Upcoming Vegas Trip - Aria restaurants, Raku...

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Skillet Doux
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themis wrote:
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.
I'm slapping my wrist for not reading carefully.

Also, to be clear, it's not my intention to dismiss LoS in favor of Raku in general. I made the suggestion purely on the basis that PHXeater hasn't been to Raku, has been to LoS, and just finished a two year stint in a city with really exceptional Thai.
PHXeater wrote:Dom...I'm already depressed about not being able to go back to Robuchon and you bring up TAC Quick? Rude!
It hurts me as much as it hurts you :-(
Dominic Armato
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Well as far as my Thai history - I ordered off the not-so-secret menu at TAC Quick many times. But with unadventurous friends in Chicago I was always the only one not getting a basic curry so I still haven't had a ton of exposure to more exotic thai dishes. Now that I have a dining partner willing to eat anything I want to order the best LoS has to offer - but don't quite know what that is.

The sad thing is I went all the way to Thailand but was doing a backpacker trip so just ate a lot of pad thai from street vendors in tourist areas. :oops:
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Lunchbox
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PHXeater wrote: Now that I have a dining partner willing to eat anything I want to order the best LoS has to offer - but don't quite know what that is.
Nam Kao Tod and the Larb for sure... Here's a link to one of the PFN threads discussing LOS dishes.
-- LBX

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Lunchbox wrote: Nam Kao Tod and the Larb for sure... Here's a link to one of the PFN threads discussing LOS dishes.
Perfect, thanks for the link.
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uhockey
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Any of you kids been to Ichiza? Debating it vs. a return to Raku as part of this grand eating trip.
DesertDoc
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Ok, just returned from a wedding weekend and re-visited some off-strip favorites and found a new one.

Chada Thai- Tried a different set of dishes from round 1. This time went with crab curry, lettuce wraps, beef jerky and ground pork. All were excellent. Sad to see that Bank added heat warnings to the menu. Regardless, the food was great. At the moment, they are still BYOB. Swung by Marche Bacchus to pick up a bottle of reisling. The wine selection at that store/restaurant/bistro was ridiculous. Great range of price points and some serious trophy bottles.

Eat - in downtown Las Vegas, gave off a Matt's Big Breakfast vibe with high quality locally sourced ingredients. This place should definitely be in the discussion for where to have breakfast/brunch while in town. Be aware that all of the local parking is metered except on Sundays. They are open for breakfast and lunch only. http://eatdowntownlv.com/

Monta- Swung by for lunch on our way to the airport. Forgot how small it is. Went with miso ramen and dessertdoc had the shoyu. Washed down with a calpico and so good.

Have not yet been to Ichiza. Uhockey, let us know what you think after you check it out. Would strongly recommend you swing by the above when you are in town. None of them are michelin star type places, but they are all sending out really good food,
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Skillet Doux
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Awesome report, desertdoc! Though I'm still a report behind and dying to get to Kabuto.
DesertDoc wrote:...and dessertdoc had the shoyu.
I'm a little embarrassed that I missed this earlier, but if this means you have a spouse who is also a doc but with a sweet tooth, this may be the best pair of food board nicks I've seen.
Dominic Armato
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Thanks for the kind words. My lovely wife tolerates my puns with much eye rolling.
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uhockey
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Eat has been on the list. Probably will check out LOS before Chada.
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Leaving this Wednesday! Final itinerary is set and I will report back. We have a pretty casual itinerary due to our upcoming Napa trip in January but I think we'll get solid food at each spot. Lunches are loose ideas - we tend to stay out late so play it by ear during the daytime.

Wednesday
-Dinner: Raku! No kaiseki, just a la carte

Thursday:
-Lunch: Burger Bar
-Late dinner: LOS (thanks for this link with ideas of what to order!)

Friday:
-Lunch: Hash House a Go Go at Imperial Palace
-Dinner: Charlie Palmer Steak for their Cut of the Week

Charlie Palmer's Cut of the Week doesn't get a lot of love and although it's not the most exciting food on the Strip it's such a smoking deal, here's this weeks menu for an idea of what they typically have: http://www.charliepalmer.com/Properties ... egas/Menu/
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uhockey
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Skipping Hash House is advisable and although only one spot on your list is on mine for month's end (LOS) I can't argue with Raku. Have fun.
DesertDoc
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Not to confuse matters further, but we recently were in Vegas and had good meals at Monta, Sage, Eat Downtown, and Chada.

Eat reminded me a lot of Matt's Big Breakfast, but Vegas style with tattoos and piercings.

www.montaramen.com/
www.arialasvegas.com/dining/restaurants/sage
http://eatdowntownlv.com/
chadavegas.com/
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uhockey
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Been to Sage - I believe PHXeater has, as well.
Going to Eat during my trip.
Doing Kabuto and Ichiza instead of Monta.
LOS over Chada for me, this time.
artvandelay
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Also have an upcoming Vegas trip and here is what we are thinking:

Saturday lunch: LOS
Saturday dinner: American Fish (we have a $100 dining credit at the Aria and Sage is closed)

Sunday breakfast/brunch: Bouchon
Sunday dinner: Raku

Monday breakfast?? Maybe Eat but any other breakfast spots we need to try. Last time we decided to try a buffet (Wicked Spoon) for a late breakfast. That was a clear mistake.
DesertDoc
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Lotus is not open for lunch on weekends...
PHXeater
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Eat looks tasty but we're staying at Mandalay sans car and that'd be another long cab ride in addition to Raku and LoS.

How would you compare Chada to Lotus? We always end up in Vegas 2-3x/year somehow so might consider it for next trip.
DesertDoc
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Lotus has a ridiculously large menu that has some unusual northern Thai dishes that you may not find elsewhere. Food is very very good and can be seriously spicy. They also have the ability to change the protein in a dish and greatly alter the cost. They have one of the best wine lists for Riesling that I have ever seen. There is no atmosphere whatsoever. it is bright and loud.

Chada is a smaller restaurant with a more limited menu focusing on smaller plates and southern Thai food. they have an interesting wine list, but much less depth/breadth than LoS. The atmosphere is much much nicer. dimmed lights and cool music. they are also open until 3am.

ideal trip would be to hit LoS for lunch. the neighborhood is kid of sketchy at night. Then swing by Chada late.

would recommend on any trip to Vegas renting a cheap car. parking at most hotels is free and the cost of the rental will be less than the ride from the airport and back and any other trips.

if you are driving up, stop at Eat at Joes in wikieup. and, remember to slow down as you enter that town as the cops are ferocious.
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Skillet Doux
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DesertDoc wrote:ideal trip would be to hit LoS for lunch. the neighborhood is kid of sketchy at night.
For my bachelor party, in lieu of a strip club, we did LoS for dinner followed by a roller derby in a gymnasium a few doors down. It has its charms :-)
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uhockey
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Spots we made it to on this trip to Vegas with a very brief synopsis as the blog is interminably behind:

Bread and Butter - Local, from the original pastry chef at Bouchon, and really quite excellent. Don't miss the stuffed doughnut or the Ham, Egg, Cheese, Rosemary Bechamel Wafflewich

Crepeshack and Waffles - Also out in Henderson, a Japanese Crepe Shop serving in ice-cream cone style - the Bananas Foster with Banana Nut Ice Cream was good, but not worth the trip unless you're out there for Bread and Butter already

Due Forni - No kidding, a top-5 pizza spot (nationwide) for me - with two ovens (one 900, the other 500 degrees) we tried a Neapolitan Margherita with Bufala Mozzarella, San Marzano Tomatos, Fresh Basil, Frantoia Oil from the 900 degree oven and a Roman Duck Confit with Oven Roasted Duck, Bufala Mozzarella, Fresh Spinach, Red Onion, Over Easy Egg from the 900 degree oven - both were excellent and the Sweet Bufala Ricotta with Honey and Roasted Pistachios is stellar.

Ichiza - divy as hell and a lot of fun - my buddy got rocked on sake and I had a few courses before heading to Kabuto for dinner. The Tofu Crème Caramel and Honey Toast with Ice Cream are excellent and the Fried Quail Egg quite interesting. The Mushroom Chawanmushi was rather bland, unfortunately.

Kabuto - It isn't as cheap or as stellar as the Omakase at Sushi Taro in DC (http://endoedibles.com/?p=4334) but for $85 the Yoroi Menu is a Raku-level deal with the following lineup: Grape Sake Cocktail / Jack Mackerel in Sweet Vinegar, Sashimi Course: Bluefin Tuna, Ocean Trout, Jack Mackerel, Young Yellowtail / Grilled Course: Spanish Mackerel with Miso, A5 Wagyu Beef with Kumquat, Flying Fish with Salt / Sushi: Deep Sea Porgy, Yellow Grouper, Cornet, King Yellowtail, Triangle, Sea Urchin over Salmon Roe, Sea Eel, Sweet Omlet / Toro Handroll / Fish Miso Soup / Matcha / Green Tea Cocoa Cake.

Eat - Awesome breakfast spot downtown, the owner is on premises at all times and a real gem of a person. Don't miss the Made to order Beignets with Raspberry Jam and Vanilla Mascarpone, the Huevos Motulenos with 2 eggs, red and green chili, black beans, peas, feta, sautéed bananas, corn tortilla, or the Shrimp and Grits.

Chocolate and Spice - Meh. Skip it. Kind of sad that a former highly touted pastry chef sunk to this level, though the much praised banana cream pie was superb.

Honey Salt - Possibly my new favorite breakfast/brunch in LV the place is ALWAYS packed, and with good reason. My buddy went protein while I went carb-overload; the XL Sicky Bun with Baked Citrus Brioche, Honey Bourbon Sauce being one of my favorite sweet dishes of 2012 and the Warm Bread Pudding with Bourbon Toffee Sauce, Honey, and Salted Whipped Cream pretty excellent as well.

Patisserie Manon: Terrible. Pass.

Public House – My buddy is a beer guy, big time, and more than willing to spend for good stuff. Add in some Vegas quality eye-candy as servers and we ended up here twice - him dropping $70-100 on beers each time and walking away quite happy while I tried some of the food and a really excellent cocktail called "Fallen Grape" with Simi Cab, Fonseca Port, Averna, St. Germain, Served Warm with a Cinnamon Stick. Charcuterie is made in house and the Rillets were really quite good while the Pate lacked. In terms of proper appetizers, the Potted Farm Egg with Roasted Mushrooms, Ricotta Fondue, Crispy Serrano Ham, Grilled Bread was excellent and the Foie Gras with Chestnut Stuffing, Spiced Cranberry Compote, Herb Salad was a bit overcooked.

Twist - IMO the best food in Vegas - though I admit a predilection to Gagnaire's stream of consciousness cooking. Passing on the white truffle menu we did the 3 course tasting with a few supplements and two items blew me away, the first "Black Truffle" with a Pumpkin and Cod Fish Cake, Cod Fish, Black Truffle, Gold and Red Beets, over Spinach Puree with Garlic and the second "Hudson Valley Foie Gras" - a three dish satellite presentation with Poached Foie Gras with Horseradish Emulsion, Sauerkraut, Morteau Sausage / Glenmorangie Glazed Duck Foie Gras Terrine with Gingerbread Powder and Hazelnut / Dundee-Pinky Condiment with Apple Ice Cream. The view, the service, and the food are stellar.

Central - Miserable service - amongst the worst ever - but a delicious French Toast Crème Brulee.

First Food and Bar - this place is a total clusterf*&k, but the food is shockingly good and they have a great Sunday TV Setup for watching football. Skip the Moochin Monkey Bread and the Chicken and Waffles, go for the Cinnamon Bun French Toast with Tableside Flambe Bananas Foster, Anglaise and the "Hot Mess" with Waffle Fries, Brown Ale Chili, Spicy Cheese, Eggs, Crema, Bacon, Sausage, Jalapeno.

DOCG - The Grilled Filone with Duck Egg and Fonduta is one of the best dishes in Vegas while the Pizzas lack. Definitely consider the Pici with Braised Duck Sauce and Black Truffle (available in half portions as an appetizer) and the Salted Caramel Budino with Prezel Toffee.

E by Jose Andres - Andres was in the house and the menu was white-truffle-centric. Though I generally am not wowed by Jose's cooking I'll simply say this was the second most "fun" meal I had in 2012 and amongst the top 10 overall. Highlights of the 24 courses included the "seta Surprise – Two textures of wild Chanterelle," the Squash Merengue – White Truffle Shavings and Cream, the Crispy Chicken Skin in Escabeche – Chicken Skin Base, two chicken oysters, thyme air and powder, the Turbot with Bone Marrow – Marrow Tots, Blue Mountain Coffee, and the Whole Lobe of Foie Gras baked in Salt – bitter chocolate, confit grapefruit, basil flowers, clementine sauce while the Secreto of Iberico Pork with Truffle – white truffle pork jus and Pan Con Chocolate with Truffle – Saffron Espuma, Crystalized Bread, Frozen Chocolate Powder, Maldon Sea Salt, Shredded White Truffle, Olive Oil were truly special, one of a kind tastes well worth the price of admission alone.

Pura Vida: I like nami here in Phoenix a lot, but this vegan spot is really something else - the chef making each dish individually and bringing it to the table. Tried four things but would DEFINITELY suggest the Chocolate Waffle with Bananas, Chocolate Chips, Syrup and Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding in Cider Sauce

Lotus of Siam: Finally made it here along with Ed Tracy, the GM of Nobhill Tavern, and his girlfriend. Tried the Tod Mun Plar, Koong Sarong, Fried mussel omelet, Crispy Duck on Drunken Noodles, Beef Balls Noodle Soup, Nam Kao Tod, and Hoh Mok Seafood. Everything save for the Beef Balls was excellent and worth the hour+ wait at lunch. I particularly loved the Nam Kao Tod, the Duck, and the manner in which the Hoh Mok blended the seafood with egg, coconut, and curry.

Joel Robuchon - It is expensive as hell, but if you have the means it is probably the most precise food you can buy. The bread cart, the mignardise cart, and a cheese selection topping 30 are all stunning and deciding to splurge a bit I tried a few of the 'upcharge' courses this time - "Le Kabocha – Kabocha Pumpkin Veloute with Foie Gras, Ginger Foam, Toasted Seeds," "Les Spaghettis – Homemade Spaghetti Topped with Soft Boiled Egg, Urchin, Caviar" and "La Pintade Fermiere – French Hen with Roasted Foie Gras, Confit Potatoes au Jus" all exquisite. Service was a bit less refined than prior and the 'extras' not as copious (down economy?) but their agreeing to serve the Pintade at a $60 supplement charge (normally $320 alc) made for a truly special meal.

Bouchon Bakery and Bouchon: Skip the Canelle (poor caramelization, good interior,) but get the Kouign Amann, Cinnamon Roll, and Speculoos if available. As to brunch - I started Christmas Day with Coffee, a Lemon and dried Blueberry Scone, Cinnamon Oatmeal with Caramelized Apples and Streusel, Cinnamon Donuts with Nutella and Peach Jam, and a jar of the Foie Gras Terrine. Service was, as always, exemplary.
Last edited by uhockey 8 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
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ScottofStrand
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Wow, you certainly get around! Great info, there. Thanks for the sum up.