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Old 01-21-2010, 07:12 PM   #426
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

yelp is not really frequented by foodies and there are questions of yelp authenticity with rumors of yelp asking restaurants for funds in order to remove bad reviews, etc...

On another note, I wouldn't worry about seafood in vegas if you are going to a really highend place. They will go to the airport every morning.

Even though NYC is coastal, its not like everything you order there is local and thus no real guarantee for that much more freshness than what you get in Vegas.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:14 PM   #427
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

Can't imagine going to Vegas to get a fish dinner. I think Vegas is more like Denver, Kansas City or Chicago; a red meat town.

The Paris buffet, not fine dining I know, I found to have several fish stew dishes that were good. Obviously, probably frozen fish overloaded with spices and vegetable accompaniment. But if someone is hungry for fish in Vegas, this is probably a good way to get a fish fix at a reasonable price.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:56 PM   #428
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

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in my experience, yelp everywhere has the same "problem."

yelp is majority populated by people who i would be nice in classifying as "cheap."

indeed, if they would just call ahead or look at a menu online, many of their problems would not exist. specifically, they are always appalled at how expensive everything is, have always had "much better" everything for cheaper someplace else in their neighborhood, and always "expect more from someplace that costs so much, i mean i could have gotten that lobotomy i've been putting off for that much."

I've learned three very reliable indicators to tell me when a yelp review is worthless:

1. they complain about the high cost

2. they complain about valet parking, and how much that costs (this is particularly an LA thing)

3. they were there for either Valentines Day or one of those city-wide things where restaurants offer a special, lower-priced menu for a couple weeks (here in LA it's called Dine LA)

Any of those three things being mentioned tell me that the knucklehead writing the review doesn't eat out often enough to write a review.
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:48 AM   #429
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

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Originally Posted by hotjenny314 View Post
What do you guys think is the best tasting menu (with wine pairing) in Vegas?

I've seen some hate here, but I did the tasting menu with wine pairing at B and B with a friend who is both Italian and a culinary school grad. We both thought it was fantastic and delivered good value, even at $225/person and the servings not being particularly big.
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Old 01-22-2010, 03:30 PM   #430
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

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sorry that I just discovered this thread but I really need to throw my two cents in when it comes to the best italian restaurant in vegas. I have been to all of the major players from B and B, Carnevino, Circo, Fiamma, Raos, Piero's, Nove Italiano to name a few, but the one that stands out by far purely due to the taste of the food is Stratta at the Wynn (formerly Corsa Cucina). I think I have eaten there at least a dozen times and it never disappoints. Alex Stratta has a different take on italian, especially if you are used to more traditional italian american cuisine that a place like Raos or Nove Italiano specialize in, but each dish seems to have a new and improved twist on classic italian dishes that I grew up on.

The first thing that you guys cannot miss is the clams casino, the only preparation that I have ever tried that can compete with my godfather's clams casino. Other appetizers I enjoyed were the beef pansotti and the butternut squash ravioli.

The lobster fra diavolo, roasted shrimp penne, or ribeye steak are always great, but the best thing on the menu if it is available is a special of filet mignon and lobster ravioli. That dish is in my top 5 things I have ever eaten and my gf who has eaten filet mignon at almost all of the steakhouses around town thinks it is better than all but the filet at CUT.
In my opinion Strata is at the bottom end of the high end Italian American high-end strip joint in Vegas, I'd rather eat at Martorano's and Nove, neither of which I particularly liked because of the heavy garlic coering to mask the true flavors of the ingredients. If your looking for classic Italian American then Rao's might be the best of the bunch you mentioned above. I dont't understand why you included Circo (French inspired Italian due to Sirio's childhood home), B&B (rustic Umbrian mixed with delicacies from all over Italy and tasting menus that are chosen based on the region), or CarneVino (Tuscan & Parma inspire menu), thats like comparing apples to oranges. Circo, B&B, & Carne are real Italian cuisine, while Strata, Raos, and Nove are Italian American, they have only their roots in common and shouldn't be compared to one another IMO.

PS: If we add Bartelota into the mix it would be hard to compare to Circo & Carne because Bartelota is mostly a Mediterranean sea inspired menu where as Carne and Circo specialize on the fat of the land.
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Old 01-22-2010, 03:53 PM   #431
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

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Originally Posted by DuckyLucky View Post
Can't imagine going to Vegas to get a fish dinner. I think Vegas is more like Denver, Kansas City or Chicago; a red meat town.

The Paris buffet, not fine dining I know, I found to have several fish stew dishes that were good. Obviously, probably frozen fish overloaded with spices and vegetable accompaniment. But if someone is hungry for fish in Vegas, this is probably a good way to get a fish fix at a reasonable price.
Seablue, Michael Mina's, Okada, Yellow Tail... places with great, FRESH fish. The fish in Vegas is flown in fresh every day; some of these can compete at the VERY top level (Michael Mina's is a Micheline Star Restaurant - for seafood that is bloody impressive).


As for the best tasting menu: On the deliciousness scale it's Joel Robuchon at MGM and then Alex at the Wynn. For "value" ($100 per person) Michael Mina's is pretty awesome and Le Cirque is right up there.


B&B doesn't make my top 15 list.
Edit: I found the portions small and salty.
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:16 PM   #432
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

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Everything on the last page (chef's specials) which includes Panang Short Rib.
Soft Shell Crab on Drunken Noodles

Any of the Curry's are great. Green Curry with Tofu is probably my curry of choice, but I should clarify that I don't like very spicy food. There's something about the tofu at Lotus that makes it just perfect.
Thanks for the info. We have dinner reservations for Lotus on the 29th.

And we're going to an off-strip, "old Vegas" Italian restaurant on the 31st...Casa di Amore. Have any of you eaten there?
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:44 PM   #433
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

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What do you guys think is the best tasting menu (with wine pairing) in Vegas?
WITH pairing, Picasso, no contest. Without specific pairings, Guy Savoy.
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:05 PM   #434
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

I ate possibly the sickest course I have ever had in Vegas last night at Ciety Center's Sage, it was FoieGras Custard Brule topped with crusted caramelized citrus and cocoa nibs, blood orange slices and a salte.

Imagine creme brule... but replace the caramel coating with citrus sugars. Add cocoa nibs on top and blood orange slices. Sounds sick right? Now imagine if the creme bas tasted like FoieGras. Now imagine if the creme base IS FoieGras! Sick right? But the best part is when you use the softest salted brioche to dip into the custard..... its heavenly! I am so glad a duck gave it's liver for me to enjoy this meal

Suffice to say, Sage is now the best restauraunt I have eaten at in City Center so far... I cannot wait to try more of the menu. My entre was Imberico Ham shoulder, its the pork equivalent of Kobe beef. I've had Imberico before at Carnevino but its a totally different preparation, so sick!
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:28 PM   #435
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

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Originally Posted by *TT* View Post
I ate possibly the sickest course I have ever had in Vegas last night at Ciety Center's Sage, it was FoieGras Custard Brule topped with crusted caramelized citrus and cocoa nibs, blood orange slices and a salte.

Imagine creme brule... but replace the caramel coating with citrus sugars. Add cocoa nibs on top and blood orange slices. Sounds sick right? Now imagine if the creme bas tasted like FoieGras. Now imagine if the creme base IS FoieGras! Sick right? But the best part is when you use the softest salted brioche to dip into the custard..... its heavenly! I am so glad a duck gave it's liver for me to enjoy this meal
this sounds so amazing, I want to get on a plane right now.... will definitely have to check this place out next time!!
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:29 PM   #436
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

you forgot something TT....... your dinner partner had to have made the meal an adventure.
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:06 PM   #437
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

I'll toss this out for anyone who ends up Downtown. I had a very nice steak at the steak house on top of Binions. I believe they are still open in spite of the hotel being closed. I will admit I'm old school when it comes to restaurants and I appreciate veteran waiters, solid portions, decent wine selection as opposed to pomp and puffery and a desperate need to "be different". I despise hovering waiters who feel entitled to interrupt your conversation-they are not the show. I like classic food-not wing nut fusion. That said the meat was first rate and the prices 1/2 of the Vegas norm. I couldn't bring myself to try the house speciality-deep fried lobster however. I'd recommend it for those of you seeking a more pedestrian meal but in a decent place downtown.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:36 PM   #438
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

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I'll toss this out for anyone who ends up Downtown. I had a very nice steak at the steak house on top of Binions. I believe they are still open in spite of the hotel being closed. I will admit I'm old school when it comes to restaurants and I appreciate veteran waiters, solid portions, decent wine selection as opposed to pomp and puffery and a desperate need to "be different". I despise hovering waiters who feel entitled to interrupt your conversation-they are not the show. I like classic food-not wing nut fusion. That said the meat was first rate and the prices 1/2 of the Vegas norm. I couldn't bring myself to try the house speciality-deep fried lobster however. I'd recommend it for those of you seeking a more pedestrian meal but in a decent place downtown.
I've posted this before and stand by it, no matter how many Kobes, filets or Emeril/Wolfgang/whoever Surf'n'Turfs we crush-we all still rave about the Filet and Chicken Fried Lobster at Binion's.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:58 PM   #439
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

first off, not that this is the place for it, but while chicago certainly has great steakhouses and a history in the meat industry, calling it a "red meat" town and in a grouping including kc seems fairly derogatory and incorrect. but whatever, it's not the place for it.

tt, i'm glad to hear something about sage. sage is the new shawn mcclain place, and i've really loved basically everything of his i've eaten around chicago. excited to get out to sage next time i'm in vegas. glad to hear he's still doing amazing things with foie!

re: dinners with pairings in vegas - i didn't have pairings at picasso, but was so amazingly underwhelmed by the food there that i can't imagine the wine suddenly making the whole thing shockingly amazing.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:25 AM   #440
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

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In my opinion Strata is at the bottom end of the high end Italian American high-end strip joint in Vegas, I'd rather eat at Martorano's and Nove, neither of which I particularly liked because of the heavy garlic coering to mask the true flavors of the ingredients. If your looking for classic Italian American then Rao's might be the best of the bunch you mentioned above. I dont't understand why you included Circo (French inspired Italian due to Sirio's childhood home), B&B (rustic Umbrian mixed with delicacies from all over Italy and tasting menus that are chosen based on the region), or CarneVino (Tuscan & Parma inspire menu), thats like comparing apples to oranges. Circo, B&B, & Carne are real Italian cuisine, while Strata, Raos, and Nove are Italian American, they have only their roots in common and shouldn't be compared to one another IMO.

PS: If we add Bartelota into the mix it would be hard to compare to Circo & Carne because Bartelota is mostly a Mediterranean sea inspired menu where as Carne and Circo specialize on the fat of the land.
Finally get a chance to post my review of dinner at Rao's on 1/19/10. Cliff's = average food but overpriced and service was a big disappointment.

Wife and I had reservations for 7:00, got there a little early, but seated right away. They put us towards the back of the restaurant looking out on the Caesar's pools in a very loud room (concrete floor, high ceilings.) No waiter even approached us for over 10 minutes despite the fact that there were several active tables right around us. No one seemed to notice us. Wife finally asked a passing waiter if someone was assigned to our table, this guy took over after mumbling something about our assigned waiter being busy with other tables.

Appetizers were bruschetta and the baked clams. Wife said the bruschetta was good, and I thought the clams were very good, too bad they were the highlight of the meal in terms of food.

I ordered a half-order of the linguini and shrimp that was basically tasteless. Shrimp were cooked well, but just had no flavor in the dish, a real disappointment.

Wife had the shrimp fra diavolo and I had the veal parmigiana. Wife said the shrimp were pretty good and the small bite I got was pretty good. The veal was a good sized portion, but unevenly cooked especially near the bone where part of it was almost raw. What was cooked well was delicious, but the milanese I've had at Sinatra was much better.

For dessert wife had the pate a chioux with ice cream and chocolate sauce, I had the tiramisu. Both were good, the tiramisu was nice and light, not dense like it so often is.

Wife picked out the wine, and I have to admit I had no idea what is was (she is the wine guru and I always leave it up to her.) She was a bit taken aback when the waiter wanted us to let him decant it. (Apparently b/c it was too recent a vintage to need decanting.) But it was very good, and she was impressed by the wine list overall.

Final grades:

Atmosphere D+ loud crowded room, nothing special about the restaurant itself.
Service C slow start, but was acceptable despite the poor advice on the decanting. Again, nothing special.
Food D overall below average because of the linguini dish and the uneven veal. This is especially true if I factor in value. The bill came to just over $300 before tip.

I was disappointed b/c I had high hopes for this place as I like this kind of menu (Italian-American). Doubt I'd ever go back unless someone else was paying.
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:29 PM   #441
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

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you forgot something TT....... your dinner partner had to have made the meal an adventure.
Mom - Jimmy didnt come out with us, it was just Shaun and Adam this time around. But I do love dining with Jimmy, I gotta bring him out more often IMO.

xPros - I didnt say Raos is good, but it is the best of the bunch on the strip because its authentic Italian-American food from Harlem, NYC. Great Italian American is hard to find in Vegas IMO, but we do have world-class true Italian restaurants here.
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:32 PM   #442
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

I meant Shaun.
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:40 PM   #443
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I meant Shaun.
LOL, Shaun says the same thing about me too, I'm a voracious foodie, Shaun looks for any excuse to come along to dinner and often orders whatever I order because he knows it will be great more often than not. We were joking around that evening about becoming food critics, I honestly believe that within 10 years Shaun might have the knowledge to pull it off just by being a great customer. It also wouldnt surprise me if he decides to get into ownership of a fine dining establishment when he grows older, its in his blood.

Last night we went to Freaking Frog to do a whiskey/tequila/scotch tasting, I get such a kick out of attending tastings with Shaun, he is the perfect foodie foil. By the end of the evening all the people at the tasting were asking Shaun questions as usual, keep in mind that these people where mostly expert bartenders who really know their craft and also know food, every where we go with him he leaves an impression.
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Old 01-25-2010, 04:50 PM   #444
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

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xPros - I didnt say Raos is good, but it is the best of the bunch on the strip because its authentic Italian-American food from Harlem, NYC. Great Italian American is hard to find in Vegas IMO, but we do have world-class true Italian restaurants here.
Didn't mean to imply that you were endorsing Rao's, just wanted to "bump" the topic since I had asked for info on Rao's a couple of weeks ago before we ate there. (Guess I should have taken heed of the comments in response to my inquiry.)

I realize there are a number of great "true" Italian places in Las Vegas, and I'm surprised to hear that good Italian-American is hard to find. I guess I may need to be looking off the strip for such a place.
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:54 PM   #445
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

The Italian I ate at Spago @ Caesars was first rate imo.
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:17 PM   #446
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

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I'm surprised to hear that good Italian-American is hard to find.
thats probably because world-class Italian-American may not exist. Italian-American food came about because when native Italian's first moved to America at the turn of the century (and earlier) they didn't have access to the same quality of produce in the inner city "ghettos" where immigrants congregated, they compensated by slathering everything with sauce, heavy on the garlic to cover the poor taste of the produce.

With that said I did forget to mention Sinatra earlier, that might be the exception to the rule. I haven't eaten there yet but I hear its fantastic.
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:13 PM   #447
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

Funny rant against Lotus of Siam (cliffs: it's all of your fault for recommending Lotus to everyone you know back home, yes it's good, but you are ignoring other worthy restaurants!!!!):

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We keep eating at Namaste because the food is so good, and because it’s impossible to get a seat at Lotus of Siam anymore. Three times in the last month we’ve driven to Commercial Center (on Monday and Tuesday nights), and seen a line out the door at Lotus, while Ohm Singh’s food goes begging for customers.

And we’d be less than honest if we didn’t mention that, as happy as we are for Saipin and Bill Chutima and their staff, it’s somewhat disheartening to see cab after cab deposit wave after wave of half-drunk turistas in front of Lotus (lots of beefy conventioneers with women who’ve seen too much “Sex and the City” - still swishing their cocktails as they stumble from the taxi in their nineties hair and spiky heels) and watch them stagger into Lotus because someone back home knows someone who told them that they heard from somebody who read somewhere that this little joint in Vegas was the greatest Thai restaurant in the country.

Yeah, it kinda pisses us off, the same way it does when we’re at a wine party with some true oenophilic aficionados and someone breaks out a Maya ‘97, Pichon-Lalande ‘82 or J. J. Prum ‘70 Trockenbeerenauslese and some half-in-the-bag nimrod or nouveau-riche floozy insists on a taste and then pours a big friggin’ glass of the stuff for themselves and drinks it like it’s f*cking soda pop while shouting in a drunken slur: “This is AMAZING!” or “This is F*CKING AWESOME dude!” even though THEY DON’T HAVE THE SLIGHTEST F*CKING IDEA ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH WHAT THEY’RE F*CKING TASTIING!@#!@#$%*&*

But I digress.

Namaste is all that and a bag of chips when it comes to top drawer Indian food, and just like Lotus, it deserves to be mobbed by the know-nothing, mob-following, half-potted hoi polloi.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:05 PM   #448
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

Meh. I've gotten a table for four the last three times I've been at Lotus without much of a wait at all. Maybe I just run good.

I've also heard from a friend/business owner that Lotus is likely opening a second location.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:10 PM   #449
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

That rant is hilarious!

That happened to the best Thai place in my area too-- once it got some press (which admittedly was partially my doing) it became kind of overpopulated.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:29 PM   #450
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Re: Las Vegas Fine Dining Thread

Have a free night from hotels.com setup at Encore on2/13 for early Valentine's day with the fiance.

Going to Bouchon that night on the recommendation of many in this thread. Will report back but I don't expect it to be any less than fantastic.

The only must-have item in my order queue is the fries. Suggestions?
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