Where to eat, drink and play in Las Ve­gas

Vegas Magazine - - Contents -

It’s a cou­ple of months be­fore Ve­gas heats up to ap­prox­i­mately one gazil­lion de­grees—oth­er­wise known as Brunch Sea­son. The Tus­cany- and Napa-in­spired Bottiglia in Green Valley Ranch Re­sort—with its cheery in­te­rior and its con­vivial pa­tio—is one of the city’s best places to drag your sorry self on Sun­day. Whether you’re in re­cov­ery mode—or­der­ing spe­cial­ties like Cal­i­for­nia eggs Bene­dict with roasted tomato, chicken, and av­o­cado or bright blue­berry and lemon ri­cotta pan­cakes—or get­ting a sec­ond wind with blood or­ange mi­mosas and pitch­ers of white or red san­gria, it’s the per­fect way to ease out of the week­end and (sigh) into Mon­day. Green Valley Ranch, 702-617-7075; bot­


The Down­town out­post of Andiamo— Joseph Vi­cari’s ac­claimed fam­ily of Detroit-area restau­rants serv­ing meats from the na­tion’s top providers (think Pat Lafrieda and Strauss)—is an old­school steak­house trea­sure hid­den on the sec­ond floor of the D ho­tel. The ta­ble­side Cae­sar salad is worth the trip alone, as are the hand­made pas­tas, though car­ni­vores shouldn’t miss the 32-ounce rib eye. The D Las Ve­gas, 702-388-2460;


The high, white­washed ceil­ings and re­laxed vibe of El­iz­a­beth Blau and chef Kim Can­teen­walla’s modern steak­house re­call din­ing in the Hamp­tons. It’s all about el­e­vated sim­plic­ity, with steaks charred over an apri­cot wood-burn­ing grill, whole branzino, and sea­sonal spe­cials. Don’t miss witty starters like Nueske ba­con-wrapped matzo balls or the crispy/gooey mac-and-cheese waf­fle. IN­SIDER TIP: “Lo­cal Love Tues­days” mean $1 oys­ters, plus $5 martinis all night in the bar and on the pa­tio. 1720 Fes­ti­val Plaza Dr., Sum­mer­lin, 702685-8002; andiron­


Gold let­ter­ing on the win­dows, Laguiole cut­lery, and a cen­tral zinc bar epit­o­mize the sin­gu­lar qual­ity of Michael Mina’s el­e­vated French brasserie in Aria, where clas­sics like onion soup are re­fined with aged Gruyère and Périg­ord truf­fles in one of the most ro­man­tic and trans­port­ing din­ing rooms in town. IN­SIDER TIP: Sim­ple roasted chicken? Mina treats his all-nat­u­ral Hud­son Valley heir­loom birds like Pek­ing duck—brined, blanched, and hung to dry be­fore be­ing roasted with ar­ti­sanal soy and vin jaune from France’s Jura re­gion. Aria, 877-230-2742;


José An­drés’s el­e­gant ode to car­ni­vores is, as you might ex­pect, all about the meat, with dishes like wild boar sausage and even an en­tire 10-pound suck­ling pig. IN­SIDER TIP: Though the meaty menu can be daunt­ing, the restau­rant’s new Bar Cen­tro menu, of­fered nightly be­gin­ning at 5 pm, pro­vides an in­tro with smaller bites like gazpacho shots, beef tartare slid­ers, and a just a taste of that suck­ling pig (in a sand­wich). SLS Las Ve­gas, 702-761-7610; slslasve­


This airy Thomas Keller bistro is hid­den away on the 10th floor of the Venezia Tower of Vene­tian, look­ing out onto foun­tains and gar­dens. In good weather, take your break­fast on the pa­tio; it starts with a bas­ket of fab­u­lously flaky French pas­tries. (Try the gi­ant, gooey pe­can sticky bun.) Vene­tian, 702-414-6200; vene­


The lines to get into “Cake Boss” Buddy Valas­tro’s Carlo’s Bak­ery wound through the Vene­tian when it opened, and his fam­ily-style Ital­ian place across the cor­ri­dor gets the same kind of at­ten­tion. Can’t-miss fa­vorites in­clude Jer­sey City-style fried moz­zarella named for his Aunt Nina, his grand­mother’s meat­balls, and My Wife’s Egg­plant Parm. Head to Carlo’s Bak­ery for an af­ter-din­ner can­noli. Grand Canal Shoppes at Vene­tian and Palazzo, 702607-2355; bud­dyvlasve­


When Ma­jor Food Group launched Carbone in New York’s Greenwich Vil­lage, the com­pany en­vi­sioned a high-end red sauce restau­rant cel­e­brat­ing the dis­tinc­tive in­ter­pre­ta­tions of Ital­ian food in the five bor­oughs. It was only nat­u­ral to bring the con­cept to Ve­gas—and quadru­ple the space, of course. Don’t miss the ta­ble­side Cae­sar salad and the im­mense veal parmi­giana, di­vided into four sec­tions by your Zac Posen tuxedo-clad waiter in the stylish, theater-in­spired room in Aria. Aria, 702-590-2663;


Mario Batali and Joe Bas­tianich’s sig­na­ture Ital­ian style comes to a care­fully cu­rated prethe­ater menu. Try the sim­ply grilled tagli­ata di manzo with arugula, meaty home­made tagli­atelle Bolog­nese, and pear budino with whiskey but­ter­scotch (or in warmer weather, the semifreddo). If you’re here for reg­u­lar din­ner ser­vice, the reserva steak, aged lo­cally for six to eight months—and with sauces such as truf­fle vinai­grette and Barolo ristretto—is the must-or­der. Grand Canal Shoppes at Vene­tian and Palazzo, 702-789-4141;


The many lo­ca­tions of Chart House across the coun­try serve ex­cep­tional seafood and steaks, but only the new­est out­post—in Golden Nugget— daz­zles with a 75,000-gal­lon trop­i­cal aquar­ium. IN­SIDER TIP: Go for lunch and ask for a seat be­hind the aquar­ium for one of Las Ve­gas’s best, and most dis­creet, power lunches. Golden Nugget Ho­tel & Casino, 702-3868364;


Chef Mark Lorusso flies in ex­quis­ite seafood and ex­otic shell­fish from Italy daily at this Wynn fa­vorite, where the em­pha­sis is on sea­sonal and un­usual catches. IN­SIDER TIP: Look for rar­i­ties like moleche (Vene­tian soft-shell crab) in fall and spring, cen­trolofo (im­pe­rial black­fish) in sum­mer, and its leg­endary live lan­goustines, whose source ships to only a dozen restau­rants in the world. Wynn Las Ve­gas, 702-770-3305; wynnlasve­


Star chef Emeril La­gasse puts a modern, Cre­ole spin on his own New Or­leans steak­house, a cen­tury-old restau­rant that he pur­chased and

ren­o­vated 20 years ago. Cuts like the bone-in rib eye, the Ja­panese Wagyu, and even a Chateaubriand carved ta­ble­side for two are su­perla­tive, but don’t miss La­gasse’s clas­sic bar­be­cue shrimp. And the wine selec­tion tops 2,300 bot­tles. Grand Canal Shoppes at Vene­tian and Palazzo, 702-414-3737; vene­


In a sec­tion of Down­town with a dearth of places for a quick bite, this all-Amer­i­can café named for a fallen sol­dier (the son of its orig­i­nal owner) was re­cently taken over by an­other vet­eran, who con­tin­ues turn­ing out ter­rific break­fast and lunch spe­cial­ties, like thick-cut French toast and a juicy bar­be­cue ba­con burger—all served with that long-for­got­ten Amer­i­can fa­vorite: the crispy tater tot. 603 Las Ve­gas Blvd. S., 702-826-2344; dougiejs­


Di­rectly fac­ing Bellagio’s foun­tains, the in­ti­mate Eif­fel Tower of­fers tra­di­tional French fine din­ing and one of the most ro­man­tic views in Ve­gas. IN­SIDER TIP: Call far in ad­vance, ask for ta­ble 56 (aka “the pro­posal ta­ble,” the cor­ner spot whose two seats both face the foun­tains), and or­der the fa­mous souf­flé as soon as you ar­rive so it will be ready by dessert. Paris Las Ve­gas, 702-948-6937; paris­lasve­


This sunlit Greek fine-din­ing restau­rant in Cos­mopoli­tan (an off­shoot of its orig­i­nal New York City lo­ca­tion) al­lows din­ers to choose from piles of fish and live lob­sters hauled in from Mediter­ranean waters. Sim­ply grilled or baked in salt crusts, the seafood is the star, but don’t miss the Mi­los Spe­cial: pa­per-thin fried chips of zuc­chini and egg­plant in a mound of thick tzatziki. IN­SIDER TIP: The $29 three-course lunch menu, not at all down­sized, is the best lunch deal in town. Cos­mopoli­tan, 702-698-7930; cos­mopoli­tan­lasve­


Bat­ter up! Fried Bri­tish fare never tasted so good, from fresh cod filets to sausage and “dirty” chips to bangers and mash, at Ram­say’s tra­di­tional take­away-style “chippy.” The Linq, 702-322-0529; the­


Star chef Brian Malarkey’s fish restau­rant with La Jolla roots takes the re­laxed, ocean-to-ta­ble con­cept to a new level with beach-chic dé­cor and live mu­sic on a pa­tio over­look­ing Aria’s pool. Big group? Or­der a “yacht” of a dozen oys­ters, Alaskan king crab, Maine lob­sters, and jumbo shrimp. Aria, 702-590-9898;


At this mecca of haute cui­sine, din­ers start with Dun­geness crab, lob­ster gelée, and fen­nel cream topped with os­e­tra caviar—which helps ex­plain why this is the sole Miche­lin three-star restau­rant in Ve­gas. En­joy the 16-course tast­ing that fol­lows from a pri­vate booth or the Gar­den Ter­race. MGM Grand,702-891-7925; mg­m­


Pas­sion­ate lo­cal gour­mands flock to this unas­sum­ing rus­tic Hen­der­son kitchen, where the chef (whose roots are in fine din­ing) el­e­vates the fresh, sim­ple dishes of his El Paso child­hood. Look for a de­cid­edly un­vir­tu­ous dough­nut sand­wich (filled with ba­con, fried egg, and Ir­ish ched­dar) and smoked pork belly eggs Bene­dict with jalapeño hol­landaise. 1716 Hori­zon Ridge Pkwy., 702-478-4782;


This con­tem­po­rary Ital­ian restau­rant fea­tures a crisp white de­sign by Munge Le­ung, in­spired by early-20th-cen­tury Ital­ian Fu­tur­ism. The pa­tio tables are prac­ti­cally in the mist of Bellagio’s foun­tains, while Miche­lin-starred chef Julian Ser­rano of­fers tapas-style Mediter­ranean dishes such as an ex­cep­tional red wine risotto, sim­ply grilled lan­goustines, and crudo with blood or­ange. IN­SIDER TIP: Call ahead and ask for ta­ble 80, clos­est to the foun­tains. Bellagio, 702-693-8865;


While the aptly named Wynn restau­rant—lo­cated on the sur­real Lake of Dreams—has al­ways had a ter­rific sea- food pro­gram, chef David Wal­zog’s re­la­tion­ship with fish­er­men in Hana, Hawaii, now yields tons of snap­per, mon­chong, shutome, mahi-mahi, and ono, flown straight from the Pa­cific and some­times served the day af­ter they were caught. Try a flight of the day-boat fish sim­ply pre­pared with fen­nel and cit­rus, pick­led veg­eta­bles, and ponzu broth. Wynn Las Ve­gas, 702-770-3310; wynnlasve­


Find un­pre­ten­tious Ital­ian stan­dards at Lavo, fa­mous for its bot­tom­less brunch and dishes like lob­ster eggs Bene­dict. Now a hy­brid pri­vate gam­ing room and sexy Ital­ian lounge with bot­tle ser­vice, its week­end Casino Club brings food and bev­er­ages right to your re­served gam­ing ta­ble via a but­ler-steered cart. Grand Canal Shoppes at Vene­tian and Palazzo, 702-791-1800; vene­


This op­u­lent, Adam Ti­hany-de­signed French restau­rant is as im­pec­ca­ble as when it first opened more than 15 years ago—mod­eled, of course, on Sirio Mac­cioni’s New York land­mark. For the full ex­pe­ri­ence, or­der the 10-course Pres­tige menu, sav­ing room for the the­atri­cal boule au choco­lat. Bellagio, 702-693-8100;


This bar-meets-kitchen-meets-hang­out space dishes up spe­cial­ties from chef Shawn Mcclain, like his Modern Fried Egg, cooked sous vide with sweet corn cus­tard, topped with Amer­i­can stur­geon caviar, and served in its own shell. Also don’t miss the bar­rel-aged and draft cock­tails and the his­tory-in­spired punches. Man­dalay Bay, 877-632-7800; man­dalay­


The Kobe Beef Fed­er­a­tion has granted only three li­censes in the United States, and Wynn holds one of them. But at Mizumi, the tep­pan and sushi restau­rant with its own wa­ter­fall and pri­vate out­door float­ing pagoda ta­ble, chef Devon Hashimoto goes a step fur­ther, serv­ing Hokkaido Snow Beef (even rarer than Kobe), pro­duced by just one farmer on the snowy Ja­panese

is­land of Hokkaido. Wynn Las Ve­gas, 702-770-3320; wynnlasve­


Masahuru Mo­ri­moto’s long-awaited Ve­gas out­post swankily serves up the orig­i­nal Iron Chef’s fa­mous tep­pa­nyaki, Wagyu beef sukiyaki, soups, pork belly, and some Ve­gas ex­clu­sives in a sleek, Yabu Pushel­berg-de­signed room. MGM Grand, 702-891-3001; mg­m­


Nobu Mat­suhisa’s Cae­sars Palace restau­rant—which an­chors his own ho­tel tower—was the first Nobu in the US to of­fer tep­pa­nyaki, as well as sig­na­ture dishes like his fa­mous black cod miso and his squid “pasta,” all in the din­ing room David Rock­well de­signed to make you feel as if you’re in­side a Ja­panese ike­bana bas­ket. (Look for the “tea whisk” light fix­tures.) Cae­sars Palace, 702-785-6628; cae­


Chef-owner Dan Krohmer, who has worked with Masa­haru Mo­ri­moto and toured as a chef for rock stars (T-swift! Jay Z!), com­bines a ca­sual aesthetic with pris­tine, spot-on oys­ters and sashimi served with in­no­va­tive cock­tails. Hid­den in a west-side strip mall, its only mar­ket­ing through word-of-mouth, it’s be­come a fa­vorite of gour­mands and off-the-clock chefs. 3655 S. Du­rango Blvd., 702-463-8382; oth­er­ma­


Run by Span­ish fa­vorite son Julian Ser­rano, Bellagio’s AAA and Forbes Travel Guide five-star-rated fine din­ing des­ti­na­tion is also graced by the work of an­other fa­mous Spa­niard. Authen­tic Pablo Pi­casso paint­ings and ce­ram­ics are a gor­geous ac­com­pa­ni­ment to Ser­rano’s own works of art: re­gional Span­ish and French dishes such as pan-seared U10 day-boat scal­lops with silky potato mous­se­line and jus de veau, served with a spec­tac­u­lar view of the foun­tains. Bellagio, 888987-6667;


Spe­cial­iz­ing in ro­bata and oden cook­ing, this Ja­panese grill, which has been nom­i­nated for a num­ber of James Beard Awards, is well-known to gour- mands as one of the best Ja­panese restau­rants in the coun­try. It stays open late to ac­com­mo­date chef fans like Guy Savoy and Mario Batali, who eat here af­ter ser­vice. IN­SIDER TIP: Call three days ahead to re­serve chef Mit­suo Endo’s 10- or 15-course kaiseki tast­ing menu. 5030 W. Spring Moun­tain Road, 702-367-3511;


Chef Guy Savoy at­tracts se­ri­ous food­ies with his tra­di­tional nine-course menu and his play­ful, 13-course In­no­va­tion menu, fea­tur­ing fan­ci­ful cre­ations like spot prawns in a “sweet and sour fish­net” of mesh-cut daikons. IN­SIDER TIP: Savoy’s new Caviar Room of­fers guests a taste of leg­endary dishes—like his Col­ors of Caviar, paired with a Krug or Belvedere mar­tini—with­out book­ing an en­tire evening’s ex­pe­ri­ence. Cae­sars Palace, 702-731-7286; cae­


Not-to-miss items at Rivea in­clude tangy Provençal caponata and a lob­ster and pur­ple ar­ti­choke salad whose vi­brancy ri­vals the spec­tac­u­lar view of the moun­tains and the Strip from your perch on the 64th floor. Be sure to try the crispy socca (the chick­pea street food sold in the South of France) for a feel­ing of end­less sum­mer on the Riviera. De­lano Las Ve­gas, 702-6327888; de­lanolasve­


Chef Rick Moo­nen—of­ten called the “god­fa­ther of sus­tain­abil­ity” in seafood cir­cles—in­dulges his love of com­fort food in a steam­punk-themed room up­stairs from his RM Seafood, com­plete with an alchemy bar and “nour­ish­ment chart.” Don’t miss witty bites like Devils on Horse­back (dates stuffed with Shaft’s blue cheese and wrapped in smoked ba­con), chicken pot pie nuggets, and duck con­fit pou­tine. Man­dalay Bay, 702-632-9300; man­dalay­


The re­fined South­ern Ital­ian of­fer­ings at this Red Rock hot spot range from pas­tas pre­pared ta­ble­side to a whole, salt-roasted branzino to Nutella-stuffed bom­boloni. Red Rock Casino, Re­sort & Spa, 702-797-7311; re­


Gourmet dishes like smoked salmon pizza and fresh sal­ads—plus a de­voted fol­low­ing of lo­cal so­cialites and power bro­kers—makes Wolf­gang Puck’s orig­i­nal Ve­gas out­post one of the Strip’s best op­tions for clos­ing a deal over lunch. The Fo­rum Shops at Cae­sars, 702-369-6300; cae­


The Ve­gas lo­ca­tion of the James Beard Award-nom­i­nated Mi­ami hot spot de­buted in Novem­ber. Early fa­vorites in­clude the sea urchin tostada and shell­fish hot pot rice with clams, cut­tle­fish, and Alaskan king crab. Vene­tian, 702-414-4525; vene­


Over­look­ing Wynn’s Lake of Dreams, SW Steak­house is one of a small hand­ful of restau­rants in the coun­try to serve cer­ti­fied-authen­tic Kobe beef. IN­SIDER TIP: Like the com­fort­able din­ing room chairs? So does ho­tel mogul Steve Wynn. He’s had them shipped to his of­fices around the world and to SW in Wynn Palace in Co­tai. Wynn Las Ve­gas, 702-7703325; wynnlasve­


Pierre Gag­naire’s Mandarin Oriental restau­rant—his only pres­ence in the States—of­fers whim­si­cal, modern takes on French fare (broc­coli ice cream, any­one?). Mandarin Oriental, 888-881-9367;


The ideal brunch des­ti­na­tion (in -the-know guests go for the mini dough­nut ma­chine) also hosts af­ter­noon tea and has an in­ti­mate lounge on its lush, pool-fac­ing pa­tio. While it’s also a great power break­fast and lunch spot, its se­cret strength is as a sanc­tu­ary from Ve­gas’s evening chaos. The Four Sea­sons, 702-6325121; foursea­

Brunch in the sunny din­ing room of Bottiglia in Green Valley Ranch Re­sort is a sure cure for what­ever ails you.

The sig­na­ture Mizuhiki Cae­sar salad at Mo­ri­moto Las Ve­gas.

Sum­mer in a glass: the Or­chard mar­tini at Parasol Up.

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