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Yonaka - every bit as good a reason as Raku to venture off-strip

Time to bump an old thread here (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8937...) and join in. The desserts have been an enjoyable part of the experience at Yonaka, but because the menu changes regularly we have not yet been able to try the most recent. In the past, a "Chokoreto" was memorable in the way that it highlighted the bitter notes of chocolate with sophistication, instead of sweetness (it took some creative daring to pair chocolate on a plate with a lime sorbet, but they made it work), and there was a memorable "cheddar ice cream" on one visit that also walked the savory/sweet tight rope rather deftly.

But like the fact that not all of their savory creations will hit the mark, perhaps it is the same for desserts. What has been impressive about Yonaka has been the willingness of the team to trust their instincts and be daring, which is not easy for an independent restaurant in these times. If there is a recent trending towards a little more sweetness in the desserts, perhaps that could also mean coming out of "winter" (yes, even in Las Vegas the temperatures drop a little bit), and that we should see lighter touches in the months ahead.

about 15 hours ago
QAW in Las Vegas

Yet another Vegas Vacation...

From this end, the 23rd and 24th for Lotus fit equal well. Your layout for the week has a nice balance to it.

Apr 15, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Trip Report - Komol, Peppermill, Il Fornaio, Triple George, Palm, Raku

It is good to read that Komol is holding up well. A couple of their former key employees are now in charge at Kinnaree Thai over at 7365 West Sahara. You can notice some similarities in the menu (http://kinnareethailv.com), but we have yet to find out if that location is under the umbrella of Komol owners, or is independent. Perhaps some other Chowhounders can help out on that front.

Apr 12, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

3/29/14 Dining Report - Bonjour Bakery, Flour & Barley, Sprinkles, Rollin' Smoke Barbeque

For good or bad, the project across from Mandalay Bay may be beyond life support. SkyVue has not even updated their own website in over a year, and all but one of the building permits have expired. It was going to be an extreme long-shot at best in that location, given the lack of pedestrian traffic (which had been making it difficult for them to get retail/restaurant commitments).

The challenge for the Linq in terms of locals is two-fold: first to get the price points down to a fair level, but second is to find a way to resolve the access issue, which may not have an easy answer. On the last trip, around 2 PM on a random Monday afternoon with not a lot going on, it took three light changes to be able to make a left-hand turn from the exit of the Venetian/Harrah's/Quad/Linq parking area onto Koval Lane.

The problem is that the left-turn lane from Koval to Sands Avenue will often back up all the way to that parking exit, and becomes gridlock around shift changes. Anyone coming from the west side of the strip faces the option of trying to get to Sands to cross back over the strip, or turn right out of Koval and face the Flamingo intersection. It is quite possible that for those coming from the west side of town, and wanting to leave around rush hour or a shift change, it may actually be quicker to park at the Mirage or Caesar's and walk across the strip.

Apr 07, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

3/29/14 Dining Report - Bonjour Bakery, Flour & Barley, Sprinkles, Rollin' Smoke Barbeque

My bad again - not sure why the phrase "roller coaster" stuck in my mind. Perhaps it was Freudian, thinking about the "ride" ahead for the restaurant owners. But even High Roller brings its own price issues - $34.95 for a 30-miute ride at night brings about the same bang for the buck ratio as the nearby food.

Apr 05, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

3/29/14 Dining Report - Bonjour Bakery, Flour & Barley, Sprinkles, Rollin' Smoke Barbeque

The short answer would be “everything from the Encore to Mandalay Bay”. But let’s try to break it down without hopefully becoming long-winded.

For those that do not visit Las Vegas often, the Linq project is filling in what was formerly just an alley between the Flamingo and the Imperial Palace (now called The Quad). It is right in the heart of the mid-Strip, and someone might be able to make a case that the High Roller (a modern roller coaster) could be an interesting attraction. But how anyone decided that adding a pedestrian mall between the Strip and High Roller (which is behind the monorail, so a bit of a walk), with shops and restaurants, would be a money-maker is so difficult to grasp.

The shops are uninspiring, which is no surprise, being little more than a stone’s throw from the Forum Shops or Canal Shoppes. Most retailers would be savvy enough to see their limitations against that competition. But trying to understand the motivation of the restaurateurs to open in the heart of one of the most crowded dining scenes in the world is a head scratcher. Unless someone is going to ride the High Roller, or listen to a show at Brooklyn Bowl, where is the draw to get someone to leave their hotel and walk to one of the Linq restaurants?

Let’s consider Uhockey’s closing comment on Flour & Barley as an example, and expand upon it. If someone in the general area wants a pizza, within a reasonable distance on the Strip are Otto Enoteca, Postrio, Canaletto, Trevi, Grimaldi’s, Buddy V’s, Dal Toro, California Pizza Kitchen, DOCG Enoteca, Trattoria Del Lupo, 550 Pizza Bar, Secret Pizza, Pizzeria Francesco’s, Pin Up Pizza, 800 Degrees, Olives (listed as “Flatbreads” on the menu), Slice of Vegas, Circo (sadly, for only a short while longer), Wolfgang Puck’s American Bar and Grill, Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina, Allegro and likely a few more that do not come to mind. And that does not count the numerous food court options as well.

It is not just an Italian/Pizza concept that faces such competition, but the fact that outside of F.A.M.E., which has yet to open, each of these restaurants runs head up against a multitude of places that are already doing pretty much the same thing, and most are easier to get to. Hence, the notion of Supply far exceeding Demand, which is a rather dubious business model.

Apr 05, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Yet another Vegas Vacation...

Unfortunately, Lotus is dinner only on weekends.

Apr 04, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

3/29/14 Dining Report - Bonjour Bakery, Flour & Barley, Sprinkles, Rollin' Smoke Barbeque

My bad - it is easy to refer to the entire project, from retail to dining to the High Roller - as "The Linq". And in two weeks Guy Fieri will open his 10,000 square foot two-level property, with the whole area creating far more supply than there is ever likely to be demand for. One genuinely has to wonder what the powers that be are thinking, to cluster so many dining tables in such close confines, all the while surrounded by long-established better options.

Apr 04, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Yet another Vegas Vacation...


Apr 04, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

3/29/14 Dining Report - Bonjour Bakery, Flour & Barley, Sprinkles, Rollin' Smoke Barbeque

Have to fully concur here, sadly. There was a higher expectation from Block 16, which includes Public House, Holstein's and the Barrymore in the vicinity, three places that seem to understand their target audience, and deliver reasonable value for their locations. Hence an unexpected "sticker shock" when we sat down. These pizzas are significantly more expensive than long-established icons like Bianco in Phoenix or Mozza in Los Angeles, which is rather bold right out of the gate, and on a cost-per-once ratio may rival any in the United States.

How does a savvy group miss the mark so badly? It is one thing to have a prime casino location to generate foot traffic, but unless someone is going to ride the Linq, the retail options in this development are not going to bring many around. So Flour & Barley has to get some market share vs. Brooklyn Bowl, Yardhouse, Chayo and the Tilted Kilt, and how they will do it without offering the consumer any value will be a major issue.

When a friend and I met for lunch last week, there was a family of four at the next table (the children not yet teenagers). Perhaps reading the prices, instead of the disclaimer of these being "personal" pizzas, they only ordered one. The look of disappointment when it came to the table was impossible to miss. And forget about attracting locals - the base Margherita costs more than 50% above what you would pay at Settebello, Due Forni or Novecento.

The food quality is not bad, and there is an interesting beer list (naturally the same guys that run Public House would create the latter). But the prices miss the mark so badly any positives may be moot points.

Apr 04, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Yet another Vegas Vacation...

7. The Bone Marrow Flan at Cut needs to be on any list.

8. At Carnevino they make their own pastrami, which can make for one of the better lunches on the strip.

9. A pretty significant gap between Gordon Ramsay Steak and the Pub, with the latter being rather forgettable (and maybe one of the worst strip options of "Quality for Price Point").

Mar 30, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Yet another Vegas Vacation...

You are in luck - both the "Crispy Pig Fries" and "Bone Marrow & Oxtail Jam" are available from 5-10 PM. And they actually pair pretty darn well together.

Mar 25, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Yet another Vegas Vacation...

Here is a promotion from Comme Ca that was announced this week, and might be a way to change the pace a little bit over the course of your stay -

"Comme Ça launches Brasserie, Burgers and Oysters on Wednesday nights from 5:30 to 8 p.m. starting April 9 on the patio. This backyard barbecue features three rotating, made-to-order burger specials on the patio's grill. All burger orders will be paired with one of Comme Ça's 18A cocktails or two beers for $19. Add oysters, hand-shucked table side from the head of a wine barrel for $1.25 each."

Mar 25, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Foodie Favorites At/Near the Venetian?

Actually you are in a very good spot in terms of food options, with plenty of Chowhound faves - if pressed for time no need to venture beyond the Venetian/Palazzo roof, which covers such a wide range. At lunchtime you can take a look at the offerings on restaurant row, where Delmonico, Pinot Brasserie, Public House and AquaKnox have lunch menus. Or upstairs in the Canal Shoppes you have Otto, Canaletto and Postrio next to each other. In the Palazzo, Table 10, Grimaldi's and Sushi Samba have lunch menu's upstairs, or you could drop down a floor to Morel's. And there are also B&B Burger and Beer,Taqueria Canonita and Buddy V's, along with the previously mentioned Noodle Asia and Grand Lux. That is a lot to sort through, so it may come down to your mood. If really pressed for time at lunch, there is also a food court for quick carry-out.

One of the great aspects of that property is that it can almost be considered to be a small city in terms of the dining options. So in the evening you could even consider a menu crawl - it is actually not that inconvenient to have an appetizer at one location, an entree at another, and yet another for dessert. Sometimes our choices get determined by the particular specials that each place has on a given evening.

Mar 24, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Dinner ideas

You are in luck - your trip has you here during "Restaurant Week", which means a variety of specials that are in play. There are at least a half dozen properties under the Venetian/Palazzo roof that are participating, and you can take a look at their offerings here - http://www.helpoutdineoutlv.org.

Mar 11, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Cow Tongue

Can not vouch for the quality, but the La Bonita markets (I believe there are five in Las Vegas) often have beef tongue as an advertised special. And Harrie's Bagelmania (544 East Twain) also carries tongue.

Mar 04, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Old School Vegas Night Out

If you are going to begin your evening at the Laundry Room, you should put Joe Vicari's Andiamo at the D (http://www.thed.com/dining/andiamo-st...) on the list of prospects. Just a short stroll after your cocktail hour, and while the restaurant is relatively new to Las Vegas, the original Andiamo in Detroit has been around for a couple of decades, and they aim for just the vibe you are looking for.

Feb 20, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Have to get this out of my system! :)

Here is a quick "Two Cents" that will not answer the question, but could offer a little clarity.

At Michael's you will get impeccable service, and pristine ingredients executed at a high level. And some nights that may be just what someone is looking for. In the days in which names like Gagnaire, Robuchon and Savoy were not yet associated with Las Vegas, there were times at which Michael's may have been the best option of all.

But here is the rub - Michael's brings the same price points as the French heavyweights, but in less creative fashion. So perhaps that becomes one of the starting points for someone trying to make a decision. If you are looking for high-end culinary artistry, Michael's is not Twist. Yet at the same time, what they do well they do very well - if you are nostalgic for a night of a Coquille St. Jacques, a Caesar made table-side, a Chateaubriand, or a Dover Sole handled deftly by the server, you will be in the right place.

Feb 17, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Streetcar Po-Boys - another sandwich shop you don't want to miss.

And a +1 to a place that not only has a lot of charm and terrific food, but will bring back some memories to long-term Las Vegans. One quick correction first - the Pirogue is actually a Crawfish Boudin, and a nicely spiced one at that. Have already asked Gwen if it would be possible to order a half dozen links from her; they would taste great on a grill

For Las Vegas veterans, note that this is the old Poppa Gar's location, an iconic diner that dates back to 1965, and closed in 1998. It was quite a popular breakfast spot for the politicos and power brokers of those times.The same large red booths are still there, which creates a feel that goes far beyond a sandwich shop.

One other tip for Chowhounders. While the address is 1624 West Oakey (Oakey and Highland), if you are traveling on Las Vegas Boulevard you turn west on Wyoming, not Oakey. Don't ask why, no one has ever answered this one, but Oakey east of the Strip and Oakey west of the Strip do not connect. If you turn west on Oakey from Las Vegas Boulevard, you go for a block and reach a dead end.

Feb 16, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

For Pierre Gagnaire/Twist Fans

And we know there are many, on this board, here is an interesting offer -


A bit of a steal at the current bid price. The bidding does end on February 15, but you have until the middle of December to use the prize.

Feb 12, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

2/8/14 Eating Report: Retro Bakery, Jamm's, Wing Lei, Pin-Up Pizza, Corner Cakes, The Goodwich, Luv-It

These days, Luv It may not even be able to hold a candle to its own past. Because of a divorce, Greg Tiedemann is no longer running the show, and there has been a subtle, yet noticeable, drop in both the quality and the consistency. Enough to basically drop them off the list (although even at their best they were not up to the level of Art of Flavor).

Feb 11, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

The Goodwich - New, and well worth your dining dollars

Between The Goodwich (http://the-goodwich.com), Viva Las Arepas (Goodwich now resides in what was Felix's original cart), Art of Flavor Gelato, and Street Car Po-Boys (1624 West Oakey, in the old Poppa Gar's location, and yes, they have kept those great old booths), this little neighborhood has a few gems that bring both quality and integrity. For the "downtown" area to truly develop it is not necessarily the high-end projects that will be the barometer, but rather the number of entrepreneurs that take genuine pride in what they do.

And if you are grabbing something to go from any of these places, a quick stop at the White Cross Market (you can park there and walk a half-block to The Goodwich) brings you a terrific beer selection to help wash it down.

Feb 10, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Kumi and the Cut of the Week

Can not help with Kumi, but at Charlie Palmer it is not a problem at all for only one person from the table to order the Cut of the Week menu.

Jan 27, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas


The folks in Las Vegas were quick on their feet in terms of dealing with the NFL. The NFL claimed all rights to "Super Bowl", and asked for royalties. It was rather silly, of course, but it also left room for the Casinos to maneuver around it. As such, you will not see advertisements for "Super Bowl" parties, but instead it is the "Big Game". Hence, no royalties. Here is a link that lists some of the offerings that are out there so far - http://www.vegas.com/superbowl/

Jan 22, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Saturday night in Vegas, near the Rio....

A +1 to Yonaka, which was touched upon here - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/893750#7946664, and also got some nice recognition from John Curtas - http://www.eatinglv.com/2014/01/heres....

Jan 22, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas


A couple of warnings here; not meant to dampen the enthusiasm, but instead to enhance the experience. First note that Super Bowl weekend is second only to New Year's for visitor traffic to Las Vegas. So be prepared to plan ahead. But then also consider that given the commercials and halftime length, you are looking at about four hours to watch the entire game. And to get a seat at many places, you will need to be there well before kickoff.

So putting together a list also means coming up with places that you wound not mind spending at least four hours, but probably longer. Lagasse's is not bad for that, but for a lot of the pub-type places that can be a long time to be sitting in the kind of seats that they have. And while almost all of the high-end restaurants have bar areas with televisions, surprisingly not all of them will open early on a Sunday, even Super Bowl Sunday.

If you come to Las Vegas often, are you a "points" member at any particular property? Most of the casinos will have their own in-house parties, and you may be able to get on an invite list to one of them.

Perhaps most important of all, does betting matter? When the halftime line is posted it leads to one of the bigger frenzies that we see in Las Vegas, and you will need to decide if you want to be close enough to a sports book to make a bet (most of the casino parties will have auxiliary betting stations, and Lagasse's is fine in this regard).

In the days ahead we will come back to this thread and post some of the specials as they get posted.

Jan 21, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Max Jacobson - get well soon

Here is another way to help contribute - Forte (4180 South Rainbow) has put one of Max's favorites, Lamb Chakapuli (a delicious Georgia Lamb Stew) back on their specials board, and $5 from each order will be donated directly to Max's medical fund.

Jan 16, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Casual Lunch in Henderson?

If you are looking for one of those little unsung gems, Las Cazuelas (9711 South Eastern) fits the bill. Not an extensive menu, but a lot of thought and heart goes into the dishes, and there may not be anyone making a better mole in the Las Vegas valley these days.

Jan 15, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Max Jacobson - get well soon

There will be a special fund-raising dinner for Max on Sunday night, January 19, at RX Boiler Room (Mandalay Bay). Cocktails at 6 PM, dinner service starting at 7. The cost is $1,000, with all monies going directly to Max's medical bills. It is quite a lineup of culinary talent, and here is the menu -

Kauai sweet prawn with caviar citrus butter
Prepared by David Walzog

Beijing spiced lamb breast with fermented chive blossom puree, mix herbs and pomegranate
Prepared by Shirley Chung

Plantain croquetta with goat cheese-black bean filling, pickled poblano relish, smoked chili foam and plantain crisp

Butternut squash pancake with huitlacoche mouss, sunchoke salsa, spiced pumpkin seeds and epozote

Fresh squeezed juice bar
Verde: jalapeño herb with finger lime caviar
Prepared by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger

Bacon wrapped bacon-n-egg with braised Niman ranch pork belly wrapped in Nueske's bacon on brioche toast with tomato jam, avocado and sunny side quail egg
Prepared by Johnny Church

Sashimi of Japanese snapper with dill salad, turmeric and white chocolate
Prepared by Angelo Sosa

Chilled Beef à la Ficelle martini with creamy horseradish panna-cotta and perigord truffles
Prepared by Vincent Pouessel

Dr. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett, 2011

Trio of Duck Pot Au Feu with Black Truffles with duck Consommé en Croute with Braised Breast, Rare Breast and Leg Confit
Prepared by Joseph Romano

Butternut squash and apple soup, poured table-side over Dungeness crab salad
Prepared by Bradley Ogden

Louis Latour Puligny-Montrachet, 2011

Nantucket Bay scallops and prawn tasting
Ceviche, gratin and provençale
Prepared by Kim Canteenwalla

New Bedford sea scallops
Maine lobster and white truffles
Prepared by Barry S. Dakake

Patz & Hall Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, 2011

Chili Seared Kona Kampachi
Avocado, ruby red grapefruit and yuzu butter sauce
Prepared by Rick Moonen

Kona Kampachi
Korean red pepper-tangerine glaze, pickled Brussels sprouts relish and quail egg
Prepared by Bobby Flay

Heitz Sauvignon Blanc, 2012

Khao Soi with quail
Egg noodles, pickled vegetables, lime and chili paste
Prepared by Saipin Chutima

Poulet Rôti à La Façon de Grand Mère
Roast chicken with fingerling potatoes, bacon lardons, pearl onions, button mushrooms and chicken jus
Prepared by Thomas Keller

Domaine Serene Jerusalem Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2010

Crespella Filled with Burrata
Black winter truffles from perigord
Prepared by Pino Posteraro

Raviolo stuffed with cassoeula Milanese
Taleggio fondue sauce
Prepared by Luciano Pelligrini

Il Borro, 2009

Max's favorite braised Wagyu beef cheeks "Rossini style"
Seared Hudson Valley foie gras and black truffle sauce
Prepared by Hubert Keller

Ginseng braised grass-feed beef oxtail
Brick pastry, kumquat marmalade and natural jus
Prepared by Grant MacPherson

Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010

Gelato al Limoncello
Prepared by Luciano Pelligrini

Dark chocolate salted caramel bombe
Cocoa nib ice cream
Prepared by Megan Romano

Yuzu and Matcha Green Tea Torte
Toasted Almond & Blood Orange Mimosa
Prepared by Megan Bringas

Adelsheim Deglacé Pinot Noir 2012


Dark chocolate enrobed:
-Yuzu jelly with Earl Grey tea ganache
-Coffee caramel ganache
-Porto –cassis ganache
-Passion fruit jelly with banana ganache

Milk chocolate enrobed:
-Coconut praline with passion fruit ganache
-Salted peanut praline with raspberry jelly
Prepared by Vincent Pilon

Jan 14, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas

Lunch recommendations?

A +1 for Japanese Curry Zen. Not a big place, nor pretentious in any way, but an admirable integrity and consistency. There is something to be said for a place that simply does it right, time after time.

Jan 08, 2014
QAW in Las Vegas