Category Archives: Las Vegas Restaurants

Demolition is Underway on Diablo’s Cantina at Monte Carlo

It seems like ages since we first shared Diablo’s Cantina would close at Monte Carlo.

Nearly a year after our initial story, the popular restaurant and bar is being demolished. It closed Nov. 7, 2017.

Diablo's Cantina

Whenever a bar closes in Las Vegas, a showgirl loses her pasties. Which, upon reflection, may not be a bad thing.

Diablo’s Cantina is one of many venues closing at Monte Carlo as the Strip resort transitions into Park MGM.

We’ve got a look at all the changes at Monte Carlo. Sorry, Park MGM. That’s going to take some getting used to.

Here’s another look at the current state of Diablo’s Cantina.

Diablo's Cantina

Ah, if this rubble could talk.

For a decade (it officially opened in Oct. 2007), Diablo’s Cantina thrived with an innovative strategy: Have attractive women serve liquor.

Now, it’s thought the boisterous atmosphere of Diablo’s Cantina could clash with the more upscale Park MGM customer. That customer doesn’t exactly exist yet, but MGM Resorts hopes it will once the resort’s renovations are complete.

Why, look, Diablo’s Cantina has a new drive-through window.

Diablo's Cantina

You say “demolition fetish” like it’s a bad thing.

While we were checking out the Diablo’s Cantina demolition, we got a peek at other changes being made to the exterior of the resort.

Monte Carlo

Down with the Monte Carlo signs, up with the room rates.

The Monte Carlo sign is undergoing work, too.

Monte Carlo

Don’t get too sassy, you’re next.

In 2018, Monte Carlo is expected to be unrecognizable. Work continues on the hotel’s facade.

Monte Carlo

Today’s job we don’t want. That’s 32 floors up.

Thanks to Twitter follower Xhaust for letting us know work has begun on demolishing Diablo’s Cantina.

Diablo’s Cantina was a beloved party spot for many Vegas visitors, and many will miss the sexy devil statue that has kept watch over the venue for years.

At one time, we heard Diablo’s Cantina might move next door to The Park, but there’s been no such chatter for some time.

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Lotus of Siam Restaurant Opens New Location

It’s been a roller coaster of emotions for fans of Lotus of Siam, considered by many to be the best Thai restaurant in Las Vegas.

Others say it’s the best restaurant, period. While we appreciate their enthusiasm, they’ve never been to Pizza Rock. Moving on.

The original Lotus of Siam is located in a seedy shopping center (sorry, Commercial Center) on East Sahara Ave., and recently suffered a roof collapse after an intense rainstorm in September. Yes, it’s rained in Las Vegas. But just that one time.

A new Lotus of Siam is here!

Lotus of Siam

Siam was once an exonym for Thailand. We’ll wait while you look up “exonym.”

As repairs continue on its longtime location, Lotus of Siam has opened a second location at 620 E. Flamingo Road. Just go east on Flamingo (away from The Strip), past Silver Sevens casino, it’ll be on your left. It used to be Roy’s restaurant.

The only “downside” to the new Lotus of Siam location is it’s virtually on top of another fantastic restaurant, Mint Indian Bistro. You’ll survive.

Lotus of Siam

It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Lotus of Siam has an expansive menu of northern Thai foods we can’t pronounce, but everything we’ve ever tried has been delicious.

You can check out the menu on Lotus of Siam’s fancy new Web site.

One caveat of the new Lotus of Siam: They don’t have their liquor license yet, but it’s in the works. The bar is perfect for solo dining.

Lotus of Siam

The service at Lotus of Siam is preternaturally good. Getting a lot of use out of Google today, aren’t you?

The new Lotus of Siam is about half the size of the original location, and features a number of colorful murals imported from Thailand.

Lotus of Siam

How one orders a mural from Thailand, we may never know.

The company that built out the new Lotus of Siam location, Breslin Builders, can now focus all its attention on the closed venue, and it’s expected the original restaurant will open again in March 2018.

Lotus of Siam is well worth seeking out, as the restaurant’s legions of die-hard fans will attest.

Lotus of Siam

We prefer American broccoli on our Pad See Ew, don’t hate.

Welcome back, Lotus of Siam! And we are reminded of an old Thai proverb, “Don’t borrow another’s nose to breathe with.” We don’t entirely know what that means, but it was the best Thai proverb we could come up with on short notice, other than “Frog in a coconut shell.”

So, yeah, the nose thing.

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Sneak Preview: A.Y.C.E. Buffet at Palms

The new A.Y.C.E. (“All You Can Eat”) buffet at Palms doesn’t officially open until Dec. 22, 2017, but who the hell can wait? Did we mention it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet?

We popped in for a security breach on an employee “play DAY,” and A.Y.C.E. looks great.

AYCE buffet Palms

Gluttony has a new home, A.Y.C.E. buffet at Palms.

Palms, part of Red Rock Casinos (a/k/a Station Casinos) has undertaken a massive $485 million renovation, including new restaurant offerings, and A.Y.C.E. is part of that plan.

Check out our epic overview of 22 new things coming to Palms resort.

As is the law in Las Vegas, Palms says of the new buffet: “Worldly cuisine presented in an innovative, technique-focused fashion will be the signature of A.Y.C.E., which will host guests in an open food hall setting.”

AYCE buffet Palms Vegas

During NFR, “A.Y.C.E.” stands for “All y’all, come eat!

Seriously, Vegas can’t help itself. Here’s more: “A.Y.C.E. will define the Vegas buffet not only with elevated and eclectic food displays but also in its modernized presentation, where we focus on the method of preparation.”

So, yeah, it’s a Las Vegas buffet.

Thankfully, Las Vegas tends to get buffets right. Judging by the interior design, A.Y.C.E. is hitting a lot of the right notes.

AYCE Palms Vegas

Decor touches include old-timey portraits with playful graffiti.

A.Y.C.E. features seven food stations, all of which sound like varieties of weed.

1. The Greenery features seasonal salads and fruits. This station is right up front, but don’t fall for that old trick! Buffet pros skip salads and head for all things meat.

2. The Hearth features a brick oven for casseroles, pizzas, whole fish and English pasties. English pasties, of course, are very popular with pole dancers in London.

AYCE buffet Palms Las Vegas

We love pizza, so at A.Y.C.E., home is where The Hearth is.

3. The Roastery has a rotisserie and wood-burning grill to make a variety of international fare like braised oxtail poutine, French onion beef sliders, calamari steaks, chicken teriyaki and quesadillas.

4. World Pan has more international fare like vegetable paella, Moroccan lamb, dim sum and other Asian favorites.

AYCE buffet

The World Pan station may be familiar because of its famous father, Peter.

5. Smoke & Fire is for meat-lovers, with glazed ham, ribs, hot links, smoked brisket and others.

6. Revival will focus on healthy dishes, with vegan, vegetarian and anti-inflammatory cuisine. Personally, we prefer our buffets inflammatory, but we’re open to trying it!

7. Sweet & Light is the dessert station, also known as “Where this blog begins and ends every all-you-can-eat buffet.”

AYCE buffet

Biggest. Earrings made of plates. Ever.

A.Y.C.E. will be open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

We can’t wait to put on our expandable-waistband pants and try the new A.Y.C.E. buffet at Palms. The resort’s former Bistro Buffet was in need of a serious do-over, and this appears to be one of those.

Before you visit A.Y.C.E., don’t forget to check out our 10 Ways to Make the Most of a Las Vegas Buffet.

A.Y.C.E Buffet at Palms

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Security Breach: Westin’s Jake and Eli Restaurant and Bar

This is probably the last post we’ll ever do about Westin Las Vegas.

That’s because the hotel closed its casino this summer, and if your hotel doesn’t have a casino, why does it have to even be in Las Vegas? Be in Cleveland, all due respect.

The Westin still has sign outside touting its Max Casino, so we stopped by to make sure it’s gone. It’s gone.

What the Westin does have is a sign for a new bar in the works, Jake & Eli.

Westin Las Vegas Jake and Eli

Nothing makes us thirstier than a made-up story about a historical event that never took place.

The blurb on the sign says something we can’t believe we’re taking the time to type: “Two guys meeting to toast a great day and gorge on the best sirloin in town, arguing over who’s [sic] bourbon is better. The name Jake and Eli is based on the historic tales of two different men who are credited with being the first to create the concept that we now know and love as American Bourbon. This is an authentic American story that gives a vintage elegance like a worn club chair, and combines the mood with the savory smells and tastes of grilling meat and hearty laughter.”

As far as we can tell, the “Eli” in the name is Elijah Craig, sometimes (almost certainly erroneously) credited with the invention of bourbon. The “Jake” seems to refer to Jacob Beam, one of the forebears of Jim Beam.

Whatever, it’s all a tremendous load of manure, reminiscent of Downtown Grand’s misguided attempt to fabricate an “authentic” historical basis for the name of its original restaurant, Stewart & Ogden.

To help is get through the agonizing amount of marketing bullshittery, we did a security breach of the new restaurant.

Westin Jake & Eli

It’s no fun doing a security breach when there’s so little security. Again, no casino.

The Westin seems to cater mainly to businesspersons, so if you’re one of those, feel free to get excited about Jake & Eli.

Fun fact: Originally, the Westin was called the Maxim. It was in front of the Maxim that rapper Tupac Shakur was shot. The crime remains “unsolved” despite the fact every damn fool knows who did it.

Hey, not all fun facts are equally fun. Just go with it.

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Todd English is Out at Aria’s Todd English P.U.B.

What is Todd English P.U.B. without Todd English? We’re about to find out.

Rumors are celebrity chef Todd English is on his way out at Todd English P.U.B., although the venue will continue as a brew pub.

P.U.B. stands for “Public Urban Bar,” which is likely to remain the case even after Todd English’s name has been removed from the place.

Todd English P.U.B.

Ironically, the Todd English P.U.B. logo contains an hour glass, a way of measuring time running out.

From what we hear, the management team of Beerhaus could take over operation of whatever Todd English P.U.B. becomes, which is disappointing (if true) as Beerhaus is easily the weakest offering in The Park’s restaurant row.

Todd English is probably best known for his cooking show, “Food Trip with Todd English,” on PBS. His original restaurant was Olives in Boston.

It’s unknown if Todd English’s ouster from the establishment bearing his name at Aria has anything to do with recent sexual harassment allegations against him. A lawsuit was filed against the chef and members of his New York-based Todd English Food Hall restaurant staff, and six others have filed suits alleging “repeated instances of sexual harassment.” It’s possible Aria and MGM Resorts executives got wind of the New York lawsuits and decided to cut ties with English to steer clear of any controversy (or legal liability).

It’s worth noting Todd English’s Olives at Bellagio is set to close this winter. That venue will be replaced by Spago which will relocate from the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. There will be a quiz.

Celebrity chefs, of course, have little to do with the day-to-day operation of Las Vegas restaurants with their name on them.

The chefs are contractually obligated to make appearances at the restaurant for publicity purposes, then receive about five percent of the restaurant’s gross sales. (See also chef Gordon Ramsay.)

People seem to have a fondness for Todd English P.U.B., but business is business.

Casinos have been re-evaluating their partners to determine if it’s more profitable to manage venues in-house. That’s one of the reasons Flamingo’s Sin City Brewing isn’t called that anymore (it’s now Patio Bar, because naming things is hard), ditto Fat Tuesday at Linq (it was replaced with Purple Zebra).

If more news surfaces, you’ll hear it when we do!

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Pizza Lotto to Close, Naked City Pizza to Open at El Cortez

Pizza Lotto, a perfectly good pizza joint at El Cortez casino in downtown Las Vegas, is closing.

Another pizza restaurant, Naked City Pizza, is taking its place.

While we haven’t tried Naked City Pizza, 1) it’s pizza and 2) “Naked.” What’s not to like?

Pizza Lotto Italian restaurant

When it opened, Pizza Lotto promised it would have lottery-inspired scratch-off cards with discounts, but it never delivered. (We’ll wait.)

Reports are Naked City Pizza will open at El Cortez after the new year.

Naked City Pizza seems to have lots of die-hard fans, but it’ll be up against a couple of pizza joints that aren’t just good, they’re great. Specifically, the incomparable Pizza Rock near Downtown Grand and Evel Pie on Fremont East.

To its credit, Naked City Pizza was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” We are not entirely sure which category it fell under.

As we tend to eat pizza at least three times a week, we can’t wait to give Naked City Pizza a try.

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