Las Vegas NV


I went to Las Vegas.  Did you miss me?   Yes, we all know how I feel about the city.  But I have to admit, I had a nice and enjoyable time.  First of all, it’s hot as heck there, but it is dry heat.  Don’t get me wrong, your hair is still going to do weird things, but at least it’s not humid too. 

I stayed at the Palazzo.  Wow.  I’ve stayed at a lot of hotel rooms on business trips, but this one definitely won the prize.  It wasn’t even a suite!  It was just a standard room!  The hotel room was as big as my 900 sq foot apartment (I think).   And the best part?  The three flat screen TVs (including one over the sink in the bathroom). 

Palazzo Hotel Room  Palazzo Hotel Room

But the reason I write this little blog of mine is to talk about the food.  Ahh yes, the food.  I have been wanting to go to Lotus of Siam since I first went to Vegas a few months ago.  I didn’t make it this trip either.  Damn!  I will go to the supposedly best Thai place in the country!  Next time!

I did however, end up meeting up with an old friend who randomly happened to be in Vegas at the same time.  So when I was rattling off a bunch of places, she picked Daniel Boulud Brasserie at the Wynn.

Excellent, I was excited.  I love Boulud’s personality on his MOJO show and his food always seems to be beautiful and tasty (or so I imagined).

While his Vegas restaurant may have won 1 Michelin star, I think they’re going to get it pulled from them.  This was a dismal experience.  Daniel, if you’re out there, you need to come and fix this place.

The menu had a lot of promising offerings.

To start the meal, I ordered the heirloom tomato salad with prosciutto.  I just noticed the salad isn’t on their menu so it must be an update.  The heirlooms were OK, but the prosciutto didn’t taste like prosciutto at all.  They put a very small portion in between two pieces of toast with a thick green sauce (pesto perhaps?).  Therefore, you didn’t taste prosciutto.  My friend kept saying it tasted like liverwurst on toast.  I’ll have to take her word for it because I’ve never had liverwurst on toast.

I also ordered the mussels and frites.  I love M&F.  In my bowl, there were a couple of mussels that were so gritty and full of sand, it was disgusting.  One is allowed, but multiple?  Absolutely not.  In addition, the mussels had absolutely no flavor.  They put chunks of sausage in there, but they were too dry.  Since the broth lacked flavor, dipping bread into the sauce was not possible.  It was like dipping bread into water.  It was completely uninspired.  The frites weren’t very crispy so I wasn’t a fan.

My friend ordered the Trio of Kurobuta Pork which was a pork chop wrapped in pork belly and had one more pork item.  It was a lot of pig.  Despite the pork belly, the pork chop was a little dry.

If you go to Brasserie, don’t say I didn’t warn you.  I was so hoping to say that I loved it, but it was quite disappointing.  Maybe all the good chefs were on vacation the day I went? 

Bummer.

One more thing, while you’re there, you can check out the Lake of Dreams show.  It was interesting — there’s a video that’s projected onto a waterfall rock wall screen.  There are props all over the outside area that light up and are a part of the show.  The music gets loud and various photos appear.  One that had just a person’s head (kinda like Max Head Room) to the track One Second: Oh Yeah.

Yes, I know.  Me at a buffet.  It’s a rare sight and occasion.  My friends are still in shock.

Anyway, I went to two buffets.  The first night was at the Bellagio ($30) and the second night was at the Wynn ($34).   Apparently, the Wynn buffet is the up-and-comer in the buffet category while Bellagio is considered the best. 

I would say Bellagio was much better than the Wynn.  Here’s what I remember about the two buffets. 

Bellagio sushi, while they had only limited options (salmon nigiri, tuna nigiri, salmon handroll, and veggie roll), was fresh and good.  At Wynn, there were only three rolls available.  I think they were salmon, tuna, and California (no nigiri). 

Apparently, the big thing at the buffets are the crab legs.  I kept seeing people with these huge mounds of crab legs.  I did try a couple of the pre-opened crab legs and they were good at both places.   

The salads at Bellagio had much better flavor than the Wynn.  My squid salad at Wynn didn’t have any squid (perhaps people had picked it all out?).  

Desserts were hands down better at Bellagio than Wynn.  I loved Bellagio’s chocolate pie, chocolate raspberry cake, and their chocolate hazelnut torte (or maybe it was flourless cake).   The Wynn’s Key Lime Pie was tart and perfect as was their carrot cake with the cream cheese frosting. 

I liked that the Wynn’s buffet was more spread out so it never felt busy (even though the dining room areas were).  Both places kept things pretty clean and well maintained. 

But neither one made me love buffets.  Regardless, I went and thought I’d share my experiences. 

Oh and folks, don’t forget to tip the waitstaff at the buffets!  They are the ones who clean your tables, get you more free ice tea, coffee, water, and soda.  Don’t they deserve a few bucks? 

I had never been to Las Vegas until I had to go for a client conference.  My thoughts?  I may anger a lot of people with the statement I’m about to make — but here I go.  I didn’t like it.  While I know there are a lot of great chefs that have restaurants in Las Vegas, the overall feeling and look of LV was not my thing. 

Don’t get me wrong — I had a nice time there, but I would never want to go for vacation. 

I didn’t get a chance to go to the one restaurant I really wanted to try – Lotus of Siam – supposedly one of the best Thai restaurants in the country.  But over the next two days, I’ll tell you about a couple of the restaurants I did go to – actually, they were two buffets. 

Yes, I went to two buffets.  Me.  My choice?  No, but I know buffets are a big thing in Vegas so now I’ve done them…and now never need to do it again.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of my trip. 

The first row is of the Stratosphere bar/outside.  The second is of the Venetian.  Third is of “Paris.”  Last row is of the Bellagio water show (most recently made famous by Oceans 11, 12, and 13).  There are more photos if you want to see them on my Flickr page.

Stratosphere Strip  Stratosphere Strip 2

Venetian

Paris Las Vegas

Bellagio Water Show  Bellagio Water Show