Category Archives: Las Vegas Restaurants

Al Solito Posto Opens, Tasty Triumph From Chef James Trees

Al Solito Posto restaurant has quietly opened at Tivoli Village, but it won’t be quiet for long.

The restaurant’s official opening is Jan. 27, 2021, but it’s Italian food from the guy who brought us Esther’s Kitchen downtown, so we sure as hell weren’t going to wait.

Al Solito Posto Tivoli Village

Al Solito Posto is all your favorite things, just better.

So, about the name. We have said Al Solito Posto about 800 times and still can’t remember it.

Yes, we’ve mentioned the name thing to the team at Al Solito Posto, but they’re going with it, anyway.

We’ve taken to calling it “Solito” or “Posto” for short. Or possible “Al.”

Al Solito Posto means “in the usual place,” and from what we’ve sampled, this new restaurant is definitely going to be The Place.

Al Solito Posto Tivoli Village

Our new home away from home.

Chef James Trees is the culinary mastermind behind Al Solito Posto, as if the aforementioned Esther’s Kitchen weren’t enough of an accomplishment.

As this blog is mainly geared toward Las Vegas tourists, we don’t tend to write a lot about off-Strip restaurants, but this place is worth the 10 minute rideshare or taxi ride.

Tivoli Village is near Suncoast casino in Summerlin, and Al Solito Posto sits in the space formerly occupied by the shuttered Brio Italian Grill.

Let’s dive headlong into the glorious food and drink at “Posto.”

The menu has an East Coast Italian vibe, with lots of dishes even we recognize.

For starters, though, one must revel in the magnificence of the focaccia.

Al Solito Posto Tivoli Village

When the bread accompanying your meal could be, you know, a meal.

As always, we encourage filling up on bread.

As if the focaccia weren’t enough (it will be), there’s also a magnificent garlic bread.

Al Solito Posto Tivoli Village

The secret is the garlic panna (or cream). Although, it’s not a great secret given it’s on the menu, but just play along.

While we’ve just begun our meal, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share this photo of our beloved Captain Morgan and diet.

One, we’re relieved they have Captain (Esther’s Kitchen doesn’t carry it). Two, this photo is bomb.

Captain Morgan and diet

We showed someone at the restaurant our photo, they said, “You can see the love in it.” Guilty as charged.

Chef Trees is known for his breads and pizza, and the pizza (more of a flatbread) at Al Solito Posto doesn’t disappoint.

Al Solito Posto pizza

The crust is thin and crispy, which means the calories don’t count. It’s science.

Pizza (sorry, “Pizzette”) is served at the bar, so here’s a look at the bar menu.

Al Solito Posto bar menu

You are so lucky to have us.

The meatballs are, as anticipated, great. You’ve already seen a photo of them, if you were paying attention. Which we’re pretty sure you weren’t. You know how you are.

The meatballs come with fried polenta. Polenta originated in Northern Italy and is made of coarsely ground yellow cornmeal. Which we totally knew off the top of our head without the use of Google, probably.

Another highlight on the regular menu is Rigatoni Alla Vodka, with calabrian chili and basil.

Hey, as we always say, if it’s not calabrian chili, why bother?

Al Solito Posto pasta

We actually have no idea what calabrian chili is, but we know the impact on our taste buds, so we’re a huge fan.

The star of the show at Al Solito Posto, at least for us, was the chicken parmigiana.

“Parmigiana,” of course, is Italian for “parm.”

Just the right amount of breading, the perfect proportion of cheese and sauce, and the side of pasta really made this entree a home run. It’s easily one of the best chicken parms in Las Vegas.

Al Solito Posto chicken parm

The chicken parm utilizes rosemary breadcrumbs. It’s worth noting Rosemary Breadcrumbs was a popular burlesque dancer in the 1960s.

The cocktail program at Al Solito Posto is top notch as well, and we veered from our default cocktail to try C.M.P. We’re pretty sure that stands for “Clarified Milk Punch.” Highly recommended. As the bartenders how it’s made. There’s a lot of chemistry involved.

Al Solito cocktails

You know we loved this place if we’re not slamming them for using paper straws. Nobody’s perfect.

The grand finale of any meal at Al Solito Posto has to feature the Italian Rainbow Cake.

We had low expectations for this dessert when we saw how photogenic it is. Turns out, it’s incredibly moist and flavorful, with just the right about of chocolate buttercream frosting and dressed up with a cavalcade of toasted almonds.

Al Solito Posto rainbow cake

Big enough to share, but why would you want to do that?

Other desserts include cheesecake, tiramisu, chocolate budino, gelato (made for the restaurant by Gelato de Milano) and what seemed to be a very popular Apple Crostata.

A few other thoughts about our new favorite Summerlin restaurant:

googie Al Solito Posto’s bar is perfect for solo dining, and the bartenders are a blast.

googie The restaurant isn’t really done yet. There’s more decor and artwork to come. There’s not even an exterior sign. Give it a minute.

googie The music at Al Solito Posto is just plain odd. It’s eclectic, and definitely not what you’d expect at a traditional Italian restaurant. “Nobody Spoil My Fun” by The Seeds, “I Don’t Know How” by Superlative, “The Black Five” by Roy Ayers, “El Pussy Cat” by Mongo Santamaria, “Ponta De Lance Africano” by Jorge Ben, “Sweet Beat” by Prince Buster, “Bye, Bye Blues” by Dick Hyman with Mary Mayo, “Chills and Fever” by Ronnie Love. We’re still not sure how we feel about the music, but your Shazam app will definitely be working overtime. Oh, and the app won’t be able to recognize half the songs, fair warning.

googie Al Solito Posto has a lot of staffers in blazers. At first, we thought they’d hired too many managers, but it turns out the servers wear them as well. It gives Posto the feel of a fancier joint, but at locals prices.

googie No, really, paper straws taste like butt. Las Vegas is 250 miles from the nearest sea or sea turtles. We are a huge fan of sea turtles, but let’s end the madness, already.

googie As with all Las Vegas restaurants at the moment, capacity is limited at Al Solito Posto. Make sure to do a reservation if you can, either through Open Table or by calling, (702) 463-6781.

The bottom line is Chef James Trees has done it again, and as Italian food is our spirit animal, we’re thrilled to have a new go-to in our Las Vegas restaurant rotation.

Thanks to Al Solito Posto for hosting our first visit, although we’ve been back several times since and can’t wait to work our way through the rest of the menu.

Feast your eyes on a few more Al Solito Posto photos and “Buon appetito!” Assuming Google knows what the hell it’s talking about.

Celebrity Chef Hubert Keller is Out at Mandalay Bay

As we were the first to report via the Twitters, celebrity chef Hubert Keller is out at Mandalay Bay.

Hubert Keller

There are about 15 ways to pronounce “Hubert,” so just choose your favorite.

Our insider scoop was later confirmed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Yes, people still read newspapers. It’s adorable.

Keller’s departure affects two well-regarded restaurants, Burger Bar and Fleur by Hubert Keller.

Mandalay Bay, owned by MGM Resorts, is looking for a new partner to operate Burger Bar, and the company will own and operate Fleur in-house.

Both restaurants are currently closed due to capacity restrictions related to the pandemic.

Here’s the chef preparing his $5,000 burger, despite our snooty indignation about the use of foie gras.

We trust there’s some juicy behind-the-scenes drama related to Hubert Keller’s departure from Mandalay Bay. It’s Vegas. There’s always juicy behind the scenes drama, thankfully.

It’s likely this is a cost-cutting move. Famous chefs often put their names on restaurants in Las Vegas, and such deals can be lucrative.

For example, Gordon Ramsay’s deal with Caesars Entertainment reportedly snags him five percent of gross sales up to $10 million. Across multiple restaurants. That’s a lot of idiot sandwiches.

The value of a high-profile chef’s name being on a restaurant is up for debate, but if you lop off a licensing deal, your restaurant’s profits immediately jump five percent or more. That’s a lot in a business with carpaccio-thin margins.

MGM Resorts has also moved away from license-and-management deals with another top culinary talent, Wolfgang Puck. When Spago opened at Bellagio on June 7, 2018, management of the restaurant was taken in-house, saving the company big bucks.

In the midst of unprecedented challenges for restaurants, everyone’s eyeing the bottom line, and it’s likely Hubert Keller outlived his value to MGM Resorts.

We trust the acclaimed chef will fare well, and the eat goes on.

Tailgate Social is a Winner at Palace Station, Social Part Pending

Palace Station recently opened a sports-friendly new restaurant and bar, Tailgate Social, and based upon our visits, it’s a winner.

We were going to go for “touchdown,” but this blog has a fairly strict “No Sports Cliches” policy.

Tailgate Social Palace Station

Tail. Social. Sports. Bar. Grill. In our case, not in that order.

Tailgate Social is from Clique Hospitality, the folks behind Clique Lounge at Cosmopolitan.

Clique has a long history of collaborations with Station Casinos, with varying degrees of success. Salute and Libre Mexican Cantina at Red Rock are among the previous efforts. Hearthstone still operates at Red Rock, as well as Green St. at Palms, plus Borracha and Bottiglia at Green Valley Ranch.

Tailgate Social seems a great fit for Palace Station following the closure of B.B.D.’s (Beers, Burger, Desserts) which previously occupied this space. All those things, and more, are back at Tailgate Social.

Tailgate Social

This is either pool or billiards, depending upon how fancy you are.

Tailgate Social has a sports bar feel, but the sports aren’t intrusive (despite 30 TVs). The same goes for the “social” aspect.

It’s tough opening a venue with a social skew during a pandemic, but the social part can wait.

Games like billiards, foosball and shuffleboard are available, but guests aren’t hit over the head with them. The social element doesn’t feel forced.

It’s just a cool, casual hang.

The prices are refreshingly reasonable (expected in a locals casino, but not always a given), and the food is quite good, with ample portions.

The fare is familiar, mostly takes on bar food. The menu runs the gamut from nachos to burgers, tacos to pizza, wings to pretzels and more.

Tailgate Social

The nachos were 19 inches across. Yes, we measured. We have a lot of free time.

There are also salads, in case you lose a bet.

One tempting item we plan to try sometime is the “Holey Moley Big Ass Four Foot Stromboli.” First, we can’t recall ever seeing a menu with the term “big ass” on it. Second, we suspect the $55 price tag is worth it. Did we mention it’s four feet long?

Take a look at the full menu, thanks in large part to the discovery of the Internet, the best and worst thing that ever happened to Humankind.

We liked the BBQ Chicken Quesadilla a lot, along with the nachos, wings and burger.

Take note of the Happy Hour from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day, with some of the tastiest items (including the Chili Cheese Tater Tots and aforementioned quesadilla) for $5.

In a charming twist, guests have the option of ordering food from the back of a Volkswagon bus.

Tailgate Social

For our younger readers, Volkswagons were what people drove before Teslas.

Tailgate Social also checks the box for video poker fans, and drinks are comped liberally at the bar.

During our first visit, we went the video poker bar route and it was awesome, despite the Plexiglas dividers, common in many Las Vegas bars now.

Tailgate Social

Plexiglas dividers reduce small talk by 40%. We sort of like them.

Beyond the eats, there are a ton of cocktails to test your liver’s mettle. Most are in the $9 range.

The place gets points for cocktail naming: Thirst & Goal, Blurred Limes, Buzzer Beater, Unnecessary Roughness, Knight Cap and Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet, among others.

That last one was an ale, not a cocktail, but we just like saying Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet. It’s the “foosball” of ales.

Table service during our second visit was a little spotty, all due respect to attractive young women in shorts.

Tailgate Social isn’t perfect, but we’re still a fan.

Find out more at the official Tailgate Social Web site. Fair warning: No actual customer at Tailgate Social actually looks like the people on the official Web site. Then again, do they ever?

Tailgate Social

Oh, advertising, you live in a special alternate universe.

Please help yourself to a few more pics from Tailgate Social at Palace
Station, about three minutes west of the Las Vegas Strip.

Four Multimillion-Dollar Las Vegas Restaurants in the Works

Pandemic, schmandemic. Despite the ongoing financial challenges faced by restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis, Las Vegas is still doing what it does best: Spending a metric ass-ton of money on new restaurants.

At least four high-profile restaurant projects have been announced, and these big dollar offerings are giving us a lot to look forward to in 2021 and beyond.

Each of these restaurants is budgeted in the neighborhood of $4 million. Let’s take a look at what’s in store.

1. Amalfi at Caesars Palace: $4 Million

Mesa Grill was a beloved fixture at Caesars Palace (it closed Nov. 14, 2020), but every Las Vegas restaurant has its season.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is bringing an all-new Italian seafood concept, Amalfi, to Caesars Palace in spring 2021.

Construction is estimated to cost $4 million. The only way we can see making that investment back is if there’s a chicken parm dish and we dine at Amalfi three times a week.

Don’t let us down, Bobby.

Amalfi Caesars Palace

While we are not a seafood person, we are definitely a pasta person, and we can’t wait to fill up on bread.

2. Umi Uma Japanese at Resorts World: $4.2 Million

Resorts World is spending money like it’s the 1980s, and they’re sparing no expense for Umi Uma, a Japanese concept.

“Umi Uma” means “seahorse” in Japanese. We trust those will not be on the menu.

While Resorts World has shared details about a number of its venues, Umi Uma hasn’t been officially announced yet.

With that price tag, we trust it’s going to make a splash. Resorts World opens in summer 2021.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Resorts World is one of the biggest gambles in the history of Las Vegas. No risk, no reward.

3. Strip Olive Garden: $3.8 Million

We are not making this up.

There’s an Olive Garden planned for the Las Vegas Strip and it’s expected to cost nearly $4 million.

Make fun, but we’re ready to contribute a good portion of that in breadstick purchases alone.

The new Olive Garden will take up residence above a Target at Showcase Mall across from Park MGM (formerly Monte Carlo).

While Olive Garden may take some hits from Italian cuisine purists, there’s no denying it’s a crowd-pleaser, and much less a gamble than some of these other pricey restaurants.

Olive Garden

Don’t tell people what they should enjoy. Unless you have a blog, of course.

4. Nusr-Et Steakhouse: $4.5 Million

Easily the oddest entry on this list, it seems restaurateur Nusret Gokce, better known as Salt Bae, is bringing a two-story steakhouse to Las Vegas.

The steakhouse will have a hefty $4.5 million price tag, but that shouldn’t be too big a nut given Gokce is known for selling $1,000 steaks wrapped in gold foil.

The new restaurant will presumably move into a vacant spot at The Park, a sort of restaurant row near T-Mobile Arena at Park MGM.

“Salt Bae” opened a Boston outpost in Sep. 2020, but it got off to a rocky start. Still, Vegas loves colorful characters, so Gokce should fit right in.

We have no idea how this restaurant’s name is pronounced, but if you’re a fan of someone salting your meat off their hairy forearm, Nusr-Et is one to watch.

Nusr-Et Las Vegas

We’ll take a new steakhouse over an empty space all bae long.

Las Vegas has never been known for self-restraint, but it’s amazing these big budget restaurants are in the works despite recent events.

Thanks to our friends at Eater Vegas for keeping everyone abreast on all things restaurant in Las Vegas and for digging up all the scoop related to these construction budgets.

There’s apparently a lot of optimism about a post-pandemic Las Vegas recovery, and nobody wants to miss out on a potential windfall.

Whether half-baked wishful thinking or prescience, we love new, shiny Las Vegas things, so we can’t wait to see these new restaurants spring to life.

Pod Dining at Esther’s Kitchen Is Surprisingly Satisfying

Given the latest COVID-related directives, Las Vegas restaurants have had to get creative to stay afloat.

One of the best restaurants in town, Esther’s Kitchen, has pitched some tents, adding a playful twist to an already great dining experience.

Esther's Kitchen

If you thought we were going to pass up a tent-pitching joke, you do not know this blog at all.

Las Vegas restaurants are currently limited to 25% capacity, making profitability nearly impossible.

Esther’s Kitchen’s eight outdoor tents, dubbed “Greenhouse Village,” expands the restaurant’s capacity while providing guests the required amount of distance from their fellow diners.

Esther's Kitchen dining pods

Dibs on this fire pit thingy after the pandemic.

The portable greenhouses are cozy and romantic. Each seats four people (restaurants aren’t currently allowed to seat more than four at a table), and is equipped with carpeting, heat and music.

Esther's Kitchen dining pods

It’s like “glamping,” but dining. It’s “damping.” Which should be a thing.

Guests need to call ahead to reserve the dining pods. Find out more at the official Web site.

While the tents have been put up due to restrictions, we actually like them more than the dining room! Esther’s Kitchen is very popular, and is always busy, so the noise can be deafening. We like the quiet and the outdoor seating is glorious.

The food is still fast and fresh, and Esther’s remains home to some truly life-altering bread.

Esther's Kitchen bread

The bread at Esther’s Kitchen is life-altering.

Esther’s makes its pasta in-house, and their pizza is consistently amazing, but during our pod visit, we opted for the Pan Roasted Mary’s Chicken.

Esther's Kitchen chicken

We totally knew that was farrotto and agrodolce squash and sherry jus. Um, hello, we are not a rube.

We love that at Esther’s Kitchen, they include this item on the menu: “Buy the kitchen a round of beers. A little love for the hardworking cooks, $6.”

Read more about Esther’s Kitchen in the Arts District, downtown.

Esther's Kitchen

Insider tip: On the way to the pods, check out the walk-in cooler. Sorry, “Walken cooler.”

We realize Esther’s created its outdoor pod seating to address some business challenges related to COVID-19, but we’d love to see it stick around. The fresh air. The quiet. The privacy.

There’s always something new to love at Esther’s Kitchen.

Which they should totally steal for their advertising. You’re welcome, Chef Trees.

M Resort Shares Raiders Bar & Grill Renderings

M Resort has shared some renderings of its upcoming, first-ever Raiders-themed restaurant.

The new restaurant was announced back in November 2019, but we’re pretty sure the renderings are new, so take a gander. If people still take ganders.

Raiders Bar & Grill

There’s simply nothing like a burger grilled on a wood-fired gridiron.

M Resort’s new Raiders restaurant is expected to be a 24/7 offering, with multiple bars, lots of team memorabilia and a gift shop.

The new restaurant is expected to open by the end of the first quarter of 2021. In human English, that means “probably before March or whatever.”

Raiders M Resort

We expect to win a Heisman for downing Captains and diet.

The new offering will take over the former Jayde Fuzion restaurant space.

M Resort is one of our favorite places to drink, gamble and dine (in that order) in Las Vegas, and
although we aren’t exactly a sports person, a Raiders theme will not keep us from being excited about this new restaurant and bar.

Did we fail to mention it will have a bar and possibly bars?

M Resort is about 10 minutes south of the Las Vegas Strip, and in close proximity to the
Raiders’ practice facility.

The practice facility’s official name is the “Raiders Performance Center,” which to us sounds more like a community theater space than an NFL practice venue, but we try not to judge.

Raiders restaurant M Resort

Dude, never tell a woman she’s like her mother. Consider yourself sidelined.

The Raiders restaurant is part of a larger partnership with M Resort which includes a number of things we care a good deal less about than eating and drinking.

M Resorts’ partnership with the Raiders is quite the coup, so we predict the resort will try and make the most of the exposure.

We also predict the Human Resources department at M Resorts is going to have an increased workload due to a much greater turnover of cocktail waitresses in the months and years to come. Because pro football players. And have you seen the cocktail waitresses at M Resort? Just saying.