Just got back and ate at these eateries: Eating solo and mostly at the bar for that reason.
Todd English P.U.B.
Started at Sage since I was staying at Aria. Decided to eat light:- had the oxtail biscotti (definitely recommended) and the foie gras brule (a let-down - frankly a nice piece of straight foie gras would have been more enjoyable) - had these appetizers at the bar and washed them down with a glass of dogfish head beer and some red zinfandel
First Lotus visit I was nursing a hangover and it was lunchtime. Had to have the Nam Kao Tod (rice salad with sliced sour sausage) of course and it was excellent as always. Then decided to sample the $8.95 buffet. The buffet items were fairly conventional Thai but all very nicely executed with fresh flavors and spices. Very nice Thai omelet, excellent chili mint chicken, nice pad thai and I had a=double helpings of the Tom Kha Gai soup. The buffet may not be representative of Lotus's overall menu - but it beats most Asian buffets hands down and it's only $8.95 in a restaurant rated 28 in Zagat.
Had a half price coupon for Rosemarys. Ate at the bar. Roasted pepper soup - very nicely done. Beautifully prepared pan-fried sweetbreads, A very nice mini lettuce wedge with pieces of bacon ($4). Finished off with a scoop of cream ice cream with a shot of espresso, Appetizers were washed down with the house recommended beer (with the soup) - nice but overpriced and a half-bottle of Wild Thing red zinfandel - it did not suck.
Todd English P.U.B. - did someone think they were being creative when they thought of P.U.B. as in Public Urban Bar? Did they not know that pub is actually an abbreviation of public house? So, the naming gives you a clue that this is mainly an exercise in flash marketing. Cosmetically, this is an attractive dining and bar area. Had two pints of Fullers ESB - somewhat overpriced at $9 but ESB is a pretty safe bet. I was originally planning to visit this place a second time - prior to getting the plane back. So, I tried the duck buns - basically some dukc with hoisin sauce in a bun resembling a mu shu pork wrapper - quite tasty but not wonderful. Then I had the lettuce wedge with bacon and some kind of blue cheese sauce. Maybe youre not meant to eat this with beer (I don't know about that - beer has been around for a long time) but apart from size (and a much higher cost) it really suffered in comparison with the one you can get at Rosemarys. Overall - an overpriced experience of modest quality that confirms my opinion that Todd English is to chefs what Tom Arnold is to comedians.
Back to Lotus - actually I meant to go to Namaste (next door) but they were unexpectedly closed so I figured why waste a Lotus opportunity. Went purely Northern Thai with the Northern Thai versions of Tom Kha Gai and Red curry (both without coconut) - not my best ever Northern Thai dishes but still pretty darn delicious.
Finally made it to Namaste for lunch before flying out. I went here because I'd love to find a decent Indian restaurant in Vegas and had heard that this was OK. I was first in the doors (only one other diner showed up while I was there) and was told they'd closed the previous night because "they were tired" - hmmm. Lunch is just the buffet. Mostly vegetarian dishes (which is fine by me) and then about 4 different chicken dishes (this is less fine by me - chicken is not the only protein out there - would it be too much to ask for one lamb dish or a goat dish?). Since I was first in, the buffet dishes should have been at their best. And, to be fair, the dishes generally tasted nice with fresh spices (what there was of them). I did query whether they had mislabelled the chicken vindaloo - in part because it had no potatoes and in part because it tasted more like a tame chicken masala. The hostess assured me that it was indeed a vindaloo and that in Goa (a portuguese ex-colony) vindaloo is not made with potatoes and that the aloo in vindaloo is a portuguese word and not aloo for potatoes. Since I had read something like this before I accepted that as not being total BS - but I still wonder why it ended up so red and tomatoey and lacking in spice. As I was about to leave the hostess added a mushroom and pea curry to the buffet and suggested I try it - canned mushroons and frozen peas and spices that tasted raw. I have to wonder if this restaurant is in trouble or whether it's just lunch they don't care about. The spicing is ridiculously toned down for "American" tastes. I have to question if that is necessary as Lotus next door doesn't tone down it's buffet. (Well it does a bit - I usually like my spices at 8 out of 10 at Lotus).