by Alison Bailin Batz
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless we’re talking about food. It is nearly impossible not to rave about the area’s culinary scene – the food alone could rival any Vegas attraction. Here are some of the hottest, most decadent spots to try on your next stop in Sin City.
Legendary chef Joël Robuchon had 32 Michelin stars, more than any chef in history. And though he passed away last year, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – open for dinner in the MGM Grand – lives on. L’Atelier is French for workshop, and that’s exactly how the team treats the restaurant; it’s a culinary workshop to tinker with ingredients and flavors. Each dish is prepared in an open kitchen so guests get to see all of the action. There are multiple tasting menus, most three or four courses with intermittent surprise treats in between. Dishes run the gamut from veal sweetbreads and Kusshi oysters to caramelized quail and seared Dover sole. www.mgmgrand.com.
Located in the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, this elegant dinner restaurant was designed with comfort in mind. The dining room’s grand arches, meant to remind one of a high-end Spanish home, welcome visitors without overpowering the eye, while deep couches and overstuffed chairs help make guests feel right at home. The menu is a combination of raw bar delicacies, seafood, shellfish and impressive cuts of meat, including A5 wagyu beef from Kagoshima, Japan. Unique to the venue and among its longtime bestsellers is a two-pound, Ritz Cracker-stuffed Maine lobster. Yes, really! A bonus: There’s a specialty menu for vegetarian and vegan guests. www.charliepalmersteak.com.
Chef Alain Ducasse, known as the first chef to own restaurants carrying three Michelin stars in three cities, founded this stunner, which is open for dinner in the Delano Las Vegas. And while the decor is laid-back and relaxed – think maritime blues and breezy whites throughout – the menu is anything but casually prepared and presented. The dishes have French, English and Italian nods, with seasonal West Coast ingredients. The menu, which is teeming with flavor and clever pairings of things like English pea velouté with quail eggs and sea bass with oranges, lemon and grapefruit, is designed to transport one to the French Riviera without leaving the Strip. www.delanolasvegas.com.
Offering what it refers to as French flair without the formality, this stylish dinner restaurant located inside Park MGM aims to blend fine dining with frivolity and fun. Visually, a combination of vintage art and art deco mirrors adorn the walls while velvet chairs offer plush seating. Chandeliers light the space just enough to read the menu – and what a menu it is. Fresh oysters are offered from both coasts along with double-bone Berkshire pork chops, decadent truffle mac and cheese, and a seafood platter that towers over guests with Maine lobster and king crab. www.bavettessteakhouse.com.
Known for what he calls his “New New Orleans” style of cooking, which puts a twist on Louisiana’s classic Creole dishes, chef Emeril Lagasse’s namesake fish house located in the MGM Grand kicks everything up a notch, as Lagasse would say. Expect market-fresh fish and shellfish creations at both lunch and dinner alongside flavorful steaks and brilliant pork and chicken dishes, all paired with Wine Spectator magazine’s Best of Award of Excellence options, beer and craft cocktails. And thanks to the imaginative, sea-inspired interior design by New York’s acclaimed Rockwell Group, the restaurant makes you feel closer to the sea than the Strip. www.emerilsrestaurants.com.
A true jewel in the Palazzo Las Vegas’ crown and open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, Morels Steakhouse & Bistro was thoughtfully designed with warm woods and cool blue walls and is adorned with provocative art from Tom Cannon. The wine menu features more than 60 options by the glass, 450 varietals by the bottle, and a wine system that allows guests to sip two-, five- or eight-ounce pours. Menu spotlights include crepes, 18-hour braised short ribs, both Iowa corn-fed and Kansas grass-fed steaks aged 28 days, and a Prime option aged 35 days. Also, don’t miss the cheese menu with 60 varieties from around the world. www.morelslv.com.
Located off the Strip on Lake Las Vegas, Americana – open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch – is an upscale, lakeside dining restaurant that offers American cuisine blended with European influences. Drawing inspiration from his Italian grandmothers, owner and executive chef Stephen Blandino, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and worked under Charlie Palmer, has mastered the art of creating both fresh, flavorful dishes and memorable guest experiences.
A best bet is opting for one of his specialty tasting menus – including a vegan option – featuring five seasonally-inspired courses. www.americanalasvegas.com.
This French- and Spanish-inspired dinner restaurant tucked into the Bellagio Las Vegas is headed by two-time James Beard Foundation Award-winner Julian Serrano, known for dreaming up dishes that are as much works of art as the Picassos that hang throughout the restaurant. The menu features two options: a pre-theater, three-course tasting menu and a traditional six-course chef’s tasting menu (which can be modified for vegetarians as needed). The chef’s tasting menu starts with a tapas-style offering based on seasonality. It always features several main entrees from which to choose and a fois gras “steak” as well. Caviar and wine pairings are available for an additional cost. www.bellagio.com.