A week in Vegas is hell on the waistline. So much good food, so little time. Here are a few highlights (particularly for the couple of readers who have asked for recommendations).
Sushi Samba (Venetian): Do the omakase. They’ll tailor it to your budget and your likes and dislikes (one person at our table wasn’t big on raw, so he was served some cooked dishes). So many places try to do Asian fusion and fail miserably. This was not one of those places. Highlights included otsumami (the first course), with edamame, shishito peppers (does anyone do these around here? I love them) and tempura green beans; kanpachi with yuzu and black truffle; and melt-in-your-mouth grilled sea bass skewers. The food was so pretty that I broke my “no pictures at work dinners” rule when my coworkers pulled out their cameras.
Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar (Mandalay Place): I really wanted to get the $60 foie gras, truffle and kobe burger but decided that neither my waistline nor budget supported it. They have an excellent draft and bottled beer selection; I ended up with a Kriek (bringing back recent memories of brussels) and my coworker had a Urthel Saisoniere (on tap, no less), which neither of us had had before. I was offered a sip: it was funky, yeasty.. and really delicious. The burgers were great, too: I ended up with a Hubert Burger (buffalo, caramelized onions, spinach, blue cheese). My only complaint is that the ciabatta seemed to have once been frozen; otherwise an excellent burger. Call 15 minutes ahead and you can get on the list; they don’t take reservations.
Henry at the Cosmopolitan: The Cosmopolitan just opened– when I was there, it had only been open for two weeks. Because of CES, tables for 2 were hard to get, much less tables for 15, so we ended up at Henry. The restaurant is their “diner” concept– not terribly diner-y, but not fine dining, and featured comfort food. It was, as I told a coworker, “really good Marriott food”– the Cosmopolitan is a Marriott property– but not anything that blew me away. If that’s the low end, though, I’m very interested in what their higher end restaurants have to offer. The Cosmopolitan is a beautiful hotel– in a bit of a through-the-looking-glass kind of way.
Vesper at the Cosmopolitan: The bar is designed to evoke Alice in Wonderland’s petticoats. It’s comfortable, and the drinks can be good. It’s a craft cocktail bar, and I loved their Mayan Manhattan (it’s something I’ll try to recreate, for sure). One night I went with a few coworkers and we all enjoyed our beverages, and they made a coworker with a cold a Hot Toddy (not on the menu) when we asked. Service was great, too. The next night, I went in with a couple of coworkers, sat in a different section, and had the worse French 75 I’ve ever had. I think it had been made with sour mix, and one coworker ordered the same drink he had had the night before and it was totally different. Sigh.
The Bar at the Mandarin Oriental: The drink was good, if a bit sweet. But the view? Good lord, the view.
Bouchon: It’s awesome, go there. I reviewed it a while back and pretty much had the same thing. It still blows my mind with its simplicity and elegance and flavor.