Category Archives: Las Vegas Restaurants

Bomb Tacos Lives Up to Its Name

When Bomb Tacos opened downtown, some doubted its chances of success. Bomb Tacos has proven the skeptics wrong, the restaurant more than lives up to its name.

It’s “bomb,” in case that wasn’t clear.

“Bomb” in the post-1997 sense, that is: Legit, epic, cool, awesome sauce and fire. In other words, Bomb Tacos is the opposite of what “bomb” meant prior to 1997.

Now that we’ve established the appropriate definition of “bomb,” boom.

Bomb Tacos

This taco has onion, cilantro and guacamole. We’re a big fan of guacamole and played it often at Chuck E. Cheese as a child. We’ll wait.

There are two Bomb Taco locations, both owned by chef Robert Solano.

The original Bomb Taco is located about 15 minutes west of The Strip, so let’s not pretend you’re ever going to go there.

The Bomb Taco downtown is a block off Fremont Street, on Carson Avenue. It’s 616 E. Carson Ave., to be exact, next to Vegenation and 7th & Carson restaurant.

You sort of can’t miss Bomb Taco, as its exterior sports bright colors galore and can be seen from the surface of Jupiter.

Bomb Tacos

Life is too short to blend in. Unless you’re blending rum into diet Coke. But that could just be us.

The space has been tricky for previous restaurant offerings, including Zydeco Po-Boys and Two Bald Brothers.

The third time’s a charm, apparently, because Bomb Tacos does brisk business and has become a popular hangout for denizens of downtown.

Bomb Tacos

Denizens in their native habitat.

Bomb Taco keeps the menu streamlined, and while the menu is limited, it hits all the right notes.

On a typical day, selections include carne asada, grilled chicken, carnitas, al pastor, braised brisket, fish and rock shrimp.

Oh, hell, why did we bother typing all that when we could’ve just shown you this chalkboard?

Bomb Tacos

Most chalkboards are made from porcelain enamel. It’s not like you’re reading these captions, anyway.

Here’s more of the menu.

Yes, there are veggie options, freak.

Bomb Tacos

We don’t even know what language they’re speaking right now.

The tacos have fairly straightforward ingredients, but manage to have wonderfully complex flavors.

In fact, the restaurant’s mushroom tacos were recently named “Best Tacos from the Earth” by Las Vegas Weekly. We’re going to trust the judgment of Las Vegas Weekly on this one, as we are definitely not a mushroom person.

Bomb Tacos

Jorge has never lost a staring contest.

The tacos run anywhere from $2.75 to $3.75.

Our recommendations: Grab the braised brisket tacos and al pastor.

Bomb Tacos

These tacos are a-maize-ing. Because tortillas are made from, oh, nevermind.

The Bomb Tacos Web site is fairly useless, so find out more about the place on their Facebook page.

Bomb Tacos

Not gonna lie, those two just look guilty as hell.

Bomb Tacos in downtown Las Vegas offers up an unpretentious, satiating dining experience that’ll satisfy your drunchies with a timeless Mexican classic.

In other words, try Bomb Tacos the next time you’re bombed.

You’re welcome for the new tagline, Bomb Tacos advertising copywriting person.

Las Vegas Sands Takes a Stand, Pulls Plug on Three Mario Batali Restaurants

We have a long-standing adage: Successful things don’t close in Las Vegas.

In the case of CarneVino Italian Steakhouse at Venetian, that assertion simply doesn’t hold up.

CarneVino, along with B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, closed on July 22, 2018. The three restaurants closed nearly a week earlier than originally announced (July 27).

B&B Las Vegas

B&B might as well stand for “bye and bye.”

The decision to close the three restaurants was made by Las Vegas Sands, owner of Venetian and Palazzo, where the establishments were located.

Las Vegas Sands decided to boot the restaurants following explosive allegations of sexual misconduct against celebrity chef Mario Batali on “60 Minutes.”

While Las Vegas Sands didn’t operate the restaurants, casino companies have to steer clear of even an appearance of wrongdoing due to strict gaming regulations.

The decision to sever ties with Batali’s B&B Hospitality was intended to be a decisive, very public condemnation of his conduct, and bravo to Las Vegas Sands for taking the action it did.

That, despite the fact, by all accounts, the three restaurants made a metric ass-ton of money for Las Vegas Sands.

CarneVino, in fact, was considered by many to have been not only one of the best restaurants in Las Vegas, but the nation.

CarneVino

“CarneVino” is Italian for “Keep it in your pants, jerk.” Or should be.

The banishment of Batali’s restaurants follows on the heels of MGM Resorts terminating their relationship with another controversial chef, Todd English.

While MGM Resorts managed to keep its actions fairly low profile, the company closed English’s Olives restaurant at Bellagio (Spago took over the space) and rebranded Todd English Pub to The Pub.

Given the current climate, the elephant in the room with all these moves is Eataly.

MGM Resorts has invested millions in construction of Eataly at Park MGM. Eataly, of course, is being developed in partnership with B&B Hospitality Group. Yep, that B&B Hospitality Group.

While B&B Hospitality Group is buying out Mario Batali, and doing its best to distance itself from Batali (now under criminal investigation), it was too little, too late for Las Vegas Sands.

It remains to be seen if MGM Resorts will bail on its sizable investment in Eataly at Park MGM or stay the course and hope the public has a short memory.

Park MGM resort rendering

Eataly is going to sit right up front at Park MGM, making it all the more gloriously awkward.

We trust MGM Resorts has been exploring other potential partnerships even as Eataly’s construction continues.

As we said, casinos don’t play around when it comes to upholding the exceedingly high ethical standards required by regulators to get and keep a gaming license. That extends to its restaurants, shows, nightclubs and other venues.

MGM Resorts says it has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual misconduct and harassment (at least for employees), but Las Vegas Sands is one of the few Las Vegas casino companies that’s put its money where its mouth is with the closure of CarneVino, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria.

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab is a Certified Strip Stand-Out

One hallmark of a remarkable dining experience in Las Vegas is the memory of it lingers. Given we’re still thinking about Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab long after our visit, it more than qualifies.

And we aren’t even a seafood person.

Joe's Seafood Las Vegas

If you’re not salivating by the time you finish this story, we have failed miserably.

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab has been a fixture at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace since 2004.

It’s rumored the restaurant is one of the most profitable in all of Las Vegas, and it’s easy to see why. Hint: It’s the awesome.

Joe's Las Vegas

Start in the bar. In Las Vegas, it’s the law.

From Joe’s elevated but unpretentious atmosphere to its stellar cocktails and mind-blowing entrees, this restaurant is a must-try.

Once you try it, expect to discover your latest dining addiction in Las Vegas. As if you didn’t have enough places to love, already.

Let’s kick things off with an amazing cocktail, one our waiter (more about him in a minute) said is about the only signature drink offered.

Most of the cocktail menu consists of classics, but the South Beach Peach cocktail is an original and joins our roster of world-class panty-droppers.

Joe's Las Vegas

“Pantry-droppers” should be shared by consenting adults, so no need to get indignant.

There’s a wide selection of appetizers as you might expect, with a decidedly seafood bent, including fried calamari ($15.95), oysters Rockefeller ($18.95), charred octopus ($17.95) and jumbo shrimp cocktail ($18.95).

We really need to just skip listing the prices, because it’s Vegas, and money is no object! Translation: Our friend paid. Moving on.

Joe's Seafood Las Vegas

Kusshi (Japanese for “precious”) oysters were priced at “market,” so good luck with that.

The menu at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab holds one delight after another, so let’s just dive into the goodness.

Joe’s is known for its crab, and the Alaskan king crab got rave reviews from the seafood-lovers in our party.

Joe's Seafood Alaskan king crab

It’s all fun and games until somebody puts an eye out.

Joe’s has a guy who cracks, cuts and trims the crab legs for you, so don’t worry about breaking a nail.

Crab shucker

There’s probably a name for this gig. Crab sheller? Shucker? Enabler? Oh, just eat.

Let’s just say every entree and every side was spectacular in quality, quantity and presentation.

The Filet Oscar ($49.95) made one of our dining companions swoon. Literally.

Joe's Seafood Las Vegas

This food has not been styled. This is just how it looks. In real life.

There were three highlights of our evening at Joe’s. You’ve seen the first, it was the South Beach Peach. Plural.

Second, we had one of the best steaks we’ve ever had in Las Vegas, and we’ve been to just about every steakhouse in town. The bone-in filet mignon ($58.95) is in the “Bone-In Signature Prime Steaks” portion of the menu, and has probably ruined us for any other filet mignon, ever.

Joe's bone-in filet

Behold, 16 succulent ounces of paid vacation for your taste receptors.

A third highlight of our evening was meeting John Lucas. We’d call John a server, but that’s like calling Michelangelo a “proficient doodler.”

Lucas’ whip-smart banter and exhaustive knowledge of the menu helped make a great meal into an utterly unforgettable evening on the town.

John Lucas Joe's Seafood

John needs his own TV series. Please get on that, Hollywood producers.

Lucas deftly orchestrated delivery and removal of plates and glasses, timing courses masterfully and shepherding others on the team at Joe’s in a way that was a wonder to watch.

Our only observation would be the masterful orchestration of the waitstaff wouldn’t be necessary if the booths weren’t so small. Then again, the food’s so good, elbow room be damned.

Joe's Las Vegas

Casual dress, lively vibe, no loud music. We would like to kiss you deeply on the mouth, Joe’s.

As so often happens during a restaurant outing in Las Vegas, self-restraint flies out the window at Joe’s, but you’ll want to show a little because at this restaurant, desserts aren’t just understudies, they’re superstars in their own right.

And we aren’t even a pie person.

First up, some kind of pie with berries. They appear blue.

Joe's Seafood blueberry pie

We tried taking a bite and nearly lost our hand. People are very passionate about pie.

Then we had what can only be described as an orgasm on a plate. Check out Joe’s banana cream pie ($9.95).

Joe's Seafood banana cream pie

We’re fairly sure the banana cream pie at Joe’s could bring about world peace.

Just wow. We’ve always sort of hated the texture of pie, but that dislike ended the moment we took a bite of the banana cream pie. We may go back just to have it again.

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab more than exceeded all our expectations, and as we said, our meal has crossed our mind innumerable times since our visit.

The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is about the only shopping mall worthy of Joe’s.

Forum Shops Las Vegas

Hey, we have to throw a little love to Pinterest every once in awhile. More than 160,000 people visit our boards each month. It’s not bragging if it’s true.

Learn more about Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, and check out the full menu, on the restaurant’s official site.

If you give Joe’s a try, let us know if you enjoyed it as much as we did, although we’re fairly sure that’s not possible.

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab

[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant_old_fashioned.jpg]2110
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant6.jpg]2250
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant4.jpg]2220
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant1.jpg]1820
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant2.jpg]1720
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant3.jpg]1620
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant5.jpg]1730
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant_cocktail.jpg]1630
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant7.jpg]1880
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant8.jpg]1900
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant9.jpg]1670
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant10.jpg]1930
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant11.jpg]1500
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant12.jpg]1780
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant13.jpg]1940
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant14.jpg]1750
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant17.jpg]1550
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant18.jpg]1410
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant15.jpg]1280
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_john_joes_server.jpg]1360
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_john_joes_shucker.jpg]1420
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant16.jpg]1370
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/joes-seafood-prime-steak-and-stone-crab/thumbs/thumbs_joes_las_vegas_restaurant19.jpg]1730

Golden Gate is Shaking Things Up Again

Golden Gate is back in action again with some dramatic changes and a new casino expansion.

We took a peek behind-the-scenes at what were, until recently, walled off areas of Golden Gate’s casino floor.

The casino’s floor is expanding into the space previously occupied by Du-Par’s restaurant.

Golden Gate expansion

The Du-Par’s kitchen was at left, counter and tables to the right. Yes, we all miss the pancakes. Bright side: Pancakes never gave anyone a jackpot.

Du-Par’s made an abrupt exit from Golden Gate when the restaurant’s owner got into hot water with the I.R.S. for tax evasion. There are no plans to have a restaurant at Golden Gate anytime soon.

The new floor space will accommodate an additional 50-60 slot machines, a significant number for a casino with a very small footprint.

Golden Gate

The door at back leads to Main Street, the one on the right to Fremont.

Here’s one more look at the work-in-progress. The area will be accessible to the public in a few days, and slot machines will be brought in within a week.

Golden Gate

Golden Gate regulars will notice another big change to the casino floor, a move of the casino cage.

It’s moved closer to the hotel’s registration desk and valet entrance. Don’t forget to check out the old-timey slot machines on display nearby.

Golden Gate

Due to strict rules about capturing images of casino cages, we are unable to share this photo, sorry.

Next up at Golden Gate, an expansion of the high limit room.

Currently, high limit is table games only, but with a move into the previous cage space, the high limit room will now include high limit slots.

Golden Gate

More room for high limit slots, or what we commonly refer to as our “retirement plan.”

Here’s a look at the current high limit room.

Our favorite part: The fringe on the walls was inspired by the fringe on the uniforms of the casino’s dancing dealers.

Golden Gate

This is the den we’d have if we were ambitious or even moderately successful.

The high limit room revamp is set to include some intriguing elements inspired (and necessitated) by the building’s original design features.

Here’s a look at the other side of the construction wall. Golden Gate’s original arches will play a part in the design of the new high limit room. Now you know.

Golden Gate arches

There’s a chance these arches were around when Golden Gate opened in 1906, but we aren’t sure. We are a blog, not that guy in the Amish hat on “Pawn Stars.”

The latest changes at Golden Gate follow on the heels of another recent, multi-million dollar expansion that integrated the former La Bayou casino space.

That expansion also included a new entrance, loyalty club desk and beer distribution room. Of course, we got photos. Do you know this blog at all?

Golden Gate has managed to do a lot with a little, and we hear there are still more surprises in the works.

Update (7/11/18): Golden Gate owner Derek Stevens has shared one of the “surprises,” a new sports book. We got a look at the space.

Golden Gate sportsbook

It’s not much to look at now, but give it a minute.

The future sports book space sits behind a temporary wall at the south side of the recent casino expansion into the former La Bayou space.

While we’re providing updates, here’s a look at the most recent casino expansion as slot machines were being installed.

Golden Gate

Not too shabby for a place that’s been around since 1906.

There’s more to come.

Update (7/12/18): We said there was more to come!

Here’s a look at the expanded Golden Gate casino, complete with shiny new slot machines.

Golden Gate expansion

The newest casino space in Las Vegas in the oldest casino in Las Vegas.

Oh, all right, just one more.

Golden Gate casino

Everyone loves that new slot machine smell.

See you at Golden Gate.

The Latest From Park MGM, Plus Bad News About the Future of Comped Drinks

It’s been awhile since we popped into the Park MGM. In fact, the last time we visited, it was Monte Carlo.

All that’s changed, because Monte Carlo is no more.

Park MGM

Park MGM might have less character than Monte Carlo, but we love that new hotel-casino smell.

That’s right. Monte Carlo, after two decades, is officially Park MGM, a member of the MGM Resorts family.

The company is investing $550 million in the rebrand.

While the hotel’s name has changed, the resort is still in transition, so we snapped some pics to keep you in the loop about what’s up. No thanks, necessary, although we are a big fan of foot rubs. Just saying.

Park MGM

Yes, you’re suppressing a yawn, but it gets better.

We’re pleased to report Park MGM isn’t in the rough shape we’d heard rumors about. The rebrand of Monte Carlo started in 2016, if you can believe that.

Business at the Strip resort has taken a huge hit because guests encountered extensive construction for months on end, with lots of venues closed and walled off, and word spread.

Now, though, things are starting to take shape at Park MGM, including the unveiling of new offerings like Juniper Cocktail Lounge and Money Line sports bar.

Let’s take a look at Park MGM, back to front.

The rebrand has included the build-out of a new reception area.

Park MGM

Vegas hotels have castle themes, circus themes, Egyptian themes and Venice themes. Park MGM is foliage themed.

Nearby, there’s a new restaurant and bar, Primrose.

Park MGM

Primrose comes from a Scottish word meaning “tree of the moor,” moor or less.

The hotel’s pool area has been completely done over. Now, there are three small pools, with lots of seats and umbrellas and people wishing they’d hit the treadmill a bit more often before their Las Vegas vacation.

Park MGM pools

The pool complex offers a number of ways to spend money, including reserved lounge chairs ($15), daybeds ($75), cabanas and Baja loungers ($15).

There’s a new high limit slots room, where we made sure to donate some of our disposable income.

Park MGM high limit

The high limit table games are awkwardly out on the casino floor nearby, but we suspect they’ll have a new home soon.

A very new addition to Park MGM is its new West Bar. It’s a fairly typical casino bar, with 19 video poker machines.

Park MGM bar

Only about half the seats at West Bar have video poker, presumably because guests aren’t gambling like they used to.

We played some video poker and were given comped (that’s Vegas for “complimentary”) drinks during our play. And, yes, they even poured Captain Morgan spiced rum from a bottle.

Yes, we’re touting the fact a casino bar 1) comps drinks, and 2) pours liquor from a bottle. You’ll see why in a minute.

Making our way through the casino, we got to see the new Juniper Cocktail Lounge. We’re pretty sure this was the same space as Monte Carlo’s Hit Lounge.

Juniper has a pretty swanky design, and features a number of video poker machines at the bar.

Park MGM Juniper Cocktail Lounge

Don’t try to read that sign or you’ll put an eye out.

As you might expect at a lounge called “Juniper,” there are a ton of gin-based cocktails on the menu. Gin gets its main flavor from juniper berries, a reminder how much you can learn while hanging out in Las Vegas cocktail lounges.

Most of the cocktails at Juniper Cocktail Lounge are in the $15-17 range.

We were dismayed to learn no drinks are comped (free) for those who play video poker at the bar. Hey, we warned you in the headline there would be bad news. There’s more to come.

Park MGM Juniper Lounge

We say either have video poker and comp drinks, or don’t have video poker. Otherwise, you’re just being annoying.

Closer to The Strip, there’s the new Money Line Sports Bar & Book.

Money Line Sports Bar & Book has a welcoming layout, with a pool table and a couple of mini bowling lanes.

Park MGM sports bar

When you bet on a “moneyline,” you’re betting on the outright winner of your favorite sportsball game.

The bar, of course, is lined with video poker machines.

As we started to play, we were informed (again), there were no comped drinks for video poker players. Not even a soda.

Park MGM sports bar

The Moneyline sports book and bar was almost entirely empty during our visit. On a Saturday night. Coincidence?

Our earlier dismay turned to annoyance as we realized this isn’t a fluke, but a trend, and not the good kind.

It seems MGM Resorts is taking a page from the Wynn Las Vegas playbook, as Wynn stopped comping drinks at its video poker bars some time ago.

This “trend” is troubling because while Wynn and Encore are just two hotels, MGM Resorts has a slew of them on The Strip. Don’t be surprised if this is a glimpse at things to come.

Denying video poker players comped drinks is getting some customer backlash, according to staff we spoke to, but whether this policy will spread remains to be seen.

Oh, well. We’re not going to let a misguided policy put a damper on our visit. Probably. We’ve got more exploring to do.

Much of the negative buzz about Park MGM has had to do with the temporary entrance from the Las Vegas Strip.

It’s fairly easy to see why.

Park MGM

Not optimal.

Again, these are growing pains, so adjust your expectations accordingly.

Let’s head out front. Who needs comped drinks when we’ve got a security breach to lighten our mood?

Here’s a look at the construction on the Strip side of Park MGM.

Park MGM

Former home of 800 Degrees Pizza, Blvd. Creamery, Yusho Japanese Grill and Sambalatte. Hey, they were all four years old, so time to go!

There are a ton more photos in the gallery, so hang out awhile.

Park MGM Las Vegas

Our first Park MGM security breach. You always remember your first.

This front structure is supposed to be Eataly, a “vibrant marketplace with cafes, to-go counters and sit-down restaurants from Mario Batali, the guy accused of sexual misconduct.”

We added that last part ourself.

This whole Eataly thing is complicated.

MGM Resorts says the $13 million project will continue despite explosive allegations against Mario Batali, but we’re thinking the company is probably looking for another partner for the venue.

Las Vegas Sands (owner of Venetian and Palazzo) recently pulled the plug on three Batali restaurants, despite his company’s claims Batali is no longer involved.

Set to close July 27, 2018, are B&B Ristorante and Otto at Venetian and CarneVino at Palazzo.

Park MGM Eataly

If you miss the Monte Carlo casino, we hear there’s another, less interesting one, in Europe somewhere.

MGM Resorts has been very public about its zero tolerance policy for sexual misconduct, so they’re in an impossible position at the moment.

The space is looking pretty good, though, and here’s what it’s supposed to look like when it opens.

Park MGM resort rendering

They’re definitely trying to class up the joint. Just ask the former Diablo’s Cantina.

So, that’s our whirlwind tour of the new Park MGM, a work in progress.

While we’re not thrilled about the comped drink policy at Juniper Cocktail Lounge and Money Line sports bar, there’s a lot to like about Park MGM, including the staff.

Most members of the Monte Carlo staff have made the transition to Park MGM with their friendliness intact. They’re not shy about admitting there’s been some chaos during the rebrand, but they’re starting to see former Monte Carlo customers return.

The reality, though, is those Monte Carlo customers aren’t really the target customer of Park MGM. Park MGM has aspirations to attract younger, more affluent customers.

A prime example is Bavette’s Steakhouse & Bar. While we’ve heard it’s good, it’s not really for the value-conscious.

Juniper seems more along the lines of Skyfall at Delano and Clique at Cosmopolitan than fans of the Hit Lounge.

Park MGM

Although it’s not on the sign, Park MGM will have a boutique hotel, NoMad. NoMad needs a better agent.

It’s odd to think of the Las Vegas Strip without Monte Carlo, but Las Vegas is always throwing something new against the wall to see if it will stick.

Enjoy more photos from our recent foray to Park MGM.

Update (7/3/18): We hear Moneyline sports bar and Juniper cocktail lounge have revisited their policies and now comp a limited selection of drinks for video poker players.

Park MGM Progress - June 2018

[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_1.jpg]11040
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_2.jpg]10390
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_3.jpg]10110
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_4.jpg]9090
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_5.jpg]8720
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_6.jpg]8410
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_7.jpg]7930
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_8.jpg]7550
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_9.jpg]7910
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_10.jpg]7620
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_11.jpg]8360
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_12.jpg]7740
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_13.jpg]7900
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_14.jpg]7840
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_15.jpg]7650
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_16.jpg]7520
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_17.jpg]7130
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_18.jpg]7360
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_19.jpg]8520
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_20.jpg]7660
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_21.jpg]7270
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_22.jpg]7260
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_23.jpg]7830
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_24.jpg]7210
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_25.jpg]6790
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_26.jpg]6730
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_27.jpg]7400
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_28.jpg]7420
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_29.jpg]7140
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_30.jpg]7070
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_31.jpg]8420
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_32.jpg]8390
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_33.jpg]8930
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_34.jpg]8440
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_35.jpg]7620
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_36.jpg]7650
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_37.jpg]7340
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_38.jpg]7110
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_39.jpg]7370
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_40.jpg]6940
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_41.jpg]7310
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_42.jpg]6990
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_43.jpg]6600
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_44.jpg]6540
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_45.jpg]6350
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_46.jpg]6350
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_47.jpg]6120
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_48.jpg]6190
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_49.jpg]6690
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/park-mgm-progress-june-2018/thumbs/thumbs_park_mgm_update061618_50.jpg]6590

Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace is a Qualified Success

Our favorite celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, has another Las Vegas hit on his hands.

Hell’s Kitchen is currently one of the hottest restaurants in Sin City, so we had to check it out.

Hell's Kitchen restaurant

Fun fact: Gordon Ramsay toyed with naming his Las Vegas restaurant “Hell’s Vestibule,” but that didn’t have the same ring to it.

Hell’s Kitchen opened at Caesars Palace on Jan. 26, 2018, and was an immediate hit. The restaurant claimed to have received 12,000 reservations in 10 days.

In restaurant parlance: That’s a metric hell-ton.

So, why are we saying it’s a “qualifed” success, rather than an “unqualified” one? Well, to be honest, we didn’t really get it.

Hell's Kitchen Las Vegas

“Donkey!” Sorry, we had to get that out of our system.

First, the place is really, really loud.

Hell’s Kitchen moved into the former Serendipity 3 restaurant space, and it’s pretty much a big, square box. You know, like a speaker box. The place is packed, so the sound reverberates, and you end up having to shout throughout your meal.

Some people enjoy that cacophony in restaurants, as it can create a feeling of high energy and excitement. We are not one of those people.

A minor quibble at the start of our meal: It was odd when our waiter informed us we couldn’t order our appetizers unless we knew our whole order. It made the evening feel like we were there for the convenience of the restaurant staff, rather than the other way around.

Next, while Hell’s Kitchen restaurant was inspired by one of our favorite reality shows, wait for it, “Hell’s Kitchen,” there wasn’t too much of “Hell’s Kitchen” to be found.

Hell's Kitchen wall of winners

This wall is devoted to past “Hell’s Kitchen” winners, a mere 80% of whom are in therapy following their appearance on the show.

Yes, the walls of the show kitchen are half red and half blue, and there are lots of pitchforks to be found, that’s about it.

There’s no real tie-in to the show, other than as a marketing hook.

Hell's Kitchen

Everyone in the Hell’s Kitchen kitchen seemed to be working in harmony. What fun is that?

Our real issue, though, was with the food and drink. (We’ll resist grumbling about the fact the menu looked like it was produced by a printer running out of ink. Well, sort of resist.)

The bottom line: The food and drinks were good, not great.

Let’s start with a cocktail, as most nights out in Las Vegas do.

We tried the Meet Your Maker ($15), with Maker’s Mark bourbon, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, mint, apple, strawberry and cinnamon. It was perfectly acceptable.

Hell's Kitchen cocktail

In a town full of amazing cocktails, this was certainly a cocktail.

Next up, the Wagyu meatballs ($18), featuring slow-roasted tomato sauce, polenta croutons, parmesan cheese and basil. The meatballs, too, were passable, but nothing to write home about.

Oh, who are we kidding? Nobody actually writes home anymore, but you know what we mean.

Hell's Kitchen meatballs

We didn’t know polenta croutons were a thing, but they were a pleasant surprise.

Time for the entrees!

While we didn’t try Gordon Ramsay’s most famous dish, the Beef Wellington ($49), our new friends at the next table did and they raved about it.

Hell's Kitchen beef wellington

Beef Wellington looks like a steak wrapped in pastry, but it has to be more complicated than that. Probably.

We ordered the filet mignon (eight ounces for $47), and it seemed to be prepared properly. Not especially flavorful. Not awful. Just there.

Hell's Kitchen filet mignon

Sadly, our mind wasn’t blown. A state we’re all too familiar with, actually.

Same for the roasted rack of lamb ($39). It was entirely adequate.

Hell's Kitchen Caesars Palace

We’re pretty sure they’re not going to use “Entirely adequate!” on their advertising.

You can check out the full Hell’s Kitchen menu on the restaurant’s official Web site.

Again, we don’t claim to be a food critic. Hell’s Kitchen is a smash.

Hell's Kitchen

Are you going to get mad if we say the potato gratin was just average, too?

Let’s talk about some bright spots at Hell’s Kitchen.

The service was top-notch. Friendly, knowledgeable servers were attentive without being intrusive.

Also, the restaurant has a bar. Always a good thing.

Hell's Kitchen bar

Yes, they carry Captain Morgan spiced rum. Don’t you ever think about anything else?

There’s also a life-size video of Gordon Ramsay that greets guests as they arrive. We are a fan of the chef, so that was fun.

Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay has said he’s a fan of In-N-Out Burger, so he can’t be all bad.

We hesitated about dessert, so the waiter brought one, anyway. A gratis dessert is a wonderful way to make a good impression.

The sticky toffee pudding ($9) was selling like crazy, so people obviously liked it. Other people.

Hell's Kitchen sticky toffee pudding

We wouldn’t know sticky toffee pudding from spotted dick pudding, but we do know ice cream, and this got a resounding “just all right” from us.

Another positive: While the prices are steep at Hell’s Kitchen, they don’t seem outrageous. After all, Caesars has to pay Gordon Ramsay his five percent commission on gross sales (it’s six percent if sales top $15 million a year).

Ultimately, Hell’s Kitchen was worth a visit, just to see what all the buzz is about.

The place is getting solid reviews on Yelp, with much of the criticism related to the experience not living up to the hype.

Our bottom line is that “good, not great” doesn’t really fly on the Las Vegas Strip, especially at these elevated prices.

Still, lots of Las Vegas visitors are going to check out a new restaurant no matter what they read in blogs. Have at it!

If you have limited resources, though, drop by Hell’s Kitchen for a photo op, then make your way to one of the exceptional restaurants nearby that’s more worthy of your time and money.

Hell's Kitchen Las Vegas

The Hell’s Kitchen logo uses a trident, but devil’s are traditionally depicted with bidents. Yes, we have officially run out of photo captions.

If you’re a Gordon Ramsay fan, head to Paris Las Vegas for Gordon Ramsay Steak.

Even his Gordon Ramsay Burger at Planet Hollywood is better, and Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips restaurant at Linq promenade is a much less expensive and equally satisfying offering.

If you’re just looking for an amazing steak, go inside Caesars Palace to Old Homestead Steakhouse.

If you’re a meatball person, some of the best in town can be found at Rao’s, also at Caesars Palace.

For the record, the best meatballs in Las Vegas call Pizza Rock home, downtown.

If you’ve tried Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and disagree with our level of “meh,” we’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment, or whatever people are doing to share their thoughts these days.