Tag: VegasChatter Reviews

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Our First Thoughts On Venetian's Yardbird

Where: 3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South [map], 89109
January 30, 2015 at 8:41 PM | by | Comment (1)

If youíre 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 cluckingís been about. Iím 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).

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At Aria, A First Taste Of BARDOT Brasserie

Where: 3730 Las Vegas Blvd. S. [map], 89158
January 27, 2015 at 1:57 PM | by | Comments (5)

After much anticipation, Michael Minaís 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.

Iíve 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. Itís classy and refined. Me? Not so much. Shake Shack is more my scene. But, when I'm given the chance to try something new, Iím in!

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At Portofino, The Hype Is Deserved

Where: 89109
January 16, 2015 at 8:24 PM | by | Comments (6)

Chicken Rollatini Parmesan.

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 didnít 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.

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At Tropicana, 'Illusions' Is Bigger And Better

Where: 3801 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV [map], 89109
January 13, 2015 at 3:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

Heís 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). Heís 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.

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Dishing Our Thoughts On Excalibur's New Breakfast Buffet

Where: 3850 Las Vegas Boulevard South [map], 89109
January 9, 2015 at 1:32 PM | by | Comments (11)

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. Excaliburís 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?

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You'll Laugh Your Socks Off At The Penny Pibbets Show

Where: 1025 South 1st Street #145 [map], 89104
December 24, 2014 at 3:46 PM | by | Comment (1)

If youíve seen Absinthe, youíve likely fallen under the spell of the quirky and wonderfully irreverent Penny Pibbets. If you havenít seen Absinthe, GO SEE ABSINTHE! Itís 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 youíll 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 wasnít PC, hold on to your codpieces because Pennyís show is even raunchier. Letís just say we never thought of using a canister of baby powder for that.

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ShowStoppers Isn't Quite Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

Where: 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89109
December 22, 2014 at 7:03 PM | by | Comments (6)

Vegas is a world where ďreally good but not awesomeĒ seldom flies. With the number of competing shows (and the typically high ticket price), a headlining production better be top notch or it (usually) wonít get that 'canít miss' allure or much-needed word of mouth. While its talented cast excels at certain numbers, Steve Wynnís ShowStoppers doesnít quite live up to its lofty name.

Yes, most of the individual numbers may have been showstoppers in their respective productions, but that doesnít 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 isnít there, because it is. For instance, the vocals in ďAnything You Can DoĒ and ďEverythingís Coming Up RosesĒ will be some of the best you hear in town. Unfortunately, the whole isnít 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.

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Can't Help Falling In Love With Spirit Of The King

Where: 202 Fremont Street [map], 89101
December 16, 2014 at 12:00 PM | by | Comment (1)

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. Weíve 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 theyíre somebody else. Even when impersonators use pre-recorded audio tracks (as is the norm for drag performances), theyíre sometimes more entertaining than the real deal. If you doubt that, check out Derrick Barryís stunningly convincing Britney Spears impersonation at Divas Las Vegas or Share Nightclub.

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A MyVEGAS Stay At Red Rock Resort

Where: 11011 West Charleston Boulevard [map], 89135
December 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM | by | Comments (3)

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.

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At SLS, Bazaar Doesn't Just Meat Expectations

Where: 2535 Las Vegas Boulevard South [map], 89109
December 11, 2014 at 8:25 PM | by | Comments (10)

Going to dinner is usually a simple process. You look at the menu, pick an appetizer, salad and entree, then eat. While thatís possible at Bazaar Meat, itís 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 itís 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.

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Now At The Riv: Big Cats And Classic Vegas Cheese

Where: 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89109
December 5, 2014 at 7:21 PM | by | Comments (0)

Itís 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 isnít actually new to the Vegas scene.

Dirk Arthur has played all around town in venues at Silverton, Tropicana, Plaza and OíSheaís. Most recently, heís been playing in Laughlin and Reno and has weathered some criticism about how he keeps his animals. Heís 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. Itís a wonder the Riv can handle the insurance such wild animals must add to the cost of a show, but theyíre all securely leashed during the performance and Arthur does have decades of training experience.

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Gold Spike's New Hotel Takes You Back, Way Back

Where: 217 Las Vegas Blvd. [map], 89101
December 2, 2014 at 2:53 PM | by | Comments (7)

A bed in an Ultimate Crash Pad at Oasis.

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 downtownís newest boutique hotel can journey back in time to their free-wheeling college years.

If a certain mid-Strip resort hadnít 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), youíll have flashbacks to your dorm days. If you've never attended college, here's your chance to experience the fun.

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