Since I got so much of my information from this board, I thought I would contribute...
My family does this thing where we like to take a bite of everyone’s dish and declare a “winner” for each mean, so you will see references to that below. Strangely we are not normally a competitive bunch, with this glaring exception.
Emeril’s - MGM
Friday night at the bar. We have been here several times with mixed results. We seem to have better experiences at the bar than when we do a full dinner there. This time we did well. We started with the ceviche. It was very nice and served with some sort of crema on top. Probably not too authentic, I have never seen that on ceviche here in Southern California, but it was surprisingly good. I won the dinner with the Truffle Macaroni and Cheese. I was delicious, but really you put truffles, cheese and pasta in the same dish and how can you miss? My husband had the gumbo which was alright. I guess we just expected a little more since it is supposed to be a “New Orleans” fish house.
PUB – Todd English in City Center
Saturday Lunch. We meant to go to LOS, but I read somewhere that they are not open for lunch on weekends, so we went on a search for something different for lunch. As other’s have said, this is kind of an underwhelming place. I really wanted to like it. It looks great. The booths were comfortable and the design is what I call modern-rustic. The servers were nice, but they have organized the service strangely. We were seated at a booth for at least 10 minutes before anyone even brought us menus. We thought the hostess had forgotten to leave them, but no that’s just how they have it set up. The servers were friendly and apologized for the delay, but really why do they have it set up that way? Why don’t the hostesses give the menus out when they seat parties, like normal? We ordered bloody mary’s. They were pretty, but so thick they were like tomato milkshakes. I couldn’t finish mine. I had the meatloaf sandwich special which came with chili fries. The meatloaf texture was like mush, almost as if it was a pate or undercooked or something. I could only eat a few bites. The fries were tossed in chili (rather than the chili on top). They were lukewarm and I just didn’t like the flavors in the chili. My husband won this round handily by ordering “The Carvery” with slow roasted pastrami. It was served with house made pickles and excellent mustard. I would probably not go back, but if I did I would order that pastrami.
Canaletto – Venetian
Saturday Dinner. It was a busy Saturday night and we didn’t have reservations so we wandered around the Canal shops at the Venetian. I’m not sure why we finally settled on Canaletto, but I think it was a combination of a restaurant that looked decent and a place we could get a seat at the bar in a reasonable amount of time. It’s right next to a Batali place (Otto Enoteco Pizzaria) where the wait for a 2 top was over 1 hour so that was out. (Of course, it’s Batali. We know the deal.) The bar is set up with columns between every few seats that make it difficult to get the bartender’s attention, but he still managed to provide very good service. The wine list was good. We ordered Carpaccio, which is a big favorite of mine. It was good. Then I had a mixed seafood grill as my entrée. Some of it was good, but several things were overcooked. The shrimp was so overcooked it was inedible. My husband went for a risotto with beef (I think it was filet). It was good, but altogether too rich for me. No one won this round. The best thing about the meal was the bartender.
RiRa – Mandalay Bay Shops
Sunday Lunch. My husband is on a quest to find the best Irish Pub in America, so when we heard a new one opened in Vegas we added it to our list. We love Nine Fine at NYNY, so this place was probably doomed from the start. Our expectations were way too high. The host was snotty and inefficient. First they said they had nothing available then said we could sit in the bar, then told us the table we choose was not a “bar” table, but in the end they sat us there anyway. We should have cut our losses and left right then. The service was incredibly slow and my stew was stone cold by the time I got it. They just don’t have their stuff together there. OH and no happy hour specials at all. Everyone lost here, not just us the servers, the other customers..everyone. Best thing I had was the Kilkenny.
Red Square – Mandalay Bay
Sunday Happy Hour. This was a pleasant surprise! We have been there for cocktails many times before but had never eaten there. The happy hour specials on snacks were $5.00 and were easily the best food value we had on the trip. I had the salmon blini’s and my husband had some sort of fried chicken things. Both were delicious. The servers were friendly and attentive. We would have ordered more food, but we had dinner at L’Atelier scheduled that evening. There was no clear victor, but we both thought we won this round.
L’Atelier – MGM
Sunday Dinner. This was my birthday dinner and it was fabulous. I know others on the board have had so/so experiences there, but I couldn’t find fault with anything. We each ordered 3 things from the small plates menu. I wish I could remember them all, but Le Burger was fantastic as was Le Homard. It was just a great experience. Yes, it was expensive, but well worth it to us. We both won this dinner.