Vegas Uncork’d 2015: 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: 4/24/15


This past weekend was Bon Appetit’s ninth annual Vegas Uncork’d. 23 separate events made up Uncork’d this year with chefs, mixologists and sommeliers coming from around the nation to Las Vegas to take part. There was plenty of variety spanning the festivities including fancy lunches and dinners, cooking demonstrations and seminars. The event I’ve gone to the past four years is the Grand Tasting, where dozens of chefs/restaurants serve up tastes of their food along with plenty more wine and other alcoholic options.

Each chef/restaurant had their own booth at Caesar’s Garden of the Gods pool area. All food and drink were included, unlimited, for the $225 price of admission.


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Giada (Las Vegas, NV)

The Cromwell
3595 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 1/24/15


Giada De Laurentiis’ first restaurant was one of Las Vegas’ biggest openings of 2014 and part of the new Cromwell hotel. De Laurentiis is one of the biggest celebrity chefs out there, and this being her first/only restaurant was sure to be hotly anticipated and draw visitors from all over. Seven months after opening, I was one of those people.


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Carnevino (Las Vegas, NV)

The Palazzo
3325 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 6/28/14


Many of the celebrity chefs with a presence in Las Vegas have a steakhouse (burger shops & pubs are also a common offshoot). Carnevino is the creation of Mario Batali & Joe Bastianich and one of their four LV restaurants (all within the Venetian/Palazzo complex). Always in the mood for a good steak, I’ve had an inkling to try Carnevino and finally had the chance during my last trip.

An Italian steakhouse, the focus at Carnevino is clearly on the beef. It’s very hard to differentiate oneself in this ‘upscale beef’ space, and Carnevino does it by partnering with meat man Adam Perry Lang who supposedly hand-selects the best USDA Prime cattle for the restaurant. It’s all aged in-house and simply prepared with sea salt, black pepper and rosemary. The Batali & Bastianich influence brings a host of Italian antipasti and pastas to round out a meal here.

dining room

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Bachi Burger (Las Vegas, NV)

Bachi Burger
470 E Windmill Ln
Las Vegas, NV 89123
Dining date: 5/10/14


I’ve heard rave reviews about Bachi Burger and it definitely shot up on a list of Las Vegas restaurants to try off-strip. The restaurant is primarily known for its unique take on the burger with some Asian twists; the most notable may be its Shogun Burger with unagi, foie gras, and Asian fruits pairing with a traditional beef patty. Sounds good enough for me. On this most recent LV trip for Vegas Uncork’d, our family went to the original location for our last meal before heading home (it’s pretty close to the airport).

The restaurant’s success has led to a second Bachi Burger in the Las Vegas area, as well as consistent rumors of a location in the Los Angeles area. Sister concepts Shoku Ramen and Bachi Healthy Life Kitchen round out the group’s concepts. Shoku Ramen is actually next door and shares a wall, so their ramen-centric menu is on offer within this location of Bachi Burger. Our party of 7 was able to try quite a bit of the menu including one of the ramen.



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Sweets Raku (Las Vegas, NV)

Sweets Raku
5040 W Spring Mountain Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89146
Dining date: 5/8/14

sweets raku exterior

Raku has consistently grown in popularity in recent years, drawing a lot of attention for its off-strip izakaya. Known for a while as a local/insider spot that a lot of chefs visited, it’s really blown onto the scene even having an appearance on the current season of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. Its success has led to the opening of a dessert shop located in the same plaza – Sweets Raku. Raku is a tough act to follow, but reviews of Sweets Raku have been very strong in its first year.

13 seats surround a pristine white bar with two tables that seat four each. It’s an intimate spot, and each bar seat comes with a full view of dessert preparations. The restaurant’s attention to detail is on display, kind of reminding me of e by Jose Andres. However, this is an entirely different experience and meal.

sweets raku bar

sweets raku

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Yusho (Las Vegas, NV)

Monte Carlo Resort and Casino
3770 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 5/7/14

Yusho is one of the more notable openings in Las Vegas this year at the Monte Carlo. A Chicago transplant, Yusho’s original location became popular for its concept inspired by a Japanese noodle house/yakitori shop. Matthias Merges, who worked almost a decade and a half under Charlie Trotter, went a completely different route from his fine dining background for this one. Ramen, of course, is on the menu, as well as a number of grilled and fried items and a handful of steamed buns. The restaurant is very casual, colorful and playful. I was invited in, bringing my parents along to try.



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