Improving Your Dining Odds In Las Vegas

     In Las Vegas, anything goes – or so the city’s casino owners would like you to believe.

     While certain acts presumed to be legal in “Sin City” actually are not, the “anything goes” mindset

does apply to the local dining scene.

     Venture to the old downtown area, where the neon that once defined the entire city still flickers brightly, and you can chow down on $2 shrimp cocktails (skimpy on the shrimp, but generous on the sauce) and $8 (after-midnight) cuts of prime rib.

     Head over to Joel Robuchon at the Mansion, inside the MGM Grand near the southern end of The Strip, and a 16-course meal will set you back $360… not including wine, tax or tip.

     If you’d rather save your hard-earned money for the gaming tables, but desire something a bit more satiating than sauce-soaked shrimp, Vegas also has an array of dining destinations for you. And since most of us fall within that mid-range of culinary persuasions, we thought we’d share a few of our favorites with you – all of which offer wine lists ranging from satisfactory to outstanding…

  • Commander’s Palace – Cajun and Creole cuisine can be challenging when it comes to wine pairing, and so it is at this restaurant, which is patterned after the Brennan family-owned original in New Orleans. However, if you stick to lighter whites with the spicy fare, or more robust reds with the not-so-fiery dishes, you’ll do just fine. The restaurant did not win an award from

    Wine Spectator because it downplays its wine list.

  • Bradley Ogden – If you’ve ever had the pleasure of dining at the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, California, you may be familiar with this restaurant’s namesake, who earned his reputation as a top American chef there. The entrees can stretch the budget a bit, but the appetizer menu offers more affordable choices that are just as taste-tempting. Our favorite: kurobuta pork, accented by sweet potatoes, figs, and a king crab salad with an amazing sweet-and-sour dressing.

  • AquaKnox – If there were any doubt that you were about to dine in a seafood restaurant, the “water wall” adjacent to the entrance should end the confusion. The nautical theme carries over to the blue and silver tones throughout the space, which delights the eyes with each turn of the head. But you don’t (necessarily) go to a restaurant to look around; you go there to eat. And AquaKnox delivers the goods (and the seafood). Don’t miss the mussels, served in a white wine broth with a dusting of tarragon.

  • Daniel Boulud Brasserie – In “old” Las Vegas, casinos tempted tourists with low-priced meals, knowing they’d more than make up any lost margins via the slot machines. But in the “new” Las Vegas, food service has become a profit center for the casinos, which makes management willing to pay big bucks in order to attract big-name chefs. That’s the story of this French restaurant, named for the New York City chef who developed it. Yes, the original DB burger – with foie gras, black truffle, sirloin and short ribs – is available. Dine before 7 p.m., and take advantage of the value-priced ($48) prix-fixe menu.

  • Il Mulino New York – Another clone of a Big Apple legend, this restaurant is known for its complimentary appetizers and Italian specialties. The wine list, while well-selected, is a bit on the expensive side, so eat here

    after you’ve won that progressive jackpot.

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(All in Area Code 702)

Commander’s Palace

Aladdin Resort


Bradley Ogden





The Venetian Resort


Daniel Boulud Brasserie

Wynn Resort


Il Mulino New York

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Posted in Our Wine Travel Log
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