(Las Vegas) – Gambling, Entertainment, Drinking, Fun, and the Food….oh the Food!! That’s what I’d always heard about Las Vegas. In actuality, my experience was a mixed bag when it came to the restaurants. Greatness exists, but some places disappoint.
Tao Asian Bistro – This place is hyped up to no end. I made my reservation 4 weeks in advance just to be sure I got a table! When I arrived, the line to get in would rival any Manhattan nightclub. I don’t know why because the food is overpriced and not worth the wait. I’m no stranger to overpriced food, but let me be clear…what you’re paying for here is the ambiance. That’s the only thing this place has going for it. As a connoisseur of Asian culture, I admired the art everywhere I looked. The most impressive being the giant Buddha statue in the center of the restaurant, fabulous!
The food and drink was terrible. I think I actually tasted more water than alcohol in my martini. My appetizer consisted of 3 fried shrimp for which I begrudgingly paid $14! Really, couldn’t you just give me one more shrimp so I don’t have to try and split the last one with my dining partner using a pair of chop sticks!?!?! I ordered the house specialty which everyone including the hotel staff told me was the best, the Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass. The fish was as overcooked as the vegetables. My dining partner ordered the Wasabi Crusted Filet Mignon. This dish I could have prepared better at home. The Wasabi Crust was an interesting accoutrement but did not add any real flavor to the meat. The Filet was tough and overcooked similar to my dish. My recommendation, Skip It!
The Buffet at Bellagio Hotel – Another dining experience recommended to me prior to my visit. For $30 all you can eat including endless mimosa, I thought this would be a good deal. True, the buffet was a cornucopia of food including international selections from Mexico and Asia but the quality of the food was mediocre at best. The standards were all there as well; made to order omelets, a selection of breads and fruits, French toast, biscuits and gravy and an array of dessert options. My favorite item was a HUGE bucket of boiled shrimp sitting on ice….how could I resist? They tasted fresh and delicious. The atmosphere was similar to a diner, however the service was quite good. Anytime I left
my seat, my dirty plate was cleared away post haste to make room for a fresh one full of food! My mimosa glass was never empty. Overall, good but not impressive. My recommendation: don’t make a special trip for this one.
The Eiffel Tower Restaurant – This was my chosen restaurant for fine dining after seeing it featured on the Travel Channel. It’s located mid way up a half sized replica of the Eiffel Tower in the Paris hotel, cool! As with Tao, I made my reservation early to ensure I got a good table. This restaurant is known for having a view of the Bellagio fountain show so I requested a table close to the window. On arrival, I was surprised to find out that they complied with my request placing me at a table directly adjacent to the window with a fabulous view of the Bellagio fountain show. What-an-incredible-VIEW! The show occurs every 15-20 minutes and is quite impressive from the high vantage point of the restaurant. In addition, the lights of the Vegas strip are a spectacular backdrop for a romantic dinner.
The wine list is extensive and covers French regions, as well as Italian and California. The selections are excellent, but be prepared to spend at least $60-$75 for a bottle. Their mixed creations from the bar are also of note. Try the Pink Velvet if you like fruity drinks. Service is superb! Not too bothersome, but definitely present when needed and helpful with making selections from the menu. The food is impeccable! I ordered the Roasted Duck Breast with Wild Rice and Cabbage and a side of Potatoes Au Gratin. The duck was the best I’ve ever had! It was tender and cooked to perfection, not too oily like other duck I’ve tried. My dining partner ordered the Surf and Turf Beef Tenderloin with Lump Crab Crust and Aged Parmesan Asparagus. For desert, their specialty is a multitude of flavored desert soufflés. I ordered the Pistachio flavored soufflé and was pleasantly surprised. It was light and airy with loads of flavor! While the food at the Eiffel Tower is impressively priced, it lives up to the expectation. The entire dining experience; food, ambiance, and service is outstanding. My recommendation, Don’t Miss It!