Las Vegas Trip Report October 2023

I’m in Las Vegas for a few days for a convention. I arrived on a late flight on Thursday and after an incredibly expensive Uber ride finally made it to my hotel in Downtown Las Vegas a little after midnight Friday. I had a late dinner at Saginaw’s in the Circa Hotel, which is open 24/7. Saginaw’s is a Jewish Deli from Paul Saginaw, who is a co-founder of the Zingerman’s Deli chain in Michigan (I haven’t been).

I had a #1 ROYAL FLUSH REUBEN ($22)
Corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss & house-made Russian dressing grilled on rye.
A pretty good Reuben with house made Russian dressing. Substantial but manageable. It came with house made potato chips which were fine, and a large pickle.

Only in Vegas baby.


For lunch on Friday, I went to the Vegas branch of MIZNON in the Venetian, from chef Eyal Shani. MIZNON is a chain of casual Israeli restaurants, with the first location in Tel Aviv.

You order at the counter and they bring your order to you.

I had the Lamb Kebab ($19)
Grilled tomato and onion, tahini, pickles, spicy green peppers
A good nicely cooked juicy lamb kebab sandwich. The best thing about the sandwich though was probably the fluffy pita and the vegetables and pickle. I perhaps should have gotten a veg pita :stuck_out_tongue: It came with a very hot grilled green chili on the side.


I had a second lunch at Estiatorio Milos, also in the Venetian. It is a Greek chain specializing in seafood that has locations around the world.

Beautiful space.

They have a 3 course lunch special for $38 but I thought that would have been too much food, so I spent even more :worried: on a couple of a la carte dishes.

MAGIATIKO, Mediterranean Hunter Fish ($31)
Sashimi or Tartare
I had this as sashimi. It was dressed simply with olive oil, shallots, and diced red pepper. This tasted a lot like hamachi / Japanese amberjack. Nice, but a bit expensive for four pieces.

Paper thin zucchini and eggplant, lightly fried, Saganaki cheese, tzatziki
This is a Milos signature dish, and it was delicious. A fried zucchini tower consisting of paper thin crispy fried zucchini (and eggplant apparently), on top of a creamy peppery tzatziki spread on the bottom, and a couple of pieces of deep fried Saganaki cheese on the side.


I’ve had that Milos Special and it was mind-blowing especially since I think I don’t like zucchini.


I get the same Fried Zucchini and Eggplant stack at Milos in Montreal.

My usual go-to order for 2 people is 4 mezes: the zucchini and eggplant meze, the fried calamari, tomato salad (village salad/horiatiki) and grilled octopus.

If I was dining solo, I would likely order 2 mezes like you did.

I have done a prix fixe in Montreal. It isn’t too much food, but the fish is usually salmon or something fairly ordinary, not one of their special imports.

I prefer shellfish to finfish, and I’ve had a Milos waiter upsell us to a fish that was too big for 2, leading to waste.


The Vegas location has a lunch special for $38 where one can pick an appetizer, a main, and a dessert (with some upcharges if you want their astakomakaronada lobster pasta dish etc.) which is a pretty good deal especially on the Strip. They also have a wine pairing for $19. I’ve had it before and it was quite good, they had a whole grilled dorade as one of the main options.


I had a dinner at the bar at Raku in Chinatown.

Ohitashi ($5)
Spinach with mushrooms, dashi, and katsuobushi. Some cold veggies to start.

Oyaji Tofu ($9.50)
My favorite of their tofu preps, this is a half portion of their house-made tofu, with chives, a chili crisp like sauce with garlic chips, and pickled mustard greens. Mix it up and you have deliciousness.

Katsuo Sashimi ($30)
Katsuo/skipjack tuna/bonito sashimi off the specials board. I thought this was good but not great, meaty but maybe lacking a bit in umami. It came with some grated ginger, some peppery shiso sprouts, and some shirataki noodles.

Yummy Miso Soup ($3.80)
It was indeed yummy.

Matsutake Grill ($26)
Seasonal matsutake mushrooms off the specials board. Good but expensive.

Eringi Mushroom ($4.50)
King oyster/trumpet mushrooms. Buttery and meaty. This was so good, get this if it is available. I liked these even more than the matsutakes.

Asparagus ($3.50)

Tendon / Kobe Beef Tendon ($6.50)
Delicious, a little sticky and meltingly tender. Like beef mochi, with a little crust from the grill.

Foie Gras With Glazed Soy Based Sauce ($19)
Nicely cooked with a sliver of black garlic and a salty sweet sauce. As good as usual.

Wagyu Kushi ($19)
A5 wagyu skewer off the specials board. Delicious and very rich and marbled.

Ikura Bowl ($15)
I finished with an ikura rice bowl - warm rice topped with salmon roe and some shiso and wasabi. Nice briny pops.

Fluffy Cheese Cake ($6)
I would have tried to get dessert at Raku Sweets, but unfortunately they closed earlier this year. So I had Raku’s signature cheesecake dessert instead. Super fluffy, almost like a whipped cream with a little more body. It came with a mug of tea.


Raku is one of my favorite restaurants in Vegas. We don’t really have anything like it in SF, only Rintaro (which is great) comes close IMHNO (in my humble newbie opinion).


Raku looks great.

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That tofu dish was so memorable I can recall it 14 years later. I also recall the king oysters being great. No room for dessert at the time, sadly.

Best meal in town for us that visit - so good, in fact, that my PIC went a few years back while in town for a Travel Channel documentary. He could only snag a rezzie at 5:30pm, but he was glad to get in at all. Guess what he got? The tofu :smiley:


For lunch the next day, I went to Big Dan Shanxi Taste in Chinatown. It’s a hole in the wall with a few tables located inside a supermarket, serving Shanxi cuisine. It was nominated for a James Beard award in 2022.

Shun Fat Supermarket:



I had the Cold noodle w/sesame ($6.99) which was liangpi with I think sesame paste added. This was great! One of the best renditions of liangpi that I’ve had, though I haven’t had that many. Flat noodles, with a tangy slightly sour slightly spicy sauce with some richness from the sesame paste and chili oil. The noodles had a great bouncy texture. There were some cucumber slivers and also spongy wheat gluten that were like sauce sponges.

And a Cumin lamb burger ($7.99) or roujiamo which was also delicious. The bun was nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The lamb and pepper filling was nicely seasoned with a little bit of heat and a good amount of juice/fat that soaked into the bun.

Great lunch!


Next was dinner at Partage, also in Chinatown. I ended up eating in Chinatown a lot this trip. Partage is a modern French restaurant that only serves a prix fixe menu, a 5 course tasting menu for $110, 7 course for $140, and a “signature” tasting menu for $175. There are a few supplements available, and also wine pairings.

Menus - a “surprise” menu as it doesn’t describe the actual courses.

I had the 5 course menu ($110) and also added a foie gras course for $30 more.

They also have a full bar with cocktails. I had a
White Negroni (Chef Yuri’s favorite) ($18)
Citadelle Gin, Luxardo Bianco, Lillet Blanc, Lemon Peel
Which was good.

Dinner started with an amuse bouche - octopus with kumquat sauce on top of a rice cracker. A crispy rice chip topped with tender octopus and a sweet kumquat sauce.

The first appetizer was a very fall themed dish, complete with some autumn leaves as decoration. This was a butternut squash soup that had truffles, walnuts, mushrooms, and a coffee foam. Delicious, the coffee foam was slightly bitter and went well with the soup, which was a little sweet and perfumed with truffles.

For the second appetizer course one had a choice - an egg and truffle dish, or a salmon dish. I had the egg and truffle dish. This turned out to be a poached and then fried egg with a liquid yolk, a brioche toast topped with shaved truffle, chicken jus, and a parmigiano cream. They recommended mixing it all up. This was great! Eggs and truffles are a classic combo. This was a little like a fancy eggs with soldiers.

Next, the foie course. This was a seared piece of foie gras, with a fried dumpling like thing filled with foie, lentils, cornichons, and shallots. Unlike many foie preparations this was all savory and no sweet. Delicious!

Next came the seafood course, which was a piece of branzino topped with a crispy potato crust. This came with a very tender leek topped with leek powder. On the bottom was a cream sauce with parsley. Very good, the fish was very meaty.

And then, the meat course, which was a squab dish. A piece of roasted squab, both breast and leg pieces. The breast was topped with some chopped pistachios for some crunch. At the top of the plate was a fig jam or sauce, and to the side was an eggroll like croquette filled with sweet potato and topped with a white wine gelée. Very good, sweet and savory nicely cooked squab that was not gamy.

Finally, the dessert course. This was a chocolate soufflé on chocolate mousse, with hazelnut ice cream on the side. A very nice dessert and an interesting mix of warm and cold.

And some mignardises - a mandarin tartalette and a chocolate tartalette.

A very good dinner and friendly service at the bar. I’d been to Partage once before a few years ago but didn’t write it up. I thought this dinner was at about the same level from what I remember. Refined cooking and not too bad price-wise, especially compared to some places on the Strip.


That all looks fantastic.

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I’d have been very happy with that meal!

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After dinner at Partage I walked over to the Golden Tiki which is a few shops down in the same strip mall, and had a well-made Painkiller. It was Saturday night and a band was playing.

For a late night snack a few hours later, I walked over from my hotel to Evel Pie, an Evel Knievel themed pizza joint open late on Fremont Street just east of the Fremont Street Experience. It was a short walk from the Four Queens where I was staying. It was quite busy on a Saturday night/early Sunday and there was a short line to get in.

Colorful decor.

I had a slice of the Hog Heaven ($7), which had a pliable thin crust which I think could have benefitted with some more reheating in the oven. The toppings were good though - a sweet BBQ sauce along with pulled pork, bacon, red onion, and smoked mozzarella.


For lunch on Sunday, I went to 8 East, an Asian fusion restaurant in the Circa hotel downtown.

I started with a


Which was very good and came with a thick chunk of freshly fried piece of bacon.

For food:

Which were quite good. I had them fried. Thick wrappers. The sharp horseradish cream went well with the beefy dumplings.


I had this with ground pork. Nice noodles with a sauce that was a little sour and salty. It had some baby bok choy interspersed. I thought this was good but not great, maybe a little too much going on on the plate.



Much thanks for the report. unfortunately i’ll be in vegas in a few weeks and now have some new dishes to try.

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Let’s hope its not during the F1 weekend.

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For dinner on Sunday I went to Kabuto, a small sushi restaurant in Chinatown, in the same strip mall as Raku. It was originally opened in 2012 by Tokyo chef Gen Mizoguchi, who left in 2014 to start Yui Edomae Sushi. They only serve an omakase tasting menu and have two seatings a night.

Minimalist storefront.

Chefs at work.

There were two omakase options available - one for $175 and one for $120. I had the $175 option. YOLO.

Menu - there are also items that one can add on after the omakase.

Assorted Appetizer
Dinner began with some small dishes. Clockwise from the bottom were:

  • Anago / saltwater eel topped with an egg sauce, which tasted like a sweet mayonnaise, caviar, and burdock root, all on top of some julienned cucumber.
  • Hokkaido scallops in a creamy sauce.
  • Shira ae - a mashed tofu salad. This had kelp and herring roe.

All were very good. The scallops were the highlight for me.

Warm Dish
A chawanmushi / steamed egg custard. This had mushrooms, gingko, snow crab, taro, and a citrus rind that I think was yuzu. There was a kind of gelatinous sauce on top. This was a delicious mix of components in a delicate egg custard.

From left to right - chutoro / medium fatty tuna, a kusshi oyster, and buri / yellowtail, served with a 3 year old soy sauce. All were very good. I liked the chutoro the most.

Seasonal Grill
A grilled Pacific lobster tail, topped with a sesame sauce, some little balls (tenkasu?), and a spear of pickled ginger as a palate cleanser. The lobster was sweet and perfectly grilled. The sweet sesame sauce and crunchy balls were a nice accompaniment.

Nigiri Premium Selection
Next came the sushi!

kinmedai / golden eye snapper
seasoned with salt

akami / lean tuna

isaki / three line grunt

aka ebi / velvet shrimp
lobstery, bouncy, sweet, with yuzu zest on top

aji / jack mackerel
topped with ginger and chives, delicious

ikura / salmon roe from Alaska, and uni / sea urchin roe from Santa Barbara
forgot to take a picture of this :frowning: the uni was sweet and fresh

anago / saltwater eel
warm and topped with a thick tare, so good

shima aji / striped jack

akamatsu / blackthroat sea perch
also known as nodoguro, delicious!

otoro / fatty tuna

finally, an egg omelette, sweet and steaming hot

Next was a delicious toro / fatty tuna roll with scallions. Crispy nori.

After the omakase sushi, one could order more sushi off of the a la carte menu. I didn’t add any extra though. For the soup course, we had a choice between a shrimp soup and a mushroom soup. I went for the shrimp. This was a miso soup with a shrimp head. It was good if a little on the salty side.

Dessert Trio
For dessert, a matcha cheesecake, some lychee sorbet, and some fresh fruit dusted with powdered sugar, along with a cup of green tea. Light and refreshing.

This was a delicious omakase dinner. I’m not a big sushi connoisseur but I thought all of the nigiri were very good. The rice was a little above room temperature and had a very good texture. The otsumami dishes were also very good.


For lunch on Monday I went to a couple of Mexican restaurants that are right next to each other, just north of the Strat hotel past the northern part of the Strip.

First, I had a torta at Carnitas y Tortas Ahogadas Guadalajara #2. This is the second location of a small local chain that specializes in tortas ahogadas / “drowned sandwiches” - a delicacy from Guadalajara Mexico which are sandwiches covered and soaked in a red chili based sauce. I had the Torta Ahogada Tradicional (Con Carnitas) ($12.99). This was a delicious sandwich. The sourdough-like hard roll had a substantial crust that held up to the drenching of the sauce, which I think had chili and also tomatoes. It was filled with large chunks of carnitas and some pickled red onion on the side to help cut through the fat.

Next, for dessert I walked next door to Bahamar, a mariscos / seafood restaurant. I just had a Spicy Shrimp Taco ($8) which had a griddled slightly crispy corn tortilla, cabbage, grilled shrimp, melted cheese, pico de gallo, and some thin mayonnaise. A very good shrimp taco.


Correction: the name of the mariscos restaurant in my previous reply is Bajamar, not Bahamar :sweat:

I had a late evening flight back home on Monday, so I had time for an early dinner at Barry’s Downtown Prime, which is a steakhouse from chef Barry S. Dakake in the basement of the Circa Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas.

I sat at the bar watching the Niners lose :worried: on MNF. Barry’s has a swanky looking interior, dark with shiny brass. They even have bathroom attendants.


I started with a very good Old Fashioned

BDTP Old Fashioned ($18)
Bulleit Rye, Chinese 5 Spice Syrup
Chocolate & Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters

For food, I kept it simple and just had a steak. I wanted something dry aged, so I had the 14oz. DRY AGED BONELESS RIBEYE ($78), and a side of MUSHROOMS AND ONIONS ($15), along with a CREAMY HORSERADISH sauce ($5).

The ribeye was very good. It was cooked medium rare as requested and had a nice crusty sear on the top and bottom. Very beefy too, it was a flavorful piece of aged beef. It came with two grilled sweet green peppers. The mushrooms and onions were good too, simply sautéed with a good amount of butter probably. The horseradish sauce added a nice sharp kick to bites of the steak.

In summary, a very good steak dinner at Barry’s Downtown Prime, with Strip prices.

Thats a wrap for this Vegas trip!