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District One, pleasant surprise well worth the visit!

District One is the sort of place I can see myself at every time I come to Las Vegas. (Yet again, another shout out to the much respected QAW for bringing District One to our attention). Especially during football season when the question always seems to arise, "Where can I go to watch the game and get good food". There is certainly much to like from this Asian eatery housed in the same complex as Chada Thai and China Mama and others.

This is by no means a full review as we only sampled 5 dishes while there was a multitude of others to try. My friend and I decided that before our dinner at Chada with QAW we would go sit at the bar and have a couple of beers, maybe a bite or two and watch the conclusion to some of the afternoon NCAA action. The place is fairly spacious with a nice bar area complete with plenty of televisions. If I had to guess, in the entire restaurant there are probably a minimum of 8 TVs situated around the entire perimeter.

So we ordered the Asian version of carpaccio, a sampling of wings, the pork belly bao, the shaken beef salad and the razor clams. The weakest, by far, were the wings. Not really all that appetizing in appearance (light golden as opposed to that deep golden that wings should have) the flavors were fine but not all that integrated. It was as if each dish had the ingredients just sprinkled on as opposed to being prepared in. We gave these a 6/10. The shaken beef salad, which I had read many outstanding reviews was a good combination of textures, flavors and contrasting tempatures while the portion size was generous. Not a wow dish but very solid, 8/10. The carpaccio, like the salad, was generous in size, and like the wings, not really all that appetizing in appearance. BUT man, was it good. I say the appearance was off as some of the beef seemed a tad discolored (that was due to the acidity of the dressing which was spot on) and the addition of crispy onions (maybe shallots?). Great dish, 9/10. And finally the razor clams. At first I saw just 2 shells on the plate with a whole lot of stir fried green onions, garlic, cilantro and other "stuff". My first thought was that they dumped a bunch of junk on top of the clams and they were going to be hard to eat. Upon further review, the razor clam was pulled from the shell, chopped amongst the stir fry and plated back upon the shells. They were absolutely delicious. Cooked perfectly, flavors were like a kaleidoscope explosion. Corny? Yeah, but man were they were delicious. 9-9.5/10

Next trip in Oct I expect to come back to D1 for at a bare minimum a late afternoon lunch on a Sat or maybe roll in early evening Sat dinner to watch all the west coast college football games. Any takers (QAW I already am penciling you in!)?

36 minutes ago
LVI in Las Vegas

Joe Vicari's Andiamo in The D downtown. Solid but not destination worthy.

Oh boy...I hope you're ready. I feel a can of whoopaz being opened by someone...but I couldn't agree more. I have dined there more times than I'd like to remember and each time I leave saying "I'll never do that again!" Isn't that the definition of insanity? But as an aside, I found myself at Batalis in Eataly NYC two weeks ago. And when my friend ordered the steak for two it took everything in me to say no, but it was not my place to do so. BUT, it was actually an outstanding steak. Far better than any I have had at Carnevino and not an absurd $150 either (I think it was $95). While it will not change my opinion about Carnevino that steak restored some of Batalis cred. (Like he cares what I think!).

Mar 27, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Joe Vicari's Andiamo in The D downtown. Solid but not destination worthy.

Agree. But to his credit he did NOT indicate that did have prime either. And to that, it was fairly busy and they were actually putting us in a better spot (had us at a table in the middle of the room that would have been cramped and they put us in a very nice curtained area with plenty of room. A little smaller than the space we had at Bazaar.). So I think he was a bit distracted. But in terms of the waiter, no doubt. That, IMO, is totally inexcusable.

LIC, I just set dates for our fall trip and we will be there Oct 1-5 if there is any way for you to consider. Core group of guys will be the same, +/-. I will be in touch periodically, I have ur cell.

Mar 27, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Joe Vicari's Andiamo in The D downtown. Solid but not destination worthy.

After consulting with QAW and reading various other posts and sites I decided to give Joe Vicaris Andiamo's in the D a try. My party was looking for a good steak as well as some non-steak alternatives and Andiamo's looked like the natural fit. Along with good food we were also looking to find some lower limit craps tables to throw the bones after dinner and the downtown area seemed like a good fit (not true).

I noticed on Andiamo's website that they proudly served Pat LaFrieda meats and I was instantly excited. However none of the descriptions indicated the beef was prime, which to me is critical. So before making my reservation I called and asked. I was assured that not only do they have Pat LaFrieda meats they also carry Chicago Stockyard Meats and yes they were prime. Psyched.

Upon arriving, just to double check (my OCD in hyperdrive) I asked the maitre d' if indeed their steaks were prime and if they carry Pat LaFrieda beef. His answer was that yes they carry Pat LaFrieda meats along with Chicago Stockyard beef but they do not always have prime, but he would check with the chef (fwiw, I never heard back). After being seated our waiter proceeds to tell us that Andiamo's is proud to serve all Prime Pat LaFrieda and Chicago Stockyard beef dry aged in their own meat lockers.

The dining room itself is nice, tables spaced well and the decor inviting, which is surprising given the madhouse you have to walk through to get there! The bread service is good with the complementary caponata surprisingly good. Our table of eight ordered two tomahawk ribeye steaks, cedar planked salmon, free range brick chicken, fruitti da mare, one of the daily special pasta, a tortellaci, the homemade sausage with banana peppers, the signature meatball, lobster bisque, two salads (Ceasar and Iceburg), sauteed spinach and mashed potatoes.

Everything was at least very good with some real standouts. First off the homemade sausage and peppers was simply outstanding. Everyone thought it was the best of the meal. The pastas were just as advertised, perfectly cooked and the sauces were excellent. The Ceasar was also excellent with just the perfect amount of dressing and well portioned. The lobster bisque was a very nicely sized portion, good tempature (could have been a smidge hotter) and flavor was very good, not great. Their signature meatball had good flavor, good portion size and was good all around. (Maybe they should consider making their sausages their signature rather than the meatball.) The fruit to da mare, chicken and salmon were all very good and each person who ordered them said they would order it again. The sautéed spinach was a bit better than standard and the truffled mashed potatoes were disappointing.

Now onto the steak. The restaurant did an excellent job of portioning the steaks for those that ordered them. They were cooked PERFECTLY and each was seasoned well. They did have a garlicky butter sauce on the bottom of each plate that I thought had very good flavor however I am not sure it elevated the steak. The steak is advertised as dry aged and I could detect a good funk (funk in dry aged steak is a good thing, until it's goes too far) and a very good flavor. It was, however, not the tenderest piece of meat I have had nor was the marbling typical of a prime steak. And to belabor the point a bit more, I suspect because of the lack of tenderness, it was not prime.

Pardon the expression and rant but this is one of my big "beefs" with many steak houses, and not just in Vegas. If it's prime, advertise that (to Andiamo's credit, the website and menu do not indicate prime. To their detriment, the waiters need not falsely advertise that it is.). If it's not, don't say that it is. The reason prime is so expensive is that it is the top 2ish percent of ALL beef produced in the US. No matter how many descriptors a restaurant wants to pile on their beef, prime is prime and everything else is not.

Overall this was a very good to excellent (in spots) meal. Would I go again? Probably not. If it were close to where I was staying and I was in the mood for a meal like that, yes. But for those staying on the strip it certainly is not worthy of the time, effort, and money (cab back to hotel was $28) that it requires.

Mar 26, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Chada and Lotus of Siam: More similar than contrasting

First I would like to thank QAW for a most enjoyable meal along with his ability to be flexible and adjusting his busy schedule for two out of towners. Grazie.

While the interiors are about as opposite as can be (Chada dark and intimate vs LoS bustling and boisterous) there is more in the cooking that makes them similar than not. Take for example the garlic prawn. This dish is one of my staples at LoS and the dish at both are almost identical with the exception of an added curry sauce at the bottom of the Chada dish (we all agreed that this hindered as opposed to aiding the prawn). Like the garlic prawns, the two Nom Sods were almost identical with the nod being given to Chadas with its it subtle depth and deft spicing. Panang Ducks were virtually identical with the nod again going to Chada, not for flavor but rather the quality of the Duck itself (Chadas was well cooked and meaty while the LoS duck had more bone than meat).

As always, the drunken noodle with seabass at LoS was stellar with perfectly cooked noodle and bass with well balanced flavors. Certainly one of my favorite preparations with ample portion size. While not a fair comparison given different preparations, the bass at Chada, while nicely plated and spiced, was noticeably smaller and less interesting. Needless to say, each restaurant has its strengths and neither has much of a weakness. Both are excellent and a worthy of being at the top of anybody's dining agenda. I do not think one is better than the other as both are excellent. Gun to my head on this trip, the slightest edge to Chada.

Mar 24, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Freemont Street Help...

Just had a very solid meal at Andiamo Thursday night. Will provide review later this week.

Mar 22, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

One night for off strip Asian food - Raku vs Chada vs LoS

I will post an in depth review of Chada and LoS (and the other restaurants we visited) later this week but I think Chada is the best choice if you favor Thai over Japanese. You can sample more at Raku (simply because there are many robata selections) but I think Chada is more enjoyable. I will say this, one of my very favorite dishes in all of Las Vegas is the crab in a curry sauce with vermicelli noodles. Simply delicious!

Mar 22, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Gifting a meal

Personally, I'd opt for the Verandah at the Four Seasons. In the age category of your sister I have always loved the peace and tranquility of simply walking into the Four Seasons, let alone dining at the Verandah, especially for an early morning breakfast. In the evening they also have a fantastic dinner that I would describe as Italian/Mediterranean inspired. This way she can choose breakfast (or brunch on weekend) or dinner. Lunches are good also just not as much so as breakfast and dinner. If you have never been The Four Seasons really is an oasis you don't expect in Las Vegas.

Mar 10, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Affordable Bachelor Weekend Dinners in Vegas

The 9oz Rib eye is $62 and the 9oz flat iron is $37. Those are, for the most part, comparable with most steak places on the strip. And while Bouchon is good, not sure you can't do better closer to Mandalay, especially with a bunch of guys. Personally I'd look at a place like Gallaghers in NYNY. Excellent steaks (prime dry aged) that are same price point as Bouchon. While I am not a huge fan of Del Friscos they have a room with TVs and could be a great match for dinner and hoops. Circus Circus has driven up its prices to almost match other steak places on strip but still a good alternative. And steaks are prime there. Also close to Mandalay is Tender in the Luxor. Now I avoid the Luxor like the plague but if you look at recent reviews of Tender (ie Uhockey recently and other sites) you can see that they look to be doing some good things there. 10oz flat iron there is $30).

And finally there is always Charlie Palmers in Four Seasons (part of Mandalay Bay) and they have an excellent deal in their cut of the week. For $48 (tax tip extra) you get three course dinner including bottomless glass of wines. And if you don't like what they have that week and others do, go off menu. Their steaks are pretty good. And sitting at/in bar area allows you to watch the games.

As far as non-steak, the Cosmo has some good places especially in your age group. I'd look to make a resy at Jaleo. Really rocking atmosphere and good tapas. Scarpetta is decent as is DOCG.

As far as watching the games, it's a crap shoot those days and most always madness, I kind I love (I'm actually traveling down for the 1st 4 days of the tourney. So pumped!). Many places will be utilizing ballrooms (ie Wynn which would be my suggestion). Sports books will be almost impossible to get into unless you have a connection. So I'd call around before you go to see if you can get a reservation to one of the ballrooms and if not prepare to wake up early armed with $50 or $100 to grease some palms in order to get a decent seat. Trust me it's worth it. You don't want to be standing in the back looking in. (If you'd like I could see if I can get you on the Wynn ballroom list.).

One last quibble about what may be a trend that could be disturbing. About 2% of all beef produced in the US. So when a restaurant advertises prime, it's a big deal, IMO. So places that advertise dry aged, black angus and a multitude of other descriptors without saying prime are most likely serving non-prime beef. Yet their prices are as high as other establishments that do serve prime. And to those that say "well they told me it is prime" I ask, why isn't that in print? So I would be very hesitant to go to a place that does not advertise USDA Prime, no matter what they advertise. Just my $.02.

Hope that's a help and have a great time! Vegas for the 1st week of the tourney is probably my favorite time to go there. It's nonstop!

Mar 08, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Pasta Carbonara with Peas

Mar 04, 2015
LVI in Recipes

Who's up for LoS dinner May 1st or 3rd? (or both!)

Sadly, had to cxl. Became absurdly expensive to even consider. However, will be there in three weeks for NCAA tourney. 3/18-3/22, let me know your interest.

Feb 27, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Who's up for LoS dinner May 1st or 3rd? (or both!)

Goose bumps! Maybe LoS Fri and another place to be named later Sunday?!

Feb 22, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Who's up for LoS dinner May 1st or 3rd? (or both!)

We had a discussion several months ago about a possible gathering at Lotus with several CHers. Who has interest?

Feb 22, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Dim Sum/Seafood

Well, now that's different...my opinion. My opinion is that there are places in Vegas to satisfy the dim sum craving but I'd say none are mind blowing, or, take it a step further, worth taking two shuttles for. NONE.

My opinion, and that's all it is, my opinion, rent a car for $15 a day on HW or PL and park the car for free at hotel. That way you can go to all sorts of places that not having a car will not allow. One of the most underutilized options in LV.

Now back to your question...As I said above, both places can make for a great experience. But both can miss. And I think that is generally true with many dim sum experiences. While some may say nay, I say yeah. PPP and KJ are very worthy (I believe it was the Wall Street Journal that labeled PPP the best Chinese in America) and only you can say if you like it.

Feb 20, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Dim Sum/Seafood

There are two reasonable options for you and both can be very good to excellent (and at times mediocre and disappointing...but I'd err on the side of it being very good), Ping Pang Pong at the Gold Coast and KJ Dim Sum and Seafood at Rio. And both offer complementary shuttles to the strip, which I believe the Hard Rock also offers.

Feb 20, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Julian Serrano Compared to Jaleo

You about covered it all. Very similar, nod to Jaleo for a bit more consistency and definitely louder/more lively.

Feb 12, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Best Steak north strip

About the only reason to consider Delmonico is corkage.

Feb 07, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Lunch tomorrow after 6hr flight

Staying with the asian theme, China Mama.

Feb 06, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Best Steak north strip

Yes, I do like the SF Giants...love the real Giants though (no disrespect meant).

Tend to agree with your Bazaar Meats assessment. Not steak house, plenty of meats, best dish has the word steak in it but its not cooked (tartare to die for), and would almost classify the restaurant as bizarre. Have a great trip and looking forward to report.

Feb 04, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Rao's? Giada? Sinatra? Any or all?

Chef at the Veranda in the Four Seasons is turning out some exemplary Italian dishes (see write up by QAW) although room a tad quiet, sterile and lacking buzz. Nice, but quiet. Also hear Alex Stratta is returning soon, off strip, and may be worth a ride (although I hear there may be a bump in the road there...QAW?)

Feb 04, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Carb Load For Red Rock Canyon Marathon

Why not hit a buffet?

Feb 04, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Best Steak north strip

Asking for the best steak in Las Vegas is like trying to get a consensus favorite football team from everyone. You will get varying opinions (and at the end of the day that is exactly what you are getting, each persons opinion, nothing more) from most everybody. Personally, like sushi and great Italian I think steak is not a Las Vegas strong suit. That being said, you want old school, try the Golden Steer. Bazaar is very good, extremely expensive and not a CH favorite (the way the SLS is headed it may not be around a lot longer). You've been to CUT and loved it (me too), SW, not so much (I like, love "scene"), agree Circus Circus (there was a day...), totally disagree about Delmonico, think it's bad, and I'd fade Carnevino, WAY hype, inconsistent and extremely expensive (although some will disagree). Most of the other "steak joints" will not be worth mentioning as not really walking distance. But then again, some will disagree with that too...and I'm a Giant fan. I'd bet not everybody else is!?

Feb 04, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Phil's Italian Steakhouse-Treasure Island

Top rated hotels on strip are not that much more than the equivalent downtown hotel. And if I'm not mistaken there are no 5* downtown. And you can generally get some of the best strip hotels for $200 or less per night. And as JRSD said, you both deserve the "over the top-ness". Stay at Four Seasons for a truly relaxing and over the top time. And guaranteed under $200.

Best of health to you BOTH!

Jan 30, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Brief trip report Jan 23-26

I will +1. Especially late when everything is closed.

Jan 29, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Phil's Italian Steakhouse-Treasure Island

If you are looking at V&A consider Andiamos in the D. Do a search on this board for a couple very positive reviews.

Jan 28, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Brief Trip Report Jan2015

Just my $.02

Pull out stops...Guy Savoy, Joel Robuchon. Very few complaints except price.

Lotus is a must. Raku has always been great for me (sans the most disappointing omakase) but seems to be getting increased grumblings lately. Raku Sweets after a must.

Agree about putting Carnevino on back burner, but that's my opinion (and many others) while others say best ever.

ė, while expensive is unlike any other experience. Which makes it an almost must, as both food and atmosphere are great.

Jan 28, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas
1

José Andrés' Ku Noodle May Go, Griddle Cafe May Change at SLS Las Vegas

Zin you make valid and great points. And to that, as I mentioned above, SLS lacks a draw, lacks location and lacks capital. Each of these restaurants would thrive in Bellagio, Mirage, Mandalay and many others because of the foot traffic alone but also everything you mentioned.

it is sad how commoditized space has become in casinos, forcing restaurants to charge $17 for ramen and all the other ridiculous prices we banter about. Had gambling revenues continued to grow like they did before the crisis we wouldn't be having this conversation. But it did and here we are.

Jan 28, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

José Andrés' Ku Noodle May Go, Griddle Cafe May Change at SLS Las Vegas

After a very good meal in October with a couple fellow CHers at Bazaar Meats we all chatted for a while in the casino. And this was the very outcome we all dreaded for the newly opened SLS. SLS was the pig and the restaurants and clubs were the lipstick. Not to mention location. There is a reason Starbucks is as successful as they are and one of their first priorities when opening is LOCATION. If you are going to open (re-open) on the MOST desolate location on the strip you better have the funding (which I have read they did not) and you better attract the people. Sadly I would venture to guess that many of they places will have shuttered by the time I make it out again in March (granted the good Mrs VI approves) or Oct for my yearly trip.

Jan 27, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Trip Report - D.O.C.G., Border Grill, Julian Serrano, MoZen Bistro, Bellagio Buffet, Panevino, Jean Phillipe Patisseire

There was an Indian restaurant in NYC that served their lunch brunch that way (name escapes me so I apologize) and you could order as much as you wanted. And the quality was outstanding to boot. That's the only reason I asked, will have to research for my next trip.

Jan 25, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Trip Report - D.O.C.G., Border Grill, Julian Serrano, MoZen Bistro, Bellagio Buffet, Panevino, Jean Phillipe Patisseire

Are you limited to just the one entree? Or could you eat/order as much as you like? At $64, if unlimited, may prove to be a veritable bargain, if you will.

Jan 25, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas