Travel Thursday: Vegas Food Trip – A Culinary Adventure

Every time somebody mentions Las Vegas, the first thing that usually comes to mind is gambling, but as we all know, Las Vegas also possesses amazing live entertainment and incredible world class dining.

The pandemic has kept us home, making us cook our own meals for more than 20 months, but now with the risk of catching COVID and getting seriously sick becoming much lower, it’s time to start venturing out and enjoying dining out.  But let’s return to the restaurants in full force and enjoy more of those incredible dining experiences that come with top-quality restaurants.

With that gusto in mind, my husband and I headed to Las Vegas for a culinary experience that was long overdue. We’ve compiled for our readers some great recommendations from our trip as well as from some of our foodie friends.

Photo provided by MGM

L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon – located at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.

Joel Robuchon is considered one of the most influential chefs in the world and is the recipient of “Chef of the Century” award by Gault Millau. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is a Michelin Star restaurant with an open kitchen providing diners with the opportunity to keep a watchful eye as every meal is prepared. The hip and welcoming atmosphere plus incredibly friendly staff added to our experience. We were seated at the service counter giving us an amazing direct view of the chefs creating their award winning and mouthwatering dishes with great diligence creating their beautiful presentations.

We opted to try the Tasting Menu (always a great option when you want to sample a variety of dishes) which consisted of seven dishes along with a wine pairing by their sommelier. Needless to say, we were extremely happy with our choice. 

We started with an amuse-bouche of Zucchini and Creamy burrata with aged balsamic vinegar. Our palates were definitely amuse-d.

Next was Salmon Carpaccio with ponzu vinaigrette, avocado, and black sesame seeds which ended up being my personal favorite dish of the entire meal – absolute perfection!

The third course was Caramelized Frog Legs on creamy risotto and the taste did not disappoint – the frog legs were tender and flavorful, and the risotto was just tasty, well-seasoned, and not too rich.

Wine pairing: Alphonse Mellot Sancerre La Moussiere

Next on the tasting menu – Maine lobster with a spicy lobster bisque. This one was creamy, rich, and heavenly.

Fifth was John Dory a la plancha. This fish was flaky, savory and delightful.

Wine pairing: Patrick Piuze Chablis Terroir de Chablis 2015

Next was Caramelized Quail filled with foie gras and served with potato puree. The caramelized quail was outstanding, and the flavor was out of this world. We were savoring each and every bite to make it last. The potato puree was creamy and smooth which made it the perfect complement to the dish.

Wine pairing:  Domaine Michel Magnien GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN Seuvrées 2014

Lastly, for dessert, we had Caramelized Ginger Chantilly, lemongrass ice cream, and coconut mouse with crunchy sesame. A perfect ending for a perfect meal.

Wine pairing: Kracher Beerenauslese Cuvée 2017

Overall, dining at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon was an amazing experience which we highly recommend doing at least once. It’s an experience that’s rich, flavorful, and most of all, memorable.

Photo provided by Douglas Friedman

Carbone – at the Aria Resort & Casino.

This restaurant pays homage to the Italian American restaurants of the mid-20th century. Established in 2015 in New York, Carbone takes its Italian heritage and combines it with its New York roots and gives a culinary nod to the great talents and techniques of Italian classics, all the while elevating the experience.

Photo provided by MGM

We started with a Caprese Salad, which we learned is a seasonal dish that is only served at the restaurant when the chef is happy with the available ingredients. If I am being honest, this was the best caprese salad I have ever had – tomatoes were so flavorful, and the mozzarella was just wow.
 
Next, was Tuna Calabrese. Fresh and appetizing, the sauce was well balanced and full of flavor.
 
Next up: Carbone’s famous Spicy Rigatoni. Given its fame, it was unsurprising that this was the best dish of the night.  We could have easily stayed for another plate as we could not have enough of this extra-tasty dish with perfectly cooked rigatoni and just the right amount of creaminess and spiciness. Bursting with so much flavor, you are pretty much guaranteed to savor every last bite!
 
Finally, it was time for dessert. We went with the Bananas Foster which they make right in front of you with a flame and a flourish, creating a wonderful ending to a wonderful meal.

Photo by Benoit Linero

The Nomad Bar and Restaurant – on the ground level of the Nomad Hotel, which itself is located within Park MGM.

For our final night, the Nomad Bar and Restaurant was where we were to test our taste buds. Attentive and friendly staff, incredible live music both kept us entertained and happy as we ordered and dined.
 
We started the meal with Beausoleil Oysters chilled with champagne mignonette and Hamachi Ceviche. A great start.
 
We also ordered the Hat Trick which consisted of fried chicken, shishito peppers, and lobster bites. The fried chicken was juicy and tender and the shishito peppers had just a hint of spiciness.
 
Next was French Dip Chicken Sandwich, which came with melted gruyere on top of shredded chicken on a hoagie roll and served with truffle jus.

Photo provided by Dylan + Jeni

For dessert, we tried the Sundae (with Vanilla, Pistachio and Chocolate ice cream) with nine different toppings for you to choose from. This was my favorite for the night as I felt like a kid again with all those sweet choices. I ended up trying ever one.
 
The Nomad Bar also has a seasonal drinks menu and artisanal drinks by master mixologists, with an extensive craft cocktail list.

Photo provided by MGM

Spago – at The Bellagio Hotel and Casino. 

We gays love our brunch … and the latest brunch destination in Las Vegas is at Spago.

We were seated on the patio in the shade overlooking the beautiful Bellagio Fountains. A resident DJ was playing upbeat music in the background which created a joyful experience. The ambience alone would have made this place worth a visit, but combine it with their incredible food and it becomes a must.

First, we ordered some assorted pastries and cocktails – a perfect start.

I went with Tuna Tartare and was rewarded with an amazingly flavorful meal with just the right amount of seasoning. My husband ordered the Burger cooked medium and enjoyed it to the last bite leaving nothing behind.

For dessert, we ordered Chocolate cookies. Served warm, it felt like chocolate exploding in your mouth with every bite.

Overall, this trip was needed. As foodies and lovers of Las Vegas, it was great to return to two things that we enjoy so much in life. This recent excursion to Sin City and to a place we can wine and dine our taste buds was an enjoyable culinary experience and the right remedy to our pandemic blues. 

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