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What I Ate (August 5-9)

Discussion in 'Restaurants & Buffets' started by thecarve, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    I always enjoy reading about folks’ dining experiences in Vegas, so I figured I ought to contribute some of my own. I apologize in advance for the complete lack of food porn but I'm not much of a picture-taker.

    I tend to get a bit verbose, so I’m going to break this up into multiple posts to make it easier to digest.:rolleyes2:

    So, without further ado, here’s what I ate in Vegas last week…


    Friday, August 5

    In accordance with their official policy, American screwed me and my arrival in town was 2-3 hours later than expected. So, in lieu of a nice lunch with my sister and BIL, I made do with a handful of “dirty chips” from the Cosmo minibar (comically priced, of course, but so tasty) and a few cookies (bland, straight-from-a-bag…but free!) from the HL slot room at Cosmo.

    Sis and BIL decided on Olives. Their review: view…spectacular, food…meh. Fortunately, dinner would much better.


    Prime (Bellagio)

    Dinner on Friday was at Prime. The room itself is dark, romantic and very pretty; exactly what you would expect from a steakhouse at Bellagio. Despite the fact that I’m a big steak fan (but try to steer :rolleyes2: clear of it in the real world as I’m not as young as I used to be), this would be my first meal at Prime.

    We started off with a few raw items: oysters and the “ribbons of tuna”. I can’t remember what kind of oysters they were (west coast) but we all agreed they were excellent. I was equally impressed with the tuna though the others weren’t quite so enamored of it.

    Next up for me was the tomato salad. It was excellent – big, fresh tomatoes, creamy burrata, peppery arugula and a balsamic I could have drank from a glass. Sis loved her wedge salad (I didn’t try it) and I can’t, for the life of me, remember what BIL had.

    For the main attraction, my BIL and I both had the dry aged ribeye and my sister went with the sea bass. The steaks were cooked perfectly and were absolutely delicious – they could definitely hold their own with any of the other top drawer steak joints in town (though, I think I still prefer Carnevino’s steak offerings). And my sister loved her sea bass. And while I personally think it is sacrilege to order fish at a steakhouse, I have to admit it was excellent and I would have been perfectly happy with that as my main.

    Our sides were mac & cheese, asparagus and gratin dauphinois. The mac & cheese was good, but not in the same ballpark as the examples at CUT and Bardot. The asparagus was very good – big, fresh and well prepared. But the spuds blew me away – definitely one of the highlights of the meal and literally one of the best potato dishes I’ve had. Sadly, the portion was tiny – I could have eaten it by myself.

    And because Vegas = gluttony, we figured we might as well share a few desserts. We had a chocolate cake with ice cream and the crème brûlée. Both were good and satisfied my sweet tooth but neither was all that memorable.

    Service was adequate. But frankly, I did expect a bit better considering Prime’s price point and reputation. It certainly didn’t ruin our experience though.

    4 stars
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016
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  2. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Saturday, August 6

    Bardot Brasserie (Aria)


    I am a huge fan of Bardot. It might be my favorite restaurant in Vegas. But I’d never managed to have brunch there until this trip.

    I went with the Hunter’s waffle, which was duck confit, poached eggs and maltaise sauce over waffles. My sister had the American breakfast – bacon, eggs, potato cake and toast and my BIL had the lobster croissant benedict. And – because gluttony! – we added an order of the French toast to share. BIL raved about his lobster benny. My sister and I felt our meals were very good but didn’t quite match our, admittedly, very lofty expectations. The French toast was excellent, though – sweet, decadent and huge (easily big enough for two). Coffee was delicious though the cups were tiny and could have been refilled a bit more quickly.

    My sister and I both did the “bottomless rosé” which was a great and – for the strip – reasonably priced way to catch a nice am buzz.

    I also ordered a pasty basket to go so I could have something to snack on in the room. The pastries – even a day or two later – turned out to be fantastic, probably the best part of the meal.

    Bruch 3.5 stars

    Pastries 4.5 stars


    Estiatorio Milos (Cosmo)

    We had tickets for the 7:30 Rod Stewart show so we had to have an early dinner. The “Summer Tasting Menu” at Milos (served 4:00-7:00, I believe) turned out to work perfectly for us. The menu is essentially the same as the lunch menu but with an extra course, different dessert and no supplemental charges for the pricier items…the portions might have been a bit larger as well, but don’t quote me on that. At $49 and $40 for the optional wine pairing, it, like their lunch special is a steal, IMO.

    My first course was the grilled octopus. This is one of my favorite dishes in Vegas. It is light, fresh, simple…just so good. And the peppers and ‘shrooms that came with it were incredible. I was also able to try a bite of my sister’s (or was it BIL’s?) calamari. It was fantastic as well – very light breading, super crispy.

    The next course is a tomato salad with aged feta cheese and some greens. It is lightly dressed with some olive oil. It was excellent as well and actually quite different from the tomato salad I’d had the night before at Prime.

    For course three, I had the lamb chops. No surprise – it was delicious and cooked perfectly. The steamed veggies and thick fries (which usually aren’t my favorites) were great as well. I wasn’t able to try a bite of my BIL’s dorade roayle but by the way he scarfed it down, I gathered that he liked it.

    Dessert was Greek yogurt with honey and a baklava ice cream. The yogurt was thick, rich and creamy and the tanginess provided an excellent pairing with the sweet ice cream – which managed to replicate the flavors of baklava quite well.

    Service was stellar – probably the best we had all trip.

    5 stars


    Eggslut (Cosmo)

    On my way to grab a slice at Secret Pizza at about 3 am, I noticed that the line at Eggslut was only a few people deep (it was ridonkulous every time I looked during breakfast hours) so I decided to give it a go. I couldn’t decide between the bacon, egg and cheese and the sausage, egg and cheese so I continued my gluttonous ways and ordered both!

    The bacon and eggs were great and cooked just right. And the soft brioche was perfect for sopping up the yolk and grease. Unfortunately, there was a chipotle ketchup on the sandwich. The ketchup itself was fine, and I’m sure it would be great on fries or a burger. But on a bacon and egg sandwich? Yuck…pretty much ruined it for me.

    And while I have no reason to question the quality of the sausage (every other ingredient was top notch), I just didn’t like it. It tasted like one of those microwaveable Jimmy Dean patties to me. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Jimmy Dean sausage, but at $8…) I will say that the mustard aioli was a much more pleasant complement to the sandwich than the ketchup, though.

    If I return, I’ll order the bacon, egg and cheese and have them hold the ketchup or maybe substitute the mustard aioli from the sausage, egg and cheese. Obviously, if you don’t have the same aversion to ketchup on eggs as I do, you’ll probably enjoy it quite a bit.

    2.5 stars


    Damn…I’ve been even wordier than I thought I’d be. I’m going to take a little break and finish up later.
     
    Number 50!
  3. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Sunday, August 7

    Room Service (Cosmo)


    Sunday morning, I slept in and had a late room service breakfast while watching the Olympics and the NASCAR race. I went with the American Breakfast (or whatever Cosmo calls it): sunny side eggs, bacon, breakfast potatoes and toast. And (to continue a theme), I added an order of the Nutella French toast. The bacon and eggs were fine – typical room service fare. The potatoes were pretty good though – very cheesy – and the toast (I believe a walnut-raisin bread?) was surprisingly good.

    But the French toast stole the show. It was very crispy on the outside and light and fluffy inside. The Nutella didn’t really add anything, though. In fact, I think it detracted from the dish. Fortunately, it was just in the middle of the bread and easy enough to “eat around”.

    The coffee was mediocre.

    3 Stars

    Lunch would be a few of the Bardot pastries from the day before. As I mentioned earlier, very tasty.

    Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill (Cosmo)

    I’m no sushi connoisseur but I know my sister loves the stuff. So, she and I grabbed a bite at Blue Ribbon Sunday night (BIL’s catnap turned a bit longer than he’d originally planned so he didn’t join us). I let her order the sushi – we had a few different rolls and a few individual pieces – I added the oxtail fried rice and the fried chicken and we just shared everything.

    The fried chicken was delicious. Super crispy, a bit spicy and very juicy…just what a good fried chicken should be and well deserving of the accolades it gets. The wasabi-honey dipping sauce was very tasty, and quite hot, as well. The oxtail fried rice was also good. It was rich and full of umami. And the leftovers turned out to make a great late night snack later that night.

    As I said, I’m not too knowledgeable about sushi – hell, I can’t even remember what we had. But to my unsophisticated palette, everything was quite good and tasted very fresh.

    The green tea martini was really good too, and surprisingly boozy.

    4 Stars
     
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  4. Niteshade

    Niteshade Low-Roller

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    Thanks for sharing. I have always wanted
    to eat at Prime but it just didn't happen - something
    always came up. I enjoyed reading about the different places.
    Nice reviews.
     
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  5. Bcartel

    Bcartel Tourist

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    Thank you for posting your perspective.
     
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  6. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Monday, August 8

    Sis and BIL left on an early morning flight on the 8th. So my last day, I’d be flying solo.

    For some reason, my usual voracious appetite slept in on Monday, so breakfast was a few coffees with video poker.


    Jaleo (Cosmo)

    After the slow start, the appetite came back with a vengeance around noontime. So I made my way upstairs, mulled over my options, and decided to give Jaleo a try.

    I went with the three course “Paella Feast”.

    The first course was a gazpacho. It was slightly sweet and very tangy. A nice, refreshing way to start the meal.

    Next up was a salad. It was akin to a Caesar, with anchovies and croutons. But I believe the cheese was a manchego and the dressing was a sherry vinaigrette. There was also some romesco sauce and capers. Overall, it was excellent.

    The paella that day was a chicken and mushroom one. It was served with a garlic aioli and a lightly-dressed salad. The chicken was plentiful and it all seemed to be dark meat (any chicken-lover’s favorite) and very juicy and the mushrooms were excellent. My only qualm with the dish was that there wasn’t any (or at least I didn’t get any) of that crispy, kinda-burnt rice from the bottom of the pan.

    I also had José’s Gin and Tonic (or whatever it’s called). And while the $20 price tag would make even the biggest spendthrift say, “are you f’ing kidding me?”, I have to admit that it was the best G&T I’ve ever had.

    4 Stars


    BLVD Creamery (Monte Carlo)

    I had intended to have a bit of dessert with my lunch but the paella was deceptively filling. So, I took a long walk down the strip to work it off. On my way back to Cosmo, I noticed BLVD Creamery in front of MC and decided that it would be a terrific way to escape the 107 degree temps.

    This place was great – I can’t believe it has taken someone with as big of a sweet tooth as I have so long to try it. The employees were very friendly and quite generous with the samples. I tried a few of the boozy flavors and they were very good – the horchata was the best of the bunch. But I decided to go more traditional and ordered a scoop of the toasted almond and a scoop of the coffee (made with beans from next door neighbor, Sambalatte).

    When in Vegas, I don’t venture too far off the strip. So I can’t compare this place with some of the local joints that get so many plaudits. But I can say it’s the best ice cream I’ve had in Vegas. It is super flavorful, almost like a gelato, but with that creamy goodness you only get with ice cream. And let’s face it, $5.50 for two huge scoops is a bargain on The Strip.

    I also grabbed a few macaroons (pistachio and salted caramel, if memory serves) to go. Hey, I like to eat when I’m in Vegas, what can I say?

    5 Stars


    Bardot Brasserie (Aria)

    For my final meal of the trip, I went with my favorite, Bardot. As usual, it was excellent.

    I started with a the oysters. Once again, the variety escapes me, but I know they were west coasters (though they seemed a bit larger than the typical WC oyster). Excellent, but not quite as good as the ones we had at Prime earlier in the trip.

    Up next was the frisée and lardon salad: frisée (and a few other types of greens, I believe), big ol’ lardons, croutons and a poached egg. So damn good! Super rich for a salad, and full of umami. I could eat this salad daily.

    While I always have a hard time not ordering the ridiculously good roast chicken (how do they get the skin so damn crispy?) when eating at Bardot, I did decide to go with the pork chop this time. And it was great as always.

    The chop is very thick, with a great char on the outside but still surprisingly juicy inside. The mustard sauce is creamy but still has that tangy mustard flavor. And I absolutely love the horseradish mashed potatoes – such a fun idea.

    And while there was more than enough food, I have to order the mac & cheese every time I have dinner at Bardot. It is one of my favorite sides of all time. Of course, it did not disappoint this time around – rich, creamy and cheesy, mmmm!

    I finished up with their delicious coffee and a nice chat with the bartender.

    5 Stars.


    This was actually a very “successful” trip when it comes to dining. There really wasn’t a dud among the bunch. Maybe a service hiccup here and there, but the food was almost universally great.

    Sorry to be so longwinded. Thanks for reading and I hope you were able to find some info to be helpful. Bon appétite!

    (And in case you’re wondering…I weighed 179 prior to the trip. Today, even after being back to my usual – and kind of obsessive – routine of daily weight lifting and cardio and a reasonably healthy diet, I tipped the scales at 184.:):usa:)
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016
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  7. Geogran

    Geogran OTD Tea Sipper

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    I think you can attribute that to all the coffee you drank.

    Really enjoyed each review and detail, thanks for taking the time to share!
    I thought service at Prime was a bit lackluster, considering. But the steak was excellent. And the Estiatorio Milos service and food make it a favorite of ours as well. Love their tomato salad presentation at lunch.

    Based on your reviews I need to add BLVD creamery and Bardot to our growing list of places to try.
     
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  8. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Yeah, it was all the coffee! That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;)
     
    Number 50!
  9. gotChopin

    gotChopin Low-Roller

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    Im hUngry!!
     
  10. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the reviews - 5 Stars.
     
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  11. pebbles

    pebbles VIP Whale

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    Thanks, I enjoyed reading your reviews.
     
    First trip of 2017.
  12. Bamalewie

    Bamalewie Tourist

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    Are y'all allowed to disclose the location of secret pizza or do I just have to wander around until I find it?
     
  13. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Thanks, Westie. That means a lot coming from the king!

    Third floor near Blue Ribbon Sushi, I believe. Look for the hallway that's covered in old album covers - follow it until you're there.
     
    Number 50!
  14. Jackpot Johnny

    Jackpot Johnny Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the great reviews. Your attention to detail and atmosphere is most excellent. +1 on the Five Stars.

    I was sad to hear an undertone of 'meh' service at Prime. For years we thought Prime was the best (and our favorite fine dining spot) restaurant in Las Vegas, until we ate at Sinatra. In six weeks we'll be back, and we're going to try SW-we've gotten great recommendations and everyone we know who has recently tried both SW and Prime prefers SW.

    And, plus one on aversion to ketchup on eggs-thanks for the warning if we ever stop by Eggslut. (Am I the only one who thinks that's an awful name?). Never did get ketchup on eggs, but I'm as old as dirt and this odd combo has been around all of my life.
     
  15. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Thanks for the kind words, Jackpot Johnny!

    I'm a big fan of SW. It's a must-do for me any time I stay at Wynncore. And I think if you like Prime, you'll like it. I thought the two were quite similar in terms of menu, quality and ambiance (a bit less so since the SW reno made the place a bit lighter/brighter, though). Try the truffle creamed corn! So tasty.

    As far as the service at Prime: it was far from "bad" and probably not even on the "meh" level. It was just a bit slower than I would have preferred (though, to be fair, it was a fairly busy Friday night) and the head waiter didn't have much of a personality. Also, the fact that we had such phenomenal service the next night at Milos probably colors my view somewhat.

    And yeah, I think Eggslut is a ridiculous name. But I suppose it's hip and edgy? Plus, I think language has evolved pretty quickly in recent years and "slut" doesn't necessarily mean the same thing it did in the past.
     
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  16. Jackpot Johnny

    Jackpot Johnny Well-Known Member

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    We're looking forward to SW and we're also doing Sinatra this upcoming trip. Two fine dining outings is about all we can handle in a trip, so we'll not be off premises for upscale eating (no comparison trip down the road to Prime). I appreciate the SW perspective and the heads up on the truffle creamed corn. In my youth I was at boarding school, then college, then the military-dining halls then had a lot of (lesser non truffle version) creamed corn and I've kept it off my preferred food list ever since-would not have otherwise considered it. And then when I'm in Las Vegas I consider it a "free food zone" and usually pass up vegetables for extra meat, fat and sugar-I go back to healthy eating and weight control at home. The cream in the corn makes it an ok Vegas choice.

    We were at Bellagio at opening and visited there three or four times a year for the next fifteen years before trying Wynn. A short walk downstairs to Prime was a traditional part of every trip. We had the same table captain for every visit for all those years, so service was never a problem for us. But, when our favorite Prime general manager left for a promotion to Aria we thought we noticed a very subtle decline in food, beverage, maintenance, etc. and we began to get more neutral responses from friends we referred there. Just fewer raves-never anything bad for sure, just a small shift from nearly perfect. Certainly Prime did not head downhill, if they did at all, as fast as Bellagio. We still have great affection for Prime, but not so much that we're not excited about trying out SW.

    The older we get, the less adventurous we get (and, sadly, the less we eat and the less we're interested in multiple fine dining events or experimental outings). For our tastes, we think Wynn/Encore has the best on premises dining selection of any resort in the city and we often don't leave. We still visit Mon Ami Gabi, Prime, Olive's, Spago, Trevi, Grand Lux and Peppermill. For shameless tourism we sometimes hit Guy Fieri's (good, overpriced mac and cheese burger and terrific multi shaped fries, nothing special atmosphere and wildly varying service from terrific to terrible-peeved me when they stopped making their very good milkshakes)) and then a dessert cupcake at Sprinkles. There are probably twenty places we've crossed off our list (including our traditional lunch buffet at Mirage). We have friends in Las Vegas who sometimes take us away from tourist Vegas for good meals, but seldom better than our favorite Strip choices and much more effort.

    It's always a treat for me to suspend all food rules and to eat whatever I want for a week. I look forward to the food in Las Vegas as much as anything else-except that my beautiful and talented spouse always makes sure I mention true love and that Las Vegas is a romantic trip destination for us.

    So, I always watch for great restaurant reviews like yours and I appreciate your willingness to share and make us feel like we went with you. Your generously observant postings are a highlight of VMB for me. Many thanks.
     
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  17. Jackpot Johnny

    Jackpot Johnny Well-Known Member

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    Slightly off topic for your great thread, I'll add that I used to travel all over the world for business and was fortunate to visit some of the best restaurants in Europe, Asia and the U.S. I'll put veal parmigiana at Sinatra right up there with the best restaurant meals I've ever had anywhere at any price. I love the atmosphere, we have a favorite server and she's right on perfect, the food preparation and quality is always Michelin star quality, the wine steward is unfussy and good to guide me on non-California choices, and the overall experience is as good as it gets for me. Sinatra is becoming our 'Cheers experience,' comfortable, welcoming, never too foo-foo for me and uniformly terrific. Just saying.

    (The reason I mentioned 'non-California' wine choices is that I'm pretty good with most vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, but I'm a clueless dunce otherwise. The wine steward at Sinatra has always made very good Italian red choices for us at surprisingly moderate price levels. Refreshing to get good stuff and not be price punished to drink it.)
     
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  18. the nuts

    the nuts VIP Whale

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    You should give eggslut another try. Always get the sandwiches dry, you will enjoy it more.
     
  19. Grandmaw

    Grandmaw Tourist

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    Great post - I'm going to try some of these restaurants on my next trip. Thanks for writing it up.
     
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  20. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Yeah, I'm sure I would. I could see that it certainly wasn't your run of the mill fast food breakfast sandwich - everything on the B.E.C. was first rate. But man did that ketchup ruin it.

    I probably shoulda paid more attention to the menu description. But...3am in Vegas...:drunk:
     
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