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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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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Giada (Las Vegas, NV) [2]

Giada
The Cromwell
3595 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 4/24/15

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I had dined at Giada just a few months ago for dinner but my mom, a big fan of De Laurentiis, wanted to give Giada a try. We came by for lunch on a Friday right before the Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting.

The lunch menu offers a large variety of small plates, some sandwiches, salads and a couple pastas. Two of the signature lunch items were not yet available on this day which was kind of disappointing. Given we were about an hour into lunch service I found this kind of odd. Still, we found a few other items to try off the menu.

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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

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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)

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

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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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