Sin City’s Scrumptious Seven
Ready to roll the dice on a Las Vegas escape? For this week’s Mystery Sale, Jetsetter has three ways to get lucky in Sin City and we’re pairing your digs with our guide to Las Vegas’s seven best restaurants.
Restaurant: Sage, Aria at CityCenter
Chef: Shawn McClain
Scene: The restaurant’s vintage-glam, high-ceilinged expanses are bathed in amber light with plum punches punctuating slick black tables and floors.
Cuisine: McClain’s modern American fare focuses on high-quality ingredients, elegant preparations and interesting flavor pairings. Consider wagyu beef tartar with crushed caper aioli and slow poached egg or Maryland black bass served with padrone pepper, romesco sauce and Spanish chorizo.
Signature: McClain’s mastery of farm-fresh ingredients shines in his slow-poached organic-farm egg served over smoked potatoes and shaved truffles — an elegant, simple dish that hits all the right notes.
Bonus: Sage’s absinthe menu is one of the most extensive in the country. Enjoy la fée verte Russian style — the liquor is set aflame before being poured over simple syrup and rocks.
Restaurant: Estiatorio Milos, The Cosmopolitan
Chef: Costas Spiliadis
Scene: A bright stone and wood dining room with white linens channels the cliffside homes of the Greek Isles. Outside, a sparkling patio hidden behind trellised vines is an eaters’ secret garden, but the restaurant’s main event is its seafood bar, a long, ice-lined counter where the day’s catch, flown in from fresh from the Mediterranean, is laid out in an enticing still life.
Cuisine: The restaurant partners with small, independent fisherman who ply the shores of the Mediterranean to deliver the freshest fish, oysters, shrimp and octopus. Every dish on the menu seems to bring out the best in its components, from a charred octopus with wild Santorini capers or the marinated peppers grilled with aged balsamic.
Signature: The whole lavraki, a mild Greek sea bass, is baked in a sea-salt crust and then filleted tableside so as to retain its light, luscious ocean flavor.
Bonus: The restaurant’s three-course prix fixe lunch is a veritable steal, showcasing its best dishes for a mere $20 (though you should drop the extra $10 for the grilled octopus).
Restaurant: Raku, 5030 Spring Mountain Road, Suite 2
Chef: Mitsuo Endo
Scene: A reverence for taste and technique is as evident in the spare design as it is in the menu at this tiny Japanese izakaya joint in the back corner of an average Chinatown strip mall.
Cuisine: Raku’s signature dishes are grilled on the charcoal robata grill—tiny two-bite delicacies with a satisfying hit of smoke. Sample slender enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon, and foie gras in a soy sauce glaze or Kobe beef fillet with wasabi. Venture further into the menu for meticulously prepared appetizers, like yellowtail carpaccio or poached egg with sea urchin and salmon roe.
Signature: Perhaps Raku’s best known dish, the agedashi tofu, is also one of its simplest: One wide slab of silky tofu served in a savory broth and topped with roe, scallions and nori.
Bonus: For the real Raku experience you’ll want the kaiseki menu, a 10- to 15-course tour of seasonal Japanese cuisine crafted to Endo’s nightly whims for diners who take good food very seriously. Plan in advance — Raku asks for three days of notice if you’re ordering it.
Restaurant: Comme Ça, The Cosmopolitan
Chef: David Myers
Scene: Toeing the line between chic brasserie and casual hang, Comme Ça opens with a dim, elegant bar and deep red booths perfect for sipping off the throwback-heavy cocktail menu. Chalkboard walls drawn up with illustrations of ingredients on the menu inform diners at simple black tables attended to by plaid-clad servers. For dinner and a show, sit on the red-lit patio providing a front-row seat overlooking the Strip’s neon-lit insanity.
Cuisine: Myers’ distinctly modern flourishes elevate French standards to new heights and spin usual suspects into tasty delights — try the duck confit, served with “melted” leeks, pickled blueberry beurre blanc and sour cherry duck jus.
Signature: Myers shows a real respect for his ingredients in the roasted beef marrow, deliciously rich and served simply alongside oxtail jam, toast points and fleur de sel.
Bonus: The restaurant’s early and late happy hours knock half off the restaurant’s 18A cocktail menu, which really shines in its mixologists’ creations like Tony Eppolito’s Vegas High Rise: vodka, crème de cassis, fresh lemon, guava and a pinch of sugar.
Restaurant: L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, MGM
Chef: Joël Robuchon
Scene: The best seats in this Michelin-starred studio are at the counter overlooking an open kitchen where chefs craft exquisite French dishes served without the pomp and circumstance of Robuchon’s Mansion next door. But don’t let the sleek red-and-black décor, counter seating or (relatively) low price tags fool you — this meal is a dramatic and delicious experience for a foodies wanting to eat like kings without having to linger for four hours over the meal.
Cuisine: Robuchon’s exacting standards and keen sense of detail make for a menu of gorgeous French bites that pack intense, surprising flavor into every expertly cooked forkful. Dishes like monkfish cheeks with baby leeks and buttery shellfish sauce and sea bass fillet with chorizo are rarely as simple as they sound. Instead, each plate is its own exploration, and watching the chefs create that journey only adds to the joy.
Signature: The Seasonal Discovery Menu is a 10-course tour through the best the kitchen has to offer made with the freshest ingredients. The dishes change daily, but the excellence is always the same.
Bonus: When you really want to treat yourself, try the 18-course Dégustation menu of small tasting portions. You’ll know you’re in the homestretch when you hit “le burger” at course 16.
Restaurant: Due Forni, 3555 South Town Center Drive
Chef: Carlos Buscaglia
Scene: The former chef of MGM Grand’s Fiamma Trattoria ditched the Strip to open this happenin’ restaurant that’s a go-to spot for elevated family dinners and elegant enough for a date, with a petite bar and ample wine list that make waiting for your table a pleasure.
Cuisine: The name means two ovens, and the restaurant uses their pair to turn out thin, crispy Roman crust pizzas and chewy Neapolitan pies with deliciously blistered edges. Toppings here go Vegas with black truffle, Parmesan cream, cremini mushrooms and over-easy egg on the Tartufo or prosciutto, smoked buffalo mozzarella and arugula on the Prosciutto e Rucola.
Signature: The restaurant’s namesake pizza is also one of its best. A bubbly, slightly charred Neapolitan crust is piled with San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, homemade sausage, Nueske’s bacon and pequillo peppers.
Bonus: It’s easy to pair your pizza with the perfect wine. Due Forni offers their entire list by the glass with 24 glasses clocking in under $15.
Restaurant: RM Seafood, Mandalay Bay
Chef: Rick Moonen
Scene: Whether you’re looking for a low-key place for a drink and a bite or a fine dining experience to remember, the two-level RM can accommodate. This casual eatery has wood tables and a sushi bar covering the first floor and a white-tablecloth affair upstairs that serves a more refined global menu.
Cuisine: Downstairs, RM serves comfort-food favorites at lunch, as well as more substantial dishes like diver scallops with pork belly and chicharrones and RM-style “cioppino” at dinner. Upstairs the menu gets more imaginative, pairing flavors in surprising combinations that nearly always hit the mark. Try seared big-eye tuna with lentils, curry and bacon foam or lobster with corn flan, Russian cherries and black garlic miso sauce — you won’t find either anywhere else.
Signature: Moonen’s real skill is his ability to play on both sides of the fine-dining line, but you’ll find his most famous dish downstairs at lunch: The catfish sloppy joe, based on his mother’s recipe.
Bonus: If can manage to save room for dessert, something extra special awaits. Rick’s Tasting Game is an ice cream and sorbet sampler with 16 flavors served unlabeled. Try to figure out the ingredients behind each delicious bite.