Tag Archives: Las Vegas dining

Feel No Pain: Get Uncork’d in Las Vegas

For the next four days you can attend the largest foodie event ever held in Las Vegas, if not the Western world: Vegas Uncorked, sponsored by Bon Appetit.

The event officially kicks off at 4 p.m. today when French superchef Alain Ducasse performs the champagne uncorking with a saber at his Mix restaurant and lounge atop The Hotel at Mandalay Bay.

The festival takes place May 6-9, with the signature event being a “Grand Tasting” ($175) on May 7 at the Garden of the Gods in Caesars Palace.  That event will feature chef Hubert Keller serving.

Not everyone has the chance—or wherewithal—to dine at the restaurants of chefs such as Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Bobby Flay or François Payard, but they all will be there (along with about 60 other celebrated chefs) displaying and offering up their delicious wares.

Among the events on May 8 are the Ultimate All-Star Interactive Luncheon ($195) at Encore; Culinary Theater: All the Kitchen’s a Stage ($95) at RM Seafood; and the Wine Immersion Experience ($75) at Bellagio.

The lineup of celebrated chefs who have Las Vegas restaurants includes Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, Paul Bartolotta, Julian Serrano, Todd English, Luciano Pellegrini and Charlie Palmer.

Tickets are going fast; please go to www.vegasuncorked.com for further information.

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Top 10 Best Steak Joints in Las Vegas

Have you ever had a porterhouse aged for 260 days?  If you’re willing to put up the platinum to cover the costs, the Carnevino at the Palazzo in Las Vegas is willing to serve up the meal and in addition to the steak you’ll have Iron Chef Mario Batali’s pasta and access to one of the greatest Italian wine lists on the West Coast. 

Or maybe you’re more in the mood for skirt steak from Top Chef Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak at the MGM Grand served with vegetables from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.  

But all the best places in town don’t come with a celebrity chef and television spotlight.  Nero’s at Caesars, formerly the Spanish Steps, offers Black Angus beef from Creekstone Farms and executive chef Eric Damidot prepares what could be the perfect Bearnaise sauce. 

Here are the top 10 steak joints in Las Vegas: 

1.  MOLTO MARIO’S ITALIAN STEAKHOUSE  The best steak in town? The answer is simple. If you’re a connoisseur of aged beef, order one of the 6-to-8-month-old, dry-aged beauties from Molto Mario’s Italian steakhouse in The Palazzo. At the Palazzo Las Vegas, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-789-4141. 

2.  CUT is all about variety in a lineup of carnivorous delights. For a price, it will put before you three cuts of the best steaks in the world: A-5 true Kobe (Wagyu) beef from the Kagashima Prefecture in Japan; prime, hormone-free, corn-fed sirloin from Nebraska; and 35-day dry-aged beef from Illinois. Those steaks are presented in raw form first, perfectly trimmed, and ready to tempt you off that low-cholesterol diet you’ve been struggling with. At the Palazzo Las Vegas, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-607-6300. 

3.  CRAFTSTEAK The trouble with ranking Craftsteak in any steakhouse competition is you could eat here forever and never think about ordering a piece of beef. The vegetables (many trucked in from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market) are some of the most pristine anywhere, and chef Matt Seeber has a fine way with fish as well — making this a steakhouse even vegetarians can love. At the MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-891-7318. 

4.  DELMONICO Along with Prime in the Bellagio, Emeril Lagasse’s bastion of beef in the Venetian was among the first of our great meat emporiums. As with Carnevino, all of this top-shelf beef (and Cajun specialties like killer crab cakes and N’Awlins gumbo) are available at lunch. Sometimes the Bam Man can go overboard with his caloric creations, but there’s no denying the perfection of his dry-aged rib eye, matched with one of super-sommelier Kevin Vogt’s wines from the Wine Spectator Grand Award list. Caesar salad lovers should note this one is made tableside (the way it should be), and is one of the best versions around. At the Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-414-3737. 

5.  STRIPSTEAK  If butter basting is your thing, then Michael Mina has got the cut for you. The conceit here is to sous-vide (vacuum poach) the meat at a low temperature before finishing the cuts over a wood-burning grill. This results in a rib eye or porterhouse that is as tender as these cuts can get.  At Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-632-7414. 

6.  PRIME The guy whose name is on the door — Jean-Georges Vongerichten — comes to Vegas about as often as I go to a monster truck rally, but this place has bred some serious talent over the years — including molecular wizard Wylie Dufresne and Kerry Simon. Rob Moore (now at Jean-Georges Steakhouse in Aria) has supervised the stoves over the past five years and even with his departure, you can be assured this place will rarely miss a beat. It may be the most expensive steakhouse in town, but it is also the most beautiful, and the six-peppercorn-encrusted strip steak (and the short ribs and the veal chop), along with outstanding side dishes, keeps Prime in the pantheon of perfection. At Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-693-7223. 

7.  NERO’S  Once called the Spanish Steps, a steakhouse has been located on this corner of the sprawling Caesars casino as long as we can remember. Now called Nero’s, it serves some of the best dry-aged steaks in town. The Black Angus beef comes from Creekstone Farms — one of the top purveyors of hormone and antibiotic-free beef in the country — and are better by far than the steaks in better-known places. The New York strip competes with the best in town, but we love the chateaubriand, served with a nice vegetable assortment and a perfect Béarnaise sauce that is so good, you know there’s a Frenchman — in this case corporate executive chef Eric Damidot — behind things in the kitchen. At Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-731-7731. 

8. SW STEAKHOUSE The room has never been one of our favorites — huge, open and with all the charm of a bus station inside the Wynn — but there’s no denying the succulence of the steaks, or of chef David Walzog’s tasty sides. That big open space and stupid, intrusive Lake of Dreams light show does nothing to deter the crowds though, which show up every night for dinner. Before coming to Las Vegas, Walzog made his name at Strip House in New York, where he perfected his potatoes rosti, signature creamed spinach, truffled creamed corn and lots of other things to make your heart beat faster. At Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-248-3463. 

9. N9NE Military-jet afterburner decibel levels and wall-to-wall poseurs do nothing to deter the throngs who pack this place nightly in hopes of spotting an Ashton here or a Gaga there. The food is secondary to the scene, but doesn’t have to be. The Kobe burger is top drawer, and the kitchen is justifiably proud of the crab-stuffed ‘shrooms, fried rock shrimp, colossal lump crab cake and braised beef ravioli with melted root vegetables. We also love the super-charred steaks (grilled at 1,200 degrees) and could spend all night sitting at the bar watching hotties do their celebrity-spotting in between bites of our sirloin. At the Palms, 4321 W. Flamingo Road, 702-942-7777. 

10.  THE STEAKHOUSE AT CIRCUS CIRCUS  Another forerunner of our plethora of prime rates a wave for longevity (24 years), dry-aging its beef on premises, and for cooking the steaks just right over super-hot mesquite charcoal. Its biggest drawback is that you have to walk through the seedy, low-rent, no-tell-motel smells of the Circus Circus to get to it. Once inside, all of that will be forgotten as you tuck into a superior steak, in clubby, masculine surroundings, for 10 bucks less than the same piece of meat costs in swankier digs. At Circus Circus, 2880 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-794-3767.

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College in Nevada Offers First Dining Card

The College of Southern Nevada has launched its first Dine About Card to raise much needed funds for student scholarships and educational programs.

The $20 card is sponsored by Metro PCS and provides cardholders with exclusive monthly dining offers and discounts at a host of Las Vegas restaurants, ranging from fast food to primo gourmet dining. 

A sampling of participating restaurants include Hash House A Go Go, Pizza Hut, Panda Express, Sonic, Ricardo’s, La Scala Ristorante and Jamm’s.  A full list of restaurants is included with the card at the time of purchase.

The dining card is good through Dec. 31 and includes offers such as free appetizers, free desserts, two-for-one entrees or special pricing on specific menu items.

The card can be purchased at www.csnfoundation.net or by calling 702-651-5947.

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Michelin Three-Star Chef Masayoshi Takayama to Open First Las Vegas Restaurant

Michelin three-star chef Masayoshi Takayama — who opened Ginza Sushi-ko in Los Angeles in the ’80s, transplanted his temple of sushi from a mid-Wilshire Los Angeles strip mall to a second-floor aerie off Rodeo Drive (where Urasawa is now) in the ’90s and moved to New York to open Masa and Bar in 2004- is set to debut his first Vegas venture on Dec. 17: another Bar Masa and Shaboo, a shabu-shabu restaurant. 

He joins fellow three-star chef  Pierre Gagnaire of Paris (who opened Twist, his first restaurant in the U.S.) as well as Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Michael Mina, in the $8.5-billion CityCenter on the Vegas Strip.   

“It’s a new, gigantic building where I get to create my idea, my style,” Takayama says. “It’s more than the food. Very different from Ginza Sushi-ko style.” 

It’s also very different from Bar Masa in New York; the Las Vegas outpost — inside the Aria Resort & Casino — is about three times the size, decorated in high Strip style with 15-foot doors of teak and copper, curved red leather banquettes and arched ceilings. 

Takayama calls it coming full circle. On his first trip to Los Angeles from Tokyo, he got off the plane and drove directly to Las Vegas to see “flat land.”  

The menu for Bar Masa in Las Vegas will recall the one in New York, with Japanese small plates such as spicy cod roe pasta with purple shiso flowers; duck with foie gras; sizzling spicy octopus; or grilled eel with rice. (He says his fish will still be from the Tsukiji market in Tokyo.) 

The more-intimate 52-seat Shaboo is located inside Bar Masa, serving omakase (tasting menu) shabu-shabu at tables equipped with individual induction heating elements for cooking beef flown in from Chiba prefecture.

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B.B. King’s Blues Club Grand Opening at The Mirage in Las Vegas

Looking for a great blues music experience while visiting or staying in Las Vegas?  Now’s you can have it all at the new B.B. King’s Blues Club in The Mirage in Las Vegas.  

With few blues clubs in Las Vegas, the club’s grand opening is a welcome addition to our entertainment and dining landscape.  The venue opens with a blue carpet gala this Friday, Dec. 11, from 7 to 8 p.m.. Confirmed celebrities include the legend himself, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, Steve Cropper, Lee Ritenour, Robert Cray, Lee Roy Parnell, Matt Goss, Robin Antin, Taylor Barton, Cast of History Channel’s “Pawn Stars,” Cast of Thunder From Down Under and many more. 

The empire of B.B. King is rapidly expanding, with clubs opened in Orlando, Memphis, Nashville, Itta Bena, West Palm Beach. 

Located across from The Beatles REVOLUTION Lounge, next to Samba Brazilian Steakhouse in The Mirage, the new Las Vegas venue offers music seven nights a week, ranging from funky and fast style to soulful and smooth tunes that emanate from the in-room stage. 

The house band, B.B. King’s All-Star Band, surpasses the standard of what many know to be a house band and friends of the King are very likely to stop by at any time to join them and jam the night away. 

And if you feel like cutting the rug, you can dance the night away on their spacious dance floor. 

Hungry?  Not only can you enjoy all the music, you can come in anytime for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining to check out Executive Chef Oscar Pena’s delicious Creole cuisine. 

It’s also a great place to book for your meetings and events. 

For more information, please visit www.bbkingclubs.com or call at 702-242-KING (5464).

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Las Vegas Freeze Approaches– 16-Foot Polar Bear Appears!

The Palazzo in Las Vegas is uniquely celebrating the holiday season with artic décor complete with a larger-than-life 16-foot polar bear poinsettia sculpture that raises awareness about conservation of polar bears and Arctic habitat. 

While guests of The Palazzo Las Vegas will enjoy the usual sunny weather for the holiday season, from December 9 through the New Year they’ll also encounter the winter décor display anchored by a special Arctic visitor: a 16-foot tall polar bear mother and 6-foot tall polar bear baby, made entirely of a specially-developed white poinsettia named “Polar Bear.”

The “Polar Bear” Poinsettia is developed exclusively by Ecke Ranch, the largest grower in the world of poinsettias.  The strong white coloration of the “Polar Bear” Poinsettia with its bracts of deep green veining is the perfect topiary fur for the polar bear display. The custom, hand-sculpted and hand-painted heads and paws, constructed by Design Solutions, bring the bears to life.  The mother and baby bear, consisting of approximately 10,000 poinsettias planted in sphagnum moss and weighs in at approximately 5,000 lbs. The bears snuggle on a custom-sculpted ‘arctic ice float’ that hovers over a water feature located at The Palazzo Atrium. 

In addition to the larger-than-life polar bears, The Palazzo embraces the holiday season with Arctic inspired décor elements that combine to create the breathtaking winter wonderland display. The gardens are filled with a variety of unique poinsettias and 25-foot silver tip pine trees; an 80-foot whimsical vine transitions to holiday with oversized pine cones, holiday berries, poinsettias and twinkling holiday lights; over 225,000 cranberries donated by Ocean Spray float above a water feature creating a sea of cranberries and snow will elegantly fall from above the décor adding to the Arctic theme. 

The white “Polar Bear” Poinsettias have an important message to promote awareness of polar bears and the loss of their Arctic habitat due to climate change. Ecke Ranch is donating a portion of the proceeds from each poinsettia cutting sold to Polar Bears International (PBI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of polar bears through research and education.  This event will serve as the official launching pad for Ecke’s “Pay-it-Forward for Polar Bears” campaign which benefits PBI.   

“In a part of the world that never sees snow, it can be challenging to explain why the most important initiative that we can undertake at this time is saving polar bear habitat in the Arctic. Polar bears need sea ice for their survival, and so does the rest of the planet. The Arctic is a key regulator of the global climate system, and loss of Arctic sea ice will impact people and wildlife around the world. So when we save the polar bears, we save so many other species from butterflies to frogs,” said Robert Buchanan, president of Polar Bears International. 

“Currently the world’s CO2 level is at 385 parts per million (ppm) and growing at an average of two ppm per year. Scientists believe that the tipping point in the Arctic is around 400 ppm. Once this level is reached, the domino effect may not allow the summer ice to return for tens of thousands of years. This of course will not only affect wildlife but the ocean currents and humans in the end. This is not an irreversible situation. Individuals can and must make a difference. It can be as easy as packing a reusable bag when you shop, buy carbon off sets for your flights and purchasing products with limited and/or recycled packaging,” continued Buchanan. 

On December 9, The Palazzo will host the unveiling of the Arctic-inspired winter décor display to kick-off the holiday season and raise awareness about conservation of polar bears. The event will take place at 5 p.m. in The Palazzo Waterfall Atrium and the general public is welcome to join in the celebration.

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Mist Lounge in Las Vegas to be Resurrected as Gilley’s Saloon in TI

The cozy Mist Lounge in Las Vegas, located just off the Treasure Island casino floor, has closed awhile back, ending its memorable six-year run.   Now, a new nightclub and restaurant is planned in its space. 

The Lounge has been sold back to former Frontier, now TI (Treasure Island) owner Phil Ruffin, who plans to create his hallmark sawdust-on-the-floor country nightclub Gilley’s at TI in the former Mist Lounge space. 

TI Vice President of Hotel Sales & Marketing Don Voos confirms that Mist will indeed become home to the rebirth of the nostaligic, countrified Gilley’s Saloon– with a little help from its neightbor, Pizzeria Francesco’s that will be demolished  and merged in with the new space. 

“We will be building a new Gilley’s Saloon & BBQ restaurant,” says Voos.

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