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Vegas Trip Itinerary with 2 + 4 year old

All steaks places in Vegas are absurdly over priced. I mentioned above that I was a big fan of Bazaar but price point makes it hard to justify (they do have some really tasty dishes, especially the greatest steak tartare I have ever tasted). CUT is great but not all that much cheaper that Bazaar. And Maestros is not in the same league, IMO.

May 18, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Vegas Trip Itinerary with 2 + 4 year old

My $.02 (have 3 kids and was in similar situation, ages, years ago with them in Vegas). Raku is definitely an option, especially if they are used to restaurants. Might I suggest that you book early in the evening and see if you can get one of the private tables in the back. Could be perfect solution. Dave's insight on the menu items is spot on.

I'd avoid Bazaar (I'm a big fan, not so much of price point though) and B&B (too loud for kids and way too inconsistent).

LoS is a great idea (especially if kids like food like that) and it is still one of my kids favorite restaurants.

Peppermill, while a scene, may be too much for kids. Plus I've never been a big fan of the mediocre food and ginormous portions. If you are renting a car I'd consider Mr. Mama's. Nothing adventurous in terms of culinary treasures but a VERY reasonable tab, excellently prepared breakfast, and almost 100% all homemade (crazy good cinnamon buns that your kids will go crazy over! Not to mention the heart stopping chicken fried steak covered in a sausage gravy!).

Love tacos el Gordo but hate that the strip location closed. Probably worth the drive.

China Mama is a great, cheap Chinese option up Spring Mountain off the strip. Some really great items on the menu. Also in that same shopping mall is District 1 which has booths and has some great food. And of course, Chada, although not 100% sure it would be a great atmosphere for kids but food fantastic (oh I dream of that crab curry).

May 17, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Recommend a "casual" (or at least "casual-ish") steakhouse?

As mentioned already, you can get into any of the steak joints in Vegas dressed that way. It boils down to what you want to spend (from absurd to budget) and what kind of atmosphere you want (whimsical to old school). I would look at SW, CUT, Gordon Ramsey Steak and The Old Homestead.

May 10, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Trying to duplicate garlic prawns at Lotus of Siam

I'll take the over 200 on that!

Apr 25, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Help pick a fabulous lounge or restaurant bar for drinks and appetizers... and a restaurant for a casual dinner

What hotel are you staying as to narrow the list?

Apr 15, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Help pick one restaurant for special dinner in Vegas

I think uhockeys list is great. I'd add that 4 women 40 years young would do well to stay in Cosmo for dining and drinks. So to his list I would add Jaleo. Jaleo would easily keep you under the $100pp threshold while giving you a wider variety of things to choose from.

Apr 15, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Steak Question

You will get very few arguments about that statement.

Pure steak, gun to my head...1) Old Homestead. 2) SW or Gordon Ramsey

Could make a case for many others, but I don't think you can go wrong here.

Apr 11, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Steak Question

The question itself is a bit confusing. Do you want to know who has the best steak? Throwing experience in there involves price, location and ambiance, no?

So in terms of steak, look for places that serve prime. Sounds easy but it's not. Many places will tell you they serve "Black Angus 28 day dry aged...Our steaks are not graded but are better quality" and so on. No matter what is stated, prime beef is best. Period.

SW has been consistently good up until David Walzog started splitting time between SW and Lakeside.

Prime in Bellagio been around a while, very good but too many hiccups.

Gordon Ramsey has excellent supplier, in fact many consider the best in Pat LaFrieda. And execution is consistently excellent.

The Old Homestead also has Pat LaFrieda prime and it is excellent.

Gallaghers in NYNY has excellent prime dry aged steaks.

CUT is very good to excellent with probably the best apps of all the steak joints and also serve certified Kobe.

And there are many more...

The other thing to consider when asking for others favorite places is the subjectivity of the question. Many people find the funk of dry aging a bit much while others relish it (like me).

But I think pretender414 has the best answer...your backyard.

Apr 11, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Looking for restaurant to handle large group (35) for under $60/per person

Well I am not sure either place has what you would consider ideal setting for a large group. But the reason I suggested these places is because if it was an off night you may have the place to yourself. I would call both places to see if they would be amenable to a group like yours. Odds are they will not be BUT I'm not sure many places off strip would turn down.a guaranteed 35 plates on a Sunday night.

Apr 11, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Looking for restaurant to handle large group (35) for under $60/per person

Depending on the night, call District One. I bet they'd consider. Also I'd try Chada, especially if an off night (like a Tues or Wednesday).

Apr 09, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Allegro in Wynn, food surprisingly good

Thanks Larry, thought I was losing it.

Apr 04, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

Allegro in Wynn, food surprisingly good

After sitting in the sports book for hours we got a little hungry and wanted more than the standard Zoozacrackers sandwiches and we did not want to leave the complex. Allegro, which is next door to the Wynn sports book, was the ideal choice. But over the years the food that has come from that spot (not Allegro but prior attempts at restaurants) have been mediocre at best so I was a bit skeptical to give Allegro a try. We decided to order the Prosciutto platter, one Bianca pizza and one Meatball pizza.

The Prosciutto platter was excellent albeit expensive $29, but what would you expect from the Wynn? If my memory serves me correct there were 3 different types of Prosciutto along with a pile of Mortadella. The grilled bread that accompanied it was perfect. Perfect char. Perfect texture. Perfect thickness. This platter was the epitome of simplicity and when you present a quality product there is very little you have to do with it.

The pizzas (I'm really not quite sure I'd call them pizzas as they could easily pass for flatbread) were excellent. The meatball was the right balance of cheese, sauce and meatball. It was a delicious pie, perfectly cooked with a nice chared crust. And as good as the meatball pizza was, the Bianca was that much better. I am a sucker for Prosciutto and arugula pizzas. I think they offer a wonderful balance of textures, tempatures and flavors to make them the ultimate pies. And this version was one of the better I have had. Again, well chared and ample balance of green to protein and shaved Parmesan scattered along with a drizzle of olive oil.

If I have a criticism of the place it is in the bar service (I love sitting at bars and rarely have any issues). One day sitting at a table was smooth and flawless. Bar...not so much. Took forever to get the attention of just one of the bartenders (only 10 spots at the bar...cmon folks). Then when I ordered a large Dogfish 60 I was delivered a small one. When I went to take a sip I noticed a gnat/fly in the head of the beer. So I called the bartender over and pointed it out. I also let them know that I ordered a large. They were very apologetic in acknowledging that it should have been a large and that indeed a gnat was in the foam. Is it just me or shouldn't a bartender offer to pay for "that one"? We did have several drinks. I just found it a little off putting.

Apr 02, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

District One, pleasant surprise well worth the visit!

There is absolutely no comparison between D1 and Lagasse when you talk about food or drinks. Lagasse is industrial assembly line cooking without any soul. Lagasse is a decent place to watch games, and would give it a serious nod over District One in terms of comfort (that is the one thing I think D1 could capitalize on...creating a lounge like area as opposed to just chairs and tables).

Apr 01, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

District One, pleasant surprise well worth the visit!

Not a bad scene either, if you're in to that sort of thing...

Mar 31, 2015
LVI in Las Vegas

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!)?

Mar 31, 2015
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