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8 Days in Las Vegas, a combination of work and fun and a few times both at the same time. Another visit to Raku with a group of 6. This remains one of my favorites and the same for the group I come with. Every year I ask what kind of place they'd like to go so and they inevitably ask to go back to Raku. We went heavy on the raw fish specials and they didn't disappoint. The Bluefin tuna was excellent as expected but the scallops and uni were other worldly. The snapper didn't suck either. The a few fried things including the whole fried shrimp. The heads were flavor explosions. Then a bunch of grilled items including last by choice, the grilled foie gras. Lots of sake and beer of course. Not cheap but this dinner would cost 50% more on the strip. 

Sunday was the Las Vegas 1/2 marathon so was forced to stay in the hotel which this time around was the Cosmo. A surprisingly excellent dinner at Scarpetta. Everything was better than expected or needed to be including the service. If not for the marathon I would never have even considered eating here.  I'd go back here again at some point. Next was a blowout dinner at Bazaar Meat, one of the few non-cookie cutter steakhouses in Las Vegas. Virtually the same menu at every steakhouse other than Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres. First liquid olives which for me never get old. Then foie gras wrapped in cotton candy. Not sure why but it does work. Then tomato tartare served next to beef tartare. Similar to each other yet different and both delicious. Then two rib steaks, one from Oregon the other from Texas. The Oregon steak was the clear favorite. Served with mashed potatoes and asparagus. Assorted desserts. Oh, lots of fun cocktails. 

Don't laugh but next night was Carbone with a group from Houston. Food was great and night was fun. Baked clams, shrimp, caesar salad, veal parm, a fish special and of course the rigatoni. Italian cheesecake and tiramisu for dessert. 

A dinner at Ocean Prime was unexpectedly good too, especially the sea scallops. 

A few other casual meals were good too including noodles at Shiang Artisan Noodles and Chinese at China Mama. And a Happy hour of snacks and wine at Ferraro's before a show at the Virgin Hotel. 

A great week for live music too. I saw Living Colour with Extreme and Dave Matthews Band. I had seen Dave M do an acoustic show as well as his duo with Tim Reynolds but this was my first time seeing him with the whole band. Very upbeat show with several covers. It was great to see him in a relatively small place (Dolby Live) vs an arena or stadium. 

Back home yesterday and no surprise, I slept almost 10 hours......


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  • 4 weeks later...

Viva las really bumpy plane ride like several hours in a car with no suspension. Two drinks in, $50, but at least the second one didn’t come in a plastic glass.

Looking down the barrel of something like a Bobby Flay burger (yes I could go off-Strip but I’m on past-midnight time and have an early start tomorrow).

I guess I could pay $80 for a Gordon Ramsey beef Wellington. I could also eat “his” fish and chips in Times Square.

I do have a good restaurant for tomorrow night, Partage.


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I will offer more detail on Partage when I get some downtime, but it’s really very good. And one of my appetizers last night will be in the running for dish of the year.

Imagine a small crunchy sphere balanced on top of a torchon rabbit loin. Bite into the sphere and it’s stuffed with assertively flavored eel. Combine that flavor with the milder, perfectly cooked (not at all dry) rabbit and the results are incredible.

Another dish that made me think of Wylie’s foie and anchovies although I very much doubt that Partage’s young French chef, who has been to NYC rarely, was influenced by it.


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I congratulate myself for getting off-strip again tonight, this time to Herbs & Rye, recommended by the Partage bartenders (it’s nearby). A long list of classic cocktails organized by period of origin, plus an Italian-American menu where they are currently discounting steaks 50%. Okay, that is definitely not Strip-like.


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I do like traveling but the great part is when you really love home and you head back. Trouble-free flying and JetBlue bought me a number of free drinks because the crew can’t be bothered with the whole charging thing.

I really will write up Partage which was excellent.

The filet at Herbs & Rye was meh, but it was a $30 steak rather than a $60 steak, see above.

I thought I had already posted this but they couldn’t offer any cocktails with Chartreuse. The supply is so restricted that most of it goes to the casino-resorts and they have a small allowance every month.

If I posted that in some other thread forgive me, having deja vu.



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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Having scrolled through this thread, Raku, Scarpetta and Ocean Prime have nothing, even on a Monday.

Any off-strip recommendations for somewhere, I don't know, nice like Partage? @Evelyn What was the name of that off-strip place we went to? @Mitchells Any help gratefully accepted.

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Sparrow + Wolf is where we went. Still excellent. I think you would like Edo Tapas + Wine. I think you would really like it.. They have a second spot further off the Strip, Anima by Edo. Also quite good. But between the two, Edo Tapas would be my choice. A little further than Partage. But worth the effort. I’ll add a couple of more tomorrow. Finishing up a 12 hour disaster of a travel day. And about to land.

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A few more to get you started-I can add some Strip restaurants if you like. I’ve limited the ones on the west side to be relatively close.  But can add more that are further away from the Strip. Lots of great places to be had. I don’t eat on the Eastside very often. But the 2 listed are 2 of my favorites in LV.

Downtown-Esther’s Kitchen; 1228 Main; Carson Kitchen.

Off Strip (East) Ferraro’s; Lotus of Siam

Off Strip (West) Scotch 80 Prime; Kabuto; Vetri Cucina; lots of great Asian food in Chinatown. 



Sand Dollar Lounge-the original-which is about about 4 blocks from Partage-not the one downtown which is still good-but doesn’t have the same “personality” as the original. Live music. And you never know who might stop by to jam late after playing a concert at Allegiant or one of the Strip hotels.

Downtown Cocktail Room. Excellent cocktails. Also does absinthe the “right” way.

For late night possible visits with famous musicians (like Bono and The Edge most recently) The Golden Tiki. Lots of famous actors too. After an unspecified number of visits, they get their own shrunken heads 😛 The cocktails are actually good too.

Herbs and Rye (not a fan of the kitchen though) They do know how to make cocktails though 😉

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I did get to Herbs & Rye on the last trip and yes the drinks were better than the food. Looking at your post, I wish I had more than one night (I am here for three nights but I have work-related engagements tonight and Tuesday).

Anyway, booked Edo. Thanks.

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Because I hadn’t eaten in a long time, a bacon cheeseburger from Johnny Rockets in the MGM Grand. Let’s be fair, the fries (I ate two) were good and the long, thick strips of bacon were excellent. I left the bun as well as the fries.

Burger plus a Red Bull $44. That is going to get expensed. (For context I don’t expense fancy meals I eat for my own pleasure just because I am on a work trip and I forget to expense the cheap stuff like an espresso. This however is in the sweet spot for someone else paying). 

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Excellent food and drinks in a cozy room a little further out than Partage and Sparrow + Wolf but not much.

I thought the service was going to be a problem. I ordered two cold appetizers, clearly I thought saying first this *then* that. Both arrived at once. No problem, I thought, they are cold. I can eat them in order.

Two minutes later my entree arrived. I sent it back. After that, the crew adjusted and we proceeded at an appropriate pace.

Although they have a liquor license, there is no bar making drinks to order. There are a handful of house cocktails, but more interestingly a gin and tonic trolley serving fantasy versions of the drink. Mine had a variety of herbs and a slice of bitter orange. It was great.

Wonderful little cup of seasoned watermelon broth as an amuse.

First appetizer, Kaluga caviar over a great bacalao foam with trout and salmon roe hiding beneath. Served in Jean-Georges-approved fashion in an egg shell.

Then a sphere of foie terrine with a beet glaze. The menu says rhubarb jam but there was more a dessicated fruit situation underneath it.

I have had a lot of good beef cheeks in the last year, not least from Francie, but these were ideal with a vermouth sauce, diced potatoes and wild mushrooms that were a bit too scarce.

Manchego and Drunken Goat in good condition.

Palo cortado with the foie, Basares with the beef, PX with the cheese (they have a $32 one on the dessert wine list, but a perfectly good $10 Lustau on the regular sherry list). And a huge espresso.

I would put this on my rotation if I lived near enough.








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