Tasting Your Way Through Las Vegas


Olives at the Bellagio

On a recent foray into Las Vegas dining experiences, I found some wonderful restaurants to share with MidWeek readers.

Unlimited wine and a tabletop presentation of a whole Maine lobster in addition to a gourmet dinner buffet, what more could anyone ask for? Well, maybe unlimited Bloody Marys and Champagne, plus an expanded seafood bar on the weekend brunch. All of this is at the Buffet at Aria, and it’s under $40 per person!

Buffet items include Alaskan king crab, shrimp, rack of lamb, fresh fish, baby back ribs, prime rib, turkey, sweet potato puree, butternut squash ravioli, roasted beets and cauliflower gratin. There also is a made-to-order pasta station and a selection of pizza. The extensive salad bar includes Greek salad and salad shooters plus a variety of fresh toppings. The selections are too numerous to mention, but there is definitely something to please every palate. Just a sampling of the extravagant desserts are cheesecakes, pastries, pumpkin pie and Bananas Foster. There also are sugar-free choices such as coconut crème pie and different flavors of ice cream.

On the fine dining and special occasion front, Chef Charlie Palmer’s visually stunning Aureole at the Mandalay Bay features seasonal American dishes and a four-story, temperature-controlled glass-and-steel wine tower with an award-winning wine list of more than 9,000 selections!

Aureole’s offers various fixed-price options in addition to its regular menu, including a chef’s tasting menu with optional wine pairing for each course. Some of the tasting menu items are a fabulous ricotta ravioli and smoked salmon, and chef’s scallop sandwich. Other fixed-price menu items include roasted filet of cod, blue cheese-crusted beef tenderloin, fresh lobster spring roll, and a choice of mouth-watering desserts and appetizers.

The Mandalay Bay is also home to Chef Hubert Keller’s Fleur, which features small plates from around the world in a fun, social environment suitable for an intimate dinner or larger groups. Fleur offers casual seating in the bar, lounge and patio areas, and intimate seating in its architecturally striking dining room. On the menu are meat, poultry and game dishes, seafood and vegetarian items and a creative dessert menu.

Overlooking the lake at the Bellagio is Todd English’s Olives restaurant for a Mediterranean-style experience. This is for people who enjoy a high-energy and lively environment. The menu includes steaks, house-made pastas, great brick-oven pizzas and rotisserie dishes. It has a good selection of recommended wines to complement each dish.

Don’t miss a trip to the world-famous Carnegie Deli at the Mirage Hotel that is the home of enormous over-stuffed sandwiches (at least a pound of meat), which can easily be shared by two people and can be ordered lean. It is known for its delectable house-made meats such as corned beef, pastrami and brisket. There is a wide variety of salads and specialties including matzoh ball soup (a meal in itself), chicken in a pot, chopped liver and stuffed cabbage. The environment is casual New York style.