Vegas-The Food and it was Fantastic

As you should know by now, an army and in this case Tools, travels on its stomach.  I love to eat and find great places to enjoy. The biggest change in Vegas besides all the new mega resorts since I have been travelling there is the gigantic leaps the dining scene has taken. Anywhere you go in Vegas, you are going to find great meals. Its a far cry from the food highlight for me would be the $5.99 prime rib buffet at the Frontier, which did indeed rock.

After checking into and being floored by our mini suite, we made it down to the casino in Caesar’s and ate at Rao’s.  It is the Vegas version of a very famous NYC Italian restaurant. My brother had eaten at the NYC one which is impossible to get into and told me to definitely give the Vegas one a whirl, I would be pleased.  It is an expensive place, apps ranged from 8 to 20 and entrees from 20 to 50.  My one and only complaint was our lead waiter. He did not do a great job other than pointing us to more expensive options, no personality and not great service. The water, bread and bus boys were all excellent though as was the hostess that greeted us upon our arrival.  Dawn started with a cosmo, which she called possibly the best one she has ever had. Dawn went for the gnocchi, which had beef, pork and lamb in it. She thought it was a little heavy but delicious. I helped her out with it and loved it. I went for risotto with jumbo shrimp, total home run. Since we did not get any salads or apps, I ordered a side of meatballs with dinner. This was over the top, we did not need them at all, our meals were plenty but the meatballs were delicious, two big meatballs with sauce. The bread was delicious as well, I forgot to mention that, it was a mix in the basket but most was crusty. Dawn skipped the app in favor of dessert, I have totally hooked her on gelato. She got their strawberry version and put it in her top 3 of all time immediately.  I am not a strawberry ice cream or gelato fan, but it was outstanding. The waiter was the only distraction here, I would put it an A- for Rao’s, but I would also say I have had as good or better meals in my favorite place, the North End of Boston.

On lunch on Tuesday, my friend Shawn took the day off from educating the youth of Las Vegas and we spent the day together. Dawn had a lunch break at noon and we picked her up and took her to the closest In n Out we could find. Dawn has heard me talk about it so much, she had to give it a try. She liked it but thought I talked it up too much. Lunch was great, it was nice enough where we could sit outside and the three of us had a nice visit. I went with my usual, double double with fries and the big Diet Coke with it. In n Out as usual delivered.

On Tuesday night, Shawn, Lisa and their son Conner took Dawn and I to Mandalay Bay for a dinner at Trattoria Del Lupo, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. It would be my first Wolfgang experience and I was excited about it. It also allowed me to visit one of my favorite resorts on the Strip.  The meal was excellent here, service same as Rao’s. Main waiter not so much, but everyone else we interacted with was excellent.  This meal was as much about visiting and catching up as the meal itself and it was a home run for that, we had a great time. Dawn brought her camera and we got plenty of pictures of the table.  The meal started off with bread sticks to share. Conner is a Star Wars fan, so these were soon turned into light sabers by Uncle Tools.  I had chicken parm with penne and a side of spinach, I also shared a side of green beans that were ordered. It was all excellent.  We ordered some gelato to share as well for dessert, it was good but on the Dawn scale did not crack her top three.  I also had a tasty Sierra Nevada with dinner, I swear it tastes better on the West Coast.

The final meal we had was lunch on Wednesday before checking out of the hotel. We went to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in Caesar’s. I preface this with I hate Bobby Flay’s personality on Food TV, smug punk would be my short description of him.  Dawn and I were both starving and it was our top choice among the Caesar’s restaurants to try. HOME RUN! This was by far the best meal of our visit in my opinion and I believe Dawn agrees as well.  This among the top five for me among best meals I have ever had, anywhere, it was that good.  The room is a big one, very hip and stylish. I wasn’t a big fan of the design but it was very comfortable and open which I liked. You can see the other patrons, the kitchen, the bar, etc.  The service here was off the charts too. I forget our waiter’s name but he was outstanding. I told him so after paying the bill that he was by far the best waiter we had during our stay. He said the waiters are unionized in the casinos, so sometimes you can get blase service.  First, Dawn loved their iced tea! How often does that happen? She even asked for the name of the blend. They had a prix-fix menu for lunch at $29 for lunch but we both passed on it, instead we ordered a la carte, dollar wise we would have been better off with the prix-fix.  After all we ordered and tip, it was a $100 lunch.  

I kicked myself at Lupo the night before for not getting a salad, so I ordered the Baby Romaine salad at Mesa Grill.  One of the best salads I have ever had.  Instead of bacon bits, it had bits of chorizo. It also had a roasted garlic dressing, cotija cheese and amazing croutons, I love the croutons and these were great.  Dawn and I split as an app, the Goat Cheese “Queso Fundido”. It was this bubbly mix of goat cheese and monterey jack with peppers mixed on top and black tortilla chips for dipping. I got to give Dawn props for ordering this one. I was going to be good and let it go, but she went for it and it was amazing.  Dawn had a salad for her lunch, which she loved.  Looking at the menu online, I believe it was the bbq lamb cobb salad, but I am not 100% sure of that one.  I went with the  Pressed cuban burger, which was outstanding. It was a delicious burger with ham and swiss cheese on top of it, along with pickles, roasted garlic mayo and dijon mustard.  It also came with adobo fries which were good but not amazing. The burger itself was off the charts though. The bread that came with the table was great and came with a cool funky spread to go with it too.

After such an amazing meal, Dawn had to see what dessert was like.  She went with the warm chocolate cake and it was completely decadent, just amazing.  We chatted with the waiter at the end and he went on and on about what a nice guy Bobby Flay is and how he comes in every six weeks. I was like, whatever, this restaurant rocks!  Funny addition to this is my brother Tom used to dine at the Mesa Grill in NYC and got to meet him a few times and backed up the waiter’s claim that he is indeed a good guy and even got my brother a few complimentary margartitas. So, Mr. Flay, loved your restaurant and I graciously take back my smug punk comment at the start of this post.




One Response to “Vegas-The Food and it was Fantastic”

  1. Whit Says:

    Oh, I so should not have read that right before lunch – not only am I starving, I somehow doubt that the onsite Thomson cafeteria will leave up to even the bread you had 😦

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: