Category Archives: Las Vegas Restaurants

Milk Bar Opens at Cosmopolitan and It’s the Ideal Time to Lower Your Expectations

There’s a new way to satisfy your cravings for sweets on the Las Vegas Strip, Milk Bar at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.

Milk Bar opened amidst quite a bit of hoopla, but as with too many things in Vegas, the reality veers a bit from the hype.

We popped in to Milk Bar to give it a taste.

Milk Bar Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Bon Appétit named Milk Bar “One of the Most Exciting Bakeries in the Country.” Yet another reason we probably shouldn’t trust the French.

Milk Bar is the brain child of owner and noted chef, Christina Tosi. And by “noted,” of course, we mean we also have never heard of her.

Milk Bar is part of a chain, with seven other locations in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Toronto, which we’re relatively sure is in another country.

Milk Bar Las Vegas

Milk Bar seats three people, so everything is grab-and-go. Like your sister.

Milk Bar is touted as being a “playful, approachable spin on familiar home-style desserts and savory snacks using quality ingredients and locally sourced dairy.”

Because if there’s one thing on your mind when you’re eating fattening treats, it’s where the milk came from.

Here’s a look at the Milk Bar menu.

Milk Bar Cosmo Las Vegas

Nothing says party like a six-inch cake for $56.

We tried a few of the items on the Milk Bar menu, and we can assure you they were all perfectly adequate. Please feel free to use that on your advertising, Milk Bar.

We dove headlong into the soft serve ice cream, and while adorable, it wasn’t anything spectacular. Here’s a look at the Fruity Cereal Milk soft serve with cornflake crunch.

Milk Bar Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

“Soft Serve” was our nickname in college. Long story.

Milk Bar serves four different flavors of soft serve, the aforementioned Fruity Cereal Milk, Cereal Milk, Crack Pie and Sweet Potato Pie.

The stand also offers “MilkQuakes.” They’re basically Dairy Queen Blizzards, but at a Las Vegas Strip price (an absurd $10).

We tried the Birthday Cake MilkQuake. Again, nothing to write home about, but then again, nobody has actually written home since 2004. MilkQuakes flavors include Strawberry & Corn, Crack Pie, Bkfst (sic) and Sweet Potato Pie.

Milk Bar Las Vegas

Milk Bar’s McFlurry was McCeptable.

Milk Bar also serves alcohol-infused “Fancy Shakes,” like the Cereal Milk White Russian, Fancy Fruity Shake and Fancy Chocolate Malt Cake Shake. We’re fairly sure we’ll be back to try one, or all, of those. Because fancy.

At this point, we figured we’d make a Hail Mary to ensure we found something to love, so we tried a cookie. Yes, they’re $3, but certainly a venue known for its desserts would make a killer cookie.

The closest thing we could find to a chocolate chip cookie was the Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookie, and it was spectacularly meh.

Milk Bar Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

We have tried every known cookie in Las Vegas and this was certainly one of those.

What the cookies lacked in succulence it more than make up for by having a metric hell-ton of ingredients.

Milk Bar Las Vegas

Say that five times, fast.

Milk Bar is located on the second level of Cosmopolitan and is open 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily. This information is especially useful if you’re a time traveler.

If you give Milk Bar a try, we’d love to hear what you think, even if you disagree with our infallible opinion.

Milk Bar Las Vegas

When in doubt, merch.

We suspect Milk Bar would fare well anywhere else, but its competition in Las Vegas has set a ridiculously high (wait for it) bar.

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In-N-Out Burger Opens at Linq Promenade and All Is Right With the World

More than a year after we first reported In-N-Out Burger was coming to the Las Vegas Strip, it has. The popular fast food restaurant opened for its first day of business at Linq promenade on Jan. 11, 2017.

In-N-Out Linq Las Vegas

The first non-California location of In-N-Out opened in Nevada in 1992. This one’s the prettier, though.

Just another burger joint in Las Vegas? Uh, no.

The popularity of In-N-Out is the stuff of legend in Sin City, with many visitors considering a stop at the restaurant an essential part of their vacation.

In-N-Out Linq Las Vegas

The first and only time you’ll ever see no line at In-N-Out.

Here’s a quick walk-through of the new In-N-Out at the Linq shopping district.

We’d wager the new In-N-Out Burger location will quickly become the chain’s most profitable, and we did our part during our first visit.

In-N-Out Linq promenade

We let them put the fruit and vegetables on it for the photo. Yes, tomatoes are a fruit. Stop fact-checking our photo captions. You’re not our mom.

The staff was predictably young, friendly and impeccably groomed. In-N-Out gets great talent because, unlikely the majority of its fast food chain competition, it pays team members more than mandated minimum wage guidelines. Managers make in excess of $100,00 a year.

Many of the opening night staff members were employees of other out-of-state locations shipped in to assist with the restaurant’s Strip debut.

The food was just plain delicious, as always. Context: Every other burger in the neighborhood is $12, at least.

In-N-Out Linq Vegas

Yes, there’s a bit of a price bump compared to other locations in Las Vegas. Not too surprising given the primo location.

The Strip’s first In-N-Out is located by the mall’s fountains, between Flour & Barley restaurant and Sprinkles Cupcakes. When you’re ready for dessert, check out the cupcake ATM just a few feet away.

Thanks to the Linq for turning off the fountains so we could take a photo with a pretty reflection.

In-N-Out Linq promenade

None of the food served at In-N-Out travels more than 500 miles to any restaurant location. Sorry, east coast, not happening.

The restaurant seats about 150 people inside, and a patio holds another 90 or so. In-N-Out Burger is going to need every seat it can get.

It’s no secret In-N-Out prints bible verses on some of its packaging. Chill out, it’s just a cup.

In-N-Out bible verse

We don’t know who this John guy is, but he makes a kick-ass burger and fries.

In-N-Out’s hours of operation at Linq promenade are Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.

In-N-Out Las Vegas

Are you listening, Chick-fil-A? Open on Sunday!

In-N-Out joins a host of great dining options at Linq promenade, and is sure to give them a run for their money.

It’s elevated fast food, with reasonable prices and flawless, friendly service, and the restaurant is sure to be a much-needed draw for the mid-Strip mall. It’s been estimated 20 million people walk by the Linq pedestrian mall every year, and now they have an even better reason to stay awhile.

Let’s eat something, already, Animal Style.

In-N-Out Linq Promenade

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Serendipity 3 Closes at Caesars Palace to Make Way for New Gordon Ramsay Restaurant

It appears the plug has unceremoniously been pulled on Serendipity 3 restaurant at Caesars Palace. And if you’ve ever had your plug pulled, even ceremoniously, you know how awkward that can be.

Serendipity 3 restaurant closed on Jan. 2, 2017.

It’s been reported the space will be overhauled and become home to a new Gordon Ramsay restaurant concept, his fifth such partnership with Caesars Entertainment on the Las Vegas Strip.

Serendipity 3 closed

We keep telling you not to get emotionally attached to things.

No specifics are available about the new Gordon Ramsay offering, nor has the new restaurant been officially announced.

Serendipity 3 opened in April of 2009 and was expanded significantly in late 2013.

The closure of Serendipity 3 means the demise of the restaurant’s $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae and what was the largest menu in Las Vegas and possibly the Western hemisphere. At one point, the menu boasted 116 items. Seriously.

Serendipity 3 Las Vegas closed

Security breaches are so much more fun when it’s something about to open rather than just closed.

As the Serendipity 3 era ends, so too does a good deal of drama around the restaurant.

In August 2016, the restaurant’s owner, Rowen Seibel, was jailed for hiding about a million bucks from the IRS.

Serendipity 3 closed

Our money’s on Gordon Ramsay keeping the patio. It’s a summertime goldmine.

The WTF twist here, of course, is that Seibel is a former business partner of (wait for it) the aforementioned Gordon Ramsay. He was involved in several of Gordon Ramsay’s establishments in Las Vegas, and the two had a serious falling out.

Caesars Entertainment has no doubt been looking for a way to extricate itself from any entanglements with Seibel, and it appears handing over the reigns of the Serendipity 3 space to
Gordon Ramsay is the way of choice.

We have no idea what will become of the restaurant’s Tiffany lamp. The lamp made its debut in 2014.

Serendipity 3 closed

It’s lights out for Serendipity 3 at Caesars Palace.

It’s unknown whether Caesars will continue to operate both Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill and the new Ramsay concept. The hotel’s Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill tends to get lukewarm reviews, as opposed to the glowing ones for BurGR at Planet Hollywood, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris and Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips at Linq, so it might be time to change things up.

It would be awesome for Caesars Palace and Las Vegas if Ramsay were to tape a future “Hell’s Kitchen” season at his new restaurant in the Serendipity 3 space, but that remains to be seen, donkey.

What, you expected us to write an entire story about Gordon Ramsay without a single reference to “donkey”? Do you know this Las Vegas blog at all?

Update (1/5/17): Caesars Entertainment says the Serendipity 3 space will re-open as Stripside Cafe & Bar. The company hasn’t confirmed or denied the involvement of Gordon Ramsay in the new restaurant.

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Virgil’s Real BBQ Debuts at Linq Promenade

The Linq promenade in the center of the Las Vegas Strip has a new restaurant offering to add to its already strong line-up, Virgil’s Real BBQ.

Virgil's Real BBQ

Let’s smoke something.

Virgil’s comes from a company called Alicart, the folks behind Carmine’s, an excellent Italian restaurant in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

The original Virgil’s opened in 1994 in Times Square in New York City.

Virgil’s Real BBQ takes over the space formerly occupied by the F.A.M.E. Asian food court at Linq promenade, a shopping center between the Flamingo and Linq hotels.

Virgil's Real BBQ

Virgil’s is a spacious, two-level venue, seating around 450 people, most of them wishing they’d been seated farther from the band. Related: Get off our lawn.

There are two bars at Virgil’s, and the full menu is available at the bars, which works well for solo diners.

We tried the Virgil’s Old Fashioned, mainly because Virgil’s doesn’t serve Captain Morgan. As you might suspect, that’s a cardinal sin in our book, but we forged ahead. The things we do for you.

Virgil's Real BBQ

The Old Fashioned comes in a “flask” customers can keep. We’re still a little foggy on how a flask is different from a bottle.

So, how’s the barbecue at Virgil’s? Well, it didn’t blow us away, but we aren’t a barbecue expert.

Las Vegas is notoriously weak in the barbecue realm, and we suspect Virgil’s won’t do much to move the needle in that regard.

The official Web site for Virgil’s says the “meats are smoked at a low temperature over indirect heat for up to 10 hours with a unique mix of hickory, oak and fruit woods in order to impart the most flavor and to keep the meat from drying out.” We’ll take their word for it.

Virgil's Real BBQ

Yes, there are vegan and vegetarian options, but let’s get real, it’s not about the veggies.

The big selling point of Virgil’s is that it pulls together local styles of barbecue, such as Texas beef brisket (the high point of our meal), Carolina pulled pork and Memphis pork ribs and chicken.

Portions are ample, and there’s a healthy selection of about 10 sides, including baked beans, cole slaw, cheddar cheese grits, pickled beets and the like. We tried the buttermilk biscuit and mac and cheese, and neither were particularly memorable.

Virgil's Real BBQ

The bar for mac and cheese in Las Vegas is very high, so this falls firmly in the “meh” category.

The Virgil’s menu features salads, burgers, sandwiches and a solid roster of appetizers, including chicken wings, “Trainwreck Fries,” crab cakes, popcorn shrimp, onion rings and Texas chili.

The food prices aren’t outrageous for mid-Strip, with combination platters providing some of the best values. Our “Pick 2” combo, with “Trash Ribs” and sliced Texas beef brisket (along with two sides) ran us $24.95, and could’ve easily fed two people.

The drink menu is strong on variety, serving up whiskey drinks, “Porch Rockers,” margaritas, slushies and other tourist-friendly libations. Most drinks run in the $12 range. Our Old Fashioned was $15.

Virgil's Real BBQ

A little second floor action.

The service wasn’t stellar at Virgil’s, and at the bar it took ages to have our plate taken away after we finished dining. The food also wasn’t piping hot, possibly caused by some confusion about where the food was supposed to be delivered. The restaurant is still new, so it’s possible some of those service issues will be hammered out in the weeks to come.

As for the atmosphere, Virgil’s had live music during our visit, of which we are not a personal fan. We know, everyone loves live music, everywhere. It helps avoid having to “converse,” we get it.

Thankfully, Virgil’s is so big, you can make your way to the far end of the place (or upstairs), so it’s not as intrusive.

Virgil's Real BBQ

Virgil’s is so big, it’s like four restaurants, and two bars, in one. It’s important to always have an emergency back-up bar.

Virgil’s is yet another restaurant that’s fallen victim to the practice of having rock-hard chairs, making it clear you’re not expected to hang out for too long.

Overall, Virgil’s should fare well at Linq promenade. It’s not destination dining, but the liquor is strong and the food is adequate. Which is probably not a blurb they’ll be using in their advertising anytime soon.

Virgil's sign

We stand corrected.

If you’ve tried Virgil’s and had a great experience, please share. We’d love to hear about your experiences with their meat.

Virgil's Real BBQ

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Like a Swift Kick, Glutton Closes in Downtown Las Vegas

We recently heard and shared rumors Glutton restaurant was closing downtown, but we’ve been in denial ever since. Now, we can confirm the popular eatery has served its final Brown Butter Gnocchi. Curse you, Capitalism.

Glutton opened on April 10, 2015. It’s last dinner service was Dec. 18, 2016.

Glutton

Downtown just got a little sadder, and a little hungrier.

Glutton was a key player in the downtown restaurant boom, along with VegeNation, Itsy Bitsy Ramen & Whiskey (which recently closed its kitchen), Therapy, PublicUs and others.

Glutton’s chef and owner was Bradley Manchester, who earned his culinary chops overseeing five restaurants at Red Rock Resort as well as serving on the opening team for Cosmopolitan.

Glutton consistently delivered delicious, creative food at a reasonable price, and it will be sorely missed.

Glutton

Happy trails to you, until we eat again.

We hope the crew of Glutton will transition into other positions quickly, as the holidays are an especially difficult time to be pounding the pavement.

There’s no word yet as to what might replace Glutton, and at the moment, it’s difficult to imagine what could.

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 36: “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream,” Virgil’s Real BBQ, Hugo’s Cellar and More

It’s another girthy installment of the Las Vegas podcast earlier generations would’ve burned at the stake for being a witch. Or something.

In this episode, we gush over our latest favorite Las Vegas show, “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” at Planet Hollywood. We also wonder how this enchanting, imaginative show has managed to fly under the radar since it opened in July 2016.

We’re calling “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” one of our favorite things of the year, a show that’s part Cirque, part magic, part mentalism, part “How in the holy hell did he do that?”

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

We welled up at the sheer creativity of “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream.” And we don’t well. We are not a weller.

Naturally, we expel some juicy Vegas rumors, dive headlong into a perfunctory round-up of Sin City news and wrangle another “Listicle of the Week.”

We also provide a shower of pith about the just-opened Virgil’s Real BBQ at Linq promenade and our first visit to a Las Vegas institution, Hugo’s Cellar at Four Queens.

Hugo's Cellar

Remember when classy Vegas restaurants used to prepare salads table side? Neither do we. It’s one of the things that makes Hugo’s Cellar a stand-out.

Hike up your casino nerd pants and get some inside skinny from Rob Baker of Tre Builders, the guy coordinating all the upgrades at The D Las Vegas.

For all that and much, much less, put some Vegas in your ears, already.

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