A September 2005 trip
to Las Vegas by Saphira
Quote: Food is divine. Dining is a pleasure and there is no better place to indulge that pleasure than in Las Vegas. Let me tell you about the places that will drive your mouth wild.
Food is divine. Dining is a pleasure. Feasting is thrilling. Some people eat because if they don’t they will die. Others eat because they are sad or bored or simply hungry. Dining is a wonderful experience that involves all of your senses. A good meal can be just as exciting as a hike through a rain forest or a drop from a frighteningly tall roller coaster. Eating can be a very indulging activity, and there is no better place to indulge than in Las Vegas. Choosing where to eat in Las Vegas was very overwhelming at first. There are more restaurants than you would ever be able to eat at in a lifetime. The cuisine is so varied. There are restaurants serving Thai, Mexican, French, Russian, and German cuisines, and don’t even get me started on the buffets. The decors range from sleek and sexy to plain Jane to something right out of Walt Disney World. They also ranged in price from surprisingly cheap to breaking the bank. Since I couldn’t blow all of my vacation money on eating, I carefully compiled a list of cheap to moderately priced places, with a few special indulgences in between. With my list ready and a fork in hand, I was ready to conquer the eating adventure that was Las Vegas.
People advised me to use the coupons in the tourist books that you receive from the hotels and at the airport. Most of the restaurants were not really all that good and the coupons were not that great a deal. Just do a lot of research beforehand. If you are not a big eater, a buffet is probably not worth your money. You might be better off having a meal at one of the resort cafes.
So many people sang the praises of taking the public transportation in Las Vegas. We rented a car and were glad we did. It minimized walking and waiting, and since parking is free, it was much better than cabs, buses, or monorails.
Restaurant | "Paris Buffet"
People procure all sorts of fantasies when thinking of their upcoming vacations: the amusement rides they will go on, the mountains they will hike through, or the pool in which they will lazily float the day away in. I mostly fantasize about the food I will eat, and there is nothing more thrilling then when the real thing is everything you dreamed it could be. What better place to make your culinary fantasies come true than in Paris.
I had read a lot of differing opinions on the Paris buffet. Some said it was fantastic; some said it was average at best. What I came away with was that if you have had real French cuisine, you will not like it. If you are a French cuisine virgin, you will be swept away. Being a French food virgin, I decided to explore my curiosity at the Paris buffet.
The decor is meant to make you feel like you are eating in a French country village, although you feel more like you are eating somewhere in Disney World. I must admit that I can’t exactly recall everything that I ate. Alas, my heart’s passion was for dessert. I do remember trying duck for the first time and liking it. The selection of creamy delectable cheeses was a mouse’s dream come true. Everything I tried was tasty, but my heart longed for a freshly made crepe. Finally, when I had had my fill of rich sauces and tender cuts of beef, I lined up for one of the best parts of my Vegas eating adventure. I ordered an apple cinnamon crepe, which was prepared artistically right before my eyes. The experience of seeing your food actually prepared before your eyes is definitely exciting culinary foreplay. I floated back to my table, where a fresh cup of coffee was waiting for me, and finally I took my first fork full of warm cinnamon apples wrapped in a lighter than air crepe. I then took a sip of the most wonderful coffee, coffee that was smooth and brewed to perfection and the perfect complement to my sweet warm apples.
I’m not sure if the food at the Paris buffet is real French cuisine or not; all I know is that it made all of my food fantasies come true. It was $53.54 for two for the dinner buffet and was well worth the price. It was our only fancy buffet of the week, and I’m glad we chose it. The crepe experience is not one I will soon forget.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 8, 2005
Le Village Buffet
Paris Las Vegas Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
“How about twenty-five, is that a good number?” I asked. “I don’t know. I think you have to pick a bunch of numbers in a clump. That seems like it might work better,” said my husband, who was crossing off numbers with a black crayon. It was about nine o’clock in the morning, and we were waiting patiently for our breakfast to arrive. In the meantime, the Fresh Harvest Café at Sam’s Town was nice enough to supply us with keno supplies at our table so we could get a little practice in while we waited for pancakes and eggs to fill our hungry bellies.
The atmosphere is no-frills, and the food is nothing fancy, but if you want a good and, most importantly, cheap breakfast, Sam’s Town’s Fresh Harvest Café is the place to go. You know there’s a bargain to be had when at least seventy-five percent of the patrons are senior citizens. The portions are enough to fill a hungry pre-gambling stomach or enough to soothe an all-night gambling binge. Plates of eggs accompanied by ample supplies of toast are placed down on tables in record time. Fluffy short stacks of pancakes and ham and cheese omelets are delivered by waitresses named Agnes and Barbara. An average breakfast will run you around $3.99 per person, and the food is as good as any good diner. We ate here twice during the week, because then we didn’t feel too bad about splurging on a fancy dinner.
If you want a fancy fruit crepe, go to Paris; if, however, you are looking for just some good, cheap fuel to get you through that hike at Red Rock Canyon, then the Fresh Harvest Café is the place for you. It’s worth the drive from the Strip, and who knows; maybe you’ll become a professional Keno player in the time it takes to deliver your French toast.
Fresh Harvest Cafe
Sam's Town Resort and Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada 89122
I must post a warning to my groupie reader Vanessa and to all of the other vegetarians out there. You may find the material in this review horrifying and offensive. This review is of Samba at the Mirage, better known as “the house of meat.” I would warn all vegetarians to read no further.
Located in the Mirage, a reservation is a must if you plan on eating at Samba. The restaurant is small and if you do not have a reservation you will have a long wait in an even longer line. Since we had a reservation that was set weeks in advance, we were ushered right through as those who thought of having a fun, spontaneous dinner shot us scornful looks. We already knew what we wanted as soon as we sat down. Although Samba has a regular menu full of entrées, it is most known for its rodizio meal. This is a carnivore’s delight. Although I’m not much of a meat eater, I am into unique dining experiences, and this was one I will not soon forget.
After placing our order, we were greeted almost immediately by salad and bread. I read many cautions before the trip warning diners not to fill up on bread. I ate just one piece, knowing my parade of meat would soon follow. Once salad dishes were cleared, a variety of side dishes were plopped down in front of us in a very efficient manner. The brightly colored bowls were filled with fried plantains, red beans and rice, creamed spinach, and carrots. Everything was good except the red beans and rice, which were disappointingly bland and dry. Finally the action was ready to begin. A man came by with a giant sword containing roasted pork and grilled pineapple. It was sweet and juicy and we no sooner finished it and another waiter presented at our table with turkey wrapped in bacon. I’m not sure how anyone could resist any meat wrapped in bacon. Ribs, which were followed by flank steak, some fish that wasn’t very memorable and then teriyaki chicken followed the bacon wrapped turkey. It kept coming and we kept eating and indulging our inner carnivores. We were just about to ask for some additional pork with pineapple, when something at the next table caught our eye. A very sweet newlywed couple ordered a glorious-looking dessert.
“We have to get that,” I said with a ravenous look in my eye.
We were served a giant bowl of coconut crème brulee embellished with fresh berries and palm tree cookies. For just a moment, I was swept away to a paradise all my own.
I must admit that the food at Samba was not the most delicious food I encountered on the trip. The total bill came to $93.42 including the rodizio, dessert and two alcoholic beverages. At Samba, you are paying for the rodizio experience, and it is an experience I would encourage you to try at least once.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 20, 2005
Samba Brazilian Steakhouse
3400 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Restaurant | "Courtyard Buffet/Stratosphere"
There is nothing like waking up knowing that it is your first morning in Las Vegas. We arrived in Vegas late Friday night and woke up on Saturday at the Stratosphere very hungry. Instead of looking through brochures or driving around, we decided we would just grab some grub at the breakfast buffet.
The Stratosphere’s buffet can be summed up in one word, mediocre. The atmosphere is uninspiring with variations of pink and sea-foam green. The food was nothing out of the ordinary with your basic breakfast foods. There were a lot of doughnuts and pastries and a very small selection of fresh fruit. You had your basic eggs, waffles and sausage. I must admit the bacon was good. It was cooked very crispy, but not to the point of being burnt. The seating configuration was also well thought-out. It was more circular, so no one was ever too far from the food. The food was hot, and it didn’t look or taste scary, but it was not exciting either.
Overall, I would not recommend this breakfast buffet. It was $8.99 (now $9.25) per person, and for an extra dollar, you could take the extra drive to Main Street station, where you could enjoy some really good food. Even the extra drive to Sam’s Town’s Fresh Harvest Café will give you the same quality food (although not buffet-style) for about $3.99. It is a satisfactory place if you are lazy and staying at the Stratosphere, but please do not go out of your way to eat here.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on January 28, 2006
Stratosphere Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada 89104
There is nothing like waking up on Sunday morning with the visions of pancakes, waffles, and scrambled eggs floating through your mind. These visions seem to be amplified when one is on vacation. There is no worse feeling than trying to decide where to have Sunday brunch/breakfast, especially in a place as big as Las Vegas. Never fear, however, as I have done the work for you!
On Sunday morning, Main Street Station Casino is filled with the smells of freshly made waffles and coffee. Their Sunday Brunch Buffet beckons you as soon as you walk through the door. You may be a bit overwhelmed when you first encounter the vast stretch of tables offering everything, from mashed potatoes to chicken stir-fry to scrambled eggs. The choices almost seem endless. All of the selections are fresh and yummy. The homemade waffles were the lightest and fluffiest I have ever tasted. They melted right in your mouth. You can have an omelet prepared for you at the omelet station, where you can choose from fillings such as cheese, mushrooms, peppers, or olives. The lunch selections are just as tasty: the Mexican lasagna was covered with gooey melted cheese and the blueberry pie was fantastic. You could taste the fresh blueberries in every bite and the crust was buttery and flaky.
The service was outstanding. Your coffee will never even reach the middle of the cup before it is refilled. Complementary champagne is kept flowing and can be easily added to orange juice for fruity mimosas. The atmosphere is equally enjoyable. The dining room is filled with light and antiques, giving it a positively elegant feel. The only regret was that I only had so much room in my stomach to fit all of the wonderful food.
I am sure that other casinos have equally good buffets. I have read marvelous things about Paris’s breakfast buffet, but I also know it is almost $30 a person. The buffet at Main Street Station will run you only $9.95 a person, and at that price, your stomach and your pocket will both be equally happy. So try it first for Sunday Brunch and then come back often.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 28, 2006
Main Street Buffet
Main Street Casino - 200 N. Main Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
Restaurant | "Roxy's at the Stratosphere"
Vacations are a time to jump out of your comfort zone. You have strange desires to do different and crazy things. Maybe you may go bungee jumping, or smoke your first cigar. Las Vegas is an excellent place to jump out of your comfort zone, and for me, this meant going to a singing diner.After a busy day and an excellent hotel nap, my husband and I decided to be lazy and bum around the hotel. After a long soak in the hotel’s hot tub, I decided I needed some sustenance. Again, we decided we were too lazy to leave the hotel and decided to eat at the Stratosphere. The buffet already proved to be a disappointment, and some of the other restaurants were a little pricey. We finally settled on Roxy’s Diner, much to my fear and horror.
Roxy’s Diner will whisk you back to the 1950s. The atmosphere is a glittery red and silver and is completed with wait staff that sing rocking '50s tunes. Audience participation is encouraged. Normally I would never set foot anywhere where a complete stranger may sit on my lap signing “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch”, but I was hungry and I could see fat juicy burgers through the windows. The menu contained burgers, sandwiches and shakes. There were also '50s mom favorites like chicken fried steak and meatloaf with mashed potatoes. My eyes focused in on the French dip, and my decision was quickly made. I am a bit of a French dip connoiseur and decided I would like to rate Roxy’s compared to the others. To my surprise, it was really good (2nd or 3rd). The meat was lean and juicy and piled high on a fresh roll. There was the perfect amount of cheese and onions, and the best part, it was the only place I have eaten where they give you an entire bowl of au jus sauce for dipping (still, the Canadian restaurant at Epcot in Disney wins the best French dip prize).
The French fries were deliciously hot and crispy, and my vanilla milkshake was perfect. I must admit the entertainment was not as scary as I thought. They pretty much knew who the attention seekers were and didn’t force anyone to sing or dance that didn’t want to. There was an elderly lady who had come for her birthday. A few handsome young waiters brought her to a chair in the middle of the diner to sing their version of happy birthday. They kept joking that she was there for her 21st birthday, which just absolutely tickled her. It ended up being pretty fun, and all the waitstaff were very talented signers and dancers.
If you want a good sandwich, accompanied by an interesting experience, then I would say go to Roxy’s. It was affordable but not cheap, running about $12 per person for food and drinks. Roxy’s is very child-friendly and may bring some sentimental tears to those who still remember the '50s.
2000 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89104
People often say that eating can be a sensual experience. I’m not sure I have ever completely understood that sentiment until I ate at Firefly. The experience you will receive there will tempt all of your senses, and indulge all of your dining desires.
Firefly is a tapas restaurant, not located in an impressive towering casino—in fact, the outside is not impressive at all. It is located off the strip in a strip mall on Paradise Road. When you enter, however, you will inhale smells you will remember for a long time after. You will enter a restaurant that is bathed in a low light; trendy new age jazz music plays subtly in the background. You may feel a bit of anxiety when you first look over the menu. There are so many delicious dishes to try you will not know where to start. Your friendly, yet somehow trendy coolly aloof, server will be very helpful in your decision making process. We first started with a couple of cool mojitos. We stuck with the classic, but the bar also serves up a sultry sounding passion fruit mojito. The first course was difficult to choose, but we went with the warm spinach salad with artichokes, red peppers, pine nuts and feta. The flavors blended together with distinct harmony. Red peppers were added which made this dish pleasing to the eye as well as pleasing to the palette. For our second course we chose the Brie fondue. This arrived at our table actively bubbling. Swimming around in the smooth melted goodness was chorizo and roasted tomatoes. The cheesy delight was served with little toasts that we amply piled high with warm melted Brie. The smoothness of the cheese and the spiciness of the chorizo can only be described as an elating experience. Just as the ceramic pot filled with cheese was beginning to empty, we had no fear as we witnessed the arrival of our empanadas. Slow roasted pork and red peppers are delicately served in baked flaky pastries. The empanadas were topped off with a roasted pepper aioli, and just the smell alone would make you ravenous.
To end the evening we skipped the traditional selections for desert and decided to have a couple banana coconut martinis. They were utterly perfect. There is no feeling quite like swirling a martini glass in your hand. You could only slightly taste the alcohol. What you could taste was a sweet, but not too sweet, smooth pleasure. Banana coconut martinis somehow made the eating adventure all the more inspiring.
If you are in Vegas you must go to Firefly. Drive, take a cab, however you go, you must get there. In the bask of dim lighting and new age jazz you will know what it is to touch, hear, see, smell, and truly taste your food. Just be careful not to get too carried away.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 5, 2006
Firefly on Paradise
3900 Paradise Rd
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Although located in Las Vegas, the Stage Deli at the Forum shops at Caesar's has a very noticeable New York theme. Black-and-white pictures of famous New York landmarks adorn the walls, and once inside, you may forget the singing of the slot machines for a while. The servers are friendly and efficient. Food here is no frills, nothing fancy. The menu contains a good selection of deli-meat sandwiches, which arrive at your table piled high. We ordered a corned beef sandwich on rye bread with Swiss cheese, which cost us extra. The meat was very lean and the sandwich cured our hunger. The sandwiches are so big that we only ordered one and split it. Half of a sandwich was more than enough for one person. The total bill for one sandwich and two iced teas came to $19.30. Not much of a bargain, but hey, this is an eating establishment in a fancy casino, so we knew it wouldn’t be cheap.
I would only recommend the Stage Deli if you have a hunger dilemma or live in an area where you have absolutely zero good delis. I would suggest that you share unless you plan on making the sandwich your only meal of the day, because all that meat and bread will fill you up fast. It was meat and nothing fancy, and I would suggest that, for a really interesting and affordable lunch, you should travel to the crepe place at the Paris casino instead.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on March 5, 2006
Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
When you are a foodie, there is nothing more glorious then free food. Even better is free delicious gourmet food. That is exactly what you will receive at Emeril’s Fish House in Las Vegas, if you play your cards right (no pun intended).
I had read many reviews of this restaurant located in the MGM casino. As is our tradition, my husband and I eat at an Emeril’s whenever there is one close to our vacation destination. In the reviews, I read that if you let them know you are there for a special occasion, they will grant you a free appetizer. Now I had to see if this actually worked although I have a lot of guilt about lying, so we decided to go on my husband’s 30th birthday. I made certain to stress when making the reservation, when checking-in and when seated, that we were there for his 30th birthday. I sat with my breath held and put forth my best acting skills, looking completely surprised by the generosity shown to us when our marinated beef over greens was delivered "on the house" of course. The meat was tender and very tasty, with a subtle teriyaki sauce and would have been worth paying for.
As for the part of the meal that was paid for, there was no disappointment. It was my delight to enthusiastically devour a plate of New Zealand Sea Bass, drizzled with balsamic glaze and accompanied by artichoke ravioli. The fish was flaky and melted in my mouth. The artichoke raviolis tasted as though they were handmade only moments before they arrived on my plate. The sarcastic yet classy female server highly recommended the desert special. Since it involved crème brûlée I was more then eager. Desert came in the form of a semi-biting butterscotch crème brûlée, paired with a thick mini cinnamon milkshake and walnut biscotti for dipping. I found the desert both delectable and creative.
Of course the atmosphere is both relaxed and classy, seating its guests around a long booth and bathing the dining room in a subtle blue neon light. The servers must be hired based on their personalities as well as their looks. Even the guy who scraps the crumbs off your table before desert is young, hip, and devilishly handsome. The price tag is not for the economic, nor will it completely leave you without any Star Wars nickel slot funds. The price tag for an enjoyable evening of two entrées, two deserts, and two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc was $121.
If you are not an adventurous eater you should stay away as you will not find anything to satisfy you on the menu. If you love creative food, a classy atmosphere, good looking wait staff and perhaps a free appetizer I think you will find Emeril’s Fish House to your liking.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 4, 2006
Emeril's New Orleans Fish House
MGM Grand Hotel Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Pine Hill, New Jersey