Guests at Paris Las Vegas can cross the Channel into England at Gordon Ramsay’s first restaurant in town, the two-story Gordon Ramsay Steak.
This story first appeared in the August 21, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Executive chef Kevin Hee showcases prime beef dry-aged for a minimum of 28 days, with cuts like the 32-oz. Royal Long-bone Chop for two ($105). Selections like American Kobe with a beef-marbling score of nine or higher can be paired with demi-roasted bone marrow ($14), foie gras ($19), lobster tail ($38) or crab legs ($40).
The restaurant’s signature dishes reflect Ramsay’s traditional British roots and personal eclectic flairs. They include a British ale onion soup made with Boddingtons Pub Ale ($17), smoked beef tartar ($22) and sticky toffee pudding.
Reservations are recommended a week to 10 days in advance for weekends, but Gordon Ramsay’s Steak’s SmartCellar bar and lounge serves the full menu and allows guests to use an interactive iPad to order cocktails directly from the device. The iPad contains details about each of the more than 325 labels represented on the wine list, as well as photos and components of the “Perfect Ten,” a collection of Gordon Ramsay Steak’s signature cocktails. The interior was created by EDG Design Firm and includes a giant Union Jack on the ceiling and neon modern art displayed on the walls. — Kira Cole
Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas, Paris Las Vegas, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Tel.: 702-946-4663, Hours: Dinner daily, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Bar and lounge open Sunday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to midnight, Web: mgmgrand.com
RIDE ’EM, COWBOY
Anyone who’s ever dreamed of being a cowboy or cowgirl can whoop it up at Wild West Horseback Adventures.
The breakfast and lunch rides ($129) offer a full array of breakfast treats and barbecue favorites, paired with an hour of riding time down a three-mile trail through Red Rock Canyon.
On the dinner trip ($159), guests ride between four and five miles through the Valley of Fire, which takes roughly 90 minutes. Afterward, riders enjoy a sunset barbecue with a choice of steak, chicken or salmon, and roast marshmallows by the campfire.
Each ride is intimate, with an average of 13 guests and five wranglers per trip. Summer is a slower time, but reservations are recommended. Wild West provides transportation with pickups at all Las Vegas Strip hotels and downtown. For breakfast and lunch rides, the drive time to the starting point is about 30 minutes, and for dinner, 40 minutes. — K.C.
Wild West Horseback Adventures, Tel.: 702-792-5050; 877-945-3978, Web: wildwesthorsebackadventures.com
ROBUCHON UP CLOSE
Dissolving the boundaries between kitchen and dining room, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand lets guests observe chefs creating their meals at bar-style seating.
This bistro is at a more approachable price point than the Joël Restaurant next door. Signature dishes include the foie-gras-stuffed free-range quail ($25) and steak tartar ($41), garnering a AAA Four Diamond award and one Michelin Star.
The menu of small tasting portions includes carpaccio ($33), langoustine fritter ($23) and duck ($39) served with executive chef Steve Benjamin’s attention to detail, like quail egg and laurel accents. From the à la carte menu, guests can enjoy a Maine lobster salad ($49), caramelized kampachi ($57), smoked salmon ($31) or a 12-ounce Wagyu-beef rib eye ($97).
The desserts (all $15) include caramelized bananas, green chartreuse soufflé with pistachio ice cream and orange infused with caramel and milk chocolate mousse, and an assortment of sorbets.
The dining room seats 33 at the counter and 25 for table dining, and reservations are recommended. The minimalist and modern interior was designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, who also designed Robuchon’s original restaurant. — K.C.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Tel.: 702-891-7358, Hours: Dinner daily, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Web: mgmgrand.com
Las Vegas’ latest nightspot, 1 Oak, in The Mirage Resort and Casino, blends art, fashion and music in a 16,000-square-foot space. The club is divided into two rooms, each housing a private bar and DJ booth bordered by caramel-colored plush banquettes and burl-wood cocktail tables.
The venue can accommodate more than 1,000 partygoers. Recent guests have included such celebrities as Fergie and Jessica Alba. State-of-the-art sound and lighting highlights 13 original oil paintings by visual artist and painter Roy Nachum. VIP services include table and bottle service where drinks are presented in a gold-plated treasure chest. Reserve a spot to see DJs BassJackers, Ikon and Karma tonight. — Christina Silvestri
1 Oak, Mirage Hotel and Casino, 3400 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Tel.: 702-693-8300, Open Thursday to Saturday and Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m., Web: 1oaklasvegas.com.
For a quick and tasty lunch, try the made-to-order artisan sandwich confections at Earl of Sandwich at the Eatery inside the Palms Casino & Resort.
The founder of the popular sandwich shop is a direct descendent of the man who invented the sandwich in 1762, ensuring the signature Club with roasted turkey, smoked bacon, aged Swiss, lettuce and Roma tomatoes, smothered in special sandwich sauce, lives up to expectations.
The 3,479-square-foot shop also offers 12 other sandwiches, from the tuna melt to the Hawaiian BBQ, priced between $5.99 and $6.49. The new chipotle chicken avocado sandwich is exclusive to the Palms location. Signature soups, salads, wraps, desserts, beer and wine are also available. — C.S.
Earl of Sandwich, Palms Casino & Resort, 4321 West Flamingo Road, Tel.: 866-942-7770, Open 24 hours., Web: earlofsandwichusa.com.
The Azure Pool at The Palazzo Resort is a dip into low-key luxury.
Overlooking Las Vegas Boulevard, the Azure features three intimate pools tucked away among lush greenery and seasonal flowers, reminiscent of the French Riviera. Guests are invited to lounge on turquoise- and gray-cushioned daybeds, while the recently renovated cabanas are each equipped with love seats and a couch, a 55-inch plasma flat-screen TV, Xbox Kinect and iPad, among other amenities.
Poolside massages complement seasonal specialty cocktails such as the frozen Scent ($18) garnished with edible sweet crystal violet and world-class cuisine like the vine-ripened tomato salad ($17) or the group-sized Azure Super Sushi Platter ($250) from award-winning chef Wolfgang Puck. On Saturdays, European DJ compilation Hed Kandi takes over the deck with some cool beats. — C.S.
Azure Pool, The Palazzo, 3325 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Tel.: 702-767-3724, Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Reservations are recommended two weeks in advance for daybeds and cabanas. Web: palazzo.com/Las-Vegas-Activities/Pools/Azure, Note: Prices are subject to change, and can range from around $50 for a lounge chair to upwards of $2,000 for cabanas.
The Venetian hotel is currently hosting “Da Vinci — The Genius,” a traveling art exhibition that offers insight into the mind of the legendary artist through life-size and fully interactive models of his artwork and innovations.
Most of his ideas, including the automobile, scuba gear and war weapons, never left the pages of his notebooks. This show uses those original sketches to construct various full-scale mechanical inventions, and then analyzes their impact to the modern world.
The exhibition shows more than 200 pieces, 75 interactive inventions and 11 themed sections to fully showcase the diversity and scope of this complicated man’s mind.
One of the most popular displays is “Secrets of the Mona Lisa,” a 360-degree replica and analysis of the iconic painting. This piece provides a detailed report and breakdown of the findings, conducted by French fine art examiner Pascal Cotte, that most viewers might not see on their own.
But unlike visiting the original at the Louvre museum in Paris, the creators encourage guests to bring cameras and snap away. For an even more detailed experience, visitors can purchase a $5 audio tour available in multiple languages. — Sarah Tooker
Da Vinci – The Genius, The Venetian Hotel, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Tel.: 702-414-9000, Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Cost: $27, Web: davincithegenius.com
UP IN THE AIR
If a helicopter isn’t your thing, experience Vegas from a bird’s-eye view with a hot-air balloon ride. The journey begins just before sunrise around 5:30 a.m. The company offers a hotel shuttle service to the launch site to get riders there on time. (And for the caffeine cravers, Starbucks is right around the corner.)
Travelers watch the 10-story-high balloon inflate before climbing aboard to ascend 2,500 feet in the air. Having reached cruising height, guests take in spectacular views of the Strip, desert and surrounding valleys. Flights generally last around an hour, but because the wind is the real pilot, the length may vary, but all trips conclude with a Champagne toast back on the ground. — Sarah Tooker
Vegas Balloon Rides, 4390 Polaris Avenue, Tel.: 702-553-3039, Hours: Daily; ride begins at 5:30 a.m., Cost: $275 per person Monday to Thursday; $295 per person Friday to Sunday, Web: vegasballoonrides.com
New York City’s historic Old Homestead Steakhouse has made Caesars Palace Las Vegas its first West Coast home.
The 6,500-square-foot space pays homage to the original Manhattan Meatpacking District location with a replica of the 10th Avenue High Line stretched along the ceiling of the lounge, bar and full and private dining rooms, where some of the 250 guests face the casino floor.
Signature dishes include the 18-oz. Sherry Brothers Sirloin ($62), 34-oz. Empire Cut of Prime Rib ($59) and 8-oz. Petite Filet Mignon ($55), with popular sides of Grandma Sherry’s Creamed Spinach ($13) and Duck Fat Fries ($13). Top it off with Old Homestead’s World Famous Cheesecake ($13) in classic New York style. To complement the menu, guests can choose among more than 500 selections of wine, drawing from Caesars’ cellars. — Christina Silvestri
Old Homestead Steakhouse, Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Tel.: 877-346-4642, Open Sunday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Web: theoldhomesteadsteakhouse.com.
THE WILDER SIDE
The Mirage hotel is known not only for wrapping its guests in luxury, but also for the wildcats and dolphins of Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Visitors watch dolphins swim, “tail-walk” and perform various tricks in a naturalistic habitat.
For an even more intimate experience, guests can participate in the Trainer for a Day program, which costs $595 for about five hours of play and interaction. After donning wet suits, tourists become trainers and get to swim, take pictures and feed the dolphins.
The grounds also comprise a lush wildcat environment with six different showcases of leopards, lions and tigers. Guests watch the furry beasts pounce and play among the rich foliage to the beat of jungle music. — Sarah Tooker
Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, Mirage hotel, 3400 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Tel.: 702-791-7188, Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Cover charge: Adults $19.95, Web: miragehabitat.com
STEAK YOUR CLAIM
Steve Wynn’s SW Steakhouse offers an American classic in an elegant environment.
Overlooking Lake of Dreams, a 200-foot-wide lake framed by a 105-foot mountain and more than 1,500 trees, SW serves steak-house fare with personal touches from executive chef David Walzog, whose résumé includes The Steakhouse at Monkey Bar and Michael Jordan’s The Steak House NYC.
Starters include crab cakes, foie gras and tuna (from $20 to $25), and entrées feature scallops, lamb chops and chicken (from $37 to $50) for those not interested in steak, as well as rib eyes and dry-aged tomahawk chops paired with lobster tail and crab legs (from $21 to $78).
Executive pastry chef Kimberly Valdez balances savory and sweet flavors in the desserts ($12 and up), offering a selection of treats for those who aren’t too full after a big steak dinner.
Walzog’s creative twists to an otherwise traditional fare earned SW the AAA Four-Diamond award from 2008 to 2011, and the double rib eye was recently featured on Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate.”
The Las Vegas desert and the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright inspire the dining room, designed by Vicente Wolf Associates. SW includes a main dining room, outdoor seating, two private rooms, a bar and a lounge. Reservations are recommended one to two weeks in advance and, despite the swanky interior, the attire is business casual.
Unique to the SW experience, diners enjoy the Lake of Dreams show — beginning after dark and occurring every half hour — which transforms light, water, horticulture, architecture, music and imagery to create a multisensory experience. The seven shows use water effects, light, music, projections, robots, an enormous frog and even a giant head rising from the lake. — Kira Cole
SW Steakhouse, The Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Tel.: 702-770-3325, Hours: Open for dinner service, Web: wynnlasvegas.com