Eating in Las Vegas

My Vegas Report

Aug 4, 2008

Just returned from a weekend in LV, and wanted to capture my feelings on what I ate over the weekend.

Started out grabbing a burger at Burger Bar (we were staying at Mandalay, so it was a quick and easy destination). I had the sliders, which were 3 small burgers with various ingredients, all made with different meats. I couldn't tell the difference at all between the different meats, but the different ingredients definitely gave each a distinctive taste (I really enjoyed the one with bacon, and would recommend this as a must have ingredient on any sandwich there). Wife had the regular burger with bacon as well. It came out exactly the temperature ordered (medium rare), and she loved it. (She said it was among the best burgers she has ever had). The fries were very good as well. The sweet potato ones were actually crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside, which is perfect, and not easy to accomplish. My wife got their "Mojo" to drink, which had Chipotle syrup in it, and she didn't like it. The recommendations to eat at the bar instead of waiting for the table were spot on. We were told it would be 50 minutes for a table, but walked right up to the bar (during prime time, of Fri night around 8:00pm). The atmosphere is casual, which was nice, and overall, our meal was reasonably inexpensive, which is a plus.

Breakfast the next morning was granola bars at the pool. We then headed to Lotus of Siam for lunch. We were bummed to see that they only serve dinner on weekends, so we had to think quick about a backup plan. We decided to head to Ceaser's, and decide between Bradley Ogden, and Mesa Grill. BO, is only opened for dinner, so our decision was made for us (although we did check out the menu, which looked great, and they were offering a price fixe dinner for $55 which seemed reasonable). Mesa grill only serves brunch on the weekends until dinner, which wasn't optimal, but we were hungry, so we stayed. I got the Eggs Chiliquenes, and the wife got the spicy pork tenderloin sandwich. They were both pretty good, but I wasn't wowed by either. The service was excellent, and the bread basket they bring to each table had some real winners (in particular, I loved the blue corn muffin, and a jalapeno biscuit). My diet coke cost $4 which I find outrageous (but it seemed to be the going rate for drinks in LV). I would also comment that the restaurant space was beautiful. The different colored glass panels (following the color theme of Mesa) was well done, and the whole restaurant in general had a classy feel (but not stuffy). We loved that you could see into the casino, but still felt isolated from it. I wouldn't make a point of rushing back, but it was a solid meal, and a very pleasant experience.

Dinner was at Lotus Of Siam. We were going to eat there no matter what, and we are happy we made it. Plenty of reviews on this board for this place, so I am not going to rehash. We had the crispy rice with sour sausage, beef salad, northern Thai curry (item A from the Northern menu, which was already included in our menu), and finished with sticky rice with mango. All of the dishes lived up to our high expectations. If I lived in LV, I would open up a tab, and go there as often as I could. This is a must do for any foodie, and a stop we will make whenever we are in town. The nice thing about this place, is that it isn't stuffy, and they aren't cocky (for lack of a better word). LOS has gotten tons of rave reviews from all over the country, but all the people that work there seemed laid back, and grateful for our business (and willing to help us chose which dished to order, and explain the nuances of each). LOS gets a lot of positive reviews, and they are well deserved).

Next we headed to the Wynn for a show (Le Reve), and needed to cancel reservations at Tablau for brunch the next morning. We were a little bummed we couldn't eat there (not enough meals in a day). It was a beautiful space, and the menu looked really great.

So instead, we went to Bouchon for brunch on Sunday. It was great. We ate outside (which was surprisingly pleasant for a August morning). The space reminded me of a French brasserie, but more upscale. I had the corned beef hash, which came in a cast iron skillet, with some wonderful bread (light and airy). The wife had the French toast. It looked somewhat small at first, but turned out to be a perfect portion as it was very rich. She commented that each layer had candied apples, which she loved. My corned beef hash was very good. Our service was only OK. My coffee cup was empty at the end of the meal, and I would have liked more. It also took a while to get our check (our table definitely got forgotten when the waiter became overwhelmed with other guests). We would have also liked to have a small basket of bread included with the meal (you could buy one, for $13, but we thought this was expensive). Brunch is an inexpensive way to experience Bouchon, but in hindsight, it probably would be wise to have dinner there, as it is probably more extraordinary.

On our way out of the Venetian, we made a point to stop at Bouchon Bakery. We wanted to get some "road food" to have on the way home. This little counter (just behind the escalator into the shops outside of the casino) is something special. We got four items: Focacia, Chocolate Croissant, an "Oreo" cookie, and a lemon tart. They were all unbelievably delicious (and expensive our bill was close to $20 for 4 pastries). The focacia had a wonderful pesto on it, that matched well with the white cheese, and tomatoes. I only got 2 bites (was concentrating on driving while the wife devoured it before I knew it), but it was one of the highlights of anything I ate this weekend. The chocolate croissant was only fair. The chocolate in it was very high quality (you could taste, and I think they said it was Valrohna), but the bread was too flaky (fell apart into millions of crumbs), and was just OK. The "Oreo" was to die for. It was very light, and the white chocolate ganache in the center played well with the crisp cookie. The lemon tart had a pine nut crust, and was perfectly tart. The meringue on the top tasted like a fresh marshmallow, and cut the tartness perfectly.

Overall, we ate well in Vegas, and look forward to getting back again sometime, and knocking some of the other places off our list.