About 3 weeks ago my wonderful husband took me to Las Vegas for an early 30th birthday present. I had never been before, and it was exciting to see all the lights and shows, but honestly, I was there for the food. I'm splitting this post into a few different parts, and I plan on talking about different restaurants in each part. Unfortunately, I didn't get a lot of food pictures while we were there. Sometimes I forgot to take pictures, or I would start to eat before I remembered I should be talking a picture. Many times I felt uncomfortable taking a picture because we were in a high end restaurant, and I never know if it's okay to snap a photo of my meal. This post will be an overview of my trip and cover some of the places where I didn't get pictures.
One thing people have asked/told me since my return is "The food must be really cheap" or "Isn't the food really inexpensive." The quick answer is no. It's not like Vegas when my parents went in the 1980's. My dad told me one of the dinner buffets was $2.99. If you go now, expect to pay a lot more. That being said, I wasn't impressed by the variety of restaurants in Mandalay Bay, where we stayed, and every hotel we walked through. Mandalay Bay boasts such restaurants as RM Seafood and Woolfgang Puck's Lupo it also has two Starbucks and a yogurt and crepe shop. I thought the variety was nice. We ate mostly high end and middle while we were there. Jason really wanted crepes and yogurt, but we ran out of time and stomach room. We found a lot of the restaurants had very reasonable happy hour specials, and if you wanted to eat an earlier supper (in some cases happy hours ran until 7, but most were 3 to 5), this could be the way to go.
Part of the reason we stayed at Mandalay Bay was RM Seafood. Jason and I are both big fans of Rick Moonen, and I love seafood. We were expecting to eat upstairs, which has a little nicer menu and a 7-course tasting menu. I was excited for the tasting event, but that morning when our reservations were confirmed, we found out the upstairs was closed for a staff holiday. I was a little upset, but I knew we'd have a good meal anyway. We ended up having the small raw sampler as an appetizer. It had mussels, oysters, clams, shrimp, half a lobster, and escebeche. The oysters were the best I had ever tasted. It was my first time with raw clams, and while I enjoyed the oysters most, the clams were excellent. They were a little chewier and brinier than the clams. For my entree, I had Arctic Char, which is very similar to salmon, and Jason had the scallops with pork belly. My Arctic Char was great, but the oysters were the standout of the meal.
One afternoon we decided to go to Burger Bar, which is one of Hubert Keller's restaurant. They had an extensive draft beer selection and high end burgers, fries, and milkshakes. I had the Hubert Keller burger, which was buffalo, spinach, blue cheese, and caramelized onions. It was wonderful. I'd never had cooked spinach on a burger before, and I know I will be cooking my spinach before it tops my burger from now on. We sat at the bar, and the bartender was very friendly and entertaining. The best part of the meal was actually seeing Hubert Keller. I really wanted to take his picture, and the bartender said I could, but I just never know if it's welcome or not, so I chickened out.
This post is getting long, so I'll stop now. I'll be back with pictures of food next time.
The view from outside Mandalay Bay
On the strip