Yardbird Southern Table & Bar (Las Vegas, NV)

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
The Venetian
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 5/8/15

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Yardbird opened the first of the year, one of the newest entrants to The Venetian’s lineup of restaurants (and right next to one-year-old DB Brasserie). It’s the second location for the restaurant based in Miami, which was a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award (Best New Restaurant South) and was one of Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants in 2012.

True to its name, the restaurant’s claim to fame is its 27-hour brined fried chicken but it serves a host of other southern classics as well. We stopped by for a ‘Friday brunch’ ordering this chicken with waffles along with a couple other dishes.

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dining room + kitchen

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Twist by Pierre Gagnaire (Las Vegas, NV)

Twist by Pierre Gagnaire
Mandarin Oriental
3752 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89158
Dining date: 5/8/15

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I first dined at a Pierre Gagnaire restaurant in Tokyo a few years ago and enjoyed it. Gagnaire’s restaurant in Vegas has been open since 2009 (the only one in America), but it took me a full 6 years to visit. Part of it was my parents’ less-than-stellar impression of the restaurant during their first visit, but they were game to give the restaurant a second try.

The restaurant’s located on the 23rd floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It’s a beautiful restaurant providing beautiful views for any table next to a window. The grand tasting menu offers four courses for $135 and five for $155. However, ‘courses’ is used very conservatively; our five course meal could easily have been called twelve with all of the extras. Even more approachable is a four course vegetarian tasting at $70 (five for $85), which presumably also includes a bunch of additional plates. A very reasonable way to try a Pierre Gagnaire restaurant.

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Raku (Las Vegas, NV) [3]

Raku
5030 Spring Mountain Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89146
Dining date: 5/6/15

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Raku used to be sort of an off-strip “hidden gem” that locals knew of in Chinatown. It’s grown considerably in exposure to become very well known with locals and tourists alike seeking a great dining experience outside of a hotel resort.

I’ve been to Raku twice and had excellent meals. However it’s been a little while and after three years, I finally returned with my dad. The menu is very much the same as I remembered with a large variety of small plates (hot and cold) and yakitori. A chalkboard displays a list of the day’s specials. Initially intending to order a chef’s choice omakase, we decided to go a la carte and choose exactly what we wanted to eat. We ended up ordering three of the daily specials (the first three dishes in this post) as well as a handful of small plates and skewers.

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Barrel & Ashes (Los Angeles, CA) [2]

Barrel & Ashes
11801 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
Dining date: 4/19/15

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We first dined at Barrel & Ashes a few months ago and left impressed. Pedigreed fine dining chefs making BBQ may sound like an odd combination, but it really worked on our first visit. The recent Franklin/Perry Lang BBQ popup in LA got me craving some more BBQ, so a return visit here was in order.

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Sage (Las Vegas, NV)

Sage
ARIA Resort & Casino
3732 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 4/25/15

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Shawn McClain made a name for himself cooking in Chicago at the venerable Trio restaurant before opening his own restaurants Spring and Green Zebra. Winner of James Beard’s Best Chef Midwest in 2006, he was lured to Las Vegas in 2008 to open Sage at CityCenter’s Aria. It’s been a very popular restaurant ever since, though this was my first time dining here.

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Menu options include a la carte, a 4-course signature menu ($89; multiple choices for each course), and an 8-course chef’s tasting ($150; no choices). We went with the signature menu with optional wine pairing ($44 for 4 pours).

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Bazaar Meat (Las Vegas, NV)

Bazaar Meat by José Andrés
SLS Las Vegas
2535 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 4/23/15

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Bazaar Meat is Jose Andres’ latest concept, opened as part of the new SLS Hotel in Las Vegas. The restaurant draws inspiration from the classic American steakhouse, married with Andres’ Spanish flair. The menu offers something for everyone from a vast raw seafood bar (including a caviar bar), meats in raw carpaccio/tartare form, cured meats, Spanish small plates, and an impressively long list of meats cooked to order. Just for beef ribeyes alone, Bazaar Meats offered them from five different ranches, all of different breeds and sold by the pound. Other cuts of beef, suckling pig, lamb, veal and various fish were all available as well.

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