JCK’s Bill Furman is back with his tried and true suggestions for eating Las Vegas.
Magic at Mandalay Bay
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Dining on the patio at Trattoria del Lupo (702-740-5522) is like sitting in a fishbowl watching the people float by. Pizza pioneer Wolfgang Puck offers homemade pasta with classic Bolognese sauce, divine chicken marsala over capellini, and pizza with sausage, rapine, garlic, broccolini, and pecorino cheese. Relax on the patio overlooking the Mandalay Bay pool at Border Grill (702-632-7403), where you can enjoy delicious Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, including grilled fish tacos with cucumber citrus slaw, ceviche, and outstanding vegetarian options like portobello mulitas (grilled layered mushrooms served with roasted peppers). For super-serious foodies, there’s Aureole (702-632-7401), Charlie Palmer’s superb American comfort food emporium ($85 for the prix fixe menu). But truth be told, I prefer the casual upstairs lounge to nibble on sublime small plates such as hickory- smoked baby back ribs, the softshell crab BLT, and seasonal oysters.
Explore the Cosmopolitan
3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South
The Cosmopolitan’s throbbing energy will seduce you. Begin your culinary crawl at Jaleo (702-698-7950), where you can join the communal table for scrumptious tapas from award-winning chef José Andrés. In search of a steak experience rarer than rare where you can flirtatiously dance in the aisles? STK (702-698-7990), the sexy steakhouse with a DJ, will rock your taste buds with steak your way—topped with everything from foie gras to chimichurri sauce to fresh crustaceans. Blue Ribbon (702-736-0808) will satisfy your sushi craving with scrumptious salmon skin rolls, yellowtail with scallion, seaweed salad, and a lobster roll crowned with black caviar. To top it all off, the wasabi-honey fried chicken packs quite a kick!
Favorites Off the Strip
Ferraro’s (4480 Paradise Rd., 702-364-5300), a classic 20-year-old Italian restaurant, has been reborn, guaranteeing one of the most impressive dining experiences in Las Vegas. For the ingredients to be any fresher, you’d have to go into the fields and pick them yourself! The expansive bar is ideal for watching sporting events while you peruse the restaurant’s award-winning 900-bottle glossary of wines. Although osso buco is the signature dish, don’t miss the chicken parm, the veal chop lombata topped with arugula and shaved ricotta salad, or the Grand Marnier–infused crepes with Nutella and mascarpone. Firefly (3900 Paradise Rd., 702-369-3971) offers an international cornucopia of mini-delicacies such as steak tartare, ceviche of red snapper, sautéed mushrooms, roasted eggplant cannelloni, chorizo clams, crispy duck rolls, spicy lamb sausage, and cool gazpacho. Relax in the lounge or on the patio for an informal and cozy escape from the crowds—just don’t forget the sangria!
Shop, Stop, and Eat
Eat your way around the world without leaving the show! JCK Las Vegas offers an expanded selection of 23 concession stands featuring brand-new cuisines, including Indian, Asian, kosher, Jain, and Italian. There are also plenty of grab-and-go and healthy eating options. You’ll find additional seating in the Shorelines Café and the LUXURY Dining Salon. For more information, call the JCK Las Vegas concierge at 888-JCK-2013.