The first time I ever had In-N-Out I was hungry from skipping dinner the night before, and also hungover. It was the best thing I had ever eaten up until that point.
The first time I had Fatburger, it was Vegas and I was ehausted and hungry for a big dinner, and at that point it was the best thing I had ever tasted. So much so, after getting married two days later, we went to Fatburger for our first "married" meal.
In-N-Out is much more like a McD's experience.... somewhat limited menu, kinda like having a wonderfully balanced Big Mac, the food is good and consistent. Fatburger is more of a Burger King thing... you get it the way you want it. And an egg and chili on your burger are always good. It's all about the customization. If you want to build your own burger, go to Fatburger. If you want it served up as the people in charge think it should be, go to In-N-Out.
Soup, salad and a glass of wine at Emeril's NO Fish house ran me about $30 at lunch time. Considering that end of the Strip, where a meal at a Nathan's might run you $10, I felt i got value for my money.
Was in Vegas last Thursday thru this morning (Sunday).
Only notable eats.... Stripburger and Mon Ami Gabi. Due to circumstances outside my control (being laid off in 6 weeks) our dining plans had changed and we were going low-key, but had some Lettuce Entertain You gift cards to be used. After some bad experiences with Lettuce places in Chicago the hubby has more or less sworn off any LEYE place, but I think some of their places do some good food.
Thursday dinner - Stripburger
It is a totally outdoor venue.... in the 100 plus heat they had misters running and it looked like some sort of cooling system, but we were seated in kind of a dead spot and it was a little steamy. Hubby and I were pleasantly surprised that they apparently card everyone.... him in mid 30s and me in low 30s, it doesn't happen much! And to that staff, we had to look like we were in our 40s. But, we were seated quickly in a table with a great view of the sidewalk to watch the passers by. Quickly given menus and given no pressure to decide quickly. I ordered the "house" burger with blue cheese and fried onions, the husband ordered a burger with green chilies and cheese. We also ordered sides of fries and fried pickles, which the waitress said were probably going to be too much for two people, but we wanted to try both. Sodas for drinks.
The burgers were good. Not as fru-fru as some places, but good, solid, tasty burgers. Mine had a very nice balance between the onions, cheese and meat.... all in good balance and the cheese was not overpowering. The hubby's burger was also good, the chilies were not just canned chilies dumped on a burger, they were some nice roasted chilies mixed in with everything. The fries were good, they actually reminded me & the hubby of the ole Chicago fave Demon Dog fries... nice and crispy, some skin left on, very good. And the pickles were a nice surprise.... I have a love/hate relationship with some pickles, but the fried variety was almost like a salty fried zucchini. The dipping sauce, which was some kind of buttermilk thing, was a perfect match. It even went well with the fries, since I couldn't keep the hubby from dipping fries in the pickle sauce.
Is it the most high-end burger place in Vegas? No. Does it deliver on a tasty burger and some good food?? Heck yeah,
Friday lunch - Mon Ami Gabi
I've avoided this place in Vegas simply because we live outside of Chicago, and we have one in Chicago. Why eat at a place on vacation that we can eat at any time?? And, the hubby is not as big of a foodie, and not really in to anything fancy or fussy or out there. But, after explaining it was a simple bistro menu, he decided to go along. We arrived shortly after noon and were seated promptly, at an inside spot since the previous night's outdoor dining was enough.
Service was excellent... we obviously had a main waiter, but the rest of the staff was there for water or drink refills when needed, and quickly out of the way. I was a little disappointed by the "by the glass" wine list... just nothing on there that was something I couldn't get at any serious liquor or wine shop around here. I opted for iced tea, the hubby had soda. He ordered the seafood crepes, I had the soup and sandwich du jour.
The bread delivered to our table was great.... the butter might have been left out in the sun and was a little melty, but I'd rather have something spreadable than something so cold I can't get it on a knife.
The soup was a cold corn chowder.... perfect for the weather and for summer. Truely tasted of corn and pure corn. If it hadn't have been a nice establishment, I'd have licked my bowl. The sandwich was a "halibut burger"... three lovely pieces of cornmeal breaded halibut served on a brioche bun with tarragon mayo. It was a wonderful combo. That was served with frites... while no Bouchon, they were of a different sort and plenty tasty. The hubby ate about half of them off my plate.
Despite there being peas in the seafood crepes (which the hubby dislikes) he devoured them, loved the sauce and was very happy with his meal. He even raved about the salad served as a side with his... and he never raves about salad. It was a good side to the crepes.
For desert.... we split the profiteroles. I had suggested Tarte Tatin at first, but hubby had a taste for the profiteroles. And wow... he was right. Perfect cream puffs, great ice cream, and a wonderful, really wonderful, chocolate sauce. Dark and chocolate-y with nice hints of coffee. We scraped the plate clean.
We did walk past Enoteca San Marco - a place I wanted to hit before we decided to go with limited funds - around dinnertime on Saturday and the place seemed pretty full with happy customers. I tried to see what was happening on people's plates, but every plate I saw was empty already,
Anyone have any insight in to offerings beyond the online menu for Enoteca San Marco? I was hoping to get the hubby to go with me for lunch when we're in Vegas next month and I've looked at the menu online, but was wondering if we can expect anything in the way of specials or more lunch-focused offerings??
Emeril's New Orleans Fish House (MGM Grand) is always nice for lunch. Great food, more relaxed than dinner and not as busy.
If you're downtown and feel the need to get a cheap shrimp cocktail, go to the deli in the Golden Gate, and spring the extra money for the "big shrimp" cocktail.
Avoid the fried Twinkies and Oreos downtown. They still give me nightmares.
I've heard that Nine Fine Irishmen (NYNY) serves some good grub, pretty consistient.
Huge portions, but not dirt cheap - the Peppermill (next to the Riviera).
I'll continue to stand by my love for the dive Margarita's Cantina (New Frontier) as long as it is still standing (which may not be too long, rumors are always flying about New Frotier being sold). Best refried beans I've ever had, cheap margaritas and good food.
You might want to check out the dining section of the Las Vegas Review Journal (www.lvrj.com), they do reviews of mostly off-Strip places.
Yes, I should have sent the plate back. Blame it on years of being trained "you eat what other people serve you" when I'm not at my home table.
But I do have a problem with the fact that this plate was even allowed to go out. I expected Bouchon's standards to be better than they showed on my visit, and I think that is my biggest issue.
There were parts of the meal that were fantastic, that I would gladly eat again.
A couple people around me had quiches, and boy, when I looked at their plates and then looked at mine, I knew I made a wrong choice.
And ziggylu, I walked in about 9:30 on a Thursday morning and was seated without a wait (I barely had time to tell them it was just me before they were leading me to a table). I've heard from other sources that usually, Monday thru Thursday, it's easy to get a table at breakfast.
I should have sent the plate back.
I'm a foodie, and a Vegas lover. And although I live in a big city with some great chefs, I'm out in the 'burbs and work and life don't allow the time I'd like to really explore my foodie side. So vacation is really my time to indulge.
For two months I've been looking forward to arriving in Vegas and having breakfast at Bouchon that morning (my husband is such a non-foodie, I figured it was a venture I'd do on my own, and he was going to meet with a vendor that morning). In anticipation, I made Thomas Keller's roast chicken recipe, which in 15 years of cooking has not only been my best roast chicken, but the only one that even worked as described. I was psyched.
From straight off the plane, picking up the luggage and getting the rental car. Hubby dropped me at the Venetian while he went off on his adventure. I headed up to Bouchon, with dreams of a wonderful meal in my head.
I like to do lunches at the fancier places.... usually a bit more relaxed and a bit cheaper.
I've looked at the menu at least twice a week since Christmas (this trip was a present) trying to figure out what I wanted to try. I knew the Pomme Frites and Cheese Danish had to be tried. I eyed the Croque Madame, but was also eyeing it for a lunch at Rosemary's the same day (that did not happen) and thinking I might try it there.
Inside the Venetian, the signs easily lead me to Bouchon, and the staff greeted me with smiles like I was an old friend. No waiting and I was quickly seated (in what I dubbed "single lady row", since they kept puttin' all the single female diners in the same area).
I settled on the Breakfast Américaine. It had everything I really wanted. Thought about the boudain blanc, which was on the menu, but figured I'd go with the choice that had the two main things I wanted to try since I wouldn't have to order seperate items.
They delivered the Cheese Danish first, and my eyes about bugged out of my head. It looked fantastic.
Then came the main plate. And my heart sank.
I'm a lover of eggs. And while I consider myself only a semi-accomplished home cook, I'm darned good at eggs. And I love love love some nicely done, soft and tender scrambled eggs. I figured if any place, anywhere, ever, would deliver that for breakfast, it would be Bouchon and I'd be a happy camper.
My plate looked like Dennys. Hard, "Peeps" yellow rubbery eggs and bacon that was half crisp and half soggy (my love of crisp bacon is second only to the love of good scrambled eggs). I really, really should have sent the plate back, but being a gal alone in the resteraunt and looking like I'd just stepped off a plane, since I had, I begrudgingly sank in my seat and ate what was good.
The sausage was fantastic. Nicely browned, juicy with a wonderful spice. The pomme frites.... I'm spoiled for any other plain french fry (now covered in chili and cheese... that's another story). Even the cold ones were great.
They were late in getting butter to my table and I'm not a cold butter gal, but this stuff was so stiff I could hardly get it on a knife and it made breadcrumbs of the brioche toast when I tried to spread.
The Cheese Danish was one of the most fantastic things I've ever had. The staff was fantastic, not overly intrusive but there when you wanted more coffee, more water, or the check.
But I couldn't get over the eggs. The "looks like Dennys" eggs. I don't know if they've had enough scrambled eggs sent back for being 'not right" and figure this will please most people or if the morning line staff just needs to learn a thing or two. Part of the reason I like fine dining is knowing they should deliver a certain standard for the money. And they didn't. Even describing it later to the hubby, he knows enough about the difference in scmabled eggs that he was a bit upset I didn't send the plate back.
Bouchon may be worth another try, with a braver me who will actually send a dish back at such a place. But I really, really question if the place does have the commitment to standards that I thought they did. Maybe with other recent openings in Vegas they've lost some talented line cooks or something, but this breakfast just did not deliver what I expected, and it's got me heartbroken right now.
I think the lines of people waiting for Denny's will be enough to keep your friends away.... it boggles the mind that people would WAIT like that for Denny's.
On strip... I like the mexican joint at the Frontier... Margaritas Cantina. Decent enough chow and cheap margaritas.
For non foodies... Fatburger on the Strip isn't exactly cheap, but it's good. And fun if you live in a place that doesn't have them,
Downtown -- of course the Golden Gate deli for the shrimp cocktail, the sandwiches are cheap and won't knock your socks off but will appease the tummy.
If you end up at Mandalay -- walk a couple casinos over before buying food. Even the food courts are cheaper the farther you get from the convention center.
LOL... Slot-O-Fun and the hotdog is on the menu for Friday or Saturday, I think.
And he can take the hotdog.... he demolished an entire Ho Dog and was hungry about two hours later.
Good Eats - I like it. Nice to have an entire half hour devotes to ONE subject on FN.
I should have mentioned.... Emeril's NO Fish House is kinda a "backup" at this point... I've done lunch there before, and been very very impressed with the food and ther services at my "hi, I just got off a four hour plane ride" appearance, but am looking for something new.
(And I don't consider Mon Ami or Grand Lux high end... good places to eat but not high end... but was just trying to avoid people suggesting them!)
I'll have a single lunch, on a Thursday, on my own without my husband who could eat hotdogs the whole trip, in Vegas. Looking for recommendations.
First choice was Commander's but well, not anymore.
Right now, leaning towards the pricey cab ride to Rosemary's.
Looked at the Olives menu, just didn't see anything too impresive for the prices.
I'm looking for something on the Strip, and I'm from Chicago and we've got plenty of great ethnic places, so I'm really just looking for a nice, higher-end lunch and a decent glass of wine (or two). And no Mon Ami or Grand Lux, I can get those in my home city.
Any suggestions that I've missed?? (Man... more of the high-end places need lunch service....)