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VegasChatter 2012 Awards / Culinary Dropout / Hard Rock / Honey Salt / Off Strip / Eating / Dining / Restaurants / → All Tags
It felt like if you threw a stick on The Strip this year, you'd hit a new restaurant. But, would you hit the VegasChatter 2012 Best New Restaurant? It's hard to go horribly wrong at a decent dining spot in this town, but it's rarer to stumble upon a location that elevates the meal to truly special. Do some research and you can enjoy an experience you'll be talking about for years. But, what of the 2012 newcomers to the Vegas mix? Who will last? Who are a flash in a pan? Who missed the mark? And, with all the choices, which of these resto rookies drew us back for a second, third or even fourth tasting?
We like to ask Vegas cabbies who they recommend to visitors. They frequently tell us they inquire where the guest is staying and ,9 times out of 10, they recommend a place in that resort. The choices can be overwhelming. We talk a lot about food with other locals. A lot. A common key we noticed this year was taking middle-of-the-road concepts, giving them a twist and adding bonus visual trimmings. It's a Denny's, but super fancy. Itís a buffet, but the size of airplane hangar. Itís a steakhouse, but the chef is on the telly. Sometimes, the food can get lost in the mix. So, we saw some amazing spaces this year and were frequently blinded by the showbiz. Hereís a quickie look back:
We like to cover the waterfront with food. We had a great hot dog at American Coney Island, though we were bigger fans of the chili fries. Great ice cream at the Cosmopolitan's cool, chilly corner bar. Rattlecan brought burgers, pickles and in turn added a new museum to The Strip. They need to create a docent to help you tour the artwork in the space. (They do have a free, small guide listing the artists.)
Gordon Ramsay Steakhouse wowed with hutzpah. And, while folks enjoy the menu, we've yet to meet anyone who has gone back to eat a second time. Sit at the bar, enjoy the cocktails and the scene. Mizumi is 'mazing. The room as wonderful as the food, but it is pricy and we only recommend it for special occasions. We highly praised Allegro which we feel has the best meatballs in town. Others were fans of Carla Pellgerino's creations at Meatball Spot after her shock shift from the Tropicana. And, at the Trop, we've yet to meet anyone who actually paid to eat at Bagatelle.
Bacchanal Buffet is excess incarnate, huge lines, huge choices, but we still prefer Wicked Spoon. Tetsu, slotted into Aria, is extraordinary, but expensive. And, a place best shared with fellow gourmands and aficionados. Aria also brought us Javierís this year. You'll not see them on anyone's "best of" list.
Downtown, Chef Natalie Young became a pioneer with Eat, the place in 2012 that clued-in locals most wanted to succeed.
But, to our surprise, the place we most returned, enjoyed and made us consistently happy, was Culinary Dropout at the Hard Rock. There are plenty of fancier joints that we could name, but their consistency and comfort goes a long way. It did exactly what it promised to do, arrived on time, looked great, and delivered an up-graded pub menu. The staff are incredible and they do wear their own clothes so it can be be tad confusing. But, the super laid-back atmosphere makes spending extra time here a pleasure. You will see a really interesting mix of folks. From casino wanderers to folks in business meetings and genuine hipsters. While you'll be very close to the pool via the spacious outside patio; inside, it feels very cut-off from the casino floor.
N9NE / Steakhouses / Palms / Honey Salt / VegasChatter Reviews / → All Tags
We haven't visited N9NE Steakhouse at Palms in a while so when a friend recommended it for dinner, we decided give it a whirl again. This writer's first visit was good. That visit was a few years ago and found a very modern decor along with good (not great) eats. Since then, nothing much at N9NE has changed. Chef Barry remains and the food is still good (not great). Meantime, the once cool decor seems a bit dated.
We sat down to our table and our waiter was quick to stop by. After planning to have a simple Grey Goose and soda, we were swayed to try the sangria on the cocktail menu. Sangria is always better by the pitcher, but the glass of extra fruity wine was nice. We just wanted to get the ball rolling with food so dinner started†with a simple Caesar salad. The salad was fine, but nothing special. This salad could have easily been pulled from the Palms buffet and nobody would be surprised. Consider our palette whet for the main course.
Honey Salt / Summerlin / Steak / Openings / Restaurants / Eating / Fine Dining / → All Tags
Farm-to-table dining may be the cool thing for restaurants to do to promote themselves, but that quality of food is usually good for the customer. Honey Salt is the newest farm-to-table restaurant to open in Las Vegas and it is as good as we wanted.
Honey Salt is located in the Vegas burbs of Summerlin, not exactly where we expect to find cool new fine dining. The restaurant was started by husband-and-wife team Elizabeath Blau and Chef Kim Canteenwalla (of Encore's Society Cafe).