Rakeback.com WSOP Primer Vol. 2 – Where to Eat
Editor’s Note: If you missed part one in our WSOP Primer series on tournament options during the WSOP, you can view it here.
Part two in our WSOP Primer series will highlight some of the finer restaurants in the Las Vegas area. Our guest columnist CKBWoP is a Las Vegas resident of several years as well as a poker player. She will share with us her favorite eating establishments.
By CKBWoP, Rakeback.com Poker News Special Guest Columnist
As a Las Vegas foodie-in-training, I have sampled many of the restaurants in town. These are my top recommendations for fine dining.
The Cosmopolitan is one of the top food destinations in town. Chef José Andrés won the 2011 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef, and Jaleo showcases his tapas offerings. Tasty paellas (selections vary) and jamón Ibérico are must-haves, and the cocktail program is outstanding. If you want to splurge (and manage to score a golden ticket), é is an 8-seat private dining room inside Jaleo that features a molecular gastronomy inspired tasting menu – the closest you will likely get to El Bulli.
Chef Shawn McLean’s contemporary American cuisine displays a nuanced understanding of seasonal, artisanal ingredients. Check out the foie gras custard brûlée and slow poached egg appetizers, along with the scallop and Ibérico pork loin entrees. Sage mixologists offer beer pairings (and traditional wine pairings), plus a flaming absinthe presentation.
Carnevino is billed as a Mario Batali / Joe Bastianich steakhouse, but the top half of the menu features Italian appetizers and pastas. Be sure to leave room for Pastry Chef Doug Taylor’s desserts. Order any dessert that includes chocolate, and ask your server about the background of the chocolatier from whom they source their product.
If you are in the mood to splurge, nothing tops the tasting menu at Robuchon. It is the epitome of elegant French dining. L’Atelier (MGM) is a more reasonably priced option if you want the Robuchon experience without the insane Robuchon pricetag.
As far as more traditional steakhouses go, Cut is my favorite. Chef Wolfgang Puck puts a contemporary spin on the steakhouse concept, but the quality, seasoning and preparation of the steak outshines the multitude of Las Vegas steakhouse offerings.
It is near impossible to top Chef Rick Moonen when it comes to seafood in Las Vegas. RM Downstairs offers an a la carte menu, while RM Upstairs features a tasting menu. In my opinion, RM Upstairs has the best value and overall dining experience.
Bouchon is one of the top spots for brunch (although the dinner menu is fantastic as well). Chef Thomas Keller scores huge points for his pastries, chicken and waffles (signature dish) and ham steak and eggs, and croque madame. The french toast is tasty, but the sweetness of the dish makes it near impossible to finish.
Chef Vivek Rawat’s Sunday brunch features a combination of small plates, brunch entree (truffled eggs benedict are killer), and gourmet buffet-style stations. Be warned that the price tag may run higher than your dinner bill at some of the restaurants listed above, but it is worth every penny.