Category Archives: Las Vegas Restaurants

Diablo’s Cantina at Monte Carlo Expected to Close in 2017

While it hasn’t been officially announced, word has it Diablo’s Cantina at Monte Carlo, a popular Las Vegas Strip fixture, will close in April 2016.

The restaurant and bar is likely to be replaced with another venue more in line with the Monte Carlo’s rebrand to Park MGM in 2017.

Diablo's Cantina Las Vegas

“Diablo” is the Spanish name for the devil. The devil also goes by Beelzebub, Lucifer, Satan and Criss Angel.

It’s possible Diablo’s Cantina may not go away completely. There have been discussions internally about moving the establishment to a vacant spot in the nearby Park promenade, a restaurant row near the T-Mobile Arena.

Diablo's Cantina

Oh, hey.

Diablo’s Cantina’s two-story, Mexican restaurant and bar concept may have been deemed too rowdy for Park MGM’s new, higher-end vibe which employees have described as aspiring to be “more along the lines of Aria.”

Read more about the Monte Carlo rebrand to Park MGM.

Diablo's Cantina wheel

If you’re a fan of Diablo’s Cantina, its margaritas and “Wheel O’ Sin,” you may want to stop by before April.

As we said, this closure hasn’t been confirmed, but it would be wise to drink up while you can.

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Taco Bell Cantina Hits Jackpot on Las Vegas Strip

Taco Bell Cantina has opened on the Las Vegas Strip, and the place has been blowing up since day one. In the “slaying” way, not the Homeland Security way. Don’t make it awkward.

Taco Bell Cantina Las Vegas

Taco Bell restaurants serve more than two billion customers a year, and boy are their brazos tired.

The new restaurant is the fourth Taco Bell Cantina, and the 7,000th Taco Bell. The opening of the restaurant coincided with the company’s launch of a new logo, the first time the logo has been revamped in 25 years. In other words, longer than the entire lifetime of its average customer.

Taco Bell Cantina Las Vegas

The new Taco Bell is prominently featured on the restaurant’s second floor, home to lots of young people discussing the importance of being on fleek.

The Las Vegas Taco Bell Cantina is located at Harmon Corner, home to one of the best restaurants in the world, Twin Peaks, as well as Rainforest Cafe. It’s across the street from Cosmopolitan. The location is a little tricky, but that doesn’t seem to be deterring the massive crowds.

Taco Bell Cantina on the Las Vegas Strip features tapas-style plates (exclusive to Cantinas) meant to be shared with your crew. Or, alternatively, your squad.

Taco Bell Cantina Las Vegas

All Tex-Mex food is some combination of tortillas, meat, cheese and lettuce. So, throw a dart.

During our visit, the place was absolutely packed, mostly with millennials. We asked an employee about the crowds, and she said, “It’s been like this since we opened, all day and night, and we never close.”

Translation: Taco Bell Cantina is printing money, and a big part of that relates to the hooch.

Taco Bell Cantina Las Vegas

We are not making this up. It’s crushing it.

A centerpiece to the restaurant is a “Freeze” wall offering up a variety of slushies.

The eight flavors are margarita, cola, pina colada, lemonade, orange, Baja blast, cherry and blue raspberry.

Taco Bell Cantina Las Vegas

Hooch, with a twist.

Once you choose your flavor, you choose a liquor to add: tequila, rum, vodka, whiskey or spiced rum.

Taco Bell Cantina Las Vegas

Drinking a slushie is like catching an Uber to our happy place.

The Freezes, with liquor, run $9.99 for regular and $14.99 for a Souvenir Twisted Yard. That’s significantly less expensive than other slushie offerings nearby, so the price point, in combination with cheap, familiar food, has quickly made Taco Bell Cantina a go-to spot for satisfying, and fueling, one’s drunchies.

There’s also beer, if that’s more your speed. The beer glasses fill up from the bottom. It’s fun.

Taco Bell Cantina Las Vegas

How do beer glasses fill from the bottom? Fridge magnets. Consider it a free keepsake after you down your brew.

Taco Bell Cantina is a big space, including a patio and upper floor which has a DJ booth. Because in Las Vegas, it’s the law.

There’s a patio with ample space to Netflix or chill or whatever the kids are doing now. Smashing. That’s a thing, right? Hey, the news release said “Taco Bell is going all in,” so, the kids are obviously not the only ones smashing.

Taco Bell Cantina Las Vegas

The two-story Taco Bell Cantina is a Taco Bell on steroids. Sorry, “esteroides.”

Taco Bell Cantina may just hit the spot during your Las Vegas Strip adventures, and casino owners would do well to observe the legions of young customer flocking to the establishment.

Taco Bell Cantina Las Vegas

These pub-inspired soda taps make it so children can pretend they’re about to embark on a Las Vegas escapade.

In Vegas, it’s not always about winning a James Beard Award, it’s about winning hearts and dollars.

Taco Bell Cantina





















Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Pete Rose Bar & Grill Is Out, Heart Attack Grill Is In

Nobody saw this one coming, but the former Pete Rose Bar & Grill on the Las Vegas Strip will soon be replaced by Heart Attack Grill.

The Pete Rose Sports Bar & Grill opened in Oct. 2015, but struggled almost immediately. In Aug. 2016, Rose’s name was unceremoniously removed from the restaurant’s signage, and business ties with the slugger were severed.

The restaurant was stripped of its baseball theme and continued to flounder, until finally being euthanized this week.

Heart Attack Grill Strip

Easiest “Wheel of Fortune” puzzle, ever.

The new Heart Attack Grill, located in the Hawaiian Marketplace shopping complex, near the closed Harley-Davidson Cafe, will be the restaurant’s second location in Las Vegas.

The original Heart Attack Grill is a fixture at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas.

The new restaurant is festooned with a sign reading, “Now hiring hot nurses.”

Heart Attack Grill Strip

We honestly can’t decide which turns us on more, “hot nurses” or the word “festooned.”

Heart Attack Grill is one of the most WTF-infused restaurants in all of Las Vegas. Customers must wear hospital gowns, and waitresses dressed as nurses paddle guests if they’re unable to finish their burgers.

One of Heart Attack Grill’s signature offers is customers who weigh 350 pounds or more dine free. And, yes, people have died of “apparent heart attacks” at Heart Attack Grill.

No opening date for the new Heart Attack Grill has been announced, but a good deal of work has already been done to the restaurant’s interior.

Heart Attack Grill Strip

This venue needs an infusion of profitability, stat. Or something.

While we’ve never eaten at Heart Attack Grill, we’ve always enjoyed the restaurant’s playful irreverence. We’ve just never been able to tell if the humor is tongue-in-cheek or not.

Heart Attack Grill

Sort of on board with this one.

Thanks to alert reader Jeremiah for sharing this scoop.

Las Vegas is full of surprises, and we’ll keep a close eye on the new Heart Attack Grill. Because you never know what might be festooned next.

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

15 New Things in Downtown Las Vegas Since Your Last Visit

We may spend a wee bit too much time in downtown Las Vegas, partially because we work there (at Fremont Street Experience), but also because we like our Vegas cheap, lucky and occasionally semi-nude.

There is some benefit to our chronic infatuation with downtown, however, as we’re uniquely qualified to share all that’s new in Glitter Gulch. Which we’re using generically to mean downtown, as the actual Glitter Gulch (the strip club) has closed. See? Things move fast downtown, so here’s what’s new since your last Vegas visit.

1. Turmeric Flavors of India

This new Indian restaurant is in an odd location, and completely worth finding. Turmeric Flavors of India sits across from the Downtown Container Park and serves up traditional flavors with a French presentation. A welcome addition to the downtown dining scene.

Turmeric Fremont Indian

Too pretty to eat? You’ll get past it.

2. Evel Pie

This throwback restaurant has a charming, relaxed vibe and delicious, cheap pizza. At Evel Pie on Fremont East, you can get a beer and slice for $5 at lunch, play classic arcade games and check out tons of Evel Knievel memorabilia. If you’re not sure where everything is on Fremont East, we’ve got this.

Evel Pie

There’s a happy hour, too, with $3 well drinks. Sold.

3. Freedom Beat at Downtown Grand

Out with Stewart + Ogden, in with Freedom Beat. It’s a music venue during the evenings, with a solid menu, including deep friend Twinkies, in case you’re craving them now that Mermaids has closed on Fremont Street.

Freedom Beat Downtown Grand

Freedom Beat’s menu was developed by Chef Scott Commings, season 12 winner of Gordon Ramsay’s reality TV hit, “Hell’s Kitchen.”

4. Wana Taco at Four Queens

Four Queens has rolled out a pop-up taco stand that suits the Fremont Street mojo (drunken revelry) to a tee. The tacos are quite satisfying, and the only downside is there are no beverages sold at Wana Taco. Thankfully, there’s an outdoor bar nearby. It’s Fremont Street, after all.

Wana Taco Four Queens

The tacos at Wana Taco are surprisingly good, about on par with the excellent Taqueria El Buen Pastor just across Fremont.

5. Redwood Steakhouse

This one isn’t entirely new, but it sure looks that way. Redwood Steakhouse at the California recently underwent a major renovation. New look, new menu and there’s an adjoining bar with a great happy hour.

Redwood at The Cal

Redwood Steakhouse features “handsomely detailed, carved-walnut pilasters.” We’re not taking the time to look up “pilasters,” so you’re on your own.

6. Holo Holo Bar

The Cal takes up three spots on this list of new downtown things, including the new Holo Holo bar. The Holo Holo bar takes the place of the hotel’s San Francisco Pub, as The Cal continues to hone in on its key customer base, visitors from Hawaii. Holo Holo means “Let’s go!” in Hawaiian slang. The drinks are cheap and the video poker is plentiful.

Holo Holo Bar at California

The Cal has spend millions renovating its rooms and casino, and we’re focused on a bar. Telling.

7. Cal’s Sports Book and Lounge

The California went all out for its new sports book and lounge. The venue is just off the main casino floor (replacing the tired second floor sports book), and has ample seating and hooch.

California sports book bar

We like it, despite the sports.

8. Fremont Arcade

This new diversion has breathed new life into Neonopolis, the much-maligned shopping center wherein Heart Attack Grill and Denny’s reside. Fremont Arcade has a number of rare and custom pinball machines, and it’s a great way to spend some time for a fraction of what it costs to gamble.

Fremont Arcade

Several of the limited edition pinball machines at Fremont Arcade cost $10,000 or more, so be gentle.

9. Neonopolis eSports Arena

We rolled our eyes when we heard an eSports Arena was opening at Neonopolis, but we stopped by during an event and it’s sort of a thing. Hundreds of people showed up to watch competitive video game playing. We’re still rolling our eyes, but that doesn’t make it any less a thing.

Neonopolis eSports Arena

Yes, there was even a girl.

10. Binion’s Charger Stations

Kudos to Binion’s, not exactly known for being particularly innovative, for installing phone charging jacks at every single chair at every one of its casino table games. You can’t have the phone on the table, but you can set it on your lap as you charge the device and play. There’s another, less pleasant thing at Binion’s, too, unfortunately. Binion’s (along with its sister casino, Four Queens) has converted pretty much all its blackjack games to 6-to-5. A true shocker given its hallowed history as a place that catered to gamblers.

Binion's charging station

Yes, at every seat. Bring your own cord, or they’re for sale in the gift shop.

11. Hennessey’s Pint Glass

For some time, Hennessey’s Pub has boasted what’s billed as the “World’s Largest Pint Glass.” When you visit again, however, that pint glass will look more like a mug. The pint is being rebranded to promote Not Your Father’s Root Beer. Progress has been slow, but it’s happening, and the structure will get a “handle” to complete the motif.

Hennessey's root beer

This isn’t the first time somebody’s taken a mug shot downtown.

12. Red

Red is a bit of a head-scratcher, but it’s new and it’s open! Red took over the space formerly occupied by Insert Coins, and it’s sort of a bar that aspires to be a nightclub, but without the pretense and $500 bottles of Gray Goose. Red had some trouble with its sign (it didn’t pass inspection), so most folks don’t even realize it’s there. If you stop in, feel free to dance like nobody’s watching, because from what we’ve seen, nobody is.

Red Fremont Street

The folks behind Red say a remodel is planned for 2017, and describe it as a “sports bar by day, nightclub by night.”

13. Coffee Stand at The D

We are not a coffee person, but apparently some people are really into it. The D recently opened a pop-up coffee stand that features Zingerman’s coffee, whatever that might actually be. The stand opens at 6:00 a.m. and is rolled away by noon each day. It’s located near the hotel’s registration desk, and here’s the full menu.

Coffee stand at The D

If you’re not a coffee person, the stand also serves iced drinks, expresso drinks, blended drinks and smoothies.

14. Big Rig Jig

This awesome art piece is a little like a human centipede but with trucks. Big Rig Jig is an eye-catching photo op, so if you’re feeling bold (it’s in a not-so-great area, but you’ll be fine during daylight hours), seek it out and behold a wonder of WTF. If you’re interested in more weird photo ops in Las Vegas, we’ve wrangled 25 of them.

Big Rig Jig

Big Rig Jig is located in the courtyard of the closed Fergusons Motel. Like that helps.

15. Eclipse Theaters

We’re not sure who was clamoring for a luxury movie theater downtown, but Eclipse Theaters has opened, anyway. Movies are $18 (stop clutching your chest, it’s embarrassing), but offers chef-catered meals, pre-assigned, reclining seats and hooch. If we’re paying $18 for a movie ticket, there had better be procedures in place to deal with idiots talking or using their phones, or we’ll be looking for a bail bondsman. Thankfully, the neighborhood is teeming with them.

Eclipse Theaters Las Vegas

We can’t wait to drink, eat and movie here, especially that first thing.

Oh, and here’s another something new in downtown Las Vegas. The Harley-Davidson retail store has closed. That’s not really the new part. The retail store has been emptied. Which still isn’t the new we’re talking about. What’s new is that by the next time you visit downtown, it is likely to have a new White Castle. No, really. The White Castle on Fremont Street is expected to open in early 2017.

Harley White Castle Fremont

The Harley-Davidson store has a sign that says, “Closed for renovations.” True, sorta.

That just about covers it. Las Vegas is always racking its brain to come up with newer and bigger and differenter. Which is possibly not a word, but Las Vegas doesn’t live by society’s rules.

If you stumble upon new things downtown, or on The Strip for that matter, we’d love to hear about them. Especially if they’re imbibable. Again, possibly not a word, but it certainly should be.

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Lago Restaurant at Bellagio Is What Makes Vegas Vegas

When you think about quintessential Las Vegas experiences, Lago by Julian Serrano at Bellagio has to be on the list.

Lago made its debut at Bellagio resort in Las Vegas on in April 2015, and we finally got around to giving it a try. From the view to the cocktails to the food and service, Lago exemplifies all the things Vegas gets right, and why Sin City continues to be an unmatched travel destination.

Lago at Bellagio

Let’s drink and eat and ogle dancing fountains, but mostly that first thing.

We are not a food expert, so we have no idea who Julian Serrano is, but we love his restaurant and bar. Emphasis on bar.

We’d heard about the great dining at Lago, but the signature cocktails made our visit utterly unforgettable.

Lago cocktail

Let’s start with the Rosso Bellini, topped with a “Golden Caramel Nest.” It’s so pretty, you’ll be tempted to not eat it, which would be a crime against caramel. And nests.

Most of the signature cocktails at Lago are in the $16-20 range, so if you’re looking for cheap hooch, this isn’t the place. This is the place, however, for delicious temptations prepared expertly by a team of bartenders who can truly call themselves “mixologists” without irony.

We loved every single concoction we tried, and every single one more than qualified as Vital Vegas-certified panty-dropper cocktails. Which is not an actual designation, but probably should be.

Our dinner companion not only agreed about the cocktails, but added, “It’s not just the cocktails, this whole place is a panty-dropper.” Duly noted.

The Smoked Peach Margarita is pictured below, with hand-selected Herradura Double Barrel Reposado tequila, house-smoked Pallini Peachcello liqueur, lime juice, vanilla-thyme syrup and a smoked sea salt rim.

Lago at Bellagio

This cocktail gets our vote for most adorable accessory, Mezcal peach compote in a sea salted-lime agave cone.

Lago has the added benefit of having spectacular views of the famed Bellagio fountains.

It’s well worth dining off hours just to be ensured you can request a lakeside table. They run the length of the restaurant indoors, and there are a few choice tables on the restaurant’s patio. Even when it’s brisk out, heaters make it perfectly comfortable to dine outside.

Lago at Bellagio

A tip can help facilitate a seat overlooking the Bellagio, but it’s not required. Just arrive early for your reservation and let the staff know you’re willing to wait for a prime spot.

The Bellagio fountain shows run every 15 minutes, and they are glorious no matter how many times you have have seen them before.

While the view of the fountains is great facing Bellagio, they’re also spectacular with The Strip in the background, including Bally’s (trees perfectly block the view of the CVS), Paris Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood.

Lago at Bellagio

It doesn’t get any more Vegas than this without rhinestones and tassels.

There’s a certain revelry among your fellow diners when the fountain shows begin. Lago is a hit with international visitors, so you’re likely to hear them singing along with Celine as she belts out “My Heart Will Go On” or Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli sing “Time to Say Goodbye.”

Lago is an Italian restaurant, and if you’re a world traveler you’ll know that right off the bat when you see the restaurant’s colorful entrance. The mosaic design was inspired by an aerial map of Milan, which we’re fairly sure is a city in Italy. We are American, so our knowledge of other countries isn’t what one would call on point.

Lago at Bellagio Las Vegas

We would not have guessed “roadmap of Milan,” but we don’t get out much.

We do, however, know Lago restaurant serves up a variety of creative dishes sure to satisfy those who love the classics (that would be us) as well as foodies interested in sophisticated, elevated takes on 21st century Italian cuisine (everybody else).

Start off with some fancy cheese, the Burrata. Burrata’s outer shell is mozzarella, and the inside is a mixture of stracciatella (made from Italian buffalo milk in the province of Foggia) and cream, which gives it a soft, spreadable texture. Burrata, by the way, is Italian for “buttered.”

All of which serves to remind us it’s often as important to know how about Google than food.

Lago at Bellagio

Insider tip: If you’re trying the Burrata, also ask for an order of “carta” bread. “Carta” means envelope in Italian, and the bread is paper thin (like an envelope, presumably), a perfect complement to the cheese.

The focus on small plates at Lago means the dishes are meant to be shared, so order away.

We also tried the Polpette di Carne, or tomato braised beef meatballs. They weren’t as good at the meatballs at Pizza Rock, but that’s an impossibly high bar.

Lago at Bellagio

Meatballs, or polpette, are rarely if ever served with spaghetti in Italy. You’ll survive.

Two dishes in,  it’s time for another incredible signature cocktail, the Sicilian Gin and Tonic. This tempting libation has Bulldog dry gin, San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa, Kaffir lime leaf, blood orange pearls and diamond ice.

Lago at Bellagio

We were going to make a blood orange pearl necklace joke, but didn’t want to ruin the moment.

Next up was the cannelloni, with pulled short ribs, parmesan fonduta and tomato sauce.

Lago at Bellagio

Some Italian enchilada action.

Rounding out our meal was the Al Cipollotto E Speck. For us commoners, that’s a small pizza with pork (the speck part), buffalo ricotta and cipolline onions.

Lago at Bellagio pizza

If you call them “pizzettes,” there are no calories. According to experts we just made up.

Small plates are surprisingly filling, yet despite that, we’re always up for dessert.

We wrapped up our tour of Milan with Dujotto, with vanilla cremeux, Gianduja mousse, caramelized hazelnut, chocolate financier and nocciola gelato.

Lago at Bellagio dessert

You could spent the next 20 minutes looking up all those terms, or just trust us when we say it’s worth saving some room.

Our excellent waiter, Fabio, twisted our arm into having another dessert, Cermino al Carmello, with chocolate mousse, passion fruit and caramel glaze.

Lago at Bellagio

Gold leaf is created by the practice of “goldbeating,” which could explain why it always seems so relaxed.

Between the stellar signature cocktails, excellent small plates and Bellagio fountains, Lago proved itself to be a singular experience and one we look forward to having again soon.

Find out more about Lago Restaurant at Bellagio, and if you’re in the mood for a mid-Strip indulgence that truly makes Vegas Vegas, add Lago to your Las Vegas must-do list.

Lago at Bellagio


























 

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Asian-Themed Lucky Dragon Casino Opens in Las Vegas, Absolutely Crushes It

A new casino resort has opened in Las Vegas, the Asian-themed Lucky Dragon, and we’re pleased to report it’s off to a fantastic start.

Lucky Dragon

Jaw, meet dropped. Welcome to Lucky Dragon Las Vegas.

If you’d like to fancy up your computer, grab one of our wallpapers: 1024 x 768, 1280 x 1024, 1920 x 1080.

Lucky Dragon’s official opening isn’t until Dec. 3, 2016, but the owners of the boutique hotel-casino apparently couldn’t wait that long to show it off. And with good reason. Lucky Dragon exceeds all our expectations, and is a great new addition to the north end of the Las Vegas Strip.

It’s been six years since a casino was built from scratch in Las Vegas. The most recent was Cosmopolitan in 2010.

Lucky Dragon is located near the corner of Sahara Ave. and Las Vegas Boulevard, between the Bonanza Gift Shop and Golden Steer Steakhouse, not far from SLS Las Vegas and the Stratosphere.

Some good news right off the bat: Parking is free.

Lucky Dragon has done an amazing job with relatively little real estate. Lucky Dragon occupies about three acres of land. By comparison, Caesars Palace sits on about 34 acres.

Lucky Dragon

Size, it turns out, isn’t everything in Las Vegas.

The biggest “wow” factor at Lucky Dragon is its stunning, quarter-ton dragon chandelier. The glass sculpture took 800 people to create, and has 288 glass balls. Sorry, orbs. The sculpture is 23 feet tall and is a dazzling centerpiece of Lucky Dragon’s casino.

Lucky Dragon

They’re orbs, not balls. Please keep it classy.

It should be made clear Lucky Dragon isn’t your typical Las Vegas casino, attempting to be all things to all people. Lucky Dragon isn’t just Asian-themed, its intention is to cater primarily to Asian players.

So, you won’t find the usual mix of casino games or cuisines. Lucky Dragon’s focus is on table games like baccarat and Pai Gow, and all the restaurant offerings at Lucky Dragon feature Asian food.

First, let’s hit the casino.

Lucky Dragon’s center bar is lively and comfortable. Luckily, drinks are poured from the bottle, so unlike in many Las Vegas casinos, you know you’re getting the liquor you ordered.

The bartenders are hilarious, and provide some great entertainment for video poker players. The video poker machines feel loose, and you won’t find any automated drink monitoring systems here.

Lucky Dragon

One of the best things about our first visit was the TVs at the casino bar weren’t working yet, so no sports.

Just about the only qualm we had with Lucky Dragon’s casino (aside from there being no Top Dollar slot machines) was the fact the reflection from the dragon chandelier made it a little difficult to see the video poker screens. Not a huge deal, but we expect changes to the screen angles will be made prior to the casino’s official opening.

Lucky Dragon

You’ll see what we mean.

Everyone on staff was incredible friendly and helpful. The cocktail servers are lovely, and their uniforms are flattering and tasteful.

Lucky Dragon

Yes, some people are Asiaphiles. Don’t make it weird.

Playing at Lucky Dragon means you may have to shift your gambling priorities a bit. We found just four blackjack tables (thankfully, they pay 3-to-2, as opposed to the odds now more common on The Strip, 6-to-5), so for the first time we tried our hand at baccarat. Hey, when in Macau.

Baccarat (you don’t pronounce the “t”) is simultaneously the easiest and most confounding table game. You place a bet on “Player” or “Banker,” and your dealer does the rest. You can do the math, but in our book, math is the opposite of fun.

Lucky Dragon

The house edge is so low for baccarat, a number of Las Vegas casinos don’t offer the game at all.

Of the 37 table games at Lucky Dragon, 25 are devoted to variations of baccarat. There are four Pai Gow tables and two roulette tables. Alas, no craps tables at all, but we’ll live.

Lucky Dragon

Here are the Lucky Dragon chip designs, because we know how you are.

Slot machines take a back seat to table games at Lucky Dragon, but there’s still a solid selection. Most of the games are Asian-themed, but you can still find your favorites like Wheel of Fortune and Buffalo.

One of the brilliant aspects of Lucky Dragon is how it combines a high ceiling with the feeling you’re in a more intimate casino space. Studies have shown players gamble less in spaces with high ceilings, so Lucky Dragon’s designers wisely covered the table games with faux “ceilings.”
These structures allow guests to experience the grandeur of the place, while feeling cozy at the same time.

Lucky Dragon casino

Somebody’s been reading up on casino design. This is brilliant.

Off the main casino floor is a high limit table game area, the Emerald Room.

Lucky Dragon high limit

Much like when we have sex, we tend to last about four minutes in high limit rooms.

Players looking for an even more intimate space can hit Lucky Dragon’s six VIP gaming rooms. These tastefully appointed, Macau-style rooms feel private, but they’re open to the public, as required by Nevada gaming regulations.

Lucky Dragon VIP salon

We’re going to design our den just like this someday. As soon as we get a den.

During our first visit to Lucky Dragon, we pretty much won at every game we played, both in machines and at the tables, so maybe there’s something to this dragon thing!

As with any Las Vegas casino, it’s important to sign up for the loyalty club. At Lucky Dragon, it’s the Dragon Club. You can visit the loyalty club desk or asked for a loyalty club card at one of the gaming tables. A hundred points equals a dollar, and points can be used at Lucky Dragon’s restaurants and hotel.

Beyond its great casino, Lucky Dragon has put together a rather extraordinary collection of dining options. The first you’re likely to encounter is the 24-hour Bao Now, right on the casino floor.

The restaurant has dim sum, soups, noodles and other to-go dishes. You can tell it’s a to-go counter since there are only about 10 chairs.

Lucky Dragon Bao Now

It would be difficult for us to adore the name Bao Now more.

A majority of the food on the casino’s first floor comes from a “show kitchen” called Jewel Kitchen.

There’s a lot going on in there, and it’s a great reminder of how much we don’t know about how Asian cuisine is prepared. Lucky Dragon could sell tickets, but we don’t want to give them any ideas.

Lucky Dragon open kitchen

Careful, or you just might learn something.

Also on the first floor is Dragon’s Alley, meant to evoke the night market scene on Ghost Street in Beijing, whatever that might actually be.

Dragon’s Alley could be described as a food court, but we consider it more along the lines of a buffet. Each station has Asian delicacies, and guests choose dishes a la carte. The chefs are extremely knowledgeable, so navigating the dishes isn’t as intimidating as you’d think.

Lucky Dragon

We’re definitely getting a metric ass-ton of lanterns for our den.

Guests can choose from a wide variety of dishes, each running $5 to $11. There’s seafood and barbecue and dim sum and desserts of all kinds.

Lucky Dragon food court

Dragon’s Alley seats 325 people, and will be open “from breakfast through late evening.” Translation: We’ll see how it goes.

Unlike at other Las Vegas buffets, there’s no signage to identify the dishes, and there are also no prices posted, so you’re sort of winging it until you get to the cashier. We suspect this process will be refined prior to Lucky Dragon’s official opening.

Lucky Dragon casino

Thanks, random guy in line who let us take a photo of his food.

At Dragon’s Alley, look for the art piece fashioned from bicycles.

Lucky Dragon casino

Bicycle is “zi xing che” in Chinese. Told you there was a chance you’d learn something.

On the casino’s mezzanine level, there are the Phoenix and Pearl Ocean restaurants. We’ll definitely be back to do some damage to their menus.

Lucky Dragon Phoenix

We’re fairly sure this is Pearl’s Ocean restaurant. We were fairly well lubricated by this point in our visit. For good luck!

Roaming out of the casino and over to the Lucky Dragon’s hotel, you’ll find Cha Garden. It includes the hotel lobby and pool area, and serves as a lounge and tea garden.

Lucky Dragon Cha Garden

The walk from Lucky Dragon’s casino to its hotel takes approximately a fourth of a minute.

We are not a tea person, but the pool and lounge areas seem a great place to meet friends and enjoy yum cha. Yes, we looked that up. Yum cha are light snacks, like tapas.

The pool area isn’t large, but again, Lucky Dragon has done a lot with a little, and guests should find the space a cooling diversion, especially during Sin City’s sweltering summer months.

Lucky Dragon

We’re pretty sure the pool isn’t more than a couple of feet deep, even at the deep end, so please, no diving.

We stayed overnight in Lucky Dragon’s 203-room hotel, and found our room to be clean and comfortable.

Lucky Dragon hotel

Lucky Dragon’s standard room is 400 square feet. The 55-inch TVs seem to have more Chinese programs than the actual country of China.

That’s our first take on Lucky Dragon, the newest casino in Las Vegas. We had a completely enjoyable first visit, and it’s a must-try during your next Las Vegas visit.

Lucky Dragon seems to have a thorough understanding of its target audience, a departure from the vast majority of Strip hotels that seem to only give lip service to wanting business from Asian customers. (“Look, a lion dance! Gamble here!”)

While Lucky Dragon may have its eye on Asian guests (signs are in both Chinese and English), there’s never a moment when non-Asian guests feel out of place. Whether you prefer chopsticks or a fork, you’re going to find something to love.

Lucky Dragon

Worth noting: Not a single security guard or staff member freaked out about our taking photos at Lucky Dragon, making us a fan for life.

The north end of The Strip has proven challenging for SLS Las Vegas, but Lucky Dragon has chosen a bold strategy in wooing a niche audience. Lucky Dragon could very well end up being an unlikely success story, scooping up regulars from casinos known for being Asian-friendly, like Palace Station and Gold Coast.

Back in the day, opening a Las Vegas casino was pretty much a financial sure thing. That’s not the case today. (Especially when you open a resort without a nightclub. Another reason to love Lucky Dragon!)

With its gorgeous, exotic decor, buzz-filled casino and delicious dining, though, Lucky Dragon could very well have what it takes to get lucky in Las Vegas.

Lucky Dragon Las Vegas





























































 

Share some Vegas. Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone