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Long composite trip report

zook | Jun 21, 201801:20 PM

We had three quick trips back to Las Vegas over the course of the past two months which gave us an opportunity to try some new restaurants as well as visit some old favorites. We returned to Therapy for a second visit, the first time was enjoyable, and the second dinner there was even better. Over the two dinners we had an opportunity to try many items on the menu, each better than the next. The cocktails weren't bad, either. I had been looking forward to our dinner at Yonaka by Chef Ramir but when we showed up for our appointed reservation on a Friday night, the restaurant was dark and a small closed sign hung in the window. We didn't know if they were closed due to an emergency or had gone out of business. Over the course of the next couple of days we tried calling to try to find out what happened, and emailed them, as well, but could only reach voicemail and no reply. It appears they are still taking reservations via Resy, but even Resy could not explain what was happening. Well, one door closed and another door opened. We popped in to Sparrow and Wolf which had been on my list of "to try" restaurants, and boy were we glad we did. The food was outstanding, very flavorful with interesting seasonings. The charred octopus was a special which I would happily order every time if only it was a regular on the menu. The cocktails were terrific. The manager came by several times to chat with us enhancing the dining experience. The next night we dined at Partage which had recently opened and ordered the tasting menu. Several of the dishes were very creative and beautifully presented, as were the cocktails. A couple of the courses, while good, were a bit of a disappointment as they followed the most creative ones of the evening. Unlike Sparrow and Wolf, the floor manager and staff seemed to chat up only a select few diners and at great length, so although we enjoyed our dinner (me more than my husband), we didn't feel the love.

When we were in the Bellagio for the hockey playoffs, they were putting the finishing touches on Spago. It was open when we returned two weeks later and when looking for a last minute no hassle dinner, we decided to try it. You can eat outside overlooking the fountains or indoors. The menu is interesting but the prices were surprisingly very high. We have no problem spending $$$ for fine dining, but were surprised at the cost here. Having said that, sparing no expense, I ordered the mixed shellfish app for $42 which consisted of three excellent large shrimp and a small lobster (the meat removed, cut into bite size pieces and returned to the shell. Nice and fresh tasting despite the high cost. We rounded out our dinner with the prosciutto and burrata salad, the hong kong cod and gemelli. The pasta portion was on the small side particularly if you are ordering it as a main course and not an app. We shared a dessert from a decent dessert menu (if you like lemon, their lemon dessert is quite pretty and has gotten raves elsewhere, but we shared a souffle). Overall, it hit the spot for what we were looking for in terms of convenience, but I think the price point is too high. As a side note, the font on their menus is very light making it difficult to read without help. We had been wanting to return to Le Cirque for quite awhile and were waiting for them to change the menu to reflect the new chef's creations. After several emails to their manager asking when the new menu would be posted and being told repeatedly "soon", we stopped in to ask when "soon" would be. It turns out that they had just changed the menu, however, it didn't seem that interesting to us, so we took a pass on it once again. We are still in search of some good replacements for Twist which was one of our favorite Las Vegas restaurants but closing at the end of this month due to the sale of the Mandarin Oriental but, alas, the current Le Cirque incantation wasn't going to be it this trip.

Sadly, Chada Thai, another favorite of ours, has also gone by the wayside, so we are also in search of a good Thai replacement and bonus points for someplace that can serve oysters as good as those at Chada. In fact during out dinner at Sage this trip, the waiter lamented the loss of those oysters, as well. Speaking of Sage, we hadn't dined there in quite awhile, so we enjoyed a tasting menu there this last trip. It was fabulous and far surpassed our memories of prior dining experiences there. The service was great. While I think Harvest in the Bellagio is one of the prettiest restaurants in town, Sage is also well appointed and the fact that the tables are well spaced apart from one another enables you to have a private, quiet conversation.

While in town, we made several return trips to Craft Kitchen for some creative, tasty breakfasts. Because we hadn't been to Kitchen Table in awhile, we returned there and it also did not disappoint, although fair warning, your cardiologist would not appreciate much of their menu, but that's why it tastes so good! We also visited a different branch of BabyStacks from the one we usually go to, but the food and service were just as good. I am not a fan of pancakes nor red velvet, yet their red velvet pancakes call my name each time and I've yet to be disappointed. My husband swears by their corned beef hash.

We have an upcoming private party planned at Joes in the Forum Shoppes and since my husband had yet to eat there, we enjoyed a late night dinner there one night after the hockey game. Just like the one here in South Florida, the food is always solid as is their service. They are part of a frequent dining card (Lettuce Entertain You) which racks up points and savings rather quickly. Another post game dinner was at Julian Serrano at the Aria. This was our second time eating there and while it fit the bill for what we were looking for that late, for my money Jaleo is much better. On the flip side, his restaurant, Picasso, in the Bellagio, produced another stellar evening again ordering the tasting menu.

One brunch at Hexx to use a groupon was good but we've eaten there often enough that I'm pretty much over it unless and until the change their menu again.

Dinner at Nora's was solid as usual.

We also popped into Lago for their three course lunch one afternoon. It is good value, the choices good, tasty, and the desserts are beautiful.

So a lot of good eating and looking forward to our return visit in August where we plan to try Black Sheep on the recommendation of the manager at Sparrow and Wolf, along with a return visit to Sparrow and whatever else may look interesting to try between now and then.

Therapy,
Sparrow + Wolf,
Partage,
Le Cirque,
Sage,
Harvest by Roy Ellamar,
CRAFTkitchen,
BabyStacks Cafe,
Julian Serrano Tapas,
Jaleo,
Picasso,
HEXX kitchen + bar,
Nora's Italian Cuisine,
Lago,
The Black Sheep
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