Tag: VegasChatter ReviewsView All Tags
The Strip / Dining / Venetian / Yardbird / Brunch / Eating / Openings / VegasChatter Reviews / → All Tags
If you’re a southern transplant like myself or just love that style of food, Yardbird at Venetian should satisfy your cravings. After attending an evening media event and a Sunday brunch, this writer got a taste of what all the clucking’s been about. I’m happy to report most of the dishes sampled lived up to the hype. The second branch of the Miami-based restaurant has gotten high praise from the likes of Bon Appetit, James Beard Foundation and Southern Living, plus awards for its bourbon selection.
When VegasChatter stopped in for brunch, we were greeted promptly but the ensuing service was quite slow. Presented with a prix fixe experience, dishes came out in a very random order (read: in reverse) or were not ours at all (we were offered another table's dishes at several points during our meal). Though we were told brunch would be served tapas style with things coming out when they were ready, the randomness of it all was a little frustrating. (Especially since we weren't told it would be shared plates until each of us had ordered our own thing, and several of us had already gravitated to the same choices. The good news is that brunch is normally a la carte, although still meant to be shared.) Hopefully, our experience can be attributed to the growing pains of a new restaurant. (They also ran out of coffee cups and ramekins during our visit.) These kinks will likely be worked out with a little more practice (and surplus).
Eating / Dining / Fine Dining / BARDOT Brasserie / Aria / CityCenter / Michael Mina / VegasChatter Reviews / → All Tags
After much anticipation, Michael Mina’s newest creation BARDOT Brasserie officially opened its doors inside Aria January 16. We've already told you about what to expect at the new French restaurant and a little about some of the dishes. I was excited to receive a media invitation to try it out, but also, if I'm being honest, nervous.
I’ve eaten at my fair share of exquisite restaurants (I've even worked in a few), but there is something about Parisian cuisine that has always intimidated me. It’s classy and refined. Me? Not so much. Shake Shack is more my scene. But, when I'm given the chance to try something new, I’m in!
The Strip / VegasChatter Reviews / Dining / The Mirage / Italian / Restaurants / Eating / Portofino / → All Tags
Did you know Mirage had a tasty (we mean really tasty) Italian restaurant? We had no idea until a recent public relations push for Portofino. After Onda closed, Portofino made its quiet entrance into the Las Vegas dining scene and is now gaining speed along with positive reviews. That $100 lasagna stunt didn’t hurt, either.
Though that delicious dish ended in December, the restaurant is certainly worth your time. Chef Michael LaPlaca puts a modern spin on traditional Italian cuisine. While he was eager to be inventive with the menu, this is still a casino restaurant and thus the menu must appeal to middle America. The masses want chicken parm but Chef LaPlaca instead does a Chicken Rollatini Parmesan ($35) featuring a chicken breast stuffed with ground dark meat chicken for a rich and unique flavor that gives you the crispy-coated chicken you were expecting along with a surprise inside. The dish is served with a tasty marinara sauce, plenty of cheese and delicious spinach.
VegasChatter Reviews / Magic Shows / Jan Rouven / Classic Vegas / Shows / Entertainment / Magic / Tropicana / Riviera / Clarion / Vegas Moves / → All Tags
He’s dark, mysterious and speaks in a distinct accent. Known for Goth eye makeup, wild hairstyles, frequent shirtlessness and making things (and himself) disappear, he surrounds himself with sexy dancers and often performs on TV. His magic show at the south end of the Strip is pretty terrific (so you know it's not performed at Luxor). He’s Jan Rouven, the handsome master illusionist from Germany. And, his New Illusions show at Tropicana is taking on Criss Angel head to head. Or, wand-to-wand, if you will.
VegasChatter Reviews / Reopenings / Renovations / Buffets / Eating / Dining / Excalibur / The Buffet At Excalibur / → All Tags
In the past few years, Strip casino buffets have separated themselves into two distinct categories: 1) so pricey they may as well be fine dining establishments, or 2) affordable, but with the likelihood of spoiling your appetite. Excalibur’s infamously awful Round Table Buffet once fit squarely into the latter category, but a pricey three-month renovation (along with a generic renaming) revealed an entirely new dining experience last month. Is The Buffet at Excalibur worth a visit to the Castle?
VegasChatter Reviews / Entertainment / Shows / Downtown Vegas / Openings / Penny Pibbets / Absinthe / Downtown / → All Tags
If you’ve seen Absinthe, you’ve likely fallen under the spell of the quirky and wonderfully irreverent Penny Pibbets. If you haven’t seen Absinthe, GO SEE ABSINTHE! It’s consistently ranked one of the top shows on the Strip and Penny is a big reason behind that. Her raunchy sock puppet routine is unlike anything you’ll ever see.
When we heard she was putting on her own show, The Penny Pibbets Show, downtown at Art Square, we were excited. After checking out the show, we definitely think she shines the brightest in her role in Absinthe, but her entertaining solo show is a fun and dirty romp. If you thought Absinthe wasn’t PC, hold on to your codpieces because Penny’s show is even raunchier. Let’s just say we never thought of using a canister of baby powder for that.
VegasChatter Reviews / ShowStoppers / The Strip / Wynn Las Vegas / Encore / Shows / Openings / Entertainment / → All Tags
Vegas is a world where “really good but not awesome” seldom flies. With the number of competing shows (and the typically high ticket price), a headlining production better be top notch or it (usually) won’t get that 'can’t miss' allure or much-needed word of mouth. While its talented cast excels at certain numbers, Steve Wynn’s ShowStoppers doesn’t quite live up to its lofty name.
Yes, most of the individual numbers may have been showstoppers in their respective productions, but that doesn’t mean a group of them strung together into a 75-minute(ish) production will create that same showstopping feeling. This is not to say the talent isn’t there, because it is. For instance, the vocals in “Anything You Can Do” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” will be some of the best you hear in town. Unfortunately, the whole isn’t really greater than the sum of its parts. Most of the vignettes are strong yet the show is begging for more of a story arc or perhaps a celebrity host to tie things together.
VegasChatter Reviews / Spirit Of The King / Steve Connolly / Mike Hammer / Downtown Vegas / Downtown / Four Queens / Shows / Entertainment / → All Tags
Shows in Downtown Vegas often seem to close faster than the time it takes to get from the ticket window to your seat. For the ever-changing 9 p.m. roster at Four Queens, that hasn't necessarily been something to cry over. We’ve endured some real disasters there for the sake of our readers (exhibit A and exhibit B). The current late-evening offering is an Elvis tribute, Spirit of the King, starring Steve Connolly. Will it make you want to stick around after the 7 p.m. Mike Hammer Comedy Magic show? You bet your blue suede shoes.
Tribute artists rarely receive the praise they deserve. In an era where some Vegas performers can get away with lip-synching and stumbling their way through a hit residency, the lowly celebrity impersonator has to wow you with genuine musical or comedy talents while simultaneously trying to convince you they’re somebody else. Even when impersonators use pre-recorded audio tracks (as is the norm for drag performances), they’re sometimes more entertaining than the real deal. If you doubt that, check out Derrick Barry’s stunningly convincing Britney Spears impersonation at Divas Las Vegas or Share Nightclub.
Off Strip / VegasChatter Reviews / Red Rock Resort / Free Vegas / Hotel Rooms / MyVEGAS / → All Tags
Way back in September MyVEGAS started offering rewards at various Station Casinos giving Las Vegas locals midweek hotel rooms for a staycation. For me, the rewards are a good excuse to check out new and different hotel rooms I normally wouldn't visit. Most recently, I drove down the street to my local casino, Red Rock Resort, to see how things were from a guest point of view.
To lend some background, I visit Red Rock Resort once or twice a week so I know the property pretty well. Most of the time, I park near the sportsbook which is on the opposite side of the property from the hotel entrance. For whatever reason on my visit to Red Rock Resort as a hotel guest, I never even made it to the sportsbook. Being on the hotel side of things is almost being in a different casino and that was awesome.
VegasChatter Reviews / Eating / Restaurants / Bazaar Meat / SLS Las Vegas / Steakhouses / Dining / Fine Dining / → All Tags
Going to dinner is usually a simple process. You look at the menu, pick an appetizer, salad and entree, then eat. While that’s possible at Bazaar Meat, it’s not how they recommend going about your meal. Just about every hotel on the Vegas Strip has a high-end steakhouse, nowadays. Bazaar Meat is considered the steakhouse at SLS Las Vegas, but it’s so much more than that.
When I walked into Bazaar Meat, the aroma reminded me of Heritage Steakhouse at The Mirage due to the smell of burning wood in the air. There are numerous cooking devices in the open kitchen at Bazaar Meat, ranging from grills to a cotton candy machine. My party of five was seated at a huge butcher block table just off the kitchen. Judging by the giggling and amount of pictures taken, the Cotton Candy Foie Gras seemed to pique the interest of the ladies who'd ordered it at a nearby table. This playful starter seemed like it would have been fun, but my group was at Bazaar for the meat.
VegasChatter Reviews / The Strip / Riviera / Shows / Magic / Dirk Arthur / Entertainment / → All Tags
It’s out with the old and in with the new as Riviera gets an updated entertainment lineup. Jan Rouven has moved on to the Trop while the new magician taking his spot isn’t actually new to the Vegas scene.
Dirk Arthur has played all around town in venues at Silverton, Tropicana, Plaza and O’Shea’s. Most recently, he’s been playing in Laughlin and Reno and has weathered some criticism about how he keeps his animals. He’s gotten up to code and is now back in town with his Wild Illusions, featuring his signature big cats, along with some other critters.
The self-avowed conservationist and animal lover runs a brief video during the performance to show a bit about how he trains the massive and endangered animals he uses in his performance. It’s a wonder the Riv can handle the insurance such wild animals must add to the cost of a show, but they’re all securely leashed during the performance and Arthur does have decades of training experience.
VegasChatter Reviews / Oasis At Gold Spike / Gold Spike / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Reviews / Room Renovations / Room Remodels / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / Downtown Project / → All Tags
Those lamenting the loss of highly themed Vegas resorts can dry their eye, at least a little. The newly reopened Oasis At Gold Spike offers something that Vegas visitors have been missing for years: a fully immersive experience in one resort, albeit on a small scale. However, instead of a balloon flight to the Emerald City (MGM Grand of the 90s) or a ride down the Nile to ancient Egypt (a pre-modernized Luxor), guests at downtown’s newest boutique hotel can journey back in time to their free-wheeling college years.
If a certain mid-Strip resort hadn’t already bastardized the name, Oasis At Gold Spike could have easily been called The Quad. From the moment you're buzzed through the entrance (now on the east side at Las Vegas Boulevard) and pass the bicycles parked along the patio (available to rent, BTW), you’ll have flashbacks to your dorm days. If you've never attended college, here's your chance to experience the fun.