Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Eating (and drinking) in Las Vegas

Last month my now husband (then boyfriend) and I were in Las Vegas for a little vacation and a little work...

When in Vegas, I like to appreciate the abundance of good food that is available. And since we were in a hotel, every meal was 'out'.

In Vegas, there are some VERY nice and VERY expensive restaurants. When I think 'nice, expensive' with restaurant I tend to assume that good service will follow. This appears not to be the case in Las Vegas where virtually every meal in an expensive restaurant was accompanied by some seriously lacking service. Oddly, the service we had in some of the hotel 'diners' was pretty excellent - and most of the bars had good to great service as well.

Viva Las Vegas!Example #1: Margaritaville. Now, I don't consider this to be a fine restaurant. Certainly casual and good for a drink. The day we went there were girls walking around with necklaces made out of nuts with some painting on them as a fund-raiser for breast cancer. The girls didn't appear to be terribly busy or terribly interested in walking around. I had noticed the table when I came in, but didn't want to block traffic or stand there staring. If one of the girls had actually made it around to our table I probably would have purchased a necklace for a friends daughter. The girls seemed very uninterested in their cause. Oh well. Good news is our server was pretty good. He even did a drawing for us. Margaretaville

Example #2: Flamingo Buffet. Again, not a fine eating establishment but this was actually towards the end of our trip and displays a reoccurring theme: Drinks. Water. We waited a LONG time to get water in the first place and even longer to get refills. Plates weren't cleared (kind of key in a buffet, especially one involving crab legs) and even some wild waving didn't get our waiter's attention.

Example #3: MGM / Sea Blue. Here we opted for the tasting menu. $50 for the food, per person and an additional $25 per person to have each course paired with wine. For this type of money I expect to have a reasonable level of service. Sadly, when we sat down it took us probably 5 minutes to get menus and water. We were sitting in the middle of a dining room so I can't imagine that we were out of sight. The strangest and worst service issue with the tasting menu were the mysterious appetizer plates that would not leave. With the first course, a mezzo, we received a large platter and a small plate each. Through each Sea Blueof the subsequent courses, even though the platter was gone and we were receiving other plates for our food - the small dirty plate stayed. We spent some time pondering what the purpose of this little plate might be, as they would carefully place dirty utensils upon it and bus everything else away. ..and I also appreciate the restaurant that brings you clean silverware for a new course if necessary as opposed to removing your dirty fork from your plate and placing it on the table for you. Thanks guys.

SensiExample #4: Bellagio / Sensi. I've been to Sensi before and didn't recall having poor service but once again we were plagued with the issue of getting drinks. We had a cocktail with our starter but weren't offered another drink with our dinner and again, the water went dry. We eventually flagged down what appeared to be a manager because it had been so long since we had seen our server. Maybe he quit?

KokomoExample #5: Mirage / Kokomo. We went to Kokomo in the Mirage before going to see the Cirque show 'Love'. We told the waitress that we had a show at 9:30 so she would know what time we needed to be out of there. We were seated, didn't get menus. Received menus and told the waitress that we had a show at 9:30 so she would know what time we needed to be out of there. After we saw her, we sat there a good long time before we got water and the water went dry several times through the meal. (We also had a bottle of wine). Granted I tend to drink more in Las Vegas as it is pretty dry and I had also lost my voice and was feeling even dryer - but it's not like I was guzzling unreasonable amounts of water. The glasses are small and usually so filled with ice there seems to be barely a few mouthfuls per glass.

Augustus CafeExample #6: Caesars / Augustus Cafe. We paid about 2x as much for the same food we had at the Flamingo in this Caesars late night cafe. Sadly we where there because the Cafe in the Flamingo was closed at night (I swear it used to be 24 hours). We ended up speaking with a couple that had been on the Newlywed Game - the original - and were on a show where they came back to compete with new newlyweds. They won a trip to Vegas. Here we had trouble placing an order once we sat down...and you guessed it. Getting water.

Battista'sExample #7: Battista's hole in the wall. We ended up at Battista's twice. Average food, kind of an assembly line theory to eating - but you get your food and drink fast and we never waited for wine OR water. Go Battista's. I visit Battista's every time I go to Las Vegas. It's a great value.

Petrossian BarExample #8: Bellagio / Petrossian Bar. We sat at the bar and the service was great, as was the bartender who made us wonderful Vodka Gimlet's with fresh lime. Mmmm. Now this is the kind of food and service I expect in finer Las Vegas restaurants and bars!

Example #9: Wynn / Parasol Down. Another bar, another fabulous hotel. We Parasol Downsat outside by the waterfall, the weather was cool, the sun was shining and service was the tops. We managed to get water AND drinks - and our glasses were never empty. This is also where Dan and I decided that we were getting married.

So off we went.


Dan said...

Great read - I just wish you used my comment about being surprised that Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffet's restaurant - didn't have a buffet.