As a very infrequent visitor to your city, this was my second this year, and I have to say, with much more pleasant weather relative to my August trip! Although I'd vowed to eat off the Strip this time, the logistics of my business trip kept me "confined to quarters" at the Delano and Mandalay Bay for the trip (except for evening walks to get some fresh air).
In between various catered business breakfasts, lunches and dinners, I was able to try a few things in the Mandalay complex, as follows:
- On arriving mid-day Sunday, I went to Della's Kitchen in the Delano, and while it looked and sounded good on the menu, the portugese sausage and pastrami hash I had was good, but really nothing special. Better than Denny's but certainly not exciting or different. Perhaps there are other items that work better there, but I didn't see anything else go by that would knock my socks off.
- A group of four of us had an early dinner at Kumi, the Japanese restaurant in the Mandalay Bay, and despite my skepticism about Japanese restaurants in hotels (I lived in Japan for a couple of years, so I'm probably too easily disappointed here), I thought it was decent. We had several varieties of nigiri sushi, all reasonable size and quality (not exceptional, but decent), some wakame salad (good), some fried shrimp (meh), and the mochi ice cream dessert (about equivalent to the Trader Joe's frozen mochi, to be honest). It was good, not great food, but better than I was expecting.
- Another evening we had a group dinner (so it was semi-catered by my definition) at Charlie Palmer Steak (in the Four Seasons, also part of the Mandalay Bay complex). Despite the semi-fixed menu, I thought it was quite good, and being one of the only ones NOT to order the filet (I find them quite dull generally), I really was pleased with my chicken, and with the sides. Not sure what this would cost on the menu, but I'd say it's at least a decent place to check out for steak, especially if there are any off-season deals (like was mentioned in another thread for Veranda, also in the Four Seasons).
- Speaking of Veranda, I went there one evening when I could escape the group meal, and really enjoyed the ricotta cavatelli pasta with a nice Bolognese sauce, a decent glass of an Antinori Super Tuscan, and a nice salad of baby kale, blue cheese, candied walnuts, etc. Service was very good, and the meal came with excellent house foccacia as well. Though it was a bit pricey (I think about $65 for all that) I felt it was "good value" given the quality, the service, the quiet and comfortable environment, and the general level of overpriced food in these hotels. I saw the other announcement of a 50% deal for Black Friday at Veranda - I'd jump all over that in a minute if I wasn't back home now!
- Finally, I went to 3940 Coffee and Tea, in the lobby of the Delano a couple of times, and was very happy with the quality of the coffee and the pastries. Both baked goods (mini cakes) and laminated pastries (croissant and apple turnover) were very good, and the prices weren't much more than the Starbucks in the Mandalay food court. I looked at Press at the Four Seasons but didn't try it. I think that the Delano might be a sweet spot of quality and value.
I didn't get to Lotus of Siam, or Raku, or any of the other places on my "off the Strip" list, but was actually pretty pleased with how these meals turned out, given my general distrust of "overpriced Vegas hotel food" - it was a nice trip, and I'm actually looking forward if another opportunity to visit arises! Thanks again to uhockey, QAW and the rest of you Vegas 'hounds for all of your reporting - it's really helpful and very on-target for what I was looking for.