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Good fish or Italian restaurant near Mandarin Oriental

We thoroughly enjoyed American Fish during our last Vegas visit in April.

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American Fish
3730 N Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89115

Oct 21, 2010
MidTexHorn in Las Vegas

Strip Restaurant for very large group?

We're bringing a large group (60-80 people) and need a higher end Strip restaurant that can seat such a large group in a private setting. Any ideas?

For a little more info, we're a group of attorney's/spouses. We did this two years ago and ate at Aquaknox at the Venetian. Considering the consistently mediocre reviews that place gets online, they did a phenomenal job. We're having a hard time finding something similar that has a private room that can accommodate such a large group. We're staying at Bellagio but they don't have anything that can handle a group our size without renting out the entire restaurant which gets exorbitantly expensive.

Help!

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Bellagio
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV

Oct 13, 2010
MidTexHorn in Las Vegas

HELP!!! GROUP DINNER FOR 24 MEN!!!

I'll second the Stripsteak recommendation. Somewhat trendy, fun environment, very good food. I loved some of the sides and apps, and the steaks were good. It's a very Vegas-y, non-traditional steakhouse and there's plenty of eye candy around which a group of guys should appreciate. As the evening goes on, the music gets louder to give it a bit of a club atmosphere. Downside is you're a ways from center Strip down at Mandalay Bay, so if that's the area you want to hit afterwards, you'll probably need to take cabs.

Mar 29, 2010
MidTexHorn in Las Vegas

Weekend review- Aria hotel, Julian Surrano, Bouchon, Aria Buffet

Thanks for the report. Huge fan of breakfast/brunch at Bouchon. We're going to hit Michael Mina's American Fish at Aria in a few weeks. Might hit Serrano, but probably not on this trip.

Mar 14, 2010
MidTexHorn in Las Vegas

Dallas - Wolfgang Puck's 560

"Same old asian fusion" - I don't disagree. Not much that was terribly inventive. That said, everything we had was nicely prepared and tasted very good. So, nice food in a nice setting with a great view = winner for me. Like I said, not putting it in the best restaurant in town category, but it's definitely worth a return visit.

Food itinerary, 4 nights in Vegas -- input welcome

Agreed. Probably not enough time for dinner at Carnevino and then trecking over to Bellagio for "O" unless you start dinner at 4:00.

Your ideas sound great to me. Definitely think you'll enjoy Bouchon. Instead of Carnevino, how about Picasso at Bellagio but maybe on a different night than "O"? Great "only in Vegas" setting and very good food. Mom will be wowed.

We did the sunset drinks at Mix Lounge thing on a Thursday and the place was pretty dead, which was fine for us as we weren't looking for a scene. Don't know what it would be like on a Saturday, but I bet it wouldn't be bad. I highly recommend this - a very wow! experience, especially for a Vegas newbie.

Aug 18, 2009
MidTexHorn in Las Vegas

Aquanox Review at the Venetian

Sorry you had bad luck with the steak. We had a group dinner there in April and those in our group who had the filet raved about it. Maybe your cuts were just from a bad piece of meat. I didn't get to try the steak, since everyone at our table had fish, which we really enjoyed. I think it was the John Dory with Lobster Succotash - good stuff, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Those who had the large scallops also raved about them - I got to try my wife's and it was quite good. For someone who's never been, I'd definitely recommend this place for seafood. That said, the original reviewer is certainly correct that there are lots of other great choices for high end dining in the area.

Aug 18, 2009
MidTexHorn in Las Vegas

Vegas Bound! Here's what I'll be eating/reviewing

Just noticed I forgot to post my reviews, so I'll try to give my brief thoughts. This was a business/fun retreat with a large group of lawyers and their spouses. Stuck to the Strip.

Stripsteak - one of those hip, sexy, loud, see and be seen type of places with bumpin music. A bit showy and Vegas-y, which for me in Vegas is usually a good thing where it wouldn't be so good somewhere else, if you get what I mean. Not an old school dark wood and leather steakhouse experience at all. Steaks were very good, but I must confess that I'm not a steakhouse guy because I always prefer mine to restaurants, even high end ones like Stripsteak. I think I preferred my dry aged NY Strip at CarneVino to the Stripsteak Wagyu Rib Cap. To me, the apps and sides were the hits and I enjoyed these thoroughly. I'm not dying to return, but I wouldn't complain if you made me. Worth a visit.

Mix - Cool drink spot with maybe the best view in Vegas. Great way to start our trip while watching the sunset before our dinner at Stripsteak. Highly recommended for drinks and a view. Didn't eat in the restaurant.

Sushi Roku - Our third visit and I'm tiring of it. Nothing wrong, but it's pretty standard sushi. Didn't have any of the freshness concerns that SD Gourmand experienced, but it certainly wasn't as fresh and vibrant as the fish at Uchi in Austin which is my new favorite sushi place. Still think it's a cool place for a Vegas-y vibe and great Strip view with dinner. Go here for a fun group dinner, not to be blown away with a foodie experience.

Bouchon - Enjoyed breakfast so much, we ate here twice. Just good solid French bistro breakfast fare. Thoroughly enjoyable and civilized experience, which is nice to find in Vegas. Would definitely go again and would like to try it for dinner or lunch sometime.

Hofbrauhaus - Went here for lunch. Good beer, standard German fare. Nothing spectacular. Unfortunately we left just as they were setting up some live music. I think this place would be fun at night if you're into drinking beer and dancing on tables, but it was fairly lame for lunch.

Aquaknox - A revelation. I had very low expectations given the mediocre reviews I've seen online and the fact that this was a large-ish banquet setting for about 75-80 people. Things got off to a rough start when half of our group was an hour late due to their golf outing running over. Despite this setback, the restaurant handled things unbelievably well. They just kept the appetizers and drinks coming for those of us who were already there and then seated us promptly when the remainder of the group arrived. They could not have handled the situation better. Great service. Then, to top it off, once we sat down at our tables the food was promptly served and it was fresh and hot. It was not cheap, but it was by far the best "banquet" food I've ever had. Frankly, it was just a really good meal, ignoring the fact that they were serving 80 people at the same time well over an hour after they were supposed to serve us through no fault of their own. Seafood was perfectly prepared and those who had steaks raved about them, which is something coming from a bunch of picky lawyers from Texas! Highly recommend this place for a nice intimate dinner or a group dinner. Hats off to them for wowing a pretty picky bunch.

Enoteca San Marco - nice casual Italian in the "outdoor" square at the Venetian. We enjoyed the meat and cheese plates and the house wine. Pizzas were mediocre, but certainly better than your average chain pizza. I'd eat here again for lunch or a casual dinner.

Mon Ami Gabi - great outdoor patio setting across from the Bellagio fountains. Fun place to eat, but the food was pretty mediocre to me. Nothing stood out. I'd eat here again on a nice evening or mild temperature day just for it's "only in Vegas" feel and because it's a nice outdoor setting in a place that doesn't have too many of those, but it wouldn't really be for the food. I'd probably just stick to oysters/apps and beer/wine next time.

Aug 18, 2009
MidTexHorn in Las Vegas

What to try at Uchi

One other note on the whole "too hipster" discussion. Yes it is very popular and as a result is crowded and a bit noisy. Yes, this means you are going to see a number of people who are just there for the scene. That said, it wasn't nearly as hipster as I was expecting and have seen in other cities at "hip" spots and you would be doing yourself a serious disfavor as a food lover if you skipped this place just because you don't like that kind of scene. The food rules here, no matter how hip the scene. Man that fish is fresh!

Aug 18, 2009
MidTexHorn in Austin

Dallas - Wolfgang Puck's 560

Interested in hearing others' thoughts on this place located at the top of Reunion Tower.

We tried it for the first time last month while in Dallas for the Coldplay concert. Really enjoyed it. The decor is very clean and modern, lots of sleek wood and glass - much nicer than I expected to find given the "rotating tower" venue. Food was upscale Asian fusion with every dish we tried having some sort of Asian influence, from Thai, to Indian to Chinese. My lobster in a coconut curry was very tasty and well prepared, although a bit too sweet for my wife. Her lamb was great as was a scallop and shrimp appetizer. The view of downtown was spectacular - it's hard to find interesting views in Dallas, so this is certainly one thing that sets this restaurant apart. Service was very nice. Prices were a bit high but appropriate - I expected to pay a bit of a premium for the location. Would rate this place well below my Dallas favorite, The French Room, but that's no insult and I would definitely go again even if only for drinks at their bar.

What to try at Uchi

Tried Uchi for the first time a couple weeks ago on a Saturday night for my son's 21st birthday. We got there right when they opened to avoid the line and were able to get right in without the typical long wait. The place filled up quickly, so I'd consider the early arrival on a weekend night if you don't have a reservation almost a must do.

The verdict? Outstanding! One of my top meals ever. I think it joined my top three with The French Room in Dallas and Picasso in Vegas. My wife who likes the idea and look of sushi but can never bring herself to eat the raw fish was downing everything in sight. The flavor combinations were so good and unlike anything I've had at other sushi places. At one point I literally licked the plate after checking to make sure no one was looking.

I recommend that you stick to the left side of the menu (small appetizer plates), particularly the Cold side. I think we tried everything in that section and it was all awesome. Also recommend the daily specials. Other fun stuff was the taco pops (baby grilled octopi on a stick) and the beef and scallop hot rocks - pretty standard stuff but fun and tasty. I'm not a big fan of uni (sea urchin), but the presentation of the Uchi Shots with a piece of uni in the bottom of a tall shot glass together with a quail egg yolk topped off with sparkling prosecco was a pretty cool little taste treat. Agree with others that the rolls are pretty standard, but to me all rolls are pretty standard and I've never had much use for them other than as a belly filler. Desserts were light and tasty, but not spectacular.

We ate for three hours and frankly overdid it, but we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. We paid for it in the pocketbook, with the total including two bottles of mid-priced wine, 2 or 3 small bottles of sake and several beers coming in at around $125/person. This was about as much as you could spend there I would think, unless you went for really expensive wine or the tasting menu, because it seemed like we tried over half the menu. We ate and drank A LOT! I think you could get out of there for $40-50/person if you don't overdo it or don't have a huge appetite. One note - they do not have a full bar, only beer, wine and sake.

Aug 18, 2009
MidTexHorn in Austin

Lunch in Sea-Tac/Renton Area?

Looking for a decent non-chain place in that area for lunch this week. Nothing fancy, just good solid comfort food after a long flight. After looking on Yelp, thought maybe sandwiches at Sal's Deli in Burien. Any other ideas or thoughts on Sal's?

Jun 29, 2009
MidTexHorn in Pacific Northwest

Vegas Bound! Here's what I'll be eating/reviewing

Leaving for Vegas this afternoon for a 4 day business/fun trip. I'll be dining/drinking at the following and will post reviews when I return:

Stripsteak (dinner)
Mix (drinks only)
Sushi Roku (dinner)
Bouchon (breakfast)
Casa Fuente (drinks)
Aquaknox (big group dinner)
Solaro (poolside at Palazzo)
Hofbrauhaus (lunch/beer)

Still deciding on one other dinner for Sunday evening. Maybe Bartolotta, Sinatra, Rao's or may go with something lower end and casual. Going to play that evening by ear/feel. May be too hung over to eat (ha!).

Apr 30, 2009
MidTexHorn in Las Vegas

3 nights in Vegas--Steak, a Show, and an Anniversary...

Although it's been two years since I've been there, at the risk of offending climberdoc, I'd recommend considering Picasso for your last night. Maybe not at the level of the places referenced by SDGourmand, but still a very nice experience with great food, service and atmosphere.

Apr 23, 2009
MidTexHorn in Southwest

Santa Fe for 5 action Packed Days

Tapas at El Meson are good and they have live music most evenings.

Apr 21, 2009
MidTexHorn in Southwest

Las Vegas Steak?

These last couple of posts reflect my thoughts after eating at CarneVino a year ago. The steaks were good but nothing special, the pasta was very good to great, blood orange cocktail was awesome, but the prices were outrageous and the service was mediocre.

When I pay the kind of prices that Carnevino is (or at least was) demanding, I expect top notch service and to be wowed by at least most of the food (I don't expect perfection). Instead, I felt the food was merely above average and was only wowed by the pastas and the cocktail, and the service was very indifferent. It certainly didn't help that we had a table near the entrance/casino which totally destroyed the atmosphere.

Overall, it was just a very meh experience at a very high price point. That said, I'd go back for the pasta and that cocktail in a heartbeat.

Apr 20, 2009
MidTexHorn in Southwest

Las Vegas Steak?

I'll be eating at Stripsteak at the end of the month and will post a review when I get back from Vegas. Won't be able to compare it to any of the above, but will be able to compare it to CarneVino which I thought was good but not great, particularly at it's fairly high price point.

Apr 15, 2009
MidTexHorn in Southwest

what happened at El Farol in SF

Forgot to mention that we tried to go to La Boca without reservations on a Monday night. No luck, full up. That place is pretty tiny.

Apr 15, 2009
MidTexHorn in Southwest

what happened at El Farol in SF

We also enjoyed El Meson recently. The Paella didn't do much for me, although everyone seems to rave about it, but everything else was terrific and our waiter was very good.

Apr 15, 2009
MidTexHorn in Southwest

Las Vegas Trip Report- Sushi Roku,LOS, L'Atelier

Sorry you didn't enjoy Sushi Roku. I'll be interested in hearing your review. We've enjoyed it before and will be headed there with friends again at the end of the month. Of course, I view it more as just a fun place with good sushi and not really a dining destination. I just like the combination of the Strip view and good sushi - feels very Vegas-y to me. Also, not a sushi aficionado, so unless it's not fresh I have no qualifications for determining good sushi from bad sushi.

Apr 06, 2009
MidTexHorn in Las Vegas

Cut vs Carnevino?

Thanks for the review. Ate at Carnevino a year ago, and thought it was good but unmemorable. Some interesting pastas and my wife agrees that the Blood Orange Martini is fantastic. I'm spoiled on my own steaks and rarely find one at a restaurant that I enjoy as much as my own, which is why I rarely do steakhouses. That said, we're trying Stripsteak at the end of the month because a friend wants to try it.

Apr 06, 2009
MidTexHorn in Southwest

Stainless Steel Refrigerator Question

Thanks to all for the replies. My own digging has found some Amana and Electrolux refrigerators with stainless sides.

Apr 01, 2009
MidTexHorn in Cookware

Stainless Steel Refrigerator Question

We are about to purchase a new stainless steel refrigerator (probably french door bottom mount). One side of the refrigerator will not be covered by cabinetry and will be exposed to the rest of the room. Problem is, every stainless steel refrigerator I've seen has either black or grey plastic-y sides rather than stainless sides, and I'd really like to only have stainless steel exposed. Anyone know of any manufacturers that offer stainless steel sides on their moderately priced (under $2,500) fridges? I've had no luck with Kitchenaid or Whirlpool.

Mar 31, 2009
MidTexHorn in Cookware

Vegas: Sushi (or other) options with party vibe

We've enjoyed Sushi Roku at the Forum Shops in the past. Fairly lively atmosphere in the evening, and the view down the strip is pretty cool. Lots of partying groups of 20 somethings, but not as loud as some of the restaurant/lounge places can get when they turn up the music. Solid sushi, not spectacular but very good. It's the only sushi place I've been to in LV, so can't make any comparisons for you.

Mar 03, 2009
MidTexHorn in Southwest

One night in Vegas

As one of those who recommended Picasso to you, I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. Much of what you had was on my menu a couple of years ago, so I can also understand the complaints about lack of menu changes, but I agree that it's not an issue for the one time or very occasional visitor.

Mar 03, 2009
MidTexHorn in Las Vegas

Las Vegas - Private Dining for 70-90 people

We're doing a fairly large group dinner in May at Aquaknox in the Venetian/Palazzo. Haven't eaten there yet, so don't know how good it is, but they do have a private room.

Mar 02, 2009
MidTexHorn in Southwest

Opinions on Vegas reservations?

Thanks. And another question - did you get a look at what a big bite is like? Is it close to entree sized or more like a traditional appetizer size? I'm just trying to decide if I could put together a semi-filling meal at Bubble Bar for a $100 or less and get the Guy Savoy experience for a bargain.

Feb 26, 2009
MidTexHorn in Southwest

Opinions on Vegas reservations?

ries27,
I'd be interested in a more detailed description of the "bites" if you have the time. Are 4 bites enough for a light meal or are we literally talking 4 bites? Would one need to add one or more "big bites" in order to be satisfied if one was a moderate eater?

Feb 26, 2009
MidTexHorn in Southwest

One night in Vegas

With regards to your debate between Picasso and Michael Mina, I've only tried Picasso, so I can't compare with Michael Mina. I also love seafood, so I'm sure I would be tempted by Michael Mina as well. However, I just can't overstate how much I enjoyed Picasso and how cool of an experience it was for guy like me who is into food but lives in a small town and only gets to experience the high end stuff when I travel. Everything was so good about the meal and it was such an "only in Vegas" type of evening, that it was just perfect. I haven't been to many Michelin starred restaurants, but I can definitely see why Picasso got its two.

Feb 12, 2009
MidTexHorn in Las Vegas

Need help with our final night in Vegas

Good info. Thanks everyone.

Feb 10, 2009
MidTexHorn in Southwest