Resturant Advisor

Trapper

Author, Writer, Photographer
#1
My wife and I decided to bail on cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. We went to Las Vegas to explore the many culinary opportunities on The Strip.

We looked at various advisory sites where average people, not paid critics, rate resturants and critique them. I can only conclude what I look for in a dining experience is MUCH different than the average.

For example. Battistas. An off the strip Italian resturant that’s been there for a few decades. It got rated 4 of 5 stars. The service and atmosphere was great, but the Italians I grew up with and learned how to cook Italian from would ask if they got what the place was serving from a can. What a waste of time and money.

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We figured that close to Mexico, we’d get great Mexican food. The best rated was a place called Borders. The presentation was great, the chips and salsa were good. The service was good.

We paid $90 for lunch (I had a beer, she had a Margarita). We should have gone to Taco Bell.

This fancy looking enchilada was mediocre at best.

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Then, without consulting the advisers, we stopped by a place in the MGM called Avenue Cafe expecting the same breakfast you get anywhere.

This huevos rancheros was just friggin’ amazing.

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As was this chorizo eggs Benedict from the Cafe Hollywood at Planet Hollywood. The photo shows half the order. My wife and I split it with a side of fresh fruit.

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Here’s one the Advisors got right. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse at Harrahs. My wife opted for their traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I went for the petite fillet and shrimp, mushrooms, and garlic mashed potatoes.

WOW! I mean friggin’ WOW. Perfection. I told them how I liked my steak and they served it on a 500° plate.

Paired with an nice Old Vine Zin and after tip the bill was almost $300. Las Vegas isnt cheap food anymore.

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Lunch. We had this Dublin brisket sandwich on rye at Gordon Ramsay’s grill. Really the very best ruebin I can remember. But again, not inexpensive.

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We also had lunch at the Ramsay Fish and Chips in the Linq. Really great at a fair price.

One nice surprise is most of these places have figured out that many of us don’t drink Bud or Coors Lite and offer really nice micros. Several places had beers like Ballast Point Sculpin IPA on tap.

The Las Vegas Strip is a zoo. It was like walking through a stockyard at auction time. People would walk 5 or 6 abreast like they were the only ones in town. Many of these casinos are huge and it’s easy to get lost.

We flew home tired and in need of sleep and Weight Watchers, but enjoyed our trip.

Trapper
 

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
#2
Sounds like you had fine dining, Trap but I doubt I'll ever spend that kind of money on food. I'm a man of simple tastes (and likely a simple mind) and prefer to cook it myself. Although I DO take the entire clan out for dinner a couple times of year.
 

Trapper

Author, Writer, Photographer
#4
Sounds like you had fine dining, Trap but I doubt I'll ever spend that kind of money on food. I'm a man of simple tastes (and likely a simple mind) and prefer to cook it myself. Although I DO take the entire clan out for dinner a couple times of year.
I dont eat food from fast food franchises, and I very rarely go out to dinner and never in Helena.

As you know I cook a lot for groups 12-25.

When I’m home I cook for my wife and myself as well as our often dinner guests. (My brother lives next door.)

I love good food. I love eating great food someone who knows what they are doing cooks. The last time my wife and I did this sort of culinary vacation was three years ago in New Orleans. I maybe ate a meal in a resturant twice during those three years.

So paying a lot for a bunch of meals is just fun for me.

I’d rather pay a lot for a great meal than pay a small amount for food that tastes like someone scraped it off a dumpster wall.

I’m a food snob.

Trapper
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#7
Thanks for the report Trapper. My first ever trip to LV 10 or so years ago amazed me in terms of people and people watching. I discovered that good food there isn't cheap. Dinner for 2 (with wine) was always over $100 as I recall. Cafeterial type meals offered quantity over quality at an OK price, but definitely not cheap either.

My first ever trip to New Orleans was a year ago April for French Quarter Fest. Fantastic music everywhere and great food, but friends told me ahead of time where to go. My wife and I spent between $100 and $200 on dinner most nights, and it was great. However, they can keep their oysters and blue crabs. They aren't bad, but the oysters and Dungeness crab we have in the PNW are superior, maybe because of the colder water. I'll take our local fish over the different Gulf fish species I tried also.

Not as much of a food snob as Trapper, but still working on it.

Sg
 
#8
Trapper,

Vegas is my hometown. If I had known you were heading there I would have insisted you stay away from Battista's. The only people who enjoy it are people who have never eaten good Italian food. You're better off going to Olive Garden - at least it's priced better.

There's some really good eats not on the strip, but you need wheels, taxi, or uber to get there. They're worth the effort though. The best Persian food I've had anywhere is in Las Vegas. My best recent meal in Vegas was at Bazaar Meat at SLS. It was amazing, but it came up to a little over $1,000 for the three of us. I'm guessing I enjoyed it so much because I wasn't paying!

MK
 

Trapper

Author, Writer, Photographer
#9
Trapper,

Vegas is my hometown. If I had known you were heading there I would have insisted you stay away from Battista's. The only people who enjoy it are people who have never eaten good Italian food. You're better off going to Olive Garden - at least it's priced better.

There's some really good eats not on the strip, but you need wheels, taxi, or uber to get there. They're worth the effort though. The best Persian food I've had anywhere is in Las Vegas. My best recent meal in Vegas was at Bazaar Meat at SLS. It was amazing, but it came up to a little over $1,000 for the three of us. I'm guessing I enjoyed it so much because I wasn't paying!

MK
Matthew. I thought about posting a request for suggestions here, but after having my house broken into when I was gone last year, I’m more than a bit hesitant to announce on a public forum that I’ll be gone.

By far the best meal we had was at Ruth’s.

I wanted to go to a TexMex place, but three people I talked to said there really wasnt any great TexMex in Las Vegas.

Trapper
 

Trapper

Author, Writer, Photographer
#10
I’m not a fan of buffets. I don’t like to feel stuffed at the end of a meal and the buffets I saw were in the $40–$50 range, per person, and drinks were extra.

Las Vegas used to be where you could get good food at a reasonable price and $1.99 buffets. No more.

One way to get free drinks was to put $5 in a video poker machine and then play 25¢. Now they have lights on the back of the machines to tell the bar keeper when you can have a free drink. You have to put in $20 now and have to keep playing at a certain speed.

One great free people watching place is the outdoor bird and carp place at the Flamingo. There are nice benches to sit and observe our fellow homo sapiens.
 
#11
Great post, Trapper.
Personally, I avoid Vegas like the plague. Way too many people for me and some (not all) places are not very clean.
Restaurant-wise, if I have to be there, Nobu's , Gordon Ramsey's, Ruth Chris & Morton's will work for me. Comparing the 2 steak houses, I prefer Mortons; seemed to have more enjoyable time there all around. None of them are inexpensive, but you will get what you paid dearly for.

Thanksgiving, we spent 4 days in Laughlin, NV (Aquarius) with 4 other couples cruising around the desert in Polaris RZR's.
While some preferred to have the traditional turkey glut, Donna and I and a couple of others opted for the Outback where I always have the rack of lamb (rare-medium rare) when we are there. Service and food are always above average and worth the dollar amount. My lamb arrived just a tiny, tiny bit after everyone else's meal. I made no complaint, but the $23 charge was cheerfully removed from our bill. Perfect!
We never fail to hit Fat Burger when we are there, either. Just have to have one.

Incidentally, Trapper, Jappany knives have some great sales/free shipping going on this time of year through New Years.
 

dld

Active Member
#12
I've never been to Vegas and nothing about this thread makes me want to go.

I'm really surprised that Ruth's was the best meal you had there. When I was in the one in the silicon valley, I was pretty disappointed paying as much as I did for the meal.
 
#15
Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab is hard to beat no matter where it is. Bone-in filet or ribeye the best I've had including the famous steak places in Chicago.

Having said that, a 24-oz ribeye is $60 and sides 10 bucks each, which gives me pain. I just cooked a 48-oz Cowboy cut/Tomahawk Choice Black Angus which I bought for $30 and fed a crew. That's Vegas though. We are pretty much one-and-done with Vegas but glad to have had the experience.