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. Here are some showstopping restaurants to try on your next stop in Sin City.
Legendary chef Joël Robuchon held 32 Michelin stars in his lifetime, more than any chef in history. And though the world lost him last year, Joël Robuchon Restaurant – open for dinner in the MGM Grand – lives on. Lavish in every way imaginable, the design and decor are meant to transport guests to 1930s Paris, while the food is meant to transport guests to heaven on earth. To give an idea, the tasting menu currently features Oscetra caviar served in a crustacean gelee dotted with cauliflower puree, delicate flan of sea urchin on potato puree topped with Arabica coffee foam and a John Dory fish fillet with tempura of shiso leaf on delicate squid ink risotto. www.joelrobuchonusa.com.
Located in the Bellagio, this dinner-only French restaurant is legendary. With both one Michelin Star and an AAA Five-Diamond rating, expect a bucket list tasting menu here with dishes including sauteed foie gras with wild strawberry fragoli compote, roasted Brittany langoustine with caviar and beurre blanc and an A-5 grade wagyu ribeye with bordelaise sauce. There is also a compressed menu for those who have show tickets as well as a vegetarian option available. For an added charge, there are specially paired wines available for each course that have been lauded by Wine Spectator several times over. www.lecirque.com.
STK is located inside The Cosmopolitan and – as the name would suggest – a high-end steakhouse from global hospitality juggernaut The One Group and executive chef Stephen Hopcraft, an alum of Bravo’s Top Chef. The interior of the dinner-only restaurant features a bustling bar scene, an inspired menu, and a relaxed dining atmosphere with an alluring vibe heightened by a full-time, in-house DJ. This location joins sister venues in New York City, Miami and Los Angeles, each of which are known for their celebrity clientele including Adam Sandler, Dave Grohl and Britney Spears. Insider tip: opt for the Kobe menu, which offers specialty selections of Kobe beef cuts. www.stksteakhouse.com
As Delmonico owner and chef Emeril Lagasse would say, “Bam!” The James Beard Award-winner and culinary icon is using Creole influences to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this classic steakhouse, which is located in The Venetian Las Vegas and open for dinner nightly. Named to honor 100-plus-year-old Delmonico restaurant in New Orleans, the menu’s eye-popping selections include USDA in-house, dry-aged, certified Japanese wagyu and Piedmontese steaks as well as classic seafood dishes. And while the wine list is fantastic – a Wine Spectator honoree since 2004 – consider spirits here as the bar boasts more than 700 selections of whiskey and two dozen impressive signature cocktails. www.emerilsrestaurants.com.
Also celebrating its 20th anniversary, Aureole is Mandalay Bay’s award-winning dinner restaurant and known for its progressive American cuisine as well as its celebrated chef, Charlie Palmer. Inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America in 1998, Palmer has held one Michelin star since 2007 and is a past chair of The Culinary Institute of America’s Board of Trustees. His menu at Aureole offers both a tasting option as well as a la carte choices including Ora king salmon with smoked cream, asparagus risotto and Colorado lamb with stuffed campari tomatoes. The venue also takes great pride in its craft beer selection and has 3,000 total wine selections, including their own Aureole Cuveé. www.charliepalmer.com.
Sparrow + Wolf, which is located in Las Vegas’ Chinatown neighborhood and open for dinner nightly, has been making news worldwide for its modern global fare, which balances classic and cutting-edge techniques and takes its inspiration from the culturally diverse neighborhoods that its celebrated chef Brian Howard has visited in his extensive travels. Most of the dishes on the menu, notably the ocean parfait with Santa Barbara sea urchin, smoked trout roe, kizami wasabi and toasted nori and the duck confit and sweet potato dumplings, are meant to be shared and paired with wine, beer and cocktails. The restaurant also offers a clever take on a bento box with a three-tier selection of premium oysters, shellfish, cured meats, terrines and cheeses. www.sparrowandwolflv.com.
Serving dinner Thursday through Sunday and located in The NoMad Hotel at newly opened Park MGM, NoMad Restaurant is inspired by the Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading in Rio de Janeiro, a soaring library and cultural icon in Brazil. As such, its 23-foot walls have floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and are home to 25,000 books. Beyond the books, there are alluring rose red leather banquets, glittering chandeliers and a fireplace imported from France in the dining room. The food is as good as the views with Grande Plateaus of Fruits de Mer, seasonal pastas, black truffle-laced roast chicken and baked Alaska flambeed tableside, among other notable menu standouts. www.thenomadhotel.com.
Located in the Aria Resort & Casino and open for dinner nightly, Carbone is meant to be a love letter to the great Italian-American fine dining establishments of midcentury New York. It is the sister location to the New York restaurant of the same name, which gained international attention with it received five out of five stars from Time Out New York, 4 1/2 stars from Bloomberg, three stars from The New York Times and one Michelin star every year since 2014. Both locales are known for sourcing the finest ingredients from across the globe, sparing no expense to develop the menu’s familiar-sounding dishes into extravagant experiences. www.aria.com.