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Las Vegas Trip (Very Long)


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Restaurants & Bars 2

Las Vegas Trip (Very Long)

Westie | Jun 4, 2006 06:09 AM

This is a summary of our dining experiences while on a two week vacation to Las Vegas.

May 3 - our first night and we decided on dining at Ventano’s Italian Corner & Oyster Bar. This beautiful restaurant located in Henderson has views of the Las Vegas Valley. We once again decided to share a warm spinach salad, eggplant rollatini and crème brulee. We declined the fresh out of the oven bread and were shortly served our spinach salad – outstanding as usual. We were a bit surprised when our entrée arrived on one plate surrounded by penne. Usually it is served on 2 plates with a side order of linguini – no problem as we divided up the eggplant and penne. We each were thinking there was not much ricotta in the dish, but everything was delicious. Just then the waitress returned with another dish explaining she accidentally served us eggplant parmesan. She said she was the owner’s daughter and had never tried either eggplant dish. No problem as we proceeded to make a sizeable dent in the second dish. Last, but by no means least, was a delicious, and, no doubt, calorie free crème brulee.

May 4 We decided to give the new Firelight breakfast buffet at Sam’s Town a try.
The room was beautiful, but the food disappointing. The fruit was unripe, most offerings were your typical steam table fare and dishes were not turning over fast enough to keep them fresh. I also noticed that at 9AM a chef was already grilling hamburgers for lunch – nothing like a dried out burger for those arriving at noon. Overall this buffet was several notches down from the comparably priced buffets at the Orleans and Gold Coast.

It is ouur first full day in Las Vegas and what better way to start off our trip then the $18.80 3-course lunch at Commander’s Palace?
We tried both starters: cream of wild mushroom soup topped with truffled chive Chantilly (Ms. Westie) and the house made andouille sausage - pecan smoked and grilled and served with a red bean puree and four-tomato salsa (me). For entrees we chose the broiled Oregon sole – lemon drizzled and broiled and served over herb marinated lentils and green split peas, finished with roasted artichoke aioli and young greens. Our desserts of choice were bananas foster – an original creation of the Brennan’s and soooooo good. With 3 Commander’s Palace and 2 lemon drop martinis under our belts, more under mine, we departed the restaurant with smiles on our faces and pralines in hand. Commander’s Palace continues to garner numerous awards including 10 Best – American Continental Restaurants (Las Vegas).

May 5 - It was Cinco de Mayo and where better to have breakfast than the Village Buffet at Paris?
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, spinach quiche, apple-chicken smoked sausage, andouille sausage, dried figs, imported cheeses, more berries, OJ, wine poached pears etc. I moaned, I groaned, I started kissing everyone in sight.

We had tickets for the Tony Orlando show at Suncoast for later in the evening so we chose Hannah’s Neighborhood Bistro located in Boca Park on Rampart Boulevard in Summerlin for oru evening meal. This upscale Vietnamese, multimillion dollar restaurant is drop dead gorgeous with beautiful art work displayed throughout, a waterfall and fish swimming under a section of the floor. We were under time constraints so we decided to pass on appetizers and salads. I ordered the grilled tiger prawns served with their famous garlic noodles. Ms. Westie’s entrée - Mama’s ginger steamed sea bass served with fresh ginger, shitake mushrooms and scallions was on the bland side. Overall we loved the restaurant’s décor as well as the service, but felt the food was slightly disappointing given the MSRP on the menu.

May 6 - We went to the Village Pub and Poker on Eastern at Wigwam for breakfast this morning. Of the 3 Village Pubs we have visited, this is by far the nicest. The owners also own Ellis Island so you will recognize the booths, paintings and menu. Ms. Westie ordered pancakes while I settled on poached (overdone) eggs, toast and hash browns.

Table 34, formerly the Wild Sage, on Warm Springs Road was our choice for dinner. Ms Westie’s entree this evening was char-broiled prime beef tenderloin with roasted potatoes and veggies. I opted for the seared Maine scallops with sautéed spinach, potato puree and orange glazed veggies. Everything, including service was good, but a whisker short of expectations.

May 7- I had read glowing first hand reports on as well as a few published reviews of Settebello, a new pizzeria located in Henderson.
We arrived shortly after 11:30AM to find an empty parking lot and a sign on the door advising of its 12:30PM Sunday opening hour. We started to head elsewhere, but decided it would probably prove to be a waste of gas and time so we returned about noon. An employee waved us in and we were soon seated and ordering this days first pizza. We ordered 2 sodas and shared a Margherita pizza which topped with crushed tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan and basil. One minute, yes 60 short seconds later, our pie removed from the 800 degree wood fired oven and on our way to us. We opted for the traditional serving method, uncut, and devoured the pizza in another minute or two. We both agreed the pizza was good, but overpriced and not in the same league as those from several places in New Haven, CT.

Dinner tonight was at the nearby Costa del Sol in the Sunset Station Casino, Henderson.
It has been a few years since we last dined here, but prices remain moderate with a very good salad/soup bar is included. We enjoyed our mesquite grilled salmon, green beans and Cajun mashed potatoes.

May 8 - Tonight’s restaurant of choice is Todd’s Unique on Sunset Road, Henderson. The restaurant has been voted as one of the Top 10 restaurants in Las Vegas for the past 2 years as well as being a recipient of AAA 3 Diamonds award in 2006.
We usually pass on the bread, but they serve a warm garlicky loaf that is almost worth the extra carbs. The shared crab cake with remoulade sauce and Asian salad appetizer was delicious. Ms. Westie settled on the Ahi tuna entrée with wasabi mashed potatoes and veggies. I went for the teriyaki halibut served over steamed rice and bok choy. We both feel these were the two best entrees of our trip.

May 9 - We decided to try the recently reopened buffet at Sunset Station for breakfast. The room is gorgeous, but the food was only satisfactory with turnover a distinct problem. I was able to combine a CP 2/1 coupon with a 25% discount by using our Boarding Pass points.

That evening we drove to Viva Michoacan, a highly acclaimed Mexican restaurant, on Sunset Boulevard. Taco chips, a blah salsa and bean dip preceded our meal. I also requested a highly flavorful chipolte salsa. Included in the entree price is a very good sopa de fideo. Ms. Westie selected camarones Zirahuena, bay shrimp butterflied and sautéed in butter with tomatoes, onions, a bit of sour cream, paprika, and secret condiments. I ordered the enchiladas de camaron, enchiladas stuffed with shrimp and simmered in a red sauce. Entrees include rice, beans and a choice of fresh corn or flour tortillas. Excellent as always.

May 10 - Dinner tonight was at Rosemary’s on West Sahara.
This restaurant is a perennial winner in the Best of Las Vegas poll and was accorded a AAA 3 Diamond rating in 2006. We had called ahead and the first available seating was at 8:15PM. Unbeknown to me is Wednesdays are Ladies night where all ladies “only” tables receive 50% off their entrées plus happy hour prices all night long. Several ladies at nearby tables seemed to be happy, very happy. We each received a complementary dollop of whitefish (tunafish?) salad on a crouton. Our entrees were honey Creole mustard glazed salmon served with a watercress sweet onion salad, spiced pumpkin seeds and a butternut coulis. At the conclusion of dinner we received a small plate with complimentary chocolate and peanut butter truffles – they were out of the delicious lemon ones – damn

May 11 - This afternoon it was off to Commander’s Palace again. Santino, the Maitre d’, recognized us from the prior week and instructed the head waiter to seat us in his section, but I requested a table in the Garden room. I also asked for a copy of the menu to take with me and the waiter informed us that last week’s server had informed him that I would be making such a request. It is this attention to service that make dining at Commander’s Palace such a special experience. Our 3-course $18.80 luncheon options included Creole tomato bisque topped with chive Chantilly (Ms. Westie) and Crawfish beignet salad with a variety of greens, shaved onions and buttermilk blue cheese tossed with raspberry vinaigrette – served with flash fried crawfish beignets and cane molasses drizzle (me). We each chose the Oregon sole “a la Plancha” entrée – griddle seared fillets of sole served with crispy potato gratin, sweet lemon butter sauce and toasted garlic. Though feeling satiated we continued on to the third course – a choice of banana-buttercream Gateau’, pecan genoise layered with a rich banana buttercream topped with white chocolate ganache and finished with chocolate and caramel sauce (me) or French Quarter beignets, traditional New Orleans bite sized beignets dusted with powdered sugar and accompanied by warm café au lait sauce (Ms. Westie). Does anyone remember the restaurant scene from “When Harry Met Sally”? I am pretty certain Sally was eating this very same meal. BTW – this day’s inventory of 25 cent martinis included (2) Commander’s Palace, (1) lemon drop, (1) chocolate and (1) apple.

May 12 - We decided the Paris buffet would get the nod this day. In addition to sundry menu items, we each enjoyed a Belgian waffle covered with fresh berries and cream that was so light I thought mine would levitate.

We decided to dine this evening at El Coqui Caribbean Restaurant on Paradise Road.
http://www.elcoquicaribbeanrestaurant.... On past trips we have enjoyed the excellent chicken noodle soup served at this Puerto Rican restaurant at lunch, but this was our first visit at dinner time. We shared an order of tostone (fried green plantains) served with garlic in oil. I also requested habanero sauce. We each ordered the fried chicken with mofongo (mashed plantain with garlic, pork rind and whatever). The chicken was crispy on the outside, but moist inside. A homemade chicken broth was included that is used to pour over the mofongo or used as a dipping sauce. The mofongo was tasty, but about as heavy as mortar. Somehow we managed to top off this meal with an unbelievably delicious, and no doubt nutritious, coconut flan.

Once again we had tickets this evening for a show (Frankie Avalon) at the Suncoast so decied on dinner at Speidini Ristorante in the nearby J. W. Marriott. This is one of Master Chef Gustav Mauler’s restaurants and we were amazed how beautiful the room was with its bold accents, lighting and shapes. Service was initially laid back so I advised the server of our plans for later in the evening. We shared a delicious spinach salad with pears, gorgonzola, crispy proscuitto, candied walnuts and balsamic dressing. Ms. Westie’s entrée was lobster ravioli in a lobster sauce finished with a touch of cognac. I chose the golden squash agnolotti – roasted butternut squash, amaretti, mascarpone and parmesan filled pasta topped with bay scallops and brown butter sauce. We look for the next opportunity to dine at this wonderful and reasonably priced restaurant.

May 14 - it was mother's day and we had an early show (Ann-Margret) so we decided on the Village buffet at Paris for our evening meal. We managed to sample the cocktail shrimp, cold crab legs, a few mussel dishes (fair), steamed clams (fair), seafood paella, grilled veggies including some giant asparagus spears, sautéed salmon, imported cheeses and a trio of desserts.

May 15 - we drove to Sunset Station again for the breakfast. Although only small amounts of each dish are put out at the buffet, we again noticed many of the sauces and gravies had congealed. The fruit selection was not as good as earlier in the trip, but we made do by adding yogurt. The made to order omelets were way too thick so we each opted for eggs over easy.

Dinner was again at Todd’s Unique on Sunset in Henderson. This outstanding owner-operated restaurant has been the recipient of numerous awards including being named a Top 10 Las Vegas Restaurant, Best of Las Vegas selection and an AAA 3 Diamonds restaurant. We shared an appetizer of warm goat cheese wontons in a raspberry basil sauce. Ms. Westie entrée was seared wild troll salmon served with green onion polenta and green onion vinaigrette. I once again opted for the teriyaki Alaskan halibut over steamed rice and bok choy. Mine was every bit as good as the first time, but Ms. Westie’s salmon received only a pretty good rating.

May 16 - It was around 8PM by the time we arrived at Fukuda Tepannyaki Japanese Bisto on Sunset Road in Henderson. We were told it would be 30 minutes before seats would be available at the grill, but the same meal could be prepared for us in the kitchen. We opted for this alternative rather than wait which turned out to be a big, big mistake. We started out with the edamame appetizer. This represented our first and last experience with boiled salted soybeans – totally tasteless. Ms. Westie chose the halibut dinner while I requested chicken. She received two decent sized pieces of fish, but each was overdone. My chicken, cut into ¼ inch cubes, was dry. Each entree included miso soup, noodles, veggies, rice and salad. The soup was hot, but everything else was served cold. Service was affable, but slow. We won't be returning any time soon.

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