10 New Vegas Restaurants; What Will $100 Buy?; Imperial Palace Becoming the Quad; Oktoberfest Kicks Off

10 new must-try restaurants in Las Vegas

by Renée LiButti
Article courtesy of www.blog.vegas.com

As fall approaches, it seems Las Vegas is in the midst of a restaurant renaissance. Innovative eateries are popping up on the Strip and in downtown. In fact, just since August, a plethora of palatable places have opened – and there are more to come in the near future. To help narrow things down so you can decide where to indulge your taste buds, here’s a list of 10 of the most talked about new culinary hotspots this season.

Now open!

1) Allegro
Where: Inside Wynn Las Vegas.
When: Opened Aug. 1, 2012.
What: Chef Enzo Febbraro has taken over the former Stratta space and is dishing up Italian-American favorites that merge Old World and modern day traditions. This casually chic room is perfect for showcasing his rustic, home-style cooking and for having a relaxed, feel-good dining experience.
Top dishes on the menu: Baked lasagna Napoletana and osso buco d’agnello.

2) Firkin Pub & Grille
Where: On Paradise Road across from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
When: Opened August 19, 2012.
What: Las Vegas’ pub scene is booming. This one features fine English fare complemented by more than 42 beers on tap. You can even be your own bartender at the Firkin Draft Wall. There’s also a game room where you can play darts, billiards and shuffleboard.
Top dishes on the menu: Fish ’n’ chips, cottage pie and bangers, beans and mash – not to mention huge burgers and sky-high sandwiches.

3) Culinary Dropout
Where: Inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
When: Opened August 24, 2012.
What:  Foods get modern preparations at this eatery with a rebellious attitude. Created by restaurateur Sam Fox, guests are sure to enjoy the funky hangout’s relaxed ambiance where the staff is uniform-free. Among the highlights is a large marble-topped bar with a charcuterie window, so you can watch as plates of succulent cured meats and artisanal cheeses are assembled.
Top dishes on the menu: Pretzel bites, meatloaf and fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits.

4) Public House
Where: Inside the Luxor (not to be confused with the Public House operating in The Venetian).
When: Opened Sept. 13, 2012.
What: Tracing its roots to the East Coast, this sprawling bar and restaurant offers a warm, friendly atmosphere. The diverse menu carries everything from starters and salads to half-pound Angus burgers and filet mignon sliders. This new location of Public House is also known for its impressive beer selection, the “Happy Hangover Brunch” and numerous big-screens that delight sports-viewing guests.
Top dishes on the menu: Sesame seared tuna, crispy mac and cheese squares, grilled ribeye and pan-seared scallops.

The Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace
5) Bacchanal Buffet
Where: Inside Caesars Palace.
When: Opened Sept. 11, 2012.
What: The resort’s new $17 million all-you-can experience has taken over the 25,00-square-foot space formerly occupied by the Lago Buffet. More than 500 dishes are prepared fresh daily in nine show kitchens by a team of master chefs. The Bacchanal Buffet also boasts three separate element-inspired dining areas.
Top dishes on the menu: With such an overwhelming selection, this is difficult to choose. However, a few standouts are the chicken and waffles, oak-grilled lamb chops, mini soufflés and red velvet pancakes.

6) Eat
Where: On the ground floor of an apartment building located at 707 Carson Ave. in downtown Las Vegas.
When: Opened Sept. 14, 2012.
What: The first small business to come from Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh’s $350 million Downtown Project fund, this breakfast and lunch joint run by chef Natalie Young, who previously worked in the Eiffel Tower restaurant at Paris Las Vegas, offers American cuisine with New Mexican influences and a bit of French flair.
Top dish on the menu: Prime rib hash with Hatch green chilis.

The Seafood Shack at Treasure Island
7) Seafood Shack
Where: Inside Treasure Island.
When: Opened Sept. 16, 2012.
What: Taking over the spot once occupied by the Mexican restaurant Isla, this whimsical eatery serves up fresh catches of the day along with delicious seafood salads and seafood-inspired pastas. Fishing lures and nets as well as crab-shaped chairs and an aquarium are part of the nautical-themed décor.
Top dishes on the menu: Huge shrimp, oysters in the shell and giant lobster tails.

Soon to open…

8) Javier’s
Where: Inside Aria Resort & Casino at CityCenter.
When: Opening in early October 2012.
What: Taking over the Union Restaurant space is this popular Mexican restaurant that comes from Southern California. Discover regionally influenced South-of-the-Border cooking here combined with the largest selection of premium tequilas around. That means the margaritas will be to-die-for!
Top dishes on the menu: Shrimp tacos, Maine lobster enchiladas and mole poblano.


Nobu Matsuhisa, the executive chef of Nobu restaurants
9) Nobu
Where: Inside Caesars Palace.
When: Opening in early October 2012.
What: Preceding the debut of the world’s first Nobu Hotel will be the world’s largest Nobu restaurant and lounge. It will measure 11,200 square feet and seat 327 people. Patrons can expect several new additions to the beloved menu of Japanese cuisine infused with South American and Western flavors.
Top dishes on the menu: Sushi, of course, and this Nobu location will boast teppanyaki tables.

10) Rattlecan
Where: Inside The Venetian.
When: Opening in mid October 2012.
What: This hip, high-energy gourmet burger joint has been named after the spray cans used by graffiti artists. Expect to find several unique installations created by the world’s top graffiti artists. Chef Sam DeMarco designed the menu to complement the tradition of having a beer and a shot. Thus, there will be a large bar stocked with an assortment of craft beers and spirits.
Top dishes on the menu: Pizza nachos as well as the barbecue and Napa Valley burgers.


What will $100 buy in Las Vegas? A few nights at these hotels

By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Artcile courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

The new TV show “Vegas,” set to begin Sept. 25 on CBS, shows Dennis Quaid standing in front of the Golden Nugget, circa 1960s — except it’s a re-creation of the landmark casino on a set in Santa Clarita.

The real Golden Nugget still stands, of course, and offers some amazingly low prices for fall and winter. The Fremont Street lodging and several other hotels are showing rates of $100 or less for a two-night stay.

The deals: Room rates change pretty quickly in Las Vegas, but here’s a sampling of prices I found Wednesday afternoon. Stick to staying Sundays through Thursdays and buying using the website, and you’ll likely find them too. Most of these deals require up-front payment and have zero flexibility, but they allow you to spend your money on blackjack and show tickets rather than a room.

The castle-shaped Excalibur (3850 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) has rooms starting at $36 a night Oct. 8-10 and $29 a night from Nov. 18-21 and Nov. 25-29. I found availability Oct. 8-10 for a room with two queen beds that comes to $72 plus tax and a $15 daily resort fee.

Circus Circus (2880 Las Vegas Blvd. S) has a Fall Escape promotion through Thursday that starts at $26 a night plus tax. I found plenty of availability on midweek dates through the end of the year. I found a room with two queen-sized beds in the Skyrise Tower for $31 a night plus tax and $8.95 daily resort fee.

The Golden Nugget (129 Fremont St.) features $49 rooms Sept. 17-19 and $53 room Nov. 11-13 and Nov. 18-22, excluding tax. I found availability for a room for $49 a night plus tax (no resort fee) from Sept. 17-19 that comes with one king-sized bed or two doubles.

The Plaza (1 Main St. at the Fremont Street Experience) shows rooms priced at $29 a night Oct. 8-10 and $31 a night Nov. 5-8, excluding taxes. I found a two-night stay available for Oct. 8-10 at the $29 rate, plus tax.

Las Vegas deals aren’t all about buffets. Casino-hotels often drop their room rates to ridiculously low prices for midweek stays and on weeks after holidays. New York-New York Hotel & Casino is offering room prices as low as $44 a night, which could make for a crazy cheap Vegas getaway.

The deal: Rooms on selected dates through February start at $44 a night plus an $18 daily resort fee and tax. The deal comes with two-for-one breakfast at the hotel’s Il Fornaio restaurant, and other food and entertainment offers. Book online by checking the calendar that displays room rates by date or call and ask for the code “EBAUG12D.”

When: The offer is good until Sept. 15 for stays now through Feb. 28.

Tested: I found availability for the $44 rate Sept. 3 and 4 (Labor Day and the following Tuesday) when the prior Saturday night rate started at $425 a night; prices exclude tax. I also found the lowest price available Nov. 25 to 29, the week after Thanksgiving. It’s pretty head-spinning to think of staying four nights on the Strip for a base rate of $176.

Contact: New York-New York Hotel & Casino, (866) 298-2027


Imperial Palace is Changing It’s Name

The Imperial Palace is getting a new name. Henceforth, it shall be known as the Quad Resort & Casino.

No, really. Yes, that’s really the name. It will be known as the IP until December, but the new sign won’t go up until they redo the whole Strip facing portion of the property, which should happen some time late in 2013.

So, if you want to get some souvenier Imperial Palace gear, and why wouldn’t you, now is the time to do it. If you want your Quad Resort gear, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a few months. See if you can hold out that long.


Bring on the beer: Oktoberfest 2012 in Las Vegas

by Jorge Labrador, www.blog.vegas.com

Ready for Oktoberfest? The 16-day festival originating in Munich is celebrated all around the world with varying versions and in different parts of autumn. Some even take place in Las Vegas.  We’ve gathered some of the biggest celebrations, but you can always have your own Oktoberfest at any of these Vegas bars.

Oktoberfest kicked off at Hofbräuhaus on Sept. 15.

Hofbräuhaus – Of course, Hofbräuhaus is an important name when it comes to Oktoberfest in Las Vegas, considering their connection to the original Hofbräuhaus in Germany. For the ninth year in a row, the Bavarian restaurant is hosting celebrity keg tappings every weekend through Oct. 27 – which is a bit longer than the official Oktoberfest season, but all the more chances to party like they do in Bavaria. The tappings kicked off this past weekend with legendary magicians Siegfried and Roy and will continue with “Pawn Stars” Corey Harrison, comedian Carrot Top, PBR cowboy Luke Snyder, “America’s Got Talent” winner Michael Grimm, UFC fighter Frank Mir, BMX rider Ricardo Laguna, singer Frankie Moreno, the Chippendales dancers and more.

Every Friday and Saturday through Oct. 27, Hofbräuhaus will also host its first Oktoberfest Stein-Holding Competition, where participants will compete for their chance to win a grand prize of dinner for 10.

Hoptober at The Mirage – Beer aficionados, The Mirage is celebrating your beverage of choice with this month-long celebration. Focusing on craft beers, restaurants and bars throughout the property will have brews from some top breweries in the country: Top Rated, New Belgium, AleSmith and more.  They’ll also feature seasonal offerings and bottles of beer not generally available at The Mirage for the occasion.

Samba will offer a selection of Brazilian beers, Cravings buffet will feature seasonal Oktoberfest and pumpkin ales, and Carnegie Deli will have bottles from New York-based Ommegang.

Each week, kokomo’s and Onda Ristorante will feature a unique four-course menu. These meals include dessert, are paired with a beer and designed to complement the specific cuisine served at both restaurants. The menus are $79 all-inclusive and will be featured on the following dates:

Top Rated Beer

kokomo’s – Tuesday, Oct. 2 – Sunday, Oct. 7

Onda Ristorante – Thursday, Oct. 4 – Sunday, Oct. 7

Samuel Adams Beer

kokomo’s – Tuesday, Oct. 9 – Sunday, Oct. 14

Onda Ristorante – Thursday, Oct. 11 – Sunday, Oct. 14

AleSmith Beer

kokomo’s – Tuesday, Oct. 16 – Sunday, Oct. 21

Onda Ristorante – Thursday, Oct. 18 – Sunday, Oct. 21

New Belgium Beer

kokomo’s – Tuesday, Oct. 23 – Wednesday, Oct. 31

Onda Ristorante – Thursday, Oct. 25 – Monday, Oct. 29

Onda Wine Lounge will be offering free classes to help guests increase their beer knowledge and learn more about brewing, pairings and trends.  The seminars begin at 4 p.m. and seating is limited. The classes, each designed specifically for The Mirage, include:

Saturday, Oct. 6 – Lagunitas and American IPAs

Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13 – The Fine Art of Brewing

Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20 – Beer and Food Pairing

Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27 – New Belgium Brewing and Sour Ales

A look at the 2011 Fall Beer Festival at the Golden Nugget.

Golden Nugget’s Third Annual Fall Beer Festival – Golden Nugget is hosting this on Oct. 19 – 20, kicking off the two-day festival with the All American Craft Beer Tasting sponsored by Samuel Adams, from 7 – 10 p.m.  You’ll have access to more than 120 craft beers and appetizers, with live music and chances to chat with some of the country’s best award-winning brew masters. Each guest will also receive a commemorative glass as a souvenir. Tickets cost $50.

The second day brings on the Oktoberfest Pool Party, sponsored by Paulaner. This one goes on at The Tank, the Golden Nugget’s infamous pool and shark aquarium, on Oct. 20 from 3 – 9 p.m. Admission is free and beer enthusiasts can sample over 150 American craft beers for purchase, with a mix of both current music and traditional German music playing.

Guests attending both events can receive discounted food and beer tickets for the Oktoberfest Pool Party with paid admission to Friday’s event.

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