A belated report and giant thanks to all the LV Chowhounds who helped with advice for this trip!
I was in Las Vegas for four days back in early March and had a great time. I keep meaning to do a full report, but if I wait to add all the details at this rate, it'll never get posted! So here's the short(er) version (ok, after finishing writing this, I'm sure glad it's not a long version ):
Yama Sushi - 1350 E Flamingo Rd Ste 18, Las Vegas, NV 89119-5269 (702) 696-0072
My friend has been crowing about this place for months leading up to the trip, so we headed there our first night. A group of 10 of us showed up with no reservations on a Thursday night. The staff was very accommodating about that and gave us a private room (the place was pretty empty on a weekday evening). We did the AYCE option (about $20/head, non-inclusive of drinks). Well worthwhile for a group of big eaters as previously mentioned this place's AYCE is fresh prepared in the kitchen after you mark your order on a paper menu; it's not prepared buffet style. All their regular cooked dishes, sashimi, nigiri and rolls were available. Excellent, fresh fish and some inventive rolls (particularly liked the Philadelphia roll, after not knowing if I would or not). Not the biggest selection in the world, but nothing to complain about. Great sushi, and good cooked dishes too (teriyaki beef was good enough that our table ordered another 3 rounds of it after the first dish disappeared in about 2 seconds). We happily recommended it to other people in our group who headed over there later in the weekend.
Margarita's Cantina in the New Frontier Casino
I consider this place to be "bargain dining" they always have a fajita special for 2 - $17 for fajitas for two plus a margarita each which I really like. Admittedly, the margaritas are the same ones available as their special 24/7 for $1.99 each, but they're still quite a tasty drink for a cheap price. The tortillas are made fresh at the front of the restaurant and you get a trio of dipping sauces (red salsa, green salsa and a bean dip) with chips before the meal I could make a meal of just the dips. Portions are good here, though nothing is so spectacular that it's worth a special trip, but I do have to put in a good vote for the fresh tortillas and the margaritas!
The Prime Rib Loft at the Orleans Casino
Wow! This was a place some friends had stumbled onto during a previous trip and insisted that we MUST go there. Boy, were they right! This place was fantastic. On a busy Saturday night we walked in with a group of 8 and were seated with about a 20 minute wait. The room is sort of old-school steakhouse, dim lighting, white tablecloths and lots of dark wood paneling. It's located off a corner of the casino, and up a floor (hence loft) so not very loud. Service was considerate and caring, but VERY slow. However, with a congenial group of friends, this was ok by us.
Pretty much the only thing ordered was prime rib and medallions of beef both were excellent and a great value - $14 for a generous sized portion of prime rib, potato and soup or salad, $21 for a double thick portion. I swear I thought by the time all our entrees were served we had been served an entire cow. Their horseradish sauce is something to watch out for I'm not a spice wimp by any means, and let me tell you, even their "mild" isn't! Also of note here - $4 martinis and wow, those are knock-your-socks-off martinis.
Dishes! (The newish buffet) at Treasure Island
This was our official Sunday farewell brunch for a convention of 120+ people. I was in charge of organizing it and had been in contact with the staff for about 2 months. Our reservation was initially for 50 people, and crept up to 80 as the day approached the staff was great about making sure we'd have an area of the buffet seating set aside for our group and accommodating our constantly changing numbers. I can't praise the assistant manager's consistency and followup enough really a great example of customer service.
No one had any complaints about the food this year (unlike the previous year at the old TI buffet). I do agree with previous complaints that the buffet is laid out poorly, leading to backed up lines with nowhere for the backup of people to wait. The interior has definitely been upgraded, décor wise and is a nice space now. Even the place settings are a step up from the generic round, white buffet plate.
Food wise, we got there at the switchover between breakfast and lunch, which was ideal, we got a little of each and paid the breakfast admission price. Highlights fresh sushi station (though it was insanely crowded to get to), fresh made salad bar with more unusual dressings/toppings than normal, nice fresh omelet and pasta station (changed over between breakfast and lunch), and really tasty fresh baked thin-crust pizza. Regular steam tray type items were blah, as to be expected. The dessert station was fun, fresh scooped ice cream, a lot of nice desserts, including some decent mini crème brulee and fruit tarts. A lot of the people in my group seemed really entertained by the fact that you could get cotton candy there too.
Lotus of Siam - 953 E Sahara Ave Ste A5, Las Vegas, NV (in the Commercial Center)
So, based on all the debate on this board, had to go here. I made a reservation a few weeks in advance for Sunday night for 8. Fortunately for me, they were great about allowing us to add extra people into our reservation and push it back a bit. When we got there, they had a long table in the center of the restaurant ready for our group. On previous mentions on the board, I went ahead and asked if the chef could provide a variety of the dishes that emphasized the Issan specialties and keep the price between $15 and $20/person. Only other requests we made were to please include the sour sausage and crispy rice dish that you hear so much about here and to include a variety of proteins (since we had some that only ate seafood and some that didn't eat seafood at all). We did really well doing this, dish after dish came out and everyone enjoyed immensely. I don't think it was necessarily the "cheapest" Thai place, but it was definitely a good value. I was disappointed in the portion size of the sour sausage/crispy rice dish, but that could have been in part because it was the first thing to come out to a hungry group, so it went fast!
Thanks as always chowhounds!