My brother and I (and later a couple of friends joined us) went to Las Vegas for a quick trip May 31 to June 3, 2009 from Toronto. Following is a quick trip summary divided by day- photos of food are included (when we remembered to take them!) and a brief review. Detailed item descriptions and prices can be found at the restaurant's website. I haven't been to Vegas in 9 years but the others were just there the year before. I did not take any photos or notes of meals at Coffee shops/casual or mall joints so will just gloss over these. Where appropriate I'll also comment on the decor, ambiance, location, etc...I apologize if this is beyond what this forum is for (or not enough) but this is the first posting I have attempted.
Brunch- Mesa Grill- 12 noon
Service was friendly and efficient but a lot of upselling going on, encouraging us to try the fresh squeezed juices (we hordered a coke and a Grapefruit juice) and suggesting we start with a "Fundido" (Blue Chips and Goat cheese/multi pepper dip-$12) which we did order- nothing special, a little heat, and we could have done without it. Noticed most other tables had also ordered this so obviously the pitch was working.
Bread was a small basket of sweet cornbread, savoury cornbread cake and a couple of cookies. I've been to Flays' places in NYC and the bread always seems well made.
For mains my brother chose Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Hash and I went for the Spicy Scrambled Eggs, both of us choosing Southwest grits as our sides. They actually made a mistake and brought us home fries but they corrected it pretty quickly so we had a chance to try both. The mains were fine, both having nice flavoring and some heat and a good size portion but my highlight was the grits which were not overly creamy but maintained a smooth, gritty texture and had a wonderful mix of spicy hotness and buttermilk sweetness, neither overpowering. I would probably rank them on par with the creamy grits at the Atlanta chain The Flying Biscuit, the Mesa Grill grits having the unexpected spiciness. So overall food was fine but it was brunch so nothing spectacular was expected and nothing spectacular was received, although I should have ordered more grits!
We were not that hungry, so decided on a late "snack" at The Planet Hollywood Coffee Shop- Planet Dailies- typical coffee shop grub as well as Asian noodle dishes (overpriced pad thai, won ton mein, etc...) paid about 30 bucks for a burger/fries, coke, corned beef hash and pouched eggs (i love breakfast!) and a draft. Located right off the PH floor so be ready for significant noise and cigarette smoke.
Some notes about PH in general.
LOCATION: Very good if you are exploring the strip and the fact it is connected to a mall means easy shopping (including a couple of ABC's for sundries/beverages/liquor etc...) or a 10 minute walk south to Walgreens or CVS. Bellagio is across the street, Paris is next door and the MGM is the next major resort south, although you have to pass one of the crazy, busy "Cheaper" areas with several gauntlets of card slappers to get there. The City Centre project looms across the street as well and the ominous empty buildings means a dead stretch between Bellagio and Monte Carlo. The central location on the strip makes it easy to get to either end via walking but PH itself didn't have any food outlets that we wanted to try. The Hawaiian Tropic Patio (near the Casino South Entrance) wasn't a bad place to sit and drink and watch the night go by (it may get a little windy because of City Centre and dusty if construction is happening), just be sure to grab a couple of the 2 for 1 drink coupons being handed out outside before you order.
ROOMS: (18th floor, poolside)- I have SPG Platinum status but i booked the room via a vacation package so was unable to get an upgrade- note that SPG Platinum can use the check in area at the far left of the reception area- which is pretty small and always looked over busy. The standard HIP room was not very big (we had a Temple of Doom themed roomed which meant we had a bullwhip built into the window- side table and a poster of Indy, Shortround and Willie in the mine cart overlooking the bathtub) but had a very nice bathroom, with a deep soaker tub, separate walk in shower (water pressure was so/so but acceptable) plenty of counter top area, 4 sets of towels and a separate toilet room. Housekeeping was efficient and reliable.
POOL: The PH pool is nothing special, 2 fairly large pools open from 10AM to 7PM, the area is open concrete with some patches of Astroturf and a couple of palm trees thrown in for effect. Large concrete walls surround the area so all you can see is the top half of Paris and some of the City Centre towers. I don't think there is any poolside beverage service (at least in the morning) but there are a couple of Corona bars scattered around and an indoor bar area.
CASINO- Very high ceilings in the central part- like an atrium- purple/blue neon color scheme and the booming dance tracks tries to make it look/feel like a club. The casino floor is pretty small with I think 4 Pits dominated by the 2 Pink Themed "Pleasure Pits" where the dealers are all hot young things wearing bustiers (75% Asian) and the 1 or 2 go-go/poll dancers adds to the eye candy. The Central Heartbeat bar looked like a great place to hang out in the middle of the action but we could never get a seat there. The quiet Extra lounge was off to to the side where the lonely DJ was spinning the tracks (One of us ordered a Mojito here one night but they had no Mint leaves). The Mezzanine level overlooks a major part of the casino and actually isn't a bad place to hang out if you want to sit, drink and talk. Plenty of furniture to move around and create a sitting area although I believe it is also the hangout for some of the cast/crew/friends of the PH show PEEPSHOW after or between shows as evidenced by the mountains of old cigarettes in the ashtrays. The Poker Room was just a roped off area in the slot jungle but the staff seemed friendly and there were always a few games going on and they also have several 70$ buy in tourneys a day. BJ tables were mainly 25$ and above (maybe 1 BJ at 15$) in the evenings with horrid rules (like no re-splitting 8's) and the ever present continuos shuffle 6 deck machines. The high limit area was absolutely dead every time I walked by during the 3 nights. Amazingly, we gamed at the Bellagio which had an abundance of 10$ BJ tables available every night (I even saw a 5$ accessible table) with better rules and superior beverage service, although the dealers that took our money at the Bellagio were usually older ladies/gentlemen from Vegas rather than the hot 20 somethings eye candy from Cali that ruled the tables at PH.
Day 2 Report to follow- Mon Ami Gabi (Brunch), Craftsteak (Dinner) and LOVE at the Mirage
Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino