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Countdown to NAR in Vegas: The Best Dining Bets

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1112homespunweb.jpgRISMEDIA, Nov. 12, 2007-As if the opportunity to travel to Las Vegas for the 2007 REALTORS® Conference & Expo wasn’t exciting enough, you can’t visit the city of lights without networking at some of the city’s best restaurants. Here, we’ve provided some MSN and Frommer’s Las Vegas 2007 recommendations of the “best bets” Las Vegas has to offer.

Best Restaurant to Blow Your Money On: You could lighten your wallet at the craps table — and why not? — or you could spend that same amount, and take a lot longer doing so, exalting in the culinary work being done at Joël Robuchon at the Mansion (tel. 702/891-7925), in the MGM Grand, where you will have a once-in-a-lifetime meal. Somewhat less in the stratosphere, but still plenty costly, are Alex Strada’s (tel. 702/770-9966) and Paul Bartolotta’s (tel. 702/770-9966) eponymous places in Wynn Las Vegas, and Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys (tel. 702/632-7200) at Mandalay Place. Meals come dear at all four places, but each is turning out works of edible art, from four different inspired sources of creation. To us, this is what Vegas indulgence is all about, and the memories make us much happier than our losses at the table.

Best All Around: Given our druthers, we are hard-pressed to choose between Alizé (tel. 702/951-7000), at the top of the Palms, where nearly flawless dishes often compete with the sparkling view for sheer delight, and Rosemary’s Restaurant, 8125 W. Sahara (tel. 702/869-2251), a 20-minute drive off the Strip and worth twice as much effort, for some Southern-influenced cooking. Each of these may well put the work of those many high-profile chefs, so prominently featured all over town, to shame. Speaking of high-profile chefs, we have just sworn allegiance to Thomas Keller’s Bouchon (tel. 702/414-6200), in Venezia at The Venetian. Keller may be the best chef in America, and while this is simply his take on classic bistro food, you should never underestimate the joys of simple food precisely prepared. We also never ever turn down a chance to eat what Julian Serrano is making over at Picasso (tel. 702/693-7223), at Bellagio.

Best Inexpensive Meal: Capriotti’s, 324 W. Sahara Ave. (tel. 702/474-0229), serves beautiful, fresh, monster submarine sandwiches. They roast their own beef and turkey on the premises and assemble it (or cold cuts, or even vegetables) into delicious well-stuffed submarine sandwiches, ranging in size from 9 to 20 inches, and most of them under $10. We never leave town without one . . . or two.

Best Buffet: On the Strip, it’s Le Village Buffet (in Paris Las Vegas, tel. 888/266-5687), where the stations break from standard form by adhering to regional French food specialties (from places such as Provence, Alsace, and Burgundy) and the results are much better than average. Though not cheap, this is a reasonable substitute for an even more costly fancy meal. If you want a little more traditional buffet — as in, one not devoted to one particular cuisine — Wynn Las Vegas (in Wynn Las Vegas, tel. 702/770-3340) is terrific all the way, even through the usual buffet weakness, dessert. The Palms Fantasy Market Buffet (in The Palms, tel. 702/942-7777) offers the best of the more budget-oriented options, with an array of Middle Eastern goodies and some eccentric additions to the ubiquitous carving stations.

Best Bistro: We ate nearly the entire menu at Bouchon (tel. 702/414-6200), from Thomas Keller, in The Venetian, and didn’t find a misstep, just what you might expect from one of the most critically lauded chefs in the country. But don’t overlook Mon Ami Gabi (tel. 702/944-4224), in Paris Las Vegas. Offering lovely, reasonably priced bistro fare (steak and pommes frites, onion soup), it’s also a charming spot.

Best Restaurant/Nightclub Interiors: The designers ran amok in the restaurants of Mandalay Bay. At Aureole (tel. 877/632-1766), a four-story wine tower requires that a pretty young thing be hauled up in a harness to fetch your chosen vintage. The post-Communist party decor at Red Square (tel. 702/632-7407) is topped only by the fire-and-water walls at neighboring Rumjungle (tel. 702/632-7408). And then there is the futuristic fantasy of Mix (tel. 877/632-1766), on top of THEhotel, where stunning views of the Strip compete with a giant beaded curtain made of hand-blown glass balls, to say nothing of silver pods in lieu of booths.

Best Free Show at Dinner: Daniel Boulud Brasserie (tel. 702/770-9966), at Wynn Las Vegas, provides front-and-center seating of the strange yet compelling Lake of Dreams show. And then there is the vista offered by the restaurants in Bellagio — Picasso (tel. 702/693-7223), Le Cirque (tel. 877/234-6358), Olives (tel. 702/693-7223), and Circo (tel. 702/693-8150) — which are grouped to take advantage of the view of the dancing water fountains.

Best Wine List: It’s a competitive market in Vegas for such a title, and with sommeliers switching around, it’s hard to guarantee that any wine list will retain its quality. Still, you can’t go wrong at Mandalay Bay’s Aureole (tel. 877/632-1766), which has the largest collection of Austrian wines outside of that country, among other surprises.

Best Beer List: Rosemary’s Restaurant, 8125 W. Sahara (tel. 702/869-2251), offers “beer pairings” suggestions with most of its menu options, and includes some curious and fun brands, including fruity Belgian numbers.

Best Views: Mix (tel. 877/632-1766), on top of THEhotel, and Alizé (tel. 702/951-7000), at the top of the Palms, win with their floor-to-ceiling window views, but there is something to be said for seeing all of Vegas from the revolving Top of the World (tel. 702/380-7711), 106 stories off the ground in the Stratosphere Casino Hotel & Tower.

Best Italian: You won’t find anything more authentic outside of Italy than at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare (tel. 888/320-7110), at Wynn Las Vegas. Given that the chef has his fish flown in daily from the Mediterranean, this also wins “best seafood.” For Tuscan cuisine at slightly less dear prices, Circo (tel. 702/693-8150), in Bellagio, is terrific.

Best New Orleans Cuisine: Emeril’s Delmonico Steakhouse (tel. 702/631-1000), in The Venetian, brings the celebrity chef’s “Bam!” cuisine to the other side of the Mississippi, and we are glad, while we are perhaps even gladder that Commander’s Palace (tel. 702/892-8272) has an outlet in Planet Hollywood.

Best Red Meat: Lawry’s The Prime Rib, 4043 Howard Hughes Pkwy. (tel. 702/893-2223), has such good prime rib, it’s hard to imagine ever having any better. If you want cuts other than prime rib, Charlie Palmer (tel. 702/632-5120), in the Four Seasons, has some of the best steaks in town, though the more budget-conscious might want to either split the enormous cuts or try the justly popular Austins Steakhouse (tel. 702/631-1033), in Texas Station, 2101 Texas Star Lane.

Source: MSN/travel

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