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Nassau/Paradise Island in Bahamas

Just tried the Mesa Grill: a three restaurant chain located in New York, Las Vegas and The Cove at Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

It serves good, dependable high-end Southwestern cuisine in a lovely setting. The quesadilla is more like a small pizza and is as good as you will find.

The chili rallano is the best we have ever had, and we have had many.

The topper was the dessert of profiteroles topped with Mexican chocolate. It was a chocolate laced with cinnamon, cloves, and what seemed to be a bit of chili pepper.

Michael, my son, particularly enjoyed his double espresso when he put in a spoonful of the chocolate.

Barry Shulman

Atlantis Paradise Island

There are 34 places to eat at Atlantis in Paradise Island, and the very best is Café Martinique located in the Marina Village area.

You know that you have arrived at someplace special when you walk into the 10-foot high front door, and then into a grand glass-enclosed elevator for the one flight climb.

The ambiance is exactly what we like, with the background piano and singer that are complementary to the elegance, without being overbearing.

We had various items such as steak tartar, crab cakes, mango salad, Chateau Briand, grouper and lobster. All were outstanding and definitely worth the visit.

Barry Shulman

Nassau/Paradise Island in Bahamas

If you like old world colonial charm, then this is the place for you. It is a hotel, restaurant, cigar factory, bar, and an all around place to be in Nassau for old world nostalgia.

The food here is great, and served with a marvelous charm. Dinner feels like you are eating in the Governor’s private dining room, with all of the appropriate accouterments, including furnishings and proper service.

They even have an in-house cigar factory, and roll their own. Cigar fans claim are just right, but I wouldn’t know about that.

Depending on whom you listen to or what you read, they have a wine cellar that houses between 180,000 and 250,000 bottles. They have the third most valuable private wine collection in the word.

Our party of 13 consumed about six different wines, and each was delicious and quit reasonable.

JetSetWay tip: The wine list here is a book, but they will help you select one that pleases your pallet and accompanies your meal at a reasonable price.

Barry Shulman

Rumjungle @ Mandalay Bay

Rumjungle is a fun restaurant in Mandalay Bay, known for its selection of 225 rums in the world’s largest rum bar.

It serves open fire cooked met in the Brazilian style where they bring unlimited quantities of various varieties right to the table. I happen to like this style a lot, but this particular restaurant was no better than others of a similar vein.

As for the food, here in Las Vegas I prefer Samba Gill in The Mirage, or Yolie’s which is just off the strip on Paradise. But the ambiance at Rumjungle is best.

Things change at 11 p.m. though. Rumjungle turns in to a very fun night club, featuring Salsa music and dancing. They even have professionals to help teach for those who are interested.

Barry Shulman

Jan 01, 2009
jetetway in Southwest

A Restaurant is open (former Arches in Newport Beach)

As to French 75, French 75 Bistro (in Newport Beach’s Fashion Island) is a pretty restaurant with good food and service. They are part of a group of restaurants called Culinary Adventures that owns, among others, French 75 in Laguna, as well a Savannah Chop House in Laguna Niguel.

We had Sunday brunch there. They had a nice buffet with a New Orleans type Jazz band. There just wasn’t enough because there weren’t many patrons. The French Toast was the highlight food of the morning. The rest was marginal.

I heard they may be going broke. I have no idea if that is true, but do know that we used to patronize these two restaurants and stopped because of poor service and attitude. We had so much fun though.

Barry Shulman

Dec 31, 2008
jetetway in Los Angeles Area

Ti Amo Laguna

This is one of those fun neighborhoody-type Italian restaurants that is particularly nice for both small and large parties. Even though it is top quality, the prices are quite reasonable.

I think it must be an old house and has five different dining rooms on several levels. Because of that there are many tables that have quite a romantic feel because they seemingly away from the others.

It feels like one of those old romantic neighborhood Italian places rather than modern trendy type joint. You have to determine what works for you.

Barry Shulman

Dec 30, 2008
jetetway in Los Angeles Area

5 nights in Vegas - please help w/ steak, Japanese (sushi & omakase), Italian, Chinese and fine dining

Historically I have enjoyed eating at Circo in Bellagio. There is something about it that always seems extra scrubbed and immaculate. The setting is lovely, overlooking the Bellagio fountains.

Unfortunately, it has really gone downhill. That isn’t to say the food is terrible; it just is not up to the price tag, or comparable to other great Italian restaurants in Las Vegas.

They used to have a duck pasta to die, but it is no longer on the menu. No problem. But when asked why, the waitress said that it is a heavy dish and they take it off for the summer. I guess she doesn’t know that Christmas is winter. That speaks to her ineptitude though, not the food. The salmon was bad, and the tuna tartar was marginal at best.

The real problem with the dinner was the service. They have lost some fine staff and it really shows. I don’t know the reason, nor it is not my issue. Our server was awful. I guess she thought since she worked in a casino it was OK to bluff.

She did not know the menu well, and was totally unpolished. The service was incredibly slow. I had to ask three times for the check and then she brought the check for the party next to us. Furthermore, they had confirmed a window table for us, but did not honor.

You would think in this economy, and with the restaurant extremely empty, they would at least try to act as if they care.

Barry Shulman

Dec 24, 2008
jetetway in Southwest

Vegas Restaurants Not On the Strip

Ferraro’s has been giving their patrons coupons good for 40% off on all food and beverage good until January 31.

The truth is that I don’t know for sure if that was the reason I returned so quickly. If the meal sucked, I would have tossed it. But it didn’t. Four of us saved almost $300 tonight. That is strong.

On the other hand the restaurant picked up an incremental $400 to say nothing of the gratuity. That’s pretty good too. People who have money to spend in this economy will find some real good deals out there.

Barry Shulman

Dec 23, 2008
jetetway in Southwest

Koi - Las Vegas

Koi is one of the great new spots in Las Vegas. Already a very hot spot in both LA and New York, it fits right in at The Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. A celebrity favorite, Koi is known for both its Japanese-inspired cuisine with California accents, as well as its great service, décor and attitude. This is a fun evening with great food.

Although we shared many delightful items that are familiar to folks who dine at these type restaurants, I strongly recommend the Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna.

JetSetWay tip - Besides a lovely dining room, there is a second more intimate room with glass windows overlooking Bellagio Hotel. It is called The Fountain Room. I highly recommend sitting in there if possible. The room seats 75 on comfortable couches and can be reserved for private parties where one can leisurely enjoy the exquisite meal while watching the Bellagio fountains or the busy street below.

Barry Shulman

Dec 17, 2008
jetetway in Southwest

Panevino, Ventano's or Ferraro's in Vegas?

In Las Vegas, it is always nice to find an off-the-strip place faithfully and consistently patronized by the local community. Ferraro’s is a perfect example of such place.

In 1985, Gino Ferraro created a unique dining experience in his bone fide authentic Italian restaurant. Then in 2003, upon his graduation from the California Culinary Academy and studying in Italy, Mimmo Ferraro (Gino’s son), has taken over the everyday duties of running Ferraro’s and serving some of the best food in town.

Indeed, they elevate Italian cooking to an art. Borne of the freshest ingredients, and the bounty of the land and sea, with innovative recipes always prepared with finesse and care. From their kitchen, comes their own time honored family recipes: homemade breads, superb pasta dishes, exquisitely fresh seafood, authentic Italian desserts, and thier signature dish, the renowned Osso Buco (5 Star Diamond Award entree). Ferraro’s well appointed and celebrated wine cellars will provide you with the perfect accompaniment to your meal. Thier collection is well deserving of their awards: the prestigious Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, the Wine Enthusiast Awards, and rave review in the Zagat Survey.

In Mimmo’s own words, “I love what I do! I have a passion for the Restaurant and service industry. I enjoy every aspect of the business; from being in the kitchen creating new dishes and doing what comes natural to me. I enjoy walking in the dining room, talking to the regular customers and meeting new people. I always try to make them feel welcome and a part of the family, because that is what we are…a Family! Working along with My Father, Mother, Sisters and Grandmother are by far the greatest rewards of this business.” Or as Gino puts it, “I taught him everything he knows.”

We started our meal with an outstanding salad, Cappuccina con Gorgonzola, which is almost like a butter lettuce wedge with something extra. As Ferraro’s is best known for their sumptuous and award winning Osso Buco, I had to indulge. It did not disappoint, and was probably the best I’ve ever had. It is highly recommended.

JetSetWay Tip - The shank is called Osso Buco in Italian, literally “hole bone”, because the bone marrow is part of the appeal of the dish.

We were particularly impressed with an incident over Allyn’s Fettucini Pomodoro. Although it was prepared exactly as per usual, it was not prepared the way she prefers. The waiter heard the conversation and immediately brought out the chef. The chef professionally and kindly listened to her preference, and five minutes later she had a fresh plate, her food cooked exactly as she prefers. Really, they could not have been nicer or more accommodating.

Though I normally stay away from dessert, tonight we shared the Hazelnut and Chocolate Crepe with Mascarpone Cheese, served with Vanilla Gelato. It was the BEST. Kudos to Mimmo, Gino and the whole family. When you go there, be sure to say "Ciao" to Mimmo, who is always around, and tell him I sent you.

Barry Shulman

Dec 12, 2008
jetetway in Southwest

Great view in San Francisco?

I recommend Chaya Brasserie. This place is great and has one of the most spectacular views in the city. The industrical-chic decor blends well with the Franco-Jaopanese cooking Chaya introduced to the Bay Area in 2000 (and Los Angeles 1984). In Japan, the legendary and original Chaya restaurant has been around for 358 years. Wow.

Try to get one of the few window tables up front with the Oakland Bay Bridge view. The 1989 earthquake helped by collapsing the unsightly freeway out front.

As per usual in this town, we all had a great dining experience. The food, ambiance and service were all up to the high-end San Francisco standards. As a Seattle native, I am almost embarrassed to say that the Salmon entrée was as good as I have ever had.

However, Allyn, who is a Sea Bass aficionado, did not care for her fish. She was not even sure that it was Sea Bass. Her decision to return ithe mystery fish was an easy one, as it was dry and overcooked. Our helpful and appologetic waitress was very quick to accommodate.

Barry Shulman

Italian in and around Seattle

If you are looking for a very quiet, romantic high end Northern Italian restaurant in Seattle, this is the one.

We had a terrific meal at Rustica last night. There are only about 15 tables in this quaint restaurant and only about five of those were occupied. The food, service and décor were all top notch. With the exception of the Italian background music, it was totally silent.

We could tell by ambient conversation that all the other tables were occupied by frequent diners who were clearly fans. These folks are in dire need of marketing.

Allyn had a pan seared Petrole Sole (the fish of the day), perfectly prepared with lemon and capers with a side of vegetables and homemade pasta. The fish is ideal for those who like it light and mild. It was preceded by a spinach salad which was fresh, crisp and delicious.

I led off with a Caesar salad which had their custom dressing. It had more garlic than is customary. It worked fine for me, but I’m not sure it was exactly a Caesar.

The highlight was my Chicken Puntinesca. The spicy tomato sauce was superb and worked great with the nice Cabernet. Their wine list is marginal at best.

True, things are tough out there in Seattle (and it was raining), but if they can’t get at least one full turn on a Friday night, then I wonder how long they will survive.

Barry Shulman

Dec 08, 2008
jetetway in Pacific Northwest

Lunch around the Seattle Center?

Try the Crow. The Crow is close to downtown and the Seattle Center, and all other attractions the city has to offer. And certainly is a deluxe American neighborhood bistro. The Mediterranean platter worked well for starters. The Kumamoto Oysters were superb, and three of us had the chicken (which I will certain repeat next time around). Generally oysters cost about the same, big or small. Smaller oysters are usually tastier. The wine list worked well with the food, complementing the entire dinner experience. Let them help you select, and you will probably have a bottle both better and cheaper than if you go it alone. As stated in the Seattle Times "They do everything absolutely right."

Barry Shulman

Dec 08, 2008
jetetway in Pacific Northwest

Las Vegas: Any Information on Mandalay Bay's New Restaurant "Strip Steak"?

Stripsteak, at Mandalay Bay, is a home run. For years, way before the tough times, I have been saying that Las Vegas restaurants are the best group in the world for food and décor. Often, though, even if we have good professional service, restaurants seem to be understaffed, which negatively impacts the overall experience.

This definitely was not the case with Michael Mina's Stripsteak. Our waiter, "Hammer," was superb, but so was the hostess, the bussers, the sommelier, and two managers. We had an elderly gentleman with us who had a bit of a noise problem. Without being asked, the staff immediately turned down the music. Furthermore, the manager even personally walked him to the restroom.

Now, let's talk food. I was with a party of four, who were all going to see the musical "Mama Mia" at Mandalay Bay. Our challenge was to have a deluxe yet "simple" meal, in 1.5 hours: a great steak for the host, vegetarian for the granddaughter, and fish or foul for the ladies. (As you already know, I will eat anything if it is delicious).

I don't know if "gourmet steak house" is an oxymoron, but that is exactly what Stripsteak is. Everybody knows that great steakhouses have great meat. But, surprisingly, vegetarians also do well at great steakhouses as they always tend to have great sides.

And the sides here are very special. We had delicious carrots that had a special orange flavor. The mac and cheese had a truffle sauce that worked perfectly, and the cauliflower with curry was fabulous. The whole fried chicken is great, but way too big for even a hungry person. If you have it, split it.

Do not confuse the Bibb lettuce wedge with a classic iceberg lettuce wedge. This is more like a chunky, fancy salad, with a delightful dressing that was a tangy avocado tarragon flavor: very good, but not the norm.

Overall, a great place I can honestly recommend.

Barry Shulman

Dec 08, 2008
jetetway in Southwest

The Return Of......My Upcoming Las Vegas Vacation

I would still recommend the Palm at the Forum Shops. For over 80 years, The Palm restaurants have consistently served superb, flavorful, fresh food with a seemingly effortless style. With 30 about venues, the Palm restaurant is renowned for its big bold steaks, fresh fish, fabulous lobster, tasty veggies and yummy desserts to round out the meal.

The Palm offers exclusive discounts for club members. I recommend joining the Palm’s renowned “837 Club.” As a member, you will receive bonuses, discounts and panoply of other benefits. The name 837, reflects the address of the very first location of the Palm (at 837 Second Avenue, right in the heart of New York City), where the original restaurant still stands today as it did when it opened its doors in 1926.

When we dined at the Las Vegas location, we enjoyed the lobster, steak, great veggies, a gigantic lettuce wedge and impeccable service.

Barry Shulman

Dec 08, 2008
jetetway in Southwest

Is Tadich Grill worth the trip?

Tadich Grill is a true San Francisco institution. It still looks, feels and tastes the same as when I first visited there in the 60s during college, 70s for business, and 80s just for great food. The restaurant reflects the unique fun and historic experience that is San Francisco, drawing heavily on its Gold Rush roots.

It is an eccentric place, that much is true. But this 150-year-old, continuously open restaurant serves some of the best Seafood anywhere. Located in the financial district, Tadich Grill almost always has a line during prime time, takes no reservations, has waiters who some consider abrasive, looks like it is from the past, and is not cheap.

That being said, don’t miss it! There's a good reason it has been around for so long. Its unequalled charm and excellent food keep people coming back decade after decade.

As it was Allyn’s birthday, we each started with a Bloody Mary which was as good as it gets. Their San Francisco sourdough bread is such a treat, that it is served in restaurants all over town. My clam chowder and crab salad was superb, and her smoked trout was terrific.

Barry Shulman

Recommend me... Northwestern Beers

I've always liked Pyramid Beers.

Dec 05, 2008
jetetway in Beer

Piero's has closed???

They're open; I was just there. Good as ever. I added a review of my experience there below, as well as my travel blog:

Piero's Italian Cuisine
355 Convention Center Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89109

Dec 01, 2008
jetetway in Southwest

Help needed finding a place to eat after concert in Seattle.

Try 13 Coins. For about five years I ate breakfast at 13 Coins almost every Saturday. It is a bone fide Seattle institution. Historically it has been famous for many things including huge portions, huge number of choices, huge chairs to watch the open kitchen cooking, and huge waits during busy times. The food was outstanding and reasonably priced, all things considered.

Over the years it has changed hands. The portions have gone down a bit, as have the crowds. Nonetheless, the food is still good. I had lunch there, opting for a good Caesar and adding crab to it - yummy. My friend, Linda, had a frittata which is still huge and still tasty.

I still recommend it, especially if you want something in the middle of the night when nothing else is open. Visit them online at I have some additional Seattle restaurant reviews on my personal blog at

Nov 26, 2008
jetetway in Pacific Northwest