I don't want to make this the Magna Carta of reviews so I will tel you what I can and answer any questions you have. I went to Vegas on business and met up with three colleagues from different branches of my company. We didn't know each other that well, but I was placed in charge of picking places to go and the aforementioned spots were what I settled on based upon reading this and other boards. I can tell you how my meals were and slightly how those of my colleagues went, however I didn't want to keep asking them like a mother if they were enjoying their food. So, four adults, three days, here goes:
STERLING BRUNCH: Had 12:00 pm reservations, showed up on time, seated five minutes later. Some had mentioned that they were seated in the adjoining Italian restaurant. That part was not open during our visit (maybe not enough reservations) so we sat in the steakhouse. I don't know why I thought the actual buffet would be similar in size to other buffets on the strip but it wasn't. It's relatively small, like a buffet at a wedding. That was fine because you only had to contend with a hundred diners and not hundreds. The service was very good and prompt. I was led to believe my champagne glass would never fall below 50% full - this wasn't always the case but it was filled soon after. The food was very nice - not extraordinary but, yes, probably the best brunch food overall. The lobsters were the size and kind you get on cruise ships, a little over seasoned but good enough. They also had Alaskan king crab legs (my favorite food in the world). There was filet with lobster mashed potatoes, a ravioli dish, two kinds of lamb chops, prime rib, sushi, smoked salmon, cocktail shrimp, crab claws, oysters, etc. I never had to wait in line and plates at the table were constantly cleared away. My colleagues thoroughly enjoyed it and we all went back to our rooms to pass out - we drank three bottles of Perrier Jouet apiece. Grade: A.
FIX: This was an 8:00 pm reservation the same night as the Sterling Brunch. None of us were hungry but we went for drinks anyway and sat in a booth by the bar. If you sit in this area, you will be waited on by girls with big boobs; if you sit in the dining room area, the wait staff is more subdued with shirts and ties. We did end of getting the lobster tacos, kobe sliders, and a few sides. They were all serviceable and good, nothing that really stood out. The tab was high but the company was paying. If we had been hungrier and sat in the dining room, the experience might have been more memorable. Grade: B.
SW STEAKHOUSE: This was the next evening. It was 100° outside so no one sat on the lanai to watch the show they have by the lake. We sat inside in a very sophisticated dining room. I have to say I also had reservations for Craftsteak and Cut. I can't really say why I settled on SW but I will say I'm glad I did. I will not knock the other restaurants as I have no doubt they are fantastic, but SW did not disappoint. Service was spot on all night by a trio of staff who rotated like a fine-tuned machine. We had almost everything you can imagine: crab cakes, fois gras, ribeye, NY strip, Kobe, creamed spinach, two kinds of potatoes, etc. Everything was good, but my ribeye was outstanding. It was charred perfectly on the outside with a slight salty edge. Damn good piece of meat. Some reviews had me scared about this place but they know what they're doing. I would definitely go back. Desserts were acceptable - banana this or apple that. We were too full by then. Grade: A-.
BURGER BAR: The next afternoon. We showed up at 10:30 am (we're from the east coast so to us it was already 12:30 pm) right when they opened. We were seated immediately and waited on by the nicest gal besides my mom. To be honest, it was early. The staff was not swamped and neither was the kitchen. We received exceptional service and attention because there was no one else in there. I've heard horror stories of people waiting two hours and not liking the Frankenstein concoction-of-a-burger they-themselves created. All I can say is I was blown away. We all were. I ordered a Kobe with onions, blue cheese bacon, and it was the juiciest, biggest, most delicious burger ever. Prior to this my fave was at Bartley's Burger Cottage in Cambridge, MA just outside Harvard U. This beat that. I also had a flight of beers and the sweet potato fries. Combined with the service, this was as good as it gets. Sitting in a booth watching ESPN - the other three guys thought, if only for a moment, that I was Jesus Christ. Grade: A+.
NOBHILL: I was on a roll now and couldn't let the others down. I had been to Sea Blue and enjoyed it once and thought we'd give Nobhill a try. The guys like my choices thus far and waited to hear what I was going to order before they decided. I told them I'd like to try the tasting menu and they were in. Service was great and so was the food. First was a salmon-caviar parfait with potato pancake serviced with champagne. Nice. Next up was the lobster pot pie. Very nice. Third was a chicken tetrazzini that was moist and succulent. Fourth was Kobe beef with foie gras and truffle jus. And everything was going wonderfully well... until... a table of 12-14 people sat down and all the wait staff swarmed in on them like Hitchcock's birds. Now, I don't say this to imply this new table was well-financed and ordering everything on the menu. In fact, they were in jeans and t-shirts and must have told the staff they needed to be in and out in one hour to see Donny & Marie because after that every table in the dining went ignored. I was on my way to giving this place a "A" all the way around. Because of this, they get a "B-". Too bad. Would I go back? Probably not to Nobhill but I would try Michael Mina or Stripsteak. Grade: B-.
One last note: I know these grades seem pretty high and you're probably wondering what kind of standards did I have to begin with? Having read yelp.com and chowhound.com, I did my research and picked what I felt was right for four adult men. We weren't paying ourselves so we could've done the higher end places, but I didn't know if the others would go for that so I played it safe. If you have any questions, ask away.
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