Food and Loathing in Las Vegas with Lauren
As one matures ages, you realize that no trip to Vegas is complete without a dining experience that is equally as electrifying as the people-watching nightlife the famously flashy city provides. While it may not be as esteemed when compared to more traditional food meccas, Vegas is home to a number of big-name chef outposts and hip transplanted concepts, which makes for a pretty strong recipe for delicious.
I’d say my recent weekend trip proved this theory. While others were pre-occupied showcasing their stellar bikini bods (thank you for the inspiration), I made sure to sprinkle as much food into a 48 hour period as possible by dining at L’Atelier by Joel Robuchon, Beauty & Essex, Eggslut, and Bacchanal Buffet — not to mention a couple rogue slices of Secret Pizza. Shh.
I had always wanted to experience the food of culinary mastermind Joël Robuchon, so we opted for his namesake restaurant’s less spendy sister, L’Atelier, and our 5-course tapas tasting menu was impeccably produced before our eyes. Standout dishes were the spiced Maine Lobster over pasta (best lobster mac ‘n’ cheese of my life), the onion tart with egg, pancetta, and gruyere and the octopus capellini with capers, red pepper, and cornichon. Despite being extra tasty, I must admit I was unable to finish my 2-1 butter ratio potatoes after such an eventful meal. A highlight of the evening was noticing David Copperfield a couple tables away and then witnessing him magically disappear in the midst of his family dinner. No lie! Apparently, he had a show to perform or something.
Beauty & Essex was a leftover to-do from my last trip to NYC, so it was not to be missed this time around. Divergent from the world-class Parisian swank of L’Atelier, B&E offers an edgier take on New American. Upon entering, you walk through a retro-styled, gritty pawn shop that leads to glamorous dining rooms full of dark tufted velvet, antique gold, leather, pearls, and jewels. While the environment screams luxury, the food is approachable, comforting and unapologetically playful. We immediately opted for two irreverent soup dumpling choices in the form of french onion and grilled cheese, smoked bacon, and tomato. What fun! Another favorite was the satisfyingly simple spaghettini with zucchini, lemon, parsley pesto, parmigiana, and a sunny-side up egg. Despite how seemingly unexciting it may sound, I’d be wrong not to mention the kale and apple salad with ACV, pancetta, candied pecans, and shaved goat cheese since we instantly polished off the mountain of goodness like no salad before. It tasted like candy, as only the best kale dishes should.
To round things out, this buffet-lover made a first-time visit to Bacchanal at Caesar’s Palace. There was more food on my many plates than I can recount so I’ll skip the details, though I will admit their Asian section was especially appreciated thanks to a ramen/pho/udon station and dim sum assortment. That said, The Wynn Buffet will always have a special place in my heart when it comes to bottomless bites.
Lastly, as I’ve otherwise ignored my plenty of libations, I will recommend a pit-stop by The Chandelier Bar at The Cosmopolitan for an off-the-menu Verbena. This drink is a refined margarita-like concoction of yuzu, kaffir leaves, calamansi, ginger, and tequila topped with a Szechuan button — an edible flower filled with a natural alkaloid that you eat before drinking your beverage for a tasty tongue buzz that heightens your senses to the unusual flavors of the drink. YUM. I’ll take another, please.
That wraps it up. Everybody already knows Eggslut brings the tasty to breakfast sandwiches and is the perfect meal to wake up to after a long night. Now go to Vegas and eat like you mean it.