Saturday, July 16, 2011

VEGAS: Glorious Food in Sin City!

Vegas is one of my favourite places to eat in the world. You wouldn't expect a strip in the middle of the desert to have great seafood and Japanese food for example, but you can really find anything GREAT in Vegas. Here are some of the favourites and new places we visited for my friend's's really not a complete trip without great food, right??

Bouchon: This Thomas Keller bistro only offers brunch on Sunday, so we just had to make a stop. My last visit was nothing short of amazing, including indulgence in chicken & can you go wrong?The unfortunate part of a good and popular restaurant is that there was a long wait. We managed to find 5 seats at the bar eventually....but the challenge of eating at the bar is also that the bar tender kind of has another job to do too! It was also too bad they ran out of the special, which sounded just delicious: lobster and mushroom benedict! I decided on the corned beef hash, as I recalled Merrill's was so tasty the last time we were there. Lis ordered a pastry basket, which turned out to be quite large! But have no fear, we packed it up for a late night/morning snack in the room :) The food was good as expected with BIG portions but our experience tempered by the long wait both for a table and food - I don't recommend Bouchon brunch if you come hungry! However, I do appreciate the attention to customer service, with the bartender treating us to a champagne cocktail to make it up. Yum!

Shibuya: I LOVE one ever goes to Vegas without my insistance they must try this restaurant at the MGM. Sometimes I worry I've hyped it too much and will leave people disappointed; but so far so good! Shibuya is best enjoyed family style, so we just plowed through the list and ordered a number of cold, raw, hot and tasty tapa dishes. I can never resist the rich-but-so-delicious lobster and scallop in uni butter or the king crab miso soup, but we also had kanpachi sashimi with truffle oil and yellowtail with yuzu - both fresh as can be! For warm dishes, we had soft shell crab tempura with lemon shichimi butter sauce, black cod and kurobuta pork crisp (I ordered because I didn't know what it was) which was actually quite delicious - braised pulled pork rolls with seared tofu on top. We also wanted a bit of starch so we shared 2 bowls of shrimp tempura udon, and the tempura is nothing to turn your nose at for being normal because that was some really good, fresh, and hot shrimp tempura! Even the simplest dishes are outstanding at Shibuya!

Society: This was my first time eating at Society in the Encore. I had looked up the menu online previously and thought the brunch menu looked pretty inviting! I liked the extensive "classics" selection in addition to a menu of various sliders...who doesn't like sliders!? I ended up with the "ultimate steak & egg slider", which was seriously the best breakfast sandwich ever, a filet mignon with scrambled eggs and creamed spinach (I had mine on the side but ended up piling most of it on anyways) on a bacon-cheddar muffin. SO GOOD! They also had a "lunch box" menu, which was a really good deal for a smaller 3 course lunch. We all tried different things, with Julie and Kris trying out the cream corn soup, ahi tuna sliders with shrimp chips (which really didn't look like sliders, imagine a white soft a Chinese mantou - steamed bun), and Jenn had the Oscar benedict (poached eggs with crab cake, asparagus and hollandaise). After our BIG brunch at Bouchon yesterday, we all thought Society was quite perfect - the food was good and just the right portion for us. The menu is extensive and I highly recommend a visit! You can also make a reservation in advance :)

L'Atelier: I've frequented MGM several times, so no doubt many of the restaurants I like are also there, including Joel Robuchon's L'Atelier. We wanted a treat for Julie and no better than some French share plates. We were kicked off with a unique amuse bouche, an avocado and grapefruit jelly which I quite enjoyed. Our mix of dishes included Iberico ham, a very smooth beef tartar (which I think Julie and I ate most of!), a veal which honestly kind of tasted like salmon, suckling pig confit, sea bass with chorizo, snapper marinated with lime and tomato, which was one of my favourites for its very light, fresh and unique flavour. A highlight was again, another seemingly simple dish, the L'Atelier spaghetti (carbonara) and we just couldn't enough! We even had room for some outstanding desserts - I just LOVED the red berries with coconut sorbet and the pineapple cream, vanilla wafer, with lime and lemon grass sorbet. Both surprisingly light and refreshing! We were also treated to a selection of sweeter treats to celebrate Julie's stagette, a little taste of everything was just perfect. Always be ready for a rich meal when going French, but it was oh-so-tasty!

Late night: I cannot live without late night eats, and I favour noodles and soup! There are two places to visit if you manage to scramble out of the bar before 2am: Noodle Asia at the Venetian, which offers traditional noodles, dim sum and congee - nothing fancy but definitely hits the spot; and Noodles at Bellagio, which is by far way tastier but also a bit pricy for a bowl of noodles! Noodles is normally a must-stop for me in Vegas, whether it is late night or during the day. I had beef stew noodles this time around...soo good and absolutely hits the spot! Authentic and delicious, can't ask for much more!