IMG 9054Attention foodies!!  This is it!  The Mt. Everest of the food world!  As an out and proud foodie, there is something unbelievably special to me about dining at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, a lively, modern eatery in the MGM Grand Resort - It’s not just dinner, it’s a show, and when you eat here, you don’t just have a meal, you have an EXPERIENCE!

 

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IMG 9533Ask the people who work in Las Vegas’ restaurant industry whose food they like to eat, many of them will tell you it’s Chef Shawn McClain.  Ask the servers and executive chefs where they’d go for a great fine dining experience, they’ll tell you SAGE!

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IMG 8794Every year, about mid-February, everyone’s thoughts turn to romance.  What could be a more romantic Valentine’s Day gift than a trip to Paris?  Can’t quite float a trip overseas?  Well, if you’re in Las Vegas, the Eiffel Tower Restaurant can provide fabulous French food, a dimly lit romantic setting, and superb service, as you gaze out over the famous Vegas Strip!

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IMG 8595The casino at Bellagio has an air of classicism, harkening back to the glory days of the famed Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco - opulent and impressive.  It should come as no surprise then, that the restaurants at Bellagio should strive for that same classic feel.  

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IMG 8895Thrilling!  That’s the first word that leaps to mind in attempting to describe the food at Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant, a new restaurant/nightlife complex at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.  I haven’t been this excited about a restaurant in a very long time!  Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant is one of several in a group of fine-dining establishments around the world.  With locations in London, Miami, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Dubai, New York, San Francisco and Beverly Hills, the Las Vegas locale is the first and only to incorporate nightlife into the Hakkasan experience.  Five-levels and 80,000-square-feet include the restaurant/bar, Private Dining Room, the more intimate Ling Ling Lounge, the Ling Ling Club, a high-energy Main Room that features many of the world’s best known DJ’s, The Pavilion, an area that mimics the outdoor feel of an Asian garden with life-like foliage and a two-story water feature, and the Mezzanine, the fifth-level, which provides an area for guests who desire a more private, VIP environment while still having access to the energy of the dance floor.

Tonight, however, was all about the food!

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IMG 8440Seasonal produce, farm-to-table, local ingredients.  Dining out as often as I do, I’ve noticed these phrases becoming more and more common. Restauranteurs everywhere are striving to put the finest, freshest ingredients on their menus, and at B & B Ristorante, Mario Batali and his business partner Joe Bastianich have done just that.  The fare at B & B made me feel I had a sweet Italian nonna in a farmhouse in the Italian countryside, cooking just for me.

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IMG 8263I’m sitting in a charming French bistro.  The lighting is low and I have a cozy corner table in the Main Dining Room.  Mahogany partitions topped with brass rails define dining areas, and champagne bottles - mostly magnums and jeroboams are a part of the decor, along with framed prints and copper cooking pots.  Servers are zipping from room to room and I’m sipping a cocktail made with Lillet.  It’s all so wonderfully French!  It’s hard to believe I’m not on the Champs Elysees.  No, I’m on ze boulevard.  Las Vegas Boulevard!  Yes, this is Vegas and I’m at Mon Ami Gabi.

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IMG 8421It’s 7:30 pm.  Dusk in Las Vegas.  The sun has gone down behind the mountains to the West.  My dining companion and I are led through the restaurant, out onto the patio, to our table just a few feet away from Wynn’s Lake Of Dreams.  A lovely, cool breeze is blowing.  It’s a great evening for dining alfresco and here we are: literally Lakeside!  This is perfection!

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IMG 8020Old Vegas, Downtown, Glitter Gulch.  Phrases like these conjure up a very different Vegas - mobsters in sharp black suits gambling the night away with a showgirl on their arm, Sinatra and his Rat Pack, coins clanking in slot machine hoppers, and smoky casinos where oil-rich cowboys shoot craps until dawn.  This was Las Vegas before the tourists and Spring breakers took over.

Read more: Oscar's Beef Booze & Broads and Hugo's Cellar

IMG 7821Can Italian food be hearty but not heavy?  Rustic, yet sophisticated?  Classic, but still surprising?  At Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina, the answer to these questions is definitely “Yes!”  

This is comfort food, elevated!

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