Mandalay for a light snack?
We ate at Border Grill the day before and we thought this place was better...
Y'know, Border Grill was a go-to lunch spot for me years ago, and I love the one in Santa Monica, but the last couple of times I went to the Vegas one before giving up, it was really underwhelming. I'm not sure which changed... them or me.

Oh, BTW, whatever you do, don't go to Aureole. It's a running gag that I keep telling people not to go under any circumstances, they go anyway, and then regret it. That place has made more people feel like they got fleeced than a bad carnival game.
Dominic Armato
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uhockey
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Skillet Doux wrote:
Lunchbox wrote:
PHXeater wrote: Thursday:
-Lunch: Anywhere in Mandalay for a light snack?
We ate at Border Grill the day before and we thought this place was better...
Y'know, Border Grill was a go-to lunch spot for me years ago, and I love the one in Santa Monica, but the last couple of times I went to the Vegas one before giving up, it was really underwhelming. I'm not sure which changed... them or me.

Oh, BTW, whatever you do, don't go to Aureole. It's a running gag that I keep telling people not to go under any circumstances, they go anyway, and then regret it. That place has made more people feel like they got fleeced than a bad carnival game.
...but they have wine angels! :-)

really though, at Mandalay, just go to MiX and order dessert. The view is outstanding, the chandelier is really beautiful, and that baba Monte Carlo style is absolutely sublime.
themis
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Skillet Doux wrote:Do Raku instead of LoS. Particularly since you've been to LoS before, and especially if you got any of the good stuff at places like TAC, Spoon, Aroy, etc. while you were in Chicago.
I will dissent, because you said you weren't an adventurous Thai eater. LoS is the perfect place to *get* adventurous with Thai, because it's all good. You'll build your confidence and be able to branch out everywhere else. The dry sausage appetizer, the crispy whole fish special, the duck curry - all mainstays, but won't disappoint. I have taken a total Thai newbie there and she is now completely Thai fearless. Enough good Riesling overcomes just about any fear, apparently.

It seems a fool's endeavor to argue against Raku, excpet - Vegas is just a quick hop away from here, you'll be back -! :D
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Thanks for the responses, consider me out of my rut. I'm going to do LoS AND Raku and drop Sage. I liked Sage when we went but I wasn't blown away for the price. We're already going to gamble at the Wynn one night so LoS isn't much further anyways. I'm thinking of doing LoS and Raku Wed/Thur night to not battle weekend Strip traffic as well.

Anything else in Mandalay Bay or short walking distance I'm taking recommendations for. Also for Lotus of Siam dishes - there's only going to be 2 of us so won't be able to order too much but am looking to really get adventurous here.

Dom...I'm already depressed about not being able to go back to Robuchon and you bring up TAC Quick? Rude!