IMG 6507If you want to get from France to England, you can take the Chunnel - the undersea rail line which links the two countries.  Vegas has a Chunnel, too!   One which connects the French surroundings of the Paris Las Vegas Casino Hotel to the British world of Gordon Ramsay Steak.

But this is not some stuffy English steakhouse.  Gordon Ramsay Steak is a sexy, contemporary take on a classic.  Think “old-English-library-meets-hot- modern-dance-club...with fabulous steaks” and you’ll know what you’re in for.

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IMG 7231Tucked away in a relatively quiet corner of the Wynn Casino, is a lovely jewel box of a restaurant, filled with touches of Chinoiserie.  More importantly, this pan-Asian eatery features dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, India, Singapore, Korea, and most prominently, from China.  Whether you’re an Asian visitor longing for an authentic taste of home, or like me, a Westerner who loves the flavors of the East, Red 8 offers much on their menu from which to choose.

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IMG 6706Chef Jose Andres has done it again with Jaleo!!  Once again, the scene of this culinary excitement is the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino.  Head up to the third floor, follow the intoxicating aromas coming from Andres’ bustling, open-front restaurant and put yourself in the hands of a master!  Jaleo is where you’ll find a modern take on traditional Spanish tapas and paellas.

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IMG 5190You must go to Lotus of Siam.  That’s all there is to it!  If you want to try the best Thai food in Las Vegas, and possibly the country, you must go to Lotus of Siam!

I think of my writing as aimed at those who’ve never been to Las Vegas before.  But in discussing this amazing restaurant, I’ve also found Vegas locals who’ve never heard of it.  Lotus of Siam is a simple establishment.  It’s not connected to a big casino.  It’s not on the Vegas Strip.  It’s actually in a nondescript strip mall a couple miles East of the Strip.  The decor isn’t fancy, and the food is very reasonably priced.  It’s a foodie’s dream - excellent, authentic Thai recipes that haven’t been gussied up for tourists.

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IMG 4170For an absolutely unique and magnificent dining experience in Las Vegas, head to Caesar’s Palace.  In the Augustus Tower, you’ll find Restaurant Guy Savoy, a large, contemporary space serving modern, upscale French cuisine, the like of which you’ve probably never tried!

Savoy is the owner of his self-named restaurant in in Las Vegas as well as the original in Paris.  He is one of a group of chefs credited with creating “Nouvelle Cuisine”, a lighter and more modern take on traditional French fare.  He’s won multiple awards, including 3 Michelin stars for the Paris restaurant.  He’s won the AAA Five Diamond Award, the Wine Spectator Grand Award and 2 Michelin stars for Restaurant Guy Savoy Las Vegas.  The Vegas version has also been ranked as one of the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.  Now, in 2012, Restaurant Guy Savoy has been voted “Best Restaurant in Las Vegas” - not just once, but twice!

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IMG 1560Do you like good, fresh, steaming hot seafood?  Do you like loads of it?  Do you want to find a seafood restaurant in Las Vegas that won’t break your budget?  Then Hot ‘n’ Juicy Crawfish is the place for you!

Hot ‘n’ Juicy Crawfish is not a slick, multi-million dollar, celebrity chef restaurant, it’s not connected to any casino, and it’s not a place most tourists know about.  Hell, it’s not even on the Vegas Strip.  Hot ‘n’ Juicy Crawfish is a small, unadorned, out of the way restaurant that serves up delicious shellfish in portions ordered mostly by the pound!

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IMG 5749Located near the fountains in front of Caesar’s Palace, Serendipity 3 has become my go-to place in Las Vegas for lunches with friends, but it’s much more than just a lunch spot.  Serendipity serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner.  They also have a full bar and offer a variety of signature cocktails, wines, and alcoholic dessert creations.  The atmosphere is casual and an average check comes to about $20 per person.

The original Serendipity 3, on East 58th Street in New York City, was founded in 1954, by Calvin Holt, Stephen Bruce, and Patch Caradine.  That tiny space was New York’s first boutique coffee house and combined a small restaurant with a general store and gift shop.  It grew in popularity and soon had lines of eager, waiting customers stretching out the door.  Eventually moving to East 60th Street, Serendipity has subsequently added several locations - one in Boca Raton, Florida, another in Washington D.C., and of course, the Las Vegas location, which opened in 2009.  Ironically, I’m a New Yorker and have only been to the original location once, with my family, back in the ’70’s.  My only memories of that first visit are the Tiffany lamps over the tables, the famous Frozen Hot Chocolate, which I was not allowed to order, and the Flasher Dolls for sale in the gift shop!  (Don’t ask!)

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IMG 4521Located on the second floor of the chic Cosmopolitan Hotel, Chef Jose Andres’ innovative eatery combines the flavors of China and Mexico, and does so brilliantly.

Many people are bound to ask how such a combination came about. Well, according to the menu, the Spanish galleons that sailed the Pacific in 1565, brought Asian spices to Mexico and New World peppers to China. They also brought the legend of an Asian girl kidnapped by pirates and shipped to Mexico. She was known as La China Poblana. Latin and Asian flavor combinations have been around for years, and here, Andres truly makes those flavors shine!

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IMG 5825I had a remarkable experience at Cut, an incredible steakhouse by renowned celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. Not only was the food phenomenal - if you’re a carnivore, you’re sure to love their amazing cuts of beef, but I was blown away by the incredibly attentive service I received the night I went there.

 I suppose I should explain. I had never been to the Palazzo hotel, in which Cut is located. I wanted to try something new, so I grabbed a cab and headed over. As I got out of the cab, one of the doormen said “Good evening. Welcome to the Palazzo. Is there any way I can help you?” I asked him if he could point me in the direction of Cut, as I had no idea where it was. Rather than give me directions, he asked me to follow him. He bypassed the main entrance doors and took me off to one side. We walked a bit and found a simple, unmarked side entrance. He took me inside and we walked down a hallway, past some shops, down another bit of hallway and finally down an escalator and right to the entrance of the restaurant itself. He bypassed the short line of people waiting at the podium for a table and whispered something to the host. The host came right up to me and told me he had a great table waiting for me and before I knew it, I was seated and comfortable. During the meal, both the manager and the general manager came to my table to make sure I was being well taken care of and gave me their business cards. I chatted up the servers like they were old friends and they took care of me like I was their only customer - I wasn’t, by the way. The place was quite busy! I don’t know if they mistook me for “someone”, but I really felt like a V.I.P.

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IMG 6733One of my favorite places to take friends for a casual, relatively inexpensive meal in Las Vegas, is Burger Bar, Chef Hubert Keller’s take on a burger joint and sports bar. Everyone I’ve taken has been delighted with the food and with the prices.

Anyone who’s followed Top Chef and Top Chef Masters will recognize Chef Keller’s name and face. He’s a culinary rock star and the man behind Fleur de Lys in San Francisco, Fleur by Hubert Keller (formerly Fleur de Lys Las Vegas, in the Mandalay Bay hotel) and Burger Bar in San Francisco, Las Vegas and St. Louis. The Burger Bar in Vegas is located in Mandalay Place, the shopping area that stretches between Mandalay Bay and the Luxor. The food might not be as fancy as in his other restaurants, but trust me, it is still amazing and doesn’t disappoint.

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