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Round and Round they Go; Where the Chef Stops, Nobody Knows . . . .

A5 you just broke my heart. The dungeness club was EXACTLY the lunch I remember. They also had a killer crab soup. I loved that Benedict but the duck confit eggs and boar sausage scramble were the ones that tugged at my heart strings! Had recently and still excellent, and still expensive, sigh.

Aug 21, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Round and Round they Go; Where the Chef Stops, Nobody Knows . . . .

I could have sworn that it did at one point but wasn't sure so did not mention. The thing that Botero has going for it is its location. There is a lot more foot traffic than Tableau gets and therefore I think it's at a greater advantage. The only criticism that I can lob on Tableau is that it is very expensive. Product has been good but last time we ate lunch there it approached $100pp (hard not to have a couple drinks when sitting on the porch in late September, early August).

Aug 21, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Round and Round they Go; Where the Chef Stops, Nobody Knows . . . .

Sad about Bartolotta but not all that surprising. As casinos profits are squeezed they are looking to cut expenses at every corner. And I imagine the cost of keeping Mr. Bartolotta onboard was seen as yet another way to save. He may also have decided that his time at Wynn was enough and time to concentrate closer to home. Purely conjecture on my part. It will be interesting to see if they continue to spend the amount of money they currently do to import the quality of product going forward. The amount of money the Wynn spends to import the quality of seafood they do is staggering. Sadly, my guess is that they wind it down. Again, purely conjecture on my part.

As far as Botero becoming a three meal venue, I think that is smart. Botero wa, IMO, yet another over priced casino steak house that never really gained traction due to the mediocre fare it served. There are very few hotels that have mastered the three meal venue well enough. Wynn has Tableau that does two extremely well but I have always questioned why they have not tried to serve dinner there. Veranda at the Four Seasons has three but consistency issues at dinner keep it from being excellent at all three meals.

Zin, we had mentioned in the past about getting a group together for a big dinner at Lotus (at least I think it was you…). If you are still interested and around the first weekend in October any interest? Also, careful quoting Eater. While many enjoy reading Eater others have scorned those that do.

Aug 21, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Chada Street -- First Impressions?

Put your bib on, 43 days and we can tackle any menu(s) you would like!!

Aug 19, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Japaneiro: Outstanding food in unlikely location

That's good to know. Would you happen to know which publication this critic was quoted in?

Aug 08, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas
2

Interesting or fun or can't miss or just a good value?

Stick to your gut...sorry for typo.

Aug 06, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Interesting or fun or can't miss or just a good value?

I'm sure you are going to get the range of opinions but I will give you my $.02. First, you have a great list, stick to your guy. Second, while Fat Choy is good and interesting, if you are going to be taking a cab all the way there why not go to Lotus of Siam (unless of course you all are not in the mood for Thai)? Lotus is, by some measures, the best restaurant in Las Vegas and when you go with a larger group you are able to sample many of the delights that make it so special. We always go with our group when we are in town (annual fall guys trip) and it never disappoints (either lunch or dinner. Personally, I love going for lunch as it will tend to be less frenetic and crazy.) Third, Bazaar Meats is an excellent restaurant and good choice and if they still have their special summer menu you will not only have excellent food but at bargain prices (look for a recent QAW write up with the menu attached. Quite impressive!) Very jealous, have a great trip!

Aug 06, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas
1

Japaneiro: Outstanding food in unlikely location

I respect those that have a bad meal. I really do. And as QAW and I discussed during our meal, there were things on the menu that were outrageously good but some other things missed its mark. I will be interested to see if I am as impressed with it in October as I was in June. Time will tell. (FWIW, the prawns (not fish) were not a dish we loved. The fact that they were from Nigeria was the most impressive aspect of the dish). And as far as the atmosphere, it ain't for everyone, that's for sure!

But one cannot criticize places for price when they have never eaten in an establishment (not Japaneiro) nor should they be allowed to say using "cheap oil" when they have no clue as to the provenance of the oil (I don't for the record). Excessive use of truffle oil is a flaw, period.

Aug 01, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Japaneiro: Outstanding food in unlikely location

My intention has NEVER been to "discredit" you. By being critical of restaurants you have never been to, making untrue statements and unfair comparisons, you have allowed for the word "discredit" to be brought to the forefront (and let's be clear, I never used the word discredit. All I have done is state facts.).

And for the record, prawns are not fish, whether it is served in Las Vegas or France.

Aug 01, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas
2

Japaneiro: Outstanding food in unlikely location

From your most recent Bartolotta muse..."We paid tasting menu price, close to $200/per before tip, but it was definitely discounted (Slipper Lobster/Langoustine plate *for 2* alone would have been ~$400 ALC)"

And do not kid yourself that you have not made the same type of references in the past, including Carnevino and Twist.

Jul 31, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Japaneiro: Outstanding food in unlikely location

Michael, it is a shame that you did not like your dinner at Japaneiro especially given the average 4.5 star review on Yelp and professional food critics like John Curtas raving about it. As many people say when they have bad experiences, "maybe it was just an off night". But the one that that continues to trouble me about your restaurant musings is your continued rant about pricing. Is it really fair to the hard working people of Japaneiro to complain about high prices when there is really no basis for such a rant? Especially when one of your favorite destinations in Las Vegas, Carnevino, serves non-prime filet for $52, a non-prime dry aged ribeye for $152 (the prime dry aged ribeye here at Japaneiro is only $65 for 24oz. vs Carnevino's non-prime 28 oz for $152!!!). You also mention them using a "cheap truffle oil". I am very curious as to the brand they use. I would like to avoid buying it in the future and it would be helpful if you told all your readers the brand. I also wonder if the fact that there were no comps or special treatment (like skyping the owner in Timbuktu or eating in the the private champagne room in the back) jaded your review? I guess we will never know.

Jul 31, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas
2

48 hours in Vegas

+1 for the bubblyone!

Jul 25, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

48 hours in Vegas

carnicero, will you be renting a car? Personally I think having a rental car in Vegas opens a whole host of possibilities that otherwise you wouldn't have. And at $15 a day, it's cheaper than taxis (parking at casinos is free). I am from the NYC area and find myself going to In-n-Out all the time when I am in LV. Same thing with going to Philly, I can't get enough of Genos or Pats or any cheesesteak for that matter (personally the best cheesesteak I have had is in Swarthmore but that is a discussion for another time). I always say that taste is subjective yet we constantly hear people saying that they wouldn't go to places because they don't like this or that. Go to In-n-Out! It rocks. And to those that say the same stuff there tastes the same here, I'd say, why go to any steakhouse when you can get a steak there? Prosciutto imported in Topeka tastes the same as Prosciutto imported in NYC? An epoisse there is the same as an spouse here? Silly!

Depending on what you are in the mood for, one of my favorite things to do is a food crawl. Nibble here, chow there. Vegas notoriously makes you change your schedule. Whether you are on a run at the craps table, hanging in the Sportsbook or sipping cocktails poolside, the best intended plans go out the window. Decide what YOU want to eat, have several options lined up and enjoy! There are a plethora of great bites in Las Vegas.

Jul 25, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

48 hours in Vegas

Need a better editor! Insanely EXPENSIVE. Sorry for confusion.

Jul 24, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

48 hours in Vegas

I'd add a +1 for ė ONLY if you have the budget for such. I would also keep the Andres theme going and take advantage of the $65 special summer menu at Bazaar meats. It's an amazing deal given the quantity and quality of food that you get (QAW recently posted pictures and menu). And in terms of cured meats, the Jamón ibérico belota is about as good as it gets. Insanely inexpensive (I don't remember the price at Bazaar but I think it's $35 an ounce at Jaleo. I think Bazaar is comparable in price.).

Jul 23, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas
1

Coming to Vegas for Black Hat - Lunch/Dinner Recomendations

RM is a decent option for a quick lunch. Not cheap but the two lunches I have had there have been very good.

I just recently had a superlative dinner at Charlie Palmers. The best pasta dish (agnolotti stuffed with whipped ricotta) I have had in Las Vegas along with the best steak I have ever had in LV (dry aged prime NY Strip). CP also has two very good "value menus" (Cut of the Week and the Michael Jackson) and have been generally good, not great.

Another poster on this site (QAW) just recently opined about his recent dinner at Bazaar Meats, which on its own is a tremendous restaurant. But with their $65 summer special menu its looks like an absolute steal. Certainly worth a look. The only draw back is that it is at the other end of the strip.

Jul 22, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Birthday Dinner on Strip for 16 year old

Wholeheartedly agree. But you need to temper your criticism of a restaurant when you actually have never been. It is not fair to the hard working people at Giada. Public forums should be about trust and criticizing a restaurant that you have never been to certainly brings into question your intentions. Especially when you criticize one for outlandish pricing while praising another with the same price point.

Jul 20, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Birthday Dinner on Strip for 16 year old

While some people on this board may enjoy reading some of your comments about restaurants I, for one, find it a bit insulting, especially to the restaurant Giada, for unfairly accusing them of "outlandishly priced" items on their menu. 1st, I must ask, have you been to Giada and if so would you be kind enough to point me to your "review"? 2nd, a closer look at Giada's menu vs Portofino (disclaimer, I have NOT been to Portofino so I, in good conscience, cannot comment on it) will see that their pasta prices are almost exactly the same price point. And while Giada may have higher priced entrees, I would not exactly classify a 28oz ribeye ($79) an entree for one, while like items are also comparably priced.

Jul 20, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Birthday Dinner on Strip for 16 year old

While it does not get a lot of attention on this board you may want to consider Giada at the Cromwell. Beautiful dining room, above average food (can be excellent and is right next door to Flamingo. Some may claim the high tariffs can be hard to swallow, I would argue that they are, unfortunately, closer to the Strip "norm".

Also, when are you going? If you are going before the end of summer many, restaurants are running specials that are absurd. Like the $65 meal at Bazaar meats that I wish I could take advantage of. A friend just recently went and texted me pictures that made my mouth drool and said the quality was excellent. I'm sure other restaurants are offering such deals but if this deal should still be around when you are in LV I would seriously consider going. It's a great restaurant but at $65pp, it's an insane deal.

Jul 17, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

L'atelier or Jaleo or something else

Personally I would choose Jaleo over l'atelier. Atmosphere alone (Cosmo vs MGM) is a big selling point. But I will say neither really pushes the boundaries much. And most of the bites at Jaleo that are worth going for will make that $100 threshold tough to adhere to.

I also 2nd Philber's Sage selection (disclaimer there: our meal far surpassed $100pp but we did not stick to conventional ordering).

There are a whole list of great places off strip that will allow you to sample some of the best Las Vegas has to offer and if you have a rental car or another form of transportation some of these places can be mind blowing at a fraction of what the strip establishments charge.

Jul 13, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

The Noodle Man quick review

My buddy and I split the Zhou Beef Noodle soup, Mongolian Beef pancake and the spicy pork wontons. No doubt the quality of the noodles in the soup. Perfectly cooked and great texture. Beef in the soup was a little too tough with much of the tendon and connective tissues underdone to the point of being rubbery. The broth had decent flavor but for me was too watery and it was a decent sized portion. The spicy pork wontons were good flavor and the wrappers had great texture. I found the meat in the wonton to be a tad too dense though. The Mongolian beef pancakes were quite delicious and if I were to be critical it would be with the beef filling was a bit thin.

This was my first visit and this was a small sample set obviously but I am not sure it can supplant China Mama as my cheap go to lunch when I am in Las Vegas. I really wish I could take the best of China Mama and combine it with The Noodle Man and make the perfect combination.

Jul 10, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Charlie Palmer's, Veranda, D 1, Chada and other musings

And your friend calls ahead to reserve every last surf clam on the menu along with the sea snails...I love the company I keep!

Jul 09, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Charlie Palmer's, Veranda, D 1, Chada and other musings

When we first arrived the place was about half full and when we left there was a line. We really did not experience any lengthy delays and I would argue that they could have spaced the time a little more. But that was simply due to the gluttonous nature of the evening and not the restaurant.

Jul 09, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Charlie Palmer's, Veranda, D 1, Chada and other musings

Blush...I had been remiss in getting those thoughts out so in my rush to finalize (did not even proof) I neglected the Raku Sweets thoughts along with mentioning our food crawl. So without further adieu...

This was my 1st experience at Raku Sweets and truth be told I am not sure it will be a regular stop for me. Disclaimer: I am not a huge dessert guy so that must be taken into account. There is absolutely no question about the quality, integrity and flavors that the staff at RS put in front of their clientele. Truly stunning works of art. So much so that I was more impressed with the visuals than by the flavors. By no means were the tastes off, muddled or muted but just not as beautiful as the finished products. The service was flawless and as friendly and full of pride as you can imagine. A wonderful experience.

Jul 09, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Charlie Palmer's, Veranda, D 1, Chada and other musings

I will try to make this a fairly brief review of my recent trip to Las Vegas. I'll start with what I thought was my most surprising dinner and that was at Charlie Palmer's. In the past I have enjoyed the Cut of the Week while finding their regular menu items uninventive, tired, heavy and boring. (Both the CoW and Michael Jackson menus looked good and one person whom I was seated next to at the bar really enjoyed her MJ dinner.) The 1st night I had the Bellwether Farms Ricotta Agnolotti along with the slow cooked veal cheeks. The agnolotti may be the absolute best pasta I have had in Las Vegas. Light, full of flavor and of impeccable ingredients. Simply stunning. The plating of the veal cheeks were a work of art (I wish I took a picture of the plate) with what looked like red paint splattered all over the plate (they called it Beet Variations), some small florets of Romanesco scattered about. There were 3 fairly sized veal cheeks that were perfectly cooked. The only thing a little off was the slightest flavor of bbq sauce on the cheeks. Certainly not bad just was not expecting that flavor and seemed a bit misplaced.

Our next dinner started as what was suppose to be a bit of a food crawl. Agnolotti at CP, a couple of pastas at Veranda ending with some seafood at RM (too full to make the RM leg of the crawl). The agnolotti again were perfect. My dining companion was in the mood for steak (ugh, not what I was wanting) so we decided to stay for some meat. The previous night another friend had the rib eye which was perfectly fine but not the way I liked it cooked (he ordered medium, closer to well) so I really can't comment on it. He loved it. So we ordered the dry aged bone in NY Strip. Simply stated, this may be the best steak I have had in Las Vegas in years, if not ever. Meat quality was stunning (what you can only get when ordering prime beef), the dry age funk was at the apex of perfection and it was cooked perfectly. I found it far better than the steak we had previously at Japaneiro (although not really fair to compare rib eye vs NY Strip IMO). Again…stunning.

I ate 3 breakfasts at the Veranda and all 3 were great. Great setting, great service and great food. Still my favorite breakfast destination in Las Vegas, although pricey. However, dinners at Veranda continue to puzzle me. I have had wonderful meals followed by lapses in execution that ruin the meal. This was present the night of our food crawl. We ordered the Tagliatelle ai Porcini and the Traditional Carbonara. The pastas in each were the perfectly al dente but the carbonara was over cooked to the point it almost solidified while the Porcini sauce was watery and uninspiring. Given the quality that can come out of this kitchen I was completely underwhelmed. As usual the service was wonderful but the lack of consistency at dinner make it a bit of an enigma and hard to return for dinner.

D 1 is a place that gets very little attention on this board and I'm not sure why. Maybe like Japaneiro some may say the regular menu is uninspiring and boring. Personally the limited amount of items I have ordered have been good. However, the special seafoods are in short, spectacular. On this visit we had the sea snails and surf clams. Just for future reference if these specials are on the board and you decide to order them I would strongly suggest that you have the sea snails first followed by the surf clams. The sea snails are a large order (8-10 per order?) in an amazing broth with just the right amount of heat and spice. I could eat these suckers (no pun intended) every day. And the broth…holy cow. Delicious. The surf clams are very large, and like the razor we have had on other occasions, were chopped and cooked with peppers (jalapeño I'm pretty sure) and a not too heavy sauce (think Vietnamese beurre blac sauce) that envelope each bit is a wonderful experience. I can't recommend D 1 enough, although maybe I shouldn't as the specials are generally in short supply and I want them all for myself!!!

And finally, Chada. What else can I say. Each meal I have had here has been perfect and satisfying. What LoS remains my favorite all time LV restaurant Chada is quickly becoming a regular in the rotation and should not be missed. Oh that crab and angel hair…it is a perfect dish.

I would also like to take 5 seconds and again thank QAW. What a perfect gentleman and dining companion. His knowledge about all things Las Vegas is intoxicating as well as his taste for food. He is about as under the radar as a person could be, never trumpeting his arrival for the purpose of gaining attention or favors. Truly a delight. TY QAW for yet another wonderful trip. Can't wait for October!

Jul 08, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Japaneiro: Outstanding food in unlikely location

Also one other thing that QAW and I discused was that we did not even scratch the surface of the menu and while we were really impressed with our dinner the conundrum is if the specials do not change often what will draw people back. This is a question that "Strip" restaurants do not have to address as much given the massive amount of people who visit. For a restaurant like Japaneiro their audience is staggeringly limited to locals and those of us like me who are willing to avoid the Strip, which I would say is an extremely small %.

Jun 30, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Japaneiro: Outstanding food in unlikely location

What he said...

Just to allay the A/C and sewage points, neither was an issue for us.

Jun 30, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Long Trip Report 6/22/15 to 6/25/15

AMen. But damn them ;-)

Jun 29, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Long Trip Report 6/22/15 to 6/25/15

Oh the pain Zin! My daughter took the caviar spoon out of my wife's hand Christmas '05 and shoveled and spoonful into mouth. We knew she wouldn't like it...now 13 she still loves it!

Jun 29, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Japaneiro: Outstanding food in unlikely location

I was delighted when QAW alerted me to a recent ELV post about Japaneiro. Mr. Curtas said it had one of the best steaks in the valley. So off QAW and I went with another friend to sample some delightfully balanced and wonderfully flavored food presented by a proud and friendly staff. The first impression when you drive to this location (7315 West Warm Springs Road, exactly a 15 min, easy drive from my hotel) is that it better have good food to bring people in. The specials board is front and center when you walk to the smallish but well layer out dining room.

I made what I though was a huge mistake by leaving my glasses back at the hotel so I was blind trying to read the menu, which may have turned out to be a blessing! But after reading the specials board (Fresh Japanese abalone, prime dry aged rib eye, uni here and uni there, Nigerian giant prawn, and so on...) I knew the menu would have to be explored another time.

I will not go into each individual bite and dish as my time is limited this morning (trying to qualify for WSOP) but will say that the flavors that chef and owner Kevin Chong (what a nice and proud gentleman) coaxes out of his dishes along with the laser like focus and layering is at times mesmerizing (salmon belly cevichė, uni bites, Foie/scallop bite...). Does everything work with absolute precision? In my opinion no. Pretty damn close though! I found the bone marrow and the bone marrow filet to be a bit clunky (although the filet was cooked PERFECTLY and of top quality) and the duck and Foie too rich (to be fair about that dish though, it was ordered late and was the final of something like 12 full sized dishes so maybe try it again).

Finally, to address Mr. Curtas' claim about one of the best steaks in the valley...it could be (we did not sample the tomahawk chop and I am referring to the dry aged ribeye only). The steak was perfectly cooked, sliced and presented on a wooden board adorned with 6-8 different types of salt and two dipping sauces. My preference and what I would suggest is to skip the sauces. Again, they were not bad (actually very tasty) but I felt it detracted from the quality of the beef. Also one word of warning about this steak. Ribeyes are inherently fatty and when the steak is presliced before it comes to the table many pieces of the glorious meat still have some fat attached. Personally it doesn't bother me and if proportioned right will enhance the experience.

Price-wise, I think one can dine for a very reasonable tab (at the moment they are BYOB so that keeps tabs reasonable). Our bill for 3 was close to $200 each. BUT, and that is a BIG BUT, we had about 12 dishes, 2 of which were the $90 a piece abalone.

Kevin, server Jeffery and the rest of the staff (please forgive me forgetting the name of the wonderful sous chef!) have much to be proud of. This is a place that should be on everybody's radar. And of course, as always, dining with QAW is always delightful and what a great gentleman!

Now, where to tonight?

Jun 29, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas