Going to Las Vegas earlier this week for CES 2015 was different for several reasons, one of the most notable of which was that I actually flew home on the day that the massive trade show officially started. Given this, it was a much more low-key affair and we didn’t even attend any industry parties. We did manage to eat a few interesting places, so I thought I’d share a few of them with you here.
Just as we did a couple of years prior, we stayed at the Flamingo for this trip. After heading straight to our first meeting directly from the airport and making our way to our hotel to check-in, we decided we needed some food and we wanted to go some place we hadn’t been before. And so, we settled on burgers over at the Paris Las Vegas.
Burger Brasserie (Paris)
It goes without saying that there is no shortage of burger places up and down the Las Vegas strip. We’ve had positive experiences at KGB (Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers) in Harrah’s and BLT Burger in the Mirage. And even though Burger Brasserie is located in the Paris hotel and being a “brasserie” sounds more French inspired than a “cafe” or “restaurant,” there’s nothing “French” about this place.
Pricing is quite reasonable by sit-down Las Vegas standards with most burgers in the $13 range. You do need to order your sides (about $7 for fries or onion rings) separately. I had the Paris Burger, which has brie cheese, caramelized onion and smoked bacon on an onion bun. The patty was quite juicy and, when combined with the soft brie and the oozing caramelized onions, this made for one delicious mess.
Behind that, you can see Stephen’s Italian burger with arugula, mozzarella and pancetta. We also ordered a couple of “adult” shakes. All in all, Burger Brasserie is a solid choice for a good burger in a sports bar kind of environment. I just wish I got the NFL trivia question right for 10% off our check.
Not all meals in Las Vegas are particularly glamorous. You might remember the press box lunch typical of the show. I didn’t partake this year, but at one of the meetings, we were offered a buffet-style assortment of cheese, crackers and fruit. What you see above was “lunch” on the second day. ‘Tis the life of the independent journalist?
California Pizza Kitchen (Town Square)
Getting away from the core of the Las Vegas Strip, we made our way to the Town Square shopping development to the south. It’s a great little complex, though we got there too late to do any actual shopping. Don’t hold the fact that California Pizza Kitchen is a chain restaurant against it; the pizza here is pretty darn decent.
I ordered the wild mushroom pizza with white truffle oil. It comes with a blend of crimini, shiitake, portobello and white mushrooms, along with scallions, black pepper, pecorino romano and mozzarella. I really enjoy the earthiness of mushrooms and truffle oil, so this was pretty great. The relatively thin crust was crisp and not at all greasy.
Mesa Grill (Caesars Palace)
Many celebrity chefs open restaurants in Las Vegas, including Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay. In the case of Bobby Flay, he has Mesa Grill inside Caesars Palace. As can be expected, Flay brings a little upscale southwestern flair to the menu with chimichurri, crispy tortillas and cilantro. I opted for the cascabel chile crusted rabbit, served with a wild mushroom cous cous (I like mushrooms!), green chiles, mint, marcona almonds and a smoked red pepper sauce.
The meat was wonderfully tender and the smoked red pepper sauce was surprisingly rich and deep. Pricing at Mesa leans toward the higher end–most entrees are in the $40 to $50 range and side dishes are typically a la carte–so keep that in mind when picking where you’d like to eat.
Serendipity 3 (Caesars Palace)
Located out in the plaza in front of Caesars closer to Las Vegas Boulevard, Serendipity 3 is probably better known as an ice cream and dessert place. It also boasts a decent-sized menu for breakfast, burgers and sandwiches. What you see above is the crab cake sandwich with a side of fries, along with the “Monkey Business” milkshake. The crab cake was unfortunately underseasoned. The milkshake was pretty good, though pricey at $11 sans alcohol.
Serendipity 3 is ultimately underwhelming unless you go there strictly for ice cream and desserts like the frozen hot chocolate.
Do you have any favorite Las Vegas restaurants? I thought the Wicked Spoon buffet at Cosmopolitan was pretty great and Earl of Sandwich in Planet Hollywood is a good value too.