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Paris Dinner Reviews - Chez L'Ami Jean, La Regalade, Les Cocottes des Constant, Pierre Gagnaire, Frenchie bar a vins

Sadly there was no duck on this occasion, perhaps hence the lacking "wow" factor.

However, I must say the butter flavoured with lemon and grapefruit (which were sititng underneat and on top of the butter when we arrived and then promptly removed) was, when smeared on the brioche that came with the bread selection, might have been one of the top tastes of the trip! I must have had about six or eight pieces of that brioche and butter combination. I did notice no one was being offered more bread until I asked and then my server started offering it to everyone and I was being topped up after every course!

Mar 13, 2012
namor in France

La Régalade (original location) - Rio Yeti report

I had dinner at La Regalade (original location) the day after having dinner at Chez L'ami Jean in January (reviews slowly on their way) and preferred the "over-accessorized" version of the riz au lait personally. Even noting that I was a big fan of the accompaniments, I also preferred the consistency of the pudding itself at Chez L'ami Jean.

Feb 03, 2012
namor in France

Caprice, yung kee, Joy Hing , Mak Kee

My two cents based on a single a la carte meal at Caprice (review to be posted soon)...

I felt Caprice was miles ahead of Lung King Heen and 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo, two other restaurants in Hong Kong that have been awarded three Michelin stars.

I can certainly appreciate the argument about whether three Michelin stars in Hong Kong can be compared to three, or even two, Michelin stars elsewhere. However, the food and service I experienced at Caprice easily matched that of Le Cinq, Michel Rostang and Pierre Gagnaire in Paris. On that basis, and having eaten at a number of other two and three Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, I do not believe Caprice's rating to be unacceptable, especially given its price point.

Jan 31, 2012
namor in China & Southeast Asia

Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney

As an addendum, it appears that about ten minutes after I left the restaurant on Friday the hostess emailed me a copy of the sake, beer and wine list I requested (excellent service!)

MOMOFUKU SEIOBO BEVERAGE PAIRING
11 NOVEMBER 2011

Mutemuka Shizo 2010
Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu
Kochi, Japan

Crawford River Riesling 2010
Henty, Victoria

Bass Phillip Rose 2010
Gippsland, Victoria

Mader Pinot Gris 2009
Alsace, France

Gembrook Hill 'Village' Pinot Noir 2009
Yarra Valley, Victoira

Moriki Shuzo 'Hanabusa' 2009
Junmai Daiginjo
Mie Japan

Torbreck 'The Steading' GSM 2008
Barossa Valley, SA

Hitachino Nest Lacto Sweet Stout
Japan

Kameman Shuzo 'Genmaishu' 2010
Junmai Genmai-Zake
Kumamoto, Japan

Nov 13, 2011
namor in Australia/New Zealand

Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney

I was not a big fan of the casino itself, although this might be due to the fact that I frequently visit Las Vegas so my expectations might differ form others. However, the main benefit of the casino location is that when you arrive at the front entrance (i.e. by taxi) someone opens the door for you and there are people offering directions, which helps add to the class of the occasion.

The big problem with the location of the restaurant is that the floor on which the restaurant is located is rather drab and looks like it is still being completed. Further, you have to walk through the food court to get there, although I suppose the out-of-the-way location helps reduce the number of people milling around the restaurant.

Once inside you forget about the casino although if you are sitting at a table and seated so that you have a view towards the entrance you will possibly once or twice during the meal be distracted by people walking past or peering through the grills that act as a wall for the restaurant.

Nov 13, 2011
namor in Australia/New Zealand

Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney

The full version of this post, together with photos, is available at my blog: http://fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.com...

After months of (im)patiently waiting, David Chang has finally opened Momofuku Seiobo, his first restaurant outside of New York, at The Star casino in Sydney, Australia.

Getting in

Reserving two seats at the restaurant was easy thanks to the online booking system where each day at 10am seats are released for a particular day a little over one week in advance. While I have heard negative comments about Momofuku Ko's online reservation system, which I assume has been reused for Seiobo, I had no problem making a booking the first time I tried at 10am.

Once the online reservation form had been completed, an email came into my inbox confirming the reservation and advising of a $175pp late cancellation fee. A follow-up email and telephone call were also received the day before the booking to confirm the reservation.

The Restaurant

The restaurant itself is located just behind the main food court at the Casino and can take a bit of effort to find, in no small amount due to the lack of useful signage in the Casino.

Whereas the Casino area surrounding the restaurant entrance looks rather drab, the restaurant itself is very sleek and modern, making use of dark colours and minimal decor besides two pictures of Angus Young from AC/DC.

The restaurant is split into three areas - a bar to the left of the entrance that went unused during our visit; a counter surrounding the kitchen floor where guests can watch the chefs work their magic, and five four-seat tables spaciously set out in the main floor area. Upon entering and seeing the four-top layout of the tables I assumed my wife and I would be seated at the bar only be to placed at the table closest to the bar with the remaining two chairs being unused. Whilst initially annoyed with this development, we still had an excellent vantage point from which to watch the kitchen area even if it would have been better to be seated at the bar. Next time I will be sure to be asked to be seated at the bar!

The food

At present Momofuku Seiobo only offers a single tasting menu consisting of 15 dishes. I understand there is consideration being given to a lunch and bar menu in the future; I am sure Sydney-siders would be grateful for an option to purchase multiple pork buns once from a bar.

If I had to describe the food I would have to go with a modern blend of eastern and western themes, but that wouldn't do it justice. While the choice and progression of courses might seem odd at a glance, what with a pasta course wedged in just before the last of several meat and fish courses and dessert being followed by a "Petit Four" of pork shoulder, everything worked well and I never once thought myself questioning the menu during the course of the evening.

In terms of the food itself, everything was wonderfully prepared and presented and it is obvious the chefs, and David Chang, spent a lot of time and care developing the menu. The menu strung together a number of standout dishes including the fabled pork bun, tender spanner crab served with a fluffy Yorkshire pudding that you could use to create a crab roll, the pasta (perfect in every way), the pecorino cheese dish and the carsmelised pork. A number of other courses were also excellent even if they did not achieve the lofty heights of deliciousness. If I had to fault the food, it would only be to say that some of the dishes, notably the kingfish and two desserts, lacked the "wow" factor of the other dishes. Nevertheless, the meal was still overall a delight.

A word about portions. At the beginning of the meal I was concerned about the smallness of the portions, especially given the portions in the first course and the pork bun that seemed to me to be the slider equivalent of the pork buns I remember having in April this year. However, my concerns were soon put to rest and I only just managed to finish the caramelised pork at the end.

The menu layout was as folllows:

“Snacks” – dehydrated shitake mushroom chips, deep fried nori, mochi ball
“Steamed Pork Bun” – pork belly, cucumber, hoisin
“Kingfish” – warrigal greens, furikake
“White Asparagus” – marron, szechuan pepper
“Beef” – wagyu beef, red ball raddish, fermented black bean
“Eel dashi” – hailstone radish, chive blossom
Eel with apple gel and apple powder
“Spanner & Swimmer Crab” – butter, pepper, biscuit
“Egg” – toasted rice, brown butter (a substitute my wife was given for the Egg dish consisted of artichoke, grapefruit and sunflower seeds
)“Hand torn pasta” – goats cheese, chili, mint
“Blue eye” – broccoli, horseradish, potato and an accompanying broth
“Lamb Neck” – daikon, pickled turnips
“Pecorino” – honey licorice, bee pollen
“Wattle Seed” – malt, crispy milk
“Miso” – pickled strawberry, toasted rice, mochi
“Petite Four” - Caramelised pork shoulder - no cutlery provided

Wine and beverages

The restaurant offers a selective drinks menu together with a sake, wine and beer pairing to match the food for $95 per person. My wife and I elected for the pairing and were both happy with the experience, even if the sommelier refilling of our glasses whenever they were empty was both a blessing that night and a curse the morning after.

We were also offered the choice of sparkling or still water. Electing sparkling, our glasses were continuously refilled throughout the night and I was surprised and grateful to see on the final bill it was provided at no cost. I am not sure if this is a benefit limited to those who do the sake, wine and beer pairings but it was a welcome feature that all fine dining institutions should be encouraged to adopt.

Service

Service was friendly and casual whilst still being attentive throughout the meal. Alcohol and water were constantly replenished and plates promptly cleared when finished. My wife's alleged egg allergy was acknowledged on the day without question despite it not being raised on the booking form and a substitute that delighted my wife was provided.

The only service snafus that I can recall were a bowl being taken away when I had not finished the dish and the bill taking too long at the end of the night (even though they were packing up for the evening when we finished the meal).

The verdict

Overall we had a great time and Momofuku Seiobo is a very welcome addition to the Australian dining scene. While some of the dishes could use some tweaking, there was nothing that tasted bad and several of the dishes, including the final "Petit Four", were smash hits. Add to that great music, at least for someone of my vintage, and a friendly service staff and we have a winner. I look forward to visiting the restaurant again in a month or so to see how things are going.

Nov 13, 2011
namor in Australia/New Zealand

Dinner tomorrow in Sonoma?

I had great meals at Sante at the fairmont mission inn and El dorado kitchen lounge l at the main square in Sonoma four weeks ago.

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Sante Restaurant
100 Boyes Blvd, Sonoma, CA

May 28, 2011
namor in San Francisco Bay Area

Wedding venue reviews: Wynn Buffet (Rehearsal Dinner) and Sage (Reception Dinner)

Dapuma, we went with four tables of 6 and 7 based purely off what worked out best in terms of allocating groups to tables to ensure each table would work from a conversation perspective. Four equally sized-tables obviously works well because it creates an even look in the room. I suggest looking at your guest list and seeing if you can create a suitable table list out of even numbers like 3x7 and 1x8 or 4x6 and 1x5 etc...

May 16, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

Breakfast mini-review – Bouchon

BOUCHON (VENETIAN) - RECOMMENDED

OVERALL
Having eaten here twice within a week, I think there are some definitely great dishes here but the service can be inconsistent when the place is busy. I would eat here again, but would probably only go on a weekday when it is quieter unless I really wanted something that is only available on the Sunday brunch menu.

FOOD
Beignets (excellent); porridge (excellent); pastries (excellent); croque madam (okay to good, it may just not have been my thing); waffles (okay to good, my wife said it was an adequate waffle dish but nothing out of the ordinary).

SERVICE
We were seated immediately the first time on a Tuesday and within 10 minutes on a Sunday. When we came here at 8am on a Tuesday the food and service was excellent; however, four days later (a Sunday) the service was very much haphazard and it took a long time to get our orders taken, our food delivered, the bill brought to our table and the credit card payment to be taken. I probably wouldn’t come here again for the Sunday Brunch service.

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Bouchon
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

May 14, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

Lunch mini-reviews: BLT Burger; Beijing Noodle No 9; China Poblano; Spago; Burger Bar; P.U.B.

Having spent 8 days in Las Vegas for a wedding, I experienced a number of venues for lunch although I left Las Vegas feeling that the lunch options generally pale in comparison to what is available at dinner.

BLT BURGER (MIRAGE) - RECOMMENDED

OVERALL
We have been here a few times and always find it more than adequate for a quick meal.

FOOD
Good burgers; good sweet potato fries; excellent milk shakes.

SERVICE
Adequate service (serviceable without being good or bad, exactly what you would expect for this sort of place).

BEIJING NOODLE NO 9 (CAESARS PALACE)

OVERALL
Perfectly serviceable asian noodle restaurant that works if you are in Caesars Palace and don’t want to go to too much effort for lunch.

FOOD
Bbq pork buns (good); noodle soups (good).

SERVICE
Service was generally on the slow side.

CHINA POBLANO (COSMOPOLITAN) - RECOMMENDED

OVERALL
A very enjoyable lunch featuring interesting dishes and excellent service.

FOOD
When Pigs Fly (bbq pork buns, good); Street Sandwich (excellent); Silencio tacos (duck tongue tacos, excellent); Cochinita tacos (pork tacos, good); Carnitas tacos (pork tacos, excellent); Pollo a la Parilla tacos (chicken tacos, good).

SERVICE
Our waiter provided excellent service during our meal, perfectly introducing the meal and explaining the dishes, taking our orders, providing our drinks and checking everything was okay. This may have been helped by the fact that we were there for a late lunch (3pm) so the restaurant was half-empty.

SPAGO (CAESARS PALACE FORUM SHOPS) – RECOMMENDED

OVERALL
I only came here for a quick meal before my wedding with some friends, but the food we did order was good, as was the service.

FOOD
Chicken wing lollipops (okay); crispy calamari (excellent, probably one of the best versions of fried calamari I have had); chicken sausage pizza (good); lamb chorizo pizza (excellent)

SERVICE
Very good; seated and orders taken promptly; drinks (including water) regularly refilled.

BURGER BAR (MANDALAY BAY)

OVERALL
Decent burgers and good milk shakes but average service from staff who came across as rather pretentious considering the venue.

FOOD
Sliders (okay); American Classic Burger (good); Chocolate Milkshake (excellent).

SERVICE
Average. Fake wait times to be seated at a table (we ended up sitting at the bar immediately after being told we would have to wait 30 minutes for a table despite the place being half-empty); generally unfriendly server although the service itself was adequate.

P.U.B. (CRYSTALS CITYCENTRE)

OVERALL
This meal was a disappointment with average food and service.

FOOD
Popcorn (good); corn dog puppies (okay but generally as expected); dirty chips (cold and generally unappetizing); Duck Buns (good and recommended if you eat here); Lobster Poppy (while the lobster itself was good, there wasn’t much and the “Poppie” part was generally tasteless).

SERVICE
Average service. We were seated quickly but it took a long time for our orders to be taken and even longer for water and our drinks to be brought to our table (this appears from my point of view to be the fault of the busboy who seemed disinterested in working generally rather than the fault of our server).

May 14, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

Dinner mini-reviews: L’Atelier; Gordon Biersch Brewery; e by Jose Andres; Fleur; Trattoria del Lupo

L’ATELIER DE JOEL ROBUCHON (MGM GRAND) – RECOMMENDED

OVERALL
Very good food with good, but not great for the price, service in an entertaining environment. I will admit I felt that the discovery meal lacked any real “WOW” dishes. When booking, I recommend asking to be seated at the side of the bar so that you fully can see the chefs at work (as we did), as it adds value to the evening.

FOOD
We did the discovery menu and everything was good to excellent except for one dish at the beginning (a cold soup-like dish) which just didn’t work for us. The desserts were excellent.

SERVICE
Service was good but not great. We certainly were adequately served, but I have to note that I left the restaurant feeling our server devoted some of the attention that should have been given to us to the VIP eating for free next to us.

GORDON BIERSCH BREWERY (OFF-STRIP)

OVERALL
I only came here as part of a Buck’s Night Package; the food was perfectly adequate but I would not recommend going here as a destination meal given the other options available on and off the Strip.

FOOD
General pub fare. Decent steaks.

SERVICE
Serviceable although our server went missing half-way through the meal, making ordering drinks difficult.

E BY JOSE ANDRES (COSMOPOLITAN) - RECOMMENDED

OVERALL
An excellent experience featuring good to excellent food in a novel, quiet environment as you watch the chefs cook right in front of you. Although the restaurant isn’t cheap, I certainly regard the all-inclusive price as being great value.

FOOD
A 20 course menu featuring various dishes that you can easily find described in writing and photos online (although I encourage people considering going to the restaurant to not spoil the surprise as the menu doesn’t seem to change over time).

SERVICE
Excellent and extremely personable.

Fleur (Mandalay Bay)

OVERALL
A restaurant with the potential to be great but let down by inadequate service that leaves the restaurant looking like it is simply relying on the celebrity status of its owner.

FOOD
French cuisine served tapas-style. We had the: maple glazed pork ribs (although the presentation was excellent these were, taste-wise, merely okay to good), tuna tacos (okay to good); tarte flambé (served almost cold this was definitely only okay); “in the shower” mac n cheese (served luke-warm this was good, but it had the potential to be excellent if served hot), foie gras mousse (good).

SERVICE
Very average service; our server took forever to take our drinks order and then even longer to come back and take our food orders (I nearly got up to ask the manager whether someone was going to serve us as I did not realise the person who took our drinks order was also our server); we were otherwise forgotten for most of the night until I finished signing the bill when our server appeared out of nowhere to grab the bill while it was still in my hand (a pet peeve of mine); my wife felt the dishes were brought out in a haphazard order.

TRATTORIA DEL LUPO (MANDALAY BAY)

OVERALL
We came here because my wife didn’t feel like leaving the hotel and we only ordered pizzas. The pizzas were excellent while service was average (most likely because we weren’t ordering a lot of food, not that we should have to considering the pizzas were large). I would come here again if staying at the Mandalay Bay, in the mood for something simple and not feeling like leaving the hotel.

FOOD
Salsiccia, Broccoli, Aglio Arrosto e Pecorino pizza (excellent); "Del Lupo" Quattro Formaggi e Prosciutto San Daniele pizza (excellent)

SERVICE
Adequate but more an example of the bare minimum in proper table service rather than an example of good service.

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Gordon Biersch
750 S Rampart Blvd Ste 16, Las Vegas, NV 89145

May 14, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

Wedding venue reviews: Wynn Buffet (Rehearsal Dinner) and Sage (Reception Dinner)

SAGE (ARIA) – WEDDING RECEPTION DINNER

OVERVIEW

We used Sage’s semi-private dining room as the venue for my now-wife’s and my wedding reception venue. The evening began with pre-dinner drinks for an hour in Sage’s bar/lounge area before moving to the semi-private dining room where for three hours we indulged in a five-course (plus amuse bouche) tasting menu, excellent beer and wine and amazing service.

HOW MANY PEOPLE?

27 people (all adults although we were told children would not be a problem and could be accommodated through an individualised menu).

ORGANISING THE EVENT

I initially had booked another well-known restaurant as our reception venue but following some very average reviews and a change in the restaurant’s menu format, my now-wife and I decided to take a risk by trusting the glowing reviews Sage was receiving (and my sincere thanks to UHockey for his extensive review on the restaurant that I put a lot of faith in).

I put in a call to Aria’s events department and was advised by the Events Manager (Cristina Baumann), who I dealt with throughout the booking process, that Sage did have a semi-private dining room that was available for the day of our wedding. Shortly thereafter I received an email from Cristina providing a PDF booklet setting out more than adequate details of Sage generally, the semi-private room and the menu options.

Once my now-wife and I had decided we wanted to go ahead with Sage as our reception venue, organising the event was easy and was mostly done via email (and the rare phone call) to Cristina who handled the booking process and the majority of the necessary discussions with the restaurant. The booking process essentially consisted of choosing one of the three available menu plans, discussing a few possible menu changes, emailing Cristina a signed contract and paying a $2,000 refundable deposit. This was a very painless process and was done about six months out from our wedding.

Approximately three months out from our wedding we contacted the sommelier at Sage to discuss the beverage options for the evening. We had already decided to initially go with an a la carte beverage service in the bar/lounge at Sage for an hour before dinner to keep our guests entertained while the wedding party were out having photos taken after the ceremony. In relation to the beverage options for the actual dinner, we were given options of fixed beer and wine pairings or a la carte wine service. After considering the varied types of drinkers in our wedding party, it was ultimately decided that we would go with a hybrid service under which the wine service would be a la carte (i.e. we paid for the wine by the bottle) but guests would be encouraged to progress through a series of wine, with champagne at the beginning followed by white, red and then dessert wines, thereby creating an effective wine pairing. Guests could also opt for the beer pairing service if they so chose. Again, this was agreed via a few simple emails back and forth between myself and the sommelier.

About two weeks out from the event I advised Cristina of the final guest count for our event and the potential allergy issues, neither of which I was told would pose any problems.

About four days out, my now-wife decided that one of the menu options wasn’t right and a quick phone call to Cristina easily resulted in a change to the menu.

Overall the booking process was straightforward, painless and very professional. Cristina was an absolute pleasure to work with and was always very friendly and helpful. I especially appreciated that she came to visit us in the restaurant on the night of our reception dinner to say hello face-to-face and check we were happy with everything.

VENUE

The Sage restaurant is itself dark but very elegant. You can no doubt find photos online but feel free to PM me if you want to see some professional photos of the bar/lounge and semi-private room from our photographer.

The bar/lounge area is quite spacious with plenty of seats and tables and a long bar.

The semi-private dining room matches the look of Sage’s main dining room and could have easily accommodated twice our party. Tables were allocated into four tables of 6 and 7 people after we were advised the tables could be arranged however we wished. Despite the smallish size of our wedding party and the four tables being spread out, we never felt during the evening that the room was too big and the room looks very cosy in our photos.

I will admit that before the evening, a few reviews had left me concerned that the semi-private dining room would be too dark, and could affect the quality of our photos. However, this was certainly not a problem on the night for us or our guests and having now seen our professional photographer’s photographs I can happily say that the photos turned out, and the venue looks, great.

FOOD

We ultimately selected the largest of the three tasting menus subject to one change.

Our menu was as follows:

Amuse Bouche
Unfortunately I don’t have a proper description for this dish but it was a crumbed and fried duck dish in the shape of a ball and served on a little spoon. In any event, it was delicious.

First Course
Pacific Yellowtail Crudo (Shaved trumpet mushrooms; black truffles; toasted pine nuts) OR Wild Mixed Greens (Bergamot Vinaigrette, Oro Blanco Grapefruit, Toasted almonds)

Second course
Charred Baby Octopus (Grilled Shishito Peppers; Oven-Dried Tomatoes; Basil Aioli) OR Foie Gras Custard ‘Brulee’ (Blood Orange; Toasted Cocoa Nibs; Salted Brioche)

Third Course
Maine Lobster Ravioli (Lemon-Olive Oil Puree; Sweet Corn; Mascarpone; Fresh Mint) OR
Roasted Day Boat Scallops (Braised Oxtail; Wild Mushrooms; Salted Caramel Reduction)

Fourth Course
Liberty Farms Duck (Root Vegetable Salad; Duck Leg Terrine; Cardamom Infused Honey) OR
Snake River Farms Prime NY Strip (Beef Marrow; La Ratte Potatoes; Glazed Maitake Mushrooms)

Fifth Course
Chocolate and Espresso Cream Cake (caramel sauce; smoked white chocolate ice cream) OR Roasted apple baklava (phyllo crisp; crème fraiche ice cream) OR Artisanal cheese (seasonable accompaniments; house-made bread)

After everyone had a chance to read the menus the servers came around and took everyone’s orders. Those guests with dietary issues were, as I have been told, easily accommodated and I understand they greatly enjoyed their substituted dishes (which included, for example, the fish of the day in the case of a person with a shellfish allergy for the third course and a risotto for the person not interested in the fourth course options).

I should also note that when my order was taken I asked for a side order of the veal sweet breads that I had read so much about and this was accommodated without hesitation. I am glad because it was absolutely delicious.

We also had the traditional bread service offered at the restaurant, consisting of a divine bacon brioche and also-excellent crunchy baguette served with butter and sea salt. I was pleased to note that despite our large group the servers encouraged all of our guests to try both types of bread and indeed they even offered more bread at least two other times throughout the evening.

Overall the food was excellent, as indeed all of the reviews on sites such as Chowhound have indicated. The Foie Gras Custard Brulee was definitely the “wow” dish of the evening for us and our guests and is still being talked about by my friends. Overall, my wife and I liked the food so much we tried to go back again a few days later on our own for dinner only to find the restaurant closed on Sundays much to our disappointment.

BEVERAGES

In the bar/lounge area, our guests were allowed anything off the usual Sage bar beverage menu, although most of our guests stuck to wine, cocktails or beer. I personally very much enjoyed the Chimay Cinq Cents Trappist Ale from Belgium.

In the semi-private dining room, the beverages complementing our meal consisted of sparkling water table service (noting we had the option of both sparkling and still water if we wanted, although we went with just sparkling for simplicity) together with an option of beer or wine pairing.

The wine pairings chosen by the sommelier, after taking into account my and my wife’s personal preferences, were all excellent and no one seemed to have a bad word to say about the choices. The two guests who had the beer pairing raved about the beers that were offered, leading me to wish I could go back to the restaurant (I live in Australia so it won’t be for awhile) and try a tasting menu with the beer pairing.

SERVICE

I will admit my greatest fear with the reception dinner, regardless of the venue, was that despite paying good money for a premium restaurant and venue, the inherent difficulties in serving a large group of people at once could result in subpar service compared to what one could normally expect from the restaurant.

However, I needn’t have worried. Our group was provided with an ample number of servers who ensured throughout the night that orders were taken properly; dietary issues were addressed; water provided and constantly replenished; bread provided and replenished; drinks provided; wine glasses kept full; and dishes served and taken away efficiently. Although admittedly somewhat intoxicated towards the end of the night, I honestly cannot find any fault in the service we received and I have not heard any criticism from our guests about the service either (even from one or two guests who normally find fault in anything and everything). I must admit that I especially appreciated that my now-wife and I being the first ones served on every occasion.

COST

I think anything reading this review will quickly appreciate that this was not a cheap reception, and it wasn’t. However, I was impressed that despite my concerns that my friends would destroy my bank balance through the a la carte wine service, the final price came in well under my, admittedly conservative, budget for the evening. Further, the quality of the food and impeccable service we received, which more than justified the automatic 20% gratuity, left me feeling, as I walked out of the restaurant and even now some weeks later, that despite the expense I had received extremely good value in having Sage as my wedding reception venue. If you are considering getting married in Las Vegas and can afford it, I have no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending Sage as a reception venue.

May 14, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

Wedding venue reviews: Wynn Buffet (Rehearsal Dinner) and Sage (Reception Dinner)

I got married in Las Vegas in April and thought it appropriate to post some restaurant-related reviews given we had our rehearsal dinner at Wynn Buffet and wedding reception dinner at Sage.

WYNN BUFFET (WYNN) – REHEARSAL DINNER

OVERVIEW

Overall I was happy with the Wynn Buffet as a rehearsal dinner venue. The fact that it was a buffet meant that it was simple to cater for everyone’s tastes and we were given sufficient wait staff to ensure service wasn’t a problem. I would happily recommend the Wynn Buffet for simple group events in the future.

HOW MANY PEOPLE?

27 people including two children.

ORGANISING THE EVENT

The booking process was relatively painless with a quick phone call to Wynn’s events department resulting in them immediately sending me an email confirming that the Buffet’s semi-private room was available for the required date and time and attaching a booking form that set out all the relevant information. Once the booking form was sent, a confirmation email was quickly received and my credit card charged for the full amount for the event for the guests initially confirmed. One week out from the event, I updated the guest numbers (adding more guests), and this was painless with a further charge added to my credit card for the additional guests.

VENUE

The semi-private room is just off to the side of the seating area as you walk just past the entrance to the Buffet. It is quite spacious and had a nice, simple décor for what it was. The room was set up in two long tables to accommodate our guests, although our servers indicated they could change the seating arrangements if we wanted (we didn’t). There is no door for the room, hence its semi-private nature, but there were curtains over the doorways that meant you felt as if you had your own private area anyway.

FOOD

Standard buffet-fare although the Wynn Buffet appears to continue to be one of the best buffets on the Strip featuring good seafood, dumpling and dessert stations.

SERVICE

Our group was provided with two dedicated servers, one for each table, who ensured our dishes were taken away and drink orders taken promptly. We and our guests were happy with the service.

COST

It worked out to be about $45 per person including tax and an automatic 20% service charge. This was a bit more than what the Buffet normally costs but given we were provided with a semi-private room and dedicated wait staff, noting that service has been an issue on my previous visits, the premium was worth it.

May 14, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

spoiled new yorker; what's great?

Thanks for the update Ellenost. I will be doing JR, L'Atelier and e next week and it seems my impression of the current CUT wagyu menu was correct. Pity, because if it was real Japanese wagyu I would have definitely liked to have gone to CUT.

Apr 09, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

Reception Dinner

It was the more expensive of the three so I presume it was (c).

The only change we made was to the last main course, where we made it duck or steak as the options.

Apr 07, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

Reception Dinner

Two weeks until I get hitched and then I will provide a review of Sage as a wedding reception venue. Service leading up the event (both within Sage and from Aria events management) has been fantastic, especially considering we are travelling from overseas.

Apr 06, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

Dinners finalised, now what about lunches?

I have just finished reserving dinner at e so that locks up the dinners for my 7 day visit to Las Vegas. I will be going to Joel Robuchon, L'Atelier, e by Jose Andres, Fleur, Sage and the Wynn buffet. I am passing on Guy Savoy as I went to the Paris version last May and CUT because although I really want to go there I am from Australia so the Australian wagyu option doesn't really cut (pun intended) it for me.

I also have P.U.B., Red 8 and BLT Burger for lunches but still have 4 lunches unaccounted for. Does anyone have any strong lunch recommendations for some of the newer restaurants at Aria or Cosmopolitan?

Thanks!

Mar 23, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

Reception Dinner

Our reception is this upcoming April so our report will have to wait until then, but I can say that between Aria's group dining events manager and the Sage sommelier they have thus far been very helpful and accommodating.

Mar 06, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

Reception Dinner

Cut's group dining packages are listed on the Wolfgang Puck website www.wolfgangpuck.com

In relation to Sage, I think you will struggle to fit wine and food for even 14 people at under $2,000 including tax and tip. My fiancee and I are having our wedding reception there in April and our budget per person is substantially more (no offence). Your best bet would be to look at the their 4-course menu ($80) with wine/beer pairing ($40) - That will cost more than you have budgeted for but you will at least have a guaranteed cost once tax and tip are added in.

Mar 05, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

4 days in April (has my research paid off?)

Noted! Has anyone ever reported any issues with requesting it?

Feb 05, 2011
namor in Manhattan

4 days in April (has my research paid off?)

Thanks to everyone for their comments. I anticipate doing lots and lots of walking, plus a few gym sessions at our hotel during our stay, to keep the body alive and the appetite going! My soon-to-be wife and I are getting married on the west coast and are spending most of our time there; I am dragging us to the other side of the country for four nights purely because of the food and so I want to make the most of it.

That being said, taking everyone's suggestions into consideration I will make the following adjustments:

1. I will skip the "afternoon tea" meals at Hill Country Chicken and Artisinal - hopefully I can get decent fried chicken elsewhere on this trip; if not I will follow Kathryn's suggestion of Redhead followed by Momofuku (if so, we will probably just have the pork buns from Momofuku).

2. I will swap Tuesday's lunch (pizza) with Wednesday's lunch (Marea) to provide a better balance of meals.

3. I will go with Le Bernadin over Jean-Georges for Monday's lunch and will make sure to order the egg.

4. I will go for Blue Smoke over RUB for Monday's dinner.

5. For the two undecided breakfasts we will probably just have oatmeal from the nearest Starbucks (which tends to be my staple breakfast on my US visits to allow more ambitious lunches and dinners)

6. We will go to the Modern for the beignets as our dessert on the Tuesday, unless we get enough of that particular dish elsewhere on our trip in which case we will go to Spot Dessert Bar - do we need to book either place if we are just going for dessert on a weekday?

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Blue Smoke
116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

Spot Dessert Bar
13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

Hill Country Chicken
1123 Broadway, New York, NY 10010

Feb 05, 2011
namor in Manhattan

4 days in April (has my research paid off?)

Thanks for the recommendations. I certainly like the look of Spot Dessert Bar's menu.

I will spending 7 nights in Vegas as well on this trip and going to L'Atelier and/or Joel Robuchon but thanks for suggesting the NYC version.

I will definitely be ordering the egg at Le Bernadin!

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Spot Dessert Bar
13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

Feb 05, 2011
namor in Manhattan

4 days in April (has my research paid off?)

I wasn't too interested in the Modern's main menu but I never considered going there just for dessert. Thanks for the suggestion!

Feb 05, 2011
namor in Manhattan

4 days in April (has my research paid off?)

Yeah, we went to H & H Bagels two years ago and ended up eating our bagels nearby on a park bench in the middle of winter - good times!

Feb 04, 2011
namor in Manhattan

4 days in April (has my research paid off?)

Thanks for the feedback.

RE: Noodle Bar v Ssam, I'm mainly interested in the pork buns and I guess for the rest of the meal I will see which menu intrigues me more closer to April.

Do you have any dessert-only recommendations near momofuku ssam/noodle bar or yasuda/15 east to swap for one of the Milk Bar trips?

I think I will definately go with Le Bernadin for lunch.

Feb 04, 2011
namor in Manhattan

4 days in April (has my research paid off?)

Sounds like Le Bernadin it is.

Feb 04, 2011
namor in Manhattan

4 days in April (has my research paid off?)

Hi, I’m visiting NYC from Australia in April for four nights. This is my third time to NYC but the first where I have really tried to plan out my meals.

Having spent the last two months researching what’s hot and what’s not, I have come up with the following restaurants to reflect what has appealed to me, and I have noted in brackets where I am undecided or where a specific food item has caused me to choose a particular restaurant:

Sunday
Breakfast – Normas (we went two years ago and the fiancé really liked it)
Lunch – Spotted Pig (burger with shoestring fries)
Afternoon tea – Hill Country Chicken (fried chicken)
Dinner – Momofuku Noodle Bar (pork buns, momofuku ramen)
Dessert – Momofuku Milk Bar (milk cereal soft serve ice cream)

Monday
Breakfast – Russ & Daughters (bagels with lox)
Lunch – Le Bernadin or Jean-Georges (which is consistently better?)
Dinner – R.U.B. or Blue Smoke (I am leaning towards Blue Smoke because I read somewhere the mac n cheese is excellent; my main interest for this meal is good pulled pork and mac n cheese)

Tuesday
Breakfast – undecided
Lunch – Motorino or Keste (pizza – open to other suggestions)
Afternoon tea – Artisinal (mac n cheese unless we go to Blue Smoke the night before and are satisfied with the mac n cheese there – the fiancé really loves mac n cheese)
Dinner – Yasuda (is it still good without Chef Yasuda?) or 15 East
Dessert – Momofuku Milk Bar (crack pie)

Wednesday
Breakfast - H&H Bagels
Lunch – Marea (bone marrow & octopus fusilli; any other stand-out items?)
Dinner – Per Se, Daniel or EMP in order of preference

Thursday
Breakfast – undecided
Lunch – Virgil’s (simply because I love bbq, it is next to our hotel and our flight leaves NYC at 3pm)

Any comments would be appreciated, specifically in relation to meal layout (noting that when or if I can get a reservation for Per Se will play a big part in this) or restaurants where I have indicated I am undecided.

Thanks to everyone for all their posts that have helped me compile the above list!

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Per Se
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

Russ & Daughters
179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

15 East
15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

Spotted Pig
314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

Blue Smoke
116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

H&H Bagels
639 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

Marea
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

Motorino
349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

Momofuku Milk Bar
15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

Hill Country Chicken
1123 Broadway, New York, NY 10010

Feb 04, 2011
namor in Manhattan

Alex (The Wynn) is closing on 1/15/11

Apparently Alex is closing because “high-end French dining is not what people want these days.”

http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/news/20...

Sad to hear about this as I was hoping to visit in April.

Jan 06, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

Las Vegas: 50 Essential Restaurants

Interesting that Michael Mina only got one restaurant listed. Is that simply because American Fish is newer, or is it a sign that his brand, or the quality of his restaurants, is falling?

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Michael Mina Restaurant
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

American Fish
3730 N Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89115

Jan 04, 2011
namor in Las Vegas

The Cosmo, Fleur, etc.

Any chance of uploading the menus when you get them?

EDIT - A bit more searching found me the Blue Ribbon Sushi menu at http://www.blueribbonrestaurants.com/...

Dec 14, 2010
namor in Las Vegas