High-end cuisine with comforting familiarity available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at this newer addition to the Caesars Palace restaurant lineup.  

Located in the bustling lobby of Caesars, this offering from James Beard award-winning Chef Michel Richard is a blessing for those looking for high quality gnosh at anytime of the day.  Gayot rated his new Vegas version of his legendary D.C. restaurant of the same name as one of the top ten restaurants in the country this year.  

We experienced it late night after a show, and the first thing that struck me about the place was its prime positioning for a grand view of people watching.  You can either dine inside the restaurant with its bright shiny interior, or choose to sit where we did, at the strategically placed lobby bar, where we could view the tourists in their natural habitat.  Either returning from a night out, or just venturing out for the first time, it was a highly entertaining display that added to the night tremendously.  The next thing that struck me was the quality of service we received.  Our waiter was charming and attentive, and was quick to notice when my companion was not pleased with his order (onion aversion), and promptly removed his dish and immediately took it off our bill.  Hands down, it was some of the best service at a Strip restaurant that I have had in a long time.

Now I have to talk about the food.  Central’s menu is comfort food with an air of sophistication.  If you’ve got non-food-nerd friends, they will feel very at ease with the menu choices, but the food-nerd in you (or in this case, me) will not be disappointed.  The deviled eggs, for example, have that “just like mom made” quality, with a foodie twist of white anchovies as its topping.  The clean, fresh vinegar taste of the white anchovy (not at all the same as its brown, hairy, salt-packed cousin) is a perfect complement to the long Easter dinner staple.  The Matzo Ball Soup came and it was mistakenly switched to the Matzo Onion soup, that we didn’t order.  As I mentioned earlier, the waiter took care of it on the spot, took it off our bill, and brought us the standard Matzo Ball soup, which was the biggest Matzo ball I ever saw, and tasted tender, light, and airy, just the way you’d want it to be.  The Asian Style Tuna Carpaccio was next up (which my waiter was kind enough to split and do an onion version for me, and a non-onion version for my friend (see what I mean about the service?).  It was delicately sliced and seasoned perfectly.  The Rib-Eye with Sautéed Mushrooms was cooked exactly to our specifications and had a perfect amount of char, yet was tender and juicy.  My personal favorite for the night, next to our dessert, was the Crab Burger – crunchy yet tender and topped with a tasty ginger aioli.  Finally, we had to try the legendary signature dessert that Michel Richard is know for – his Chocolate Bar – layers of creamy chocolate, crushed hazelnuts and crispy wafer, served on a bed of heavenly creamy hazelnut sauce.  It was simple flavors with an artful presentation. 

The prices did seem a bit high, but that was hardly surprising, based on its location.  All-in-all, it’s a very welcome concept to have a late-night dining option that isn’t served to you in a greasy paper bag.  

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STRIPLVDINING - EAT by Vegas Food Nerd

STRIPLVDINING - EAT by Vegas Food Nerd


Chef Natalie Young is a veteran of the Las Vegas dining scene – with a big-time upscale dining experience at some of the biggest hotels and casinos here in town. She and her breakfast and lunch spot, located just next to the newly opened Container Park, helped to move the footprint of DTLV farther down the Fremont trail than most expected. Young, along with Zappos trailblazer, Tony Hsieh, helped to get this Downtown resurgence going. Being one of the first to get funding from Tony’s now well-known Downtown project, Natalie sought out her small dining space, to give our city something it was really in need of: a simple, back-to-basics breakfast and lunch joint that feels like it is set in an entirely different location. It is no wonder that, after the hustle and bustle of working in the big casinos, when Natalie was finally at the helm of her own place, Eat, a straightforward comfort cuisine would be the driving force behind her restaurant.

The menu is divided up and states simply what it is. The first section is Sweet and Savory, followed by Savory, Soup, Salad, Sandwiches, Sides, and Beverages. I’ve overused the word, “simple,” now at this point, because there is nothing dumbed down about the flavors and food here. My friend and I decided that one of us would order a breakfast option, while the other would order lunch, giving us a good span of tasting on the menu. Now, before I get to the food, I have to talk about the interior of Eat. It is modern, yet relaxed, with plastic chairs (that are comfortable), sleek white tables, and a black and white wall mural, which reads: “I’ll see you in the flowers.” Its design was reminiscent of a trip I had recently taken to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It didn’t feel like Vegas, and that is a good thing. There are plenty of places that feel like Vegas, so this was a refreshing experience.

The rumor mill about Eat is that Chef Natalie Young makes the best Pancakes in town. So I will have to visit again soon, because we didn’t get to sample them or the homemade Beignets. Wait, why didn’t I try those? It was because the Chilaquiles on the menu were too tempting for me to pass up. And my friend had to have the childhood favorite: Grilled Cheese paired with Eat’s take on Tomato Soup. Let’s get back to those Chilaquiles. The plate was lined with crispy corn tortilla chips, then on top of that was a mixture of red and green New Mexico chilies and melted cheddar cheese. Then, to put the dish wonderfully over-the-top, scrambled eggs are heaped on, followed by a seared turkey, mango, and jalapeño sausage. My transportation back to the fine city of Santa Fe was complete. As for my friend’s selection, which he so nicely offered to share with me, it was just as killer-tasting, as what I ordered. The Grilled Cheese was big and fluffy, served on a Texas Toast type of bread and cooked to a gooey perfection. The Tomato Soup was creamy and seasoned just right. I think it effectively transported him back to his mother’s table for lunch as a kid. It is amazing when people create food that can do just that.

The other part of this restaurant that does not disappoint was the service. The staff was attentive and very friendly. If one of their servers walked by our table and thought that we might need a refill or a dish cleared, they stopped. It didn’t matter whose table was whose. It seemed as if all they cared about was that the diners were happy. And we were. In fact, the only thing that really bummed me out in the whole meal was that I couldn’t eat more. Just going to have to go back – again and again. The restaurant’s website describes Chef Natalie as driven by a lifelong passion for food, excellence, and giving back to her community. All we can say here at STRIPLV is that, “Chef Natalie, we could taste all three! Thanks for all you do.”

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TAKE IT FROM THE CHEF - CHARLIE PALMER - The Architecture of Dining

The Architecture of Dining by Chef Charlie Palmer


Before I became a restaurateur with properties across the country, I was a young chef with only one thing on my mind: opening a Manhattan showcase for my Progressive American cuisine.

Although very much a part of the contemporary cooking scene, I was also still under the influence of my classical training and wanted a restaurant that mirrored the grand style of New York’s legendary French institutions like Lutece, where the great, internationally-recognized Chef Andre Soultner reigned. When I opened the first Aureole just a few steps off Madison Avenue in a turn-of-the-century brownstone (once home to Orson Welles, director and star of the legendary film, Citizen Kane), the intimacy of that townhouse, with its golden glow lighting and lush floral arrangements, became as much a part of the restaurant’s appeal as my signature cooking style.

When the time was right for me to expand into other locations, my experience at Aureole led me to seek out other architecturally notable buildings and historic properties that would add an extra dimension to my restaurants: Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington, D.C. is housed in the rebuilt United Brotherhood of Carpenters headquarters on the National Mall and offers a spectacular view of the majestic Capitol; Hotel Healdsburg is situated on the picturesque town plaza, named by Travel + Leisure magazine one of “America’s Most Beautiful Town Squares” for the stately charm of its redwood trees, fountains and copper roof gazebo; The Mystic Hotel in San Francisco is a rare Victorian-era property in the heart of the city’s busiest neighborhoods—Union Square, China Town, and the Financial District—and just one block off the fabled cable car line. And when I decided to relocate the original Aureole from my landmark townhouse on the Upper East Side, I moved into Mid-Town’s spectacular Bank of America tower at One Bryant Park, the world’s most environmentally-advanced skyscraper.

But perhaps the most interesting property surrounds Charlie Palmer Steak in Vegas. Once just a green valley stopover in the desert for Spanish traders heading West, Las Vegas (Spanish for “The Meadows”) became the largest city founded in the 20th Century with a storied past that encompasses late 19th Century precious metal mining, early 1930’s construction of Hoover Dam and the resultant population boom, and the debut of the country’s first topless showgirls in the 1957 show, Minsky’s Follies.

Today, Vegas retains its frontier town feeling, where the unexpected is still a daily occurrence, and this trailblazing sense of progress is what drew me to make an early investment by opening Charlie Palmer Steak in 1999. At that time, the city was closing out an exciting decade of mega-resort development, along with the completion of the $13 million Las Vegas Strip beautification project (76,000 palms, shrubs, flowering foliage and ground covers were planted), and it was obvious that the dining scene would be an increasingly important part of the revitalization.

With such a rich regional heritage, there was no shortage of historical locations. However, I was drawn to The Four Seasons Hotel for several significant reasons. First, it has a private entrance just a few steps off the city’s real heartbeat (the section of the Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Strip). Once called the Arrow Highway, the Boulevard was the first all-weather road connecting Los Angeles and Salt Lake City and is designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as a National Scenic Byways “All-American Road,” a special category for routes that show a unique, intrinsic combination of natural, cultural, historical, recreational, scenic and archaeological qualities. The Four Seasons was also the first AAA Five Diamond hotel in the city—a rating so prestigious that it was central to the plot of the 2007 comedy heist film, Oceans 13. Most importantly, it was the first non- gaming hotel in the city, a perfect oasis for what I planned: a modern rendition of a Vegas classic—the American steakhouse for the next generation. I decided to lighten the dark wood décor and masculine vibe of the earlier steakhouses by constructing a much more open, warm-toned refuge just off the lobby of The Four Seasons Hotel. Its oak accents and subtle dining room welcome diners, along with cozy banquette seating and a discreet bar area. And the traditional steakhouse menu also underwent an upgrade by augmenting the typical slab-meat style and à la carte side ordering with composed dishes, fresh caught seafood dishes, and lighter fare to round out the offerings.
Our unique location is what balances the old and new, giving you the chance to relax in an intimate atmosphere, only steps away from the blaze of the iconic Vegas Strip. — Charlie

Charlie Palmer Steak • The Four Seasons Hotel 3960 Las Vegas Blvd S. • 702.632.5120 •


STRIPLVDINING - Vintner Grill by Vegas Food Nerd


Upon first arriving at this little Summerlin hot spot, you feel as if you are now privy to a secret dining location.  Located in an office building complex, this restaurant is a lesson in the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover.”  Once you take a few steps inside this place, that from the street looked so boring, it is surprising to discover the cool sophistication that lies within.  The interior and gorgeous patio transport you to a different place that feels more like you are in a swanky southern California Hotel than an office complex in Las Vegas.    Bright airy whites and greens, custom couches, and the outdoor patio which was expertly designed with accents and lanterns so that you don’t even notice that you are sitting right next to the usually traffic-deluged Charleston Boulevard.

Young and up-and-coming Chef Matthew Silverman works some culinary magic at this Summerlin hang, which has a reputation for being “the place” to see and be seen in the area.  His partnering with local restaurant powerhouse creators Michael and Sean Corrigan afforded all of us the opportunity to enjoy his fun eclectic menu, which he says is straightforward American cuisine with Mediterranean influences, creating dishes that are familiar, yet uniquely new to you at the same time.

There were two things that struck me about this place right away.  First off, the guy makes his own cheese, how cool is that?  Goat, Camembert, Stilton, and the oh-so-creamy goat milk feta, which you can sample free of charge during their Happy Hour from 5-6pm.  Next was the gorgeous glass encased wine cellar boasting wines from all over the globe – definitely one of the best I have ever seen off the Strip.

Now on to the food.  The Chef leaves his menu open to variation – sometimes changing it everyday with new offerings based on seasonal foods.  The appetizers were scrumptious.  We noshed on the White Bean Hummus, Short Rib Soup, and the Butter Lettuce Salad with Warm Brie, Fresh Herbs, and an Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Main courses were just as satisfying to our taste buds.  I ordered the Tagliatelli Pasta with Wild Boar Bolognese, Truffle Pecorino, Fresh Nutmeg and Opal Basil, which upon first arriving, wasn’t the most beautiful dish I’ve ever seen, but the flavors all just melted delightfully together.  My friend indulged in one of their Wood-Fired Flatbreads that featured Grilled White Asparagus with Portabello Cream, Fontina, White Truffle Oil and Wild Herbs.  It was a perfect yet sophisticated twist on a traditional dish.  Though, I have long had a love affair with fontina cheese, it just makes everything it tops better.  

The big problem with this otherwise amazing place is the service.  And from numerous Yelp reviews and other friends that have dined there can attest to, the servers seem to care little about pleasing the customer – resulting in long waits: for reservations, food being served to you, and getting your beverage refilled.  It makes me hesitate in making a return trip for just that reason.  I truly believe in supporting our local restaurants, but Vintner needs to step up their game on this, before they lose out to other up-and-comers in the area who truly care about your dining experience.  If you’ve got the time and don’t get as annoyed about that kind of thing, just settle back, revel in the atmosphere, and enjoy this hot spot for celebrity sightings.  


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by Vegas Food Nerd
José Andrés continues to take the world by storm with all of his culinary innovations. When word of China Poblano spread after its opening, I couldn’t help but wonder: A restaurant that combines Chinese cuisine with Mexican cuisine? Sounds weird, right? But I encourage all foodies, food nerds, and (sigh), even the food snobs, to check out this small, yet very cool take on dining. This, like José’s other Vegas outpost, Jaleo, is a small plates and tasting type concept. So think: Tapas with a Chinese and Mexican twist. I am a big fan of… well, pretty much all food in general, so heading over to try this Master Chef’s take on the two was intriguing, to say the least. 

The menu is broken into different sections with snacks, Chinese dim sum, Mexican offerings, and a Mexican drink section, along with a Chinese drink section. If you order one thing from this place, you have to order their Rou Jia Mo Street Sandwich. A fresh steamed bun filled with red barbeque pork is served to you, street style (in a paper wrapper) piping hot. The sandwich melts in your mouth in a truly drool-worthy way. It is one of the best dishes that I have sampled in the last year. My friend who went on this adventure with me couldn’t agree more. If you go to China Poblano and you don’t order this, then I feel sorry for you. After sampling our Chinese offering, it was naturally time to venture over to Mexico and try a Taco or two. We wanted to be adventurous and try the Duck Tongue Tacos that were on the menu, but sadly, on our visit, they were sold out. So we then decided to try the Setas, and the Carnitas tacos. The Setas (wild mushrooms with guacamole) was just incredible. Mushrooms, when cooked just the right way, can have a flavor and texture that is reminiscent of a great cut of beef, and China Poblano’s mushroom tacos were cooked in just that fashion. The Carnitas taco was just as satisfying of a dish. Here they combine braised baby pig, crunchy pork rinds and top it off with a very good spicy green salsa. Also a big thumbs-up in our opinion. 

All the noodles on the menu are handmade in house at this restaurant, so I had to at least order one dish of them to try. I always trust my server on which is best, and our waiter, to my chagrin, suggested we try the “healthy” whole wheat Dan Dan noodles. I am not generally a fan of whole-wheat pasta, but we decided to trust in our guide that night. The noodles arrived steaming hot, topped with a spicy pork sauce with chopped up peanuts throughout. To my surprise, the healthy option was really, really good. It’s always a happy accident when that happens. After all our samplings and a nice shot of Patrón or two, the meal came to a close. The best part of this restaurant, aside from of course how much we enjoyed our food, was the intimacy of the space: small and compact, with two open cooking stations working simultaneously to bring you your food. It made for an entertaining experience all around.

The former chef that helped create this fun and unique place to dine is currently on a culinary adventure of her own. She is traveling the country, based on the choices of the Top Chef production team, and is hoping to make it to the finish line as the next Top Chef. It’s a tough competition, but this girl not only helped to make China Poblano on the top restaurants lists, winning multiple accolades, but she has also been mentored by some of the top culinary stars such as José Andrés, Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy, and Mario Batali – so her chances have got to be better than most. Her “cuisine without borders” cooking philosophy has definitely been embraced by our town, and my taste buds. Good Luck, Shirley! Show Padma what Vegas is all about.

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