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Which Strip Hotel has the best Dining Scene?

Discussion in 'Restaurants & Buffets' started by dankyone, Apr 25, 2014.

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  1. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

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    I'm starting this thread because I have my own (strong) opinions, and I don't want to hijack a different thread where the subject came up. We're talking about modern fine dining, appealing to global foodies who aren't necessarily fans of Vegas. We're not talking about graveyard specials, holes in the wall, buffets, food courts, or throwbacks to 1958--even if soup and salad are included. A great steakhouse might count for a little, but if the best restaurant in the hotel is a steakhouse, that is a big negative. Absolutely obscene prices will be a small negative, while fair prices on very high end food are a major plus. A wide variety of restaurants is a big positive, as is the availability of a superb, cutting edge restaurant of Michelin star quality. Availability of an excellent dining option for lunch is a positive. Room service quality should also be considered.

    The contenders, in alphabetical order:

    Aria
    Bellagio
    Caesars Palace
    Cosmopolitan
    MGM
    Venetian/Palazzo
    Wynn/Encore

    I would suggest that any other hotels are NOT real contenders for the best dining scene on the strip, and I would ask that they not be mentioned in this thread, even if your favorite restaurant is not in one of the above hotels. We are talking about the quality and variety of a dining scene, and I don't think there are any other hotels worth consideration. I have my own opinions about the above, and I'll listen to yours, but please don't say that a hotel not listed above has the best dining scene on the strip. It doesn't.

    ARIA:

    Notable Restaurants:
    Sage
    Jean Georges Steak
    American Fish
    Juilan Serrano

    Comments:
    Four very solid high end options as well as a thai and Chinese option. Big points for Julian Serrano being open all afternoon. Sage is superb but not a contender for the very best. American Fish is a great deal for fine dining on the strip and outstanding in its own right. Room service is a weakness. Great variety on the high end. Availability of Jean Phillipe as a casual option is a plus.

    BELLAGIO:

    Notable Restaurants:
    Le Cirque
    Picasso
    Prime
    Jasmine
    Michael Mina

    Comments:
    Very, very solid considering both Picasso and Le Cirque are strong options for high quality and value in haute cuisine. Many steakhouse aficionados consider Prime one of the very best. Variety is good, room service is superb, and the quick service options are still high quality as is the cafe. Olives is mediocre and leaves a gap in the lunch options here.

    CAESARS PALACE:

    Notable Restaurants:
    Guy Savoy
    Mesa Grill
    Nobu
    Old Homestead
    GR Pub/Grill
    Payard
    Raos

    Comments:
    Very strong on variety and at the very high end. IMO Guy Savoy is the very best fine dining in LV and certainly in the top 10 in the US if not the top 5. Room service is also top quality for all 3 meals, surprising in the CET universe. The omakase at Nobu is very, very appealing and satisfies a variety of palates. Several huge positives, but things go down from there, as Old Homestead is a bit of a train wreck, GR Pub is inconsistent, and Raos is a high priced red sauce joint. Mesa Grill is a great choice for lunch 7 days a week.

    COSMO:

    Notable Restaurants:
    Jaleo/e
    Milos
    Scarpetta
    Comme Ca
    STK
    China Poblano

    Comments:
    Arguably the best for variety. Lacking a French haute cuisine dining room but "e" fills that niche for the high end foodie crowd. Service in restaurants is not as good as it should be, but food quality overall is very high. The general party atmosphere can be a negative even in their better restaurants if one is most interested in what is on the plate. Somehow the diners are treated very casually and leave feeling less "special" than they might at top end eateries elsewhere on the Strip.


    MGM:

    Notable Restaurants:
    Joel Robuchon
    L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
    Craftsteak
    Hakkasan
    Pub 1842

    Comments:
    I doubt there is a hotel in the world with a wilder variety of dining options, considering they have a Michelin three star restaurant and a McDonald's under the same roof. They are thin on the high end, though. Robuchon is good but quite predictable for a three star and wins the prize as brutally, obscenely overpriced. (I'm talking almost $1000/person with wine for those not familiar. You can get a similar meal at Le Cirque for $250.) The availability of L'Atelier is great. Craftsteak is underrated, fairly priced, and outstanding for service and food--as is Hakkasan as a dining room before the club starts up. Mina's pub 1842 is not one of his better efforts but burgers are decent. Room service is a weakness.

    Venetian/Palazzo:

    Notable Restaurants:
    Cut
    Carnevino
    B&B
    Bouchon
    Pinot Brasserie
    Otto Enoteca
    B&B Burger/Beer

    Comments:
    They are missing a haute cuisine French place, and are too Mario Batali Centric, but very solid. Both Cut and Carnevino win huge points for superb high end steaks and creative additions/alternatives, but they can't compete for being the best restaurants in town. Bouchon is one of the very best breakfast/brunch places on the strip. The opening of 3 Batali places for lunch--indeed all afternoon--is a positive too.

    WYNN/ENCORE:
    Notable Restaurants:
    Wing Lei
    Bartolotta
    Country Club Grill
    Tableau
    SW Steak
    Sinatra
    Botero

    Comments:
    When Wynn opened, Alex was the very best restaurant in town. The dining scene there has been dumbed down consistently across the board, most notably with the closure of Alex and DB Brasserie. It feels like Wynncore is a collection of steakhouses with different décor. The hotel lacks a haute cuisine option today, which is shocking and a big negative for Wynn. Tableau and CC Grill are great choices for lunch which is a positive. Sinatra is a gorgeous dining room with great service and very, very mediocre food. Bartolotta and Botero are minor train wrecks, leaving Wing Lei as the only "real" restaurant left in Wynncore. Wynn does a great job at room service, no surprise considering SW lives in the hotel. Steakhouse fans will have their say, but I would argue that no restaurant at Wynn is in the top 10 in LV anymore.

    FINAL comments:

    If "BellAria" was one hotel, that would be the winner as the best dining scene in town.

    Guy Savoy is the best restaurant in LV, and Nobu is good, but CP does not have enough depth on the higher end.

    Cosmo is excellent on variety but is missing a big time haute cuisine room.

    MGM is trying to be everything to everyone and it doesn't quite work.

    VP is your place--if you like Mario Batali.

    Steve Wynn gave up on high end dining and is hell bent on selling $30 bottles of booze for $500.




    What do we think, VMB????
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
  2. RiddickBull

    RiddickBull VIP Whale

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    Very nice thread and observations.

    Joel Robuchon is the best in Vegas. Pricey, yes of course. If you are willing to cough up the dollars, I think this is the best place. Is it worth it? That's for others to argue.

    I'm a steak eater so I will omit my steak options.

    Very detail thread as there is no correct answer.

    Bellagio may have the best food options. By no means is Prime the best steak house in Vegas, IMO. Just pure opinion
     
  3. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

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    I appreciate your comment--and your willingness to keep steakhouses out of it. I would say JR is second to Guy Savoy, but clearly a superb restaurant if your wallet can take it.
     
  4. RiddickBull

    RiddickBull VIP Whale

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    I have never tried Guy Savoy. I will have to give it a shot. I have never really dined at CET. Maybe after hanging out at CET, my opinion will change.

    very fun thread.

    :beer:
     
  5. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

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    Try it. If you like Joel Robuchon, you'll love Guy Savoy, and it's "cheaper" and better.
     
  6. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

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    Bellagio may have the best food options.

    I agree...
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  7. MisplacedTexan

    MisplacedTexan Low-Roller

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    Great observations, Dankyone. I can't wait to sit back and watch how this thread plays out. :thumbsup:
     
  8. Kickin

    Kickin Flea

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    Good observations and I completely agree about Cosmo having the best variety, so even though it doesn't have anything at the highest end I'd rate it at the top for heading in the right direction. There is no shortage of French, Italian, steak/seafood, and sushi/generic Asian fine dining in Vegas. But what about other cuisines?

    Where I live we have high end Indian, Thai, Malaysian, Peruvian, Korean, Spanish, Russian, etc. Pretty much any cuisine you can think of there will be some nice version of it. I know Vegas can't spread itself out that thin and this comes down to personal preference but the dearth of nice restaurants with non-standard cuisines is something only Cosmo seems to be addressing. But I guess when you name your hotel "Cosmopolitan" you expect to deliver more of that contemporary urban-chic atmosphere.
     
  9. RiddickBull

    RiddickBull VIP Whale

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    That would be awesome if they had high end Indian, Korean, etc. food in Vegas. Imagine how much they could charge for Korean BBQ
     
  10. iamsomedude

    iamsomedude Low-Roller

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    Your criteria are pretty specific, especially about the part about having a large variety of fine dining, so I can't advocate for the Wynn/Encore as the best hotel under those criteria. But I will say that I have rarely, if at all, been disappointed in the quality of food from the Wynn/Encore, whether it be from room service or the restaurants. If this was a topic about the overall dining scene, not just about fine dining, I would still say Wynn/Encore doesn't have the greatest variety, but the quality of the food produced (e.g. Red 8, which is still the most authentic Chinese restaurant in a Vegas strip hotel) is excellent.
     
  11. parallax

    parallax Low-Roller

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    I have a hard time understanding why MB did not make the cut. They have a very diverse offering of upscale restaurants. I would take MB over Cosmo any day of the week. Maybe I'm a little jaded because I'm from DC and have gotten sick of Jose Andres
     
  12. jdvegas

    jdvegas VIP Whale

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    Agree. I am not arguing it is "the best", but MB should be in the list.
     
  13. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    Nice read. Good info.
     
  14. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

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    I actually thought hard about this, and thought that if someone makes a case for a hotel not on my list, it could/should be Mandalay Bay. In the end, I left MB off my list since I have had mediocre experiences at Aureole and Mix, which I believe are still supposed to be their top restaurants. I'm also not a fan of Border Grill. I have had very good meals at Fleur and Stripsteak, though, and MB is certainly strong in terms of variety. Finally, I have not been to many of their newer restaurants nor have I stepped foot in the place for over a year--which is of course no reason to leave MB off the list. Maybe I need to get down there next week while I'm in the mlife universe.
     
  15. Bommen

    Bommen High-Roller

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    Excellent post! I pretty much have to agree with everything mentioned but my opinion differs on a few points. I agree that Wynn used to be much better, in fact i used to think it was superior to all other strip hotels especially during Alexs existence. But to say it only has one real restaurant is pretty harsh considering you give so much praise for a restaurant like Prime. In fact i think Wynn and V/P has at least 5 places in between them were you can get a better steak.

    Still i have to agree with you about Cosmopolitan and Aria which brings a huge addition to the fine dining scene in Vegas. Before they were built i think the V/P and Wynn was dominating the fine dining scene but now the other hotels you mentioned are much more competitive. Cosmopolitan might be my overall favourite at the moment and its pretty hard to go wrong with any of its restaurants. That being said i can't believe i still have not visited E yet.

    Regarding Bellagio im not sure i think it has better restaurants overall then Wynn but its very close. They do however have Picasso which is outstanding imo, in fact i can't think of any restaurant in all of Vegas that serve a better meal then their degustation menu for the same price or less then they are charging.
     
  16. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

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    Many steakhouse aficionados consider Prime one of the very best. is what I wrote. I'm not a steakhouse aficionado, but I realize those who are would put SW in the same category as Prime. I put Cut and Carnevino above either of them.

    Picasso and Le Cirque are head and shoulders above anything Wynn has to offer these days, which puts Bellagio above Wynn in my book. Alex was better than both--but it is no longer open, one of the big reasons Wynn doesn't get much love from me.
     
  17. RPMCanes

    RPMCanes High-Roller

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    This was a great read but I don't know how you can consider Bartolotta a minor train wreck. The food is very good although overpriced, and the service and ambiance are impeccable. You had also left off Lakeside Seafood, where the décor is fantastic IMO. Bellagio is probably best all around.
     
  18. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

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    I like the concept at Bartolotta of flying in the exotic fish from the Med. The dining room is indeed gorgeous, and in fact restaurant design is one of Wynn's strong points. I had a "tasting menu" there which was in fact served family style, a contradiction in terms in my view. Food was fine--if not as notable as i might have hoped. The service was ridiculously amateurish, complete with bringing plates of food to the table before the prior course had been completed, not replacing cutlery, pushing plates out of the way to make room for new ones, and a bunch of other stuff one would expect at TGI Fridays, not a fine dining place at the Wynn. One of their signature fish was brought to the table and hacked up by the waiter to be portioned out tableside, and it was so badly presented it reminded me of--a minor train wreck.

    This was an $1100 meal for 4 people with midrange wine. The whole time I was there I kept thinking "for this price I could be at Le Cirque."

    I omitted Lakeside because I don't consider it a notable restaurant. More evidence of Wynn's dumbing down--he replaced Daniel Boulud with that place.
     
  19. parallax

    parallax Low-Roller

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    With MB, I would add Charlie Palmer and RM Seafood to the list of very good restaurants.
     
  20. RiddickBull

    RiddickBull VIP Whale

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    Aureole at MB was not that great, IMO. I went there about 2 years ago. For the price, I'd rather eat else where the food is impeccable.

    MB has okay food, but I wouldn't put it near the top places to eat.
     
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