Time was you didn’t always find “Las Vegas fine dining” in the same sentence. Fortunately, those days are over!
We were treated to 4 distinctive Las Vegas fine dining experiences during our recent visit. Each restaurant was unique in its own way. From top-rated steakhouses to upscale Italian to a “palace of hunger satisfaction,” our palates were tempted by an intriguing mix of the best each had to offer.
Located in the smooth and silky Aria complex, SHe by Morton’s bills itself as the sexiest of the Las Vegas fine dining experiences on the Strip. The atmosphere in SHe has equal notes of updated and retro. The result is swanky, with just the amount of masculine edge.
The mood continues into the menus. Chef Erich Stecher’s tasting menu included one of almost everything for our party to pass and share. We particularly liked the starter sea bass bites and crab cake minis. Stecher led us into the literal meat of the menu with shareable portions of filet, ribeye and salmon. Complementary sides such as creamed corn or spinach, grilled asparagus, or mini bakers put just a bit of twist on tradition. Desserts come in sufficient variety to please any sweet tooth. We tried a bite or two of the cheesecake, but were too full to continue.
Verdict: Sensuous and swanky vibe with a classical steakhouse menu. Nothing intrusive or intimidating, leaving you free to concentrate on the moment and your companion(s).
UPDATE: Sadly, this restaurant was unable to come to a renewal agreement for their space and has recently closed. 🙁
A whimsical, yet sophisticated, take on Asian decor is your first clue there’s a difference at Dragon Noodle. Billing themselves as a “palace of hunger satisfaction” takes some moxie, apart from more typical Las Vegas fine dining. Dragon Noodle is tucked away off the Monte Carlo casino area, across from the Blue Man Group theater.
Typical Asian specialties are enhanced by signature options in the sushi and dinner menus. Select from an extensive array traditional Hong Kong-style Chinese entrees, sushi, and noodle dishes.
Verdict: We enjoyed a variety of dishes, happily sharing via the center turntable. There should be something for everyone here. Not-unpredictable selections will be familiar to most. Reasonably priced and convenient, generous portions.
The beautiful Palazzo is home to the romantic Grand Canal Shops and Cake Boss Buddy Valastro’s new Ristorante. Buddy V’s is a first foray by the famous baker into a full-fledged restaurant. We arrived for Sunday brunch, which is presented in a home-cooked, Italian family-style series of stations. The decor is whimsical cucina, but not overly cute.
The service at Buddy V’s was spectacular. Our team deftly whisked away empty plates, opened napkins with a flourish, and magically appeared with drink refills. From our initial welcome throughout our visit, every aspect was positive. It was clear everyone worked hard and were proud of the restaurant. It seemed like it would be fun to work with this dedicated bunch.
We chose the frozen Bellini and Bloody Mary from the bottomless libation list. Standouts were baker’s special touches: quite possibly the best crouton ever in the Caesar’s salad, pannetone French toast, and cannoli. Special mention: smoked applewood slab bacon. Verdict: Don’t miss this brunch.
Because the stalwart steakhouse is the backbone of Las Vegas fine dining, competition is brisk. TENDER’s credentials include multiple wine spectator awards and a top ten designation. An online peek at the menu heightened our anticipation.
Upon arrival, stepping into TENDER from the busy Luxor immediately transitioned us into a quieter, elegant atmosphere. The bar has a variety of comfortable seating options. The sunken dining room is designed with intimate spaces which can be curtained off for privacy.
TENDER’s menu could easily claim “most innovative” in the steakhouse classification by virtue of its wild game selections and artisanal ala carte approach. Our group was so chatty I forgot to take photos. Fortunately, there is the internet to show you some of what we ordered:
Verdict: Remarkably creative, but not overpowering, entrees. Choices aimed at traditionalist and adventurist alike. A thoroughly enjoyable experience enhanced with top-notch service. The ala carte menu setup is a little spendy, but TENDER lives up to it. Terrific wine list with knowledgeable recommendations.
There’s something for everybody in today’s Las Vegas fine dining experiences. We were impressed with the wonderful variety of fine dining options Las Vegas has to offer. Many thanks to our restaurant hosts for their special efforts on our behalf.
Please note that we were the guests of Allegiant Travel Company and its business partners on this trip. All opinions and observations in this series are our own.