Gordon Ramsay BurGR (Las Vegas, NV)

Gordon Ramsay BurGR
Planet Hollywood
3667 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 5/12/13

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Gordon Ramsay has been a busy man in Las Vegas, opening three restaurant concepts in three different hotels within about 8 months’ time. His latest is his most casual and approachable – a burger joint within the Planet Hollywood hotel. Coming off of dinner the previous night at Gordon Ramsay Steak, this would be our second consecutive red meat meal from Ramsay.

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Gordon Ramsay Steak (Las Vegas, NV)

Gordon Ramsay Steak
Paris Hotel
3655 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 5/11/13

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Gordon Ramsay Steak has been high on my list of Las Vegas restaurants to try since it opened last year, when I sampled Ramsay’s delicious beef wellington at the Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting. Ramsay has more than two dozen restaurants around the world now, ranging from Michelin three-star to mediocre. However, his steakhouse has garnered consistently strong reviews over the past year, so I anticipated a meal closer to the former (not that this restaurant has 3-star ambitions though). My dad’s dined here before and enjoyed it, but this would be the first trip for the rest of our family.

Located just off the casino of the Paris Hotel, the restaurant’s entrance was inspired by the Channel Tunnel, transporting diners to the UK.

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The USDA Prime steaks are from noted butcher Pat LaFrieda, dry aged a minimum of 28 days in a Himalayan salt room. The marbling (and pricing) moves up from there with a selection of both American wagyu and true Japanese wagyu. Each cut is on display at the onset of the meal, with the exception of the Japanese wagyu. If asked though, they will bring out the beautifully-marbled piece of cow.

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Estiatorio Milos (Las Vegas, NV)

Estiatorio Milos
The Cosmopolitan
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 5/10/13

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Estiatorio Milos, with five locations around the world, specializes in Mediterranean (particularly Greek) seafood. Located in the same foyer as Jaleo, STK, Comme Ca, Blue Ribbon, and the secret pizza joint, it’s one of the fine dining options within The Cosmopolitan’s restaurants. Before this meal, my limited experience with the restaurant has been its stellar dishes at each Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting (and the last American Wine & Food Festival). In each of the past few years, they’ve served a salt-encrusted fish that was one of the highlights of each event. That dish’s simple approach to high-quality seafood is something I expected to be echoed throughout Milos’ menu.

I hadn’t read a lot of reviews before dining at the restaurant, but what I did know is that it’s expensive. As expensive as dinner can be, Estiatorio Milos offers what I think is one of the best lunch deals on the Strip – a 3-course, $22.13 menu. Six appetizers are available to choose from (two with supplemental pricing), six entrees (two with supplemental pricing), and three dessert options. The tempting pricing supplements, which range from $10-15 extra, can quickly drive the prix-fixe up, but there are attractive options when sticking to the $22 menu as well.

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Hakkasan (Las Vegas, NV)

Hakkasan
MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
3799 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 5/12/13

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London-based Hakkasan first appeared strong on my radar when it opened in San Francisco late last year. I had heard great reviews but just couldn’t fit it in while I was up there during Christmas. That location was the tenth in the worldwide chain, known for its high-end Chinese cuisine; in fact, two of its locations (NYC and London) have garnered Michelin stars, a relative rarity for a Chinese restaurant. Hakkasan’s eleventh location marks its biggest splash of all, with a $100 million, 5-floor, 75,000 square-foot restaurant/nightclub. Literally and figuratively, it’s Las Vegas’ biggest opening this year.

The ground floor is the main dining room; above it, the private dining area overlooks the main room. The third floor is the exclusive Ling Ling lounge, followed by two additional floors for the nightclub. The dining room, dim and full of blue hues, is divided into many sections making the room appear to be full of smaller, more private dining areas. Although this location is more known for its huge club and all-star DJ lineup than its restaurant, the cuisine here is supposed to be just as serious as the rest of the chain.

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Jaleo (Las Vegas, NV)

Jaleo
The Cosmopolitan
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 5/9/13

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Jose Andres is probably known best for his whimsical, molecular gastronomy creations at The Bazaar (including Saam Room) and Minibar, but he does cook a lot of more traditional fare as well – Jaleo is his version of the Spanish tapas restaurant of his homeland.

There are four Jaleo restaurants across the country, though this Las Vegas branch is the only one not in the Washington D.C. area. Located in The Cosmopolitan Hotel, it sits on the same floor as Scarpetta, STK, Estiatorio Milos, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Comme Ca, and the “secret” pizza place.

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The menu is vast, covering over 75 items across meat and cheese plates, land, sea, fried items and paella. Paella are made in a separate paella pit within the main dining room, allowing all diners to watch an impressive display while the paellas cook. Apparently the ventilation system alone cost $1 million, preventing all of the smoke from suffocating diners. Clearly, paella is serious business.

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I’ve dined at restauarant-within-the-restaurant é by Jose Andres and left impressed. This would be my first visit to Jaleo proper.

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Vegas Uncork’d 2013: Grand Tasting (Las Vegas, NV)

Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting
Caesar’s Palace: Garden of the Gods
3570 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 5/10/13

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Each year, Vegas Uncork’d is one of the largest food and wine events on the West Coast. Las Vegas is an ideal place for one of these festivals, given its high concentration of notable chefs with a presence in the city. Granted, Las Vegas is rarely the location of their flagship restaurant, but a large-scale event such as this one really seems to bring in these chefs from across the country (and some internationally).

Vegas Uncork’d, presented by Bon Appetit, spans almost 30 individual, unique events. Intimate dinners and cooking demonstrations make up the bulk of the events, but the one I’ve gone to the past couple of years is the Grand Tasting (and my extended family has been going for many years now). This year, the all-you-can-eat/drink event brought together 100 different restaurants/wineries/spirits for a $225 admission. It’s definitely not cheap, but the food is typically of high quality and the event provides the unique ability to see and interact with many of these chefs (many of whom are elusive, hopping around between restaurants so often). Some of the bigger-name chefs I spotted this year (I’m sure there are others I missed) were Joel Robuchon, Gordon Ramsay, Bobby Flay, Michael Mina, Guy Savoy, Michel Richard, Francois Payard, Masaharu Morimoto, Hubert Keller, Graham Elliott, and Charlie Palmer. Yep, a lot.

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