Category Archives: Las Vegas Restaurants

Spago at Bellagio is Reliably Unremarkable

Spago has opened at Bellagio and we can confidently report the longtime Strip fixture is still sort of just okay.

Spago Bellagio

Spago has a new home at Bellagio. Water Grill will move into its former space at Forum Shops in 2019. Please keep up, there will be a quiz.

It was big news when Wolfgang Puck’s Spago announced it would┬árelocate from the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace to Bellagio after a quarter century in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas media outlets reported the news with little interest in, or perhaps knowledge of, the backstory.

Specifically, business had flagged for several years at the Forum Shops location, and when the Forum Shops threatened to raise the restaurant’s rent, it was time to go.

During Spago’s heyday at Forum Shops, it was raking in an eye-popping $18 million a year, despite the fact only a handful of restaurants in Las Vegas make $10 million or more.

Spago set its sights on the Olives space in Bellagio. The space was freed up by another turn of events largely unreported, the decision by MGM Resorts to cut ties with the chef behind Olives, Todd English, following sexual harassment allegations. That’s also why the Todd English P.U.B. at Aria is now just The Pub. Props to MGM Resorts for taking a stand.

The glorious drama!

Spago opened at Bellagio on June 7, 2018, and we had to check it out, of course.

Spago Bellagio

Of course, we stopped by the bar first. Do you know this blog at all?

A news release about the restaurant opening said, “Spago is inspired by California living with its casual elegance and farm-to-table ethos. Wolfgang hand selects seasonal ingredients to create the restaurant’s market-driven menu, featuring the chef’s signature fare paired with modern technique and creative elements.”

Ah, news releases.

While the Spago menu offers many of the dishes created by Wolfgang Puck, what the release and news reports haven’t shared is Wolfgang Puck isn’t really involved in Spago restaurant at Bellagio anymore.

As has become the norm in Las Vegas with celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Giada de Laurentiis and Guy Fieri, the restaurants boasting their names are operated by the host resort, with licensing fees being the only real connection to the chefs. Ditto Spago.

That means employees of Spago at Bellagio are on the payroll of MGM Resorts. Does it matter? Maybe not, but it’s something to keep in mind when deciding whether to dine there or not.

As was the case at the Forum Shops location, Spago serves up reasonably good, but far from great, fare.

One of the restaurant’s claims to fame is the smoked salmon and caviar pizza. The basic version is $36, the kaluga sturgeon caviar version is (wait for it) $75.

Spago Bellagio

We’re all for indulging in Las Vegas, and this pizza might make a fine photo op, but if you think it’s worth $75, you’re Pucking nuts.

Other dishes are equally forgettable, including the $21 micro portion of spaghettini.

Spago Bellagio

Mama mia, that’s adequate!

There’s also the grilled chicken sandwich ($22). You know you’re in “meh” territory when the best thing about a dish is the fries.

Spago Bellagio

Well, it’s certainly food! Feel free to use that in your advertising, Spago.

Here’s the menu for Spago at Bellagio. While we found a menu for the restaurant online, it didn’t have prices. Which we’re sure is just an unintentional oversight.

Spago Bellagio menu prices

Fun fact: Sometimes Las Vegas restaurants share menus without prices so they can increase prices when business is heaviest. Like rideshare’s surge pricing, but with pasta.

Here’s a larger version of the Spago menu to reward you for reading this far.

We were convinced the signature cocktails would be a highlight of the otherwise humdrum offerings at Spago, and if you can get past the sticker shock, the drinks are plenty tasty.

It seems $22 cocktails are the new $18 cocktails. To be honest, we were just starting to adjust to $12 cocktails.

Spago Bellagio

Remember, you’re not paying for a cocktail, you’re paying for an experience. The experience of paying for an expensive cocktail.

Here’s the signature Out on the Tiles cocktail, with Chamucos Silver tequila, Aperol Aperitivo liqueur (made with gentian, cinchona and other words we don’t recognize), hibiscus, grapefruit juice and lime juice. A worthy addition to our collection of panty-dropper cocktails.

Bellagio Spago cocktail

The $22 price tag wouldn’t have been nearly as painful were it not for the fact Out on the Tiles is served in what amounts to a glass thimble.

An undeniably spectacular aspect of Spago is its view of the Bellagio fountains.

An outdoor patio makes it feel as though you’re part of the iconic show.

Spago Bellagio

This is about as Vegas as it gets.

A big plus for Spago is its excellent service and friendly, knowledgeable waitstaff.

It was refreshing when our waiter rolled his eyes at the fact straws are no longer provided at Spago, except upon request. When they were requested, this was the presentation. Note: We are not making this up.

Spago Bellagio straws

“Straws by request only” is easily our “Most Annoying Thing About Las Vegas” for 2018.

Also classy is the option for guests to choose either black or white napkins.

As is the law, the place is a tad loud, but that’s a good sign as it means the Spago name still pulls in a decent crowd. Spago, by the way, translates as “string” in Italian.

Designer Gelila Puck (Wolfgang’s wife) collaborated with architects Massimiliano Locatelli and Annamaria Scevola of CLS Architetti to create a bland space you and your kids probably could’ve decorated better.

Spago Bellagio

Then again, who are we to say this is boring? We are not an interior designer, we are a blog. And barely that, come to think of it.

If you decide to try Spago (we’d strongly suggest the nearby Lago restaurant instead, but you know how strong-headed you can be), expect to work up an appetite first.

Spago is in Bellagio’s shopping promenade, nearly a quarter mile (about 1,100 feet) from the main hotel entrance. No joke. It’s across from Tiffany & Co. and near Bottega Veneta, whatever that might be.

While Spago didn’t knock our socks off, it’s certainly not bad, and may just be what you’re looking for when you’re visiting the Bellagio Conservatory or the world’s largest chocolate fountain at Bellagio Patisserie, formerly Jean Philippe Patisserie.

Let us know what you think of Spago at Bellagio, and “Bon apetite!” or some other cliche people use in the last sentence of articles.

Spago at Bellagio

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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.┬áIn 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

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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

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