LAS VEGAS

Continued (page 2 of 12)

ALEX
Wynn Las Vegas
3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Tel: 702-770-3463
wynnlasvegas.com

Alessandro Stratta, the genius from Renoir, got the name recognition he deserved when he moved to this super-glamorous culinary showcase at the hotel built by his former Mirage boss, Steve Wynn. Here are chandeliers and tasting menus, truffles and foie gras, but it's not frou-frou food. The chef's philosophy is, as he once put it, "Making simple things better," which translates into appetizers like the tasting menu's wild kanapachi tartare with persimmon relish and osetra caviar and entrée of Japanese Wagyu beef with Maui-onion marmalade, pancetta and crispy parmigiana potatoes. So what if "simple" turns out to be a relative term? You'll have a big, fabulous night out, and with this restaurant's Mobil 5-Star and AAA Five Diamond ratings, it'll be high fives all around.

AUREOLE
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Tel: 702-632-7401
charliepalmer.com

It's no longer the newest new thing, so you can easily score a reservation at Charlie Palmer's lovable restaurant, still looking swell with its wood paneling and 42-foot Willy Wonka–esque tower of wine. There's so much space here you'll feel alone together. Palmer's all-American food is hearty and yummy. Changing seasonally, the menu includes entrées like caramelized Sonoma quail and roasted monkfish and saffron risotto; slow-braised beef shank and foie gras ravioli and saffron seafood chowder are among the brilliantly executed signature dishes. With desserts like the dark-chocolate phyllo napoleon with passion-fruit sorbet and the fallen bittersweet chocolate sesame soufflé with blood-orange sorbet and sesame brittle, this is definitely the place to save room for dessert, though the choices all look so pretty you'll feel guilty for two reasons when you dig in.

BOUCHON LAS VEGAS
Venezia Tower
The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Tel: 702-414-6200
bouchonbistro.com

Thomas Keller brought one thing to town that no other Francophile celebrity chef did: breakfast. Why wait for dinner to indulge when you can start your day on the pretty outdoor patio with outrageously rich French toast—brioches layered with custard and apples, sided by maple syrup—or flawlessly prepared corned-beef hash and eggs. And why not forgo the hot javas in favor of espresso martinis? You're in Vegas, baby. If you want to drop all pretense of well-rounded eating and just go straight for the pastry, the Bouchon Bakery, in the Venetian's foyer beside the theater entrance, has your buttery number.

CATHOUSE
Luxor
3900 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Tel: 702-262-4228
cathouselv.com

That Luxor is the latest Strip resort to get a hipness infusion is evident from Kerry Simon's new bordello-themed restaurant, a magnet for A-listers. But this is no fly-by-night for Simon, one of the few chefs to make his name in Las Vegas rather than bring one with him. He takes his haute comfort food to a new level with small French-influenced plates (tuna tartare with tequila caviar, say) as teasers before such substantial main courses as the braised short ribs and the butter-poached Maine lobster. Whether you find the scene sultry or silly, you'll be sure to purr over the food.

 

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