By Alexandra Cohen
LAS VEGAS- When in Las Vegas (https://www.visitlasvegas.com/ca), there are no shortage of fantastic restaurants to choose from. Here are a few suggestions from my most recent trip.
CATCH THIS GREAT MEAL: Last fall, the Aria Resort & Casino (https://www.aria.com/en.html) welcomed Catch (https://catchrestaurants.com),the go-to dining destination for celebrities from Los Angeles to New York City. Known for attracting A-listers from around the world, this restaurant, with its Asian influence, debuted on The Strip, bringing with it a something-for-everyone dining experience.
Just arriving at Catch is a true experience. The entryway is a truly picturesque 80-foot-long tunnel, filled with brightly colored flowers organized into beautiful patterns. It feels like stepping into a secret garden, or even a hidden world.
On the menu, you will find a host of seafood sharables. Guests can dive in with an assortment of bright appetizers. The Catch Ceviche infuses the bold flavors of mango and blood orange ponzu with Alaskan King Crab, Maine Lobster, shrimp, and scallops. We enjoyed the decadent Truffle Sashimi allows guests to indulge in both tuna and hamachi paired with chili ponzu, caviar, and rich black truffle purée.
In addition to their Vegas-specific sushi rolls, Catch also offers its famed signatures. The vegan Veggie King Roll is made with king oyster mushrooms, cashew and spicy miso. For a unique and delicious flavor profile, guests can opt for the Hellfire Roll, which uses spicy tuna in two ways with Asian pear and balsamic.
We also enjoyed other shared starters, including the crispy shrimp, the rice cakes, and an order of their mushroom spaghetti, which was truly delicious. For our main course: roasted branzino, a restaurant highlight, alongside a side of spaghetti squash. Prefer meat? Catch offers options like the 25-Day Dry-Aged Tomahawk: 36-ounces of all natural, grass-fed beef with caramelized onion wagyu butter.
Their over-the-top desserts celebrate indulgence, featuring treats like the “Hit Me” Chocolate Cake that encourages guests to smash the liquid “Klondike” bar perched atop a brownie, devil’s food cake, and roasted white chocolate ice cream.
New York based restauranteurs Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum have spent two decades building Catch Hospitality Group into one of the country’s most successful restaurant and nightlife management companies. Dubbed by Forbes Magazine as the “New Kings of New York Hospitality,” Remm and Birnbaum pioneered dynamic hospitality experiences using food, service, and vibe to create seamless transitions between dining, nightlife, and entertainment.
“After successfully tackling the East and West Coast markets we feel that Las Vegas is the next most logical place for the CATCH brand to call home,” Birnbaum told Food & Wine. “As with all CATCH outposts, we will stay true to the identity of the brand in both design and core menu, while working to develop location-specific additions that speak to the interests in the local market and its anticipated clientele. For CATCH Las Vegas that will mean some elevated moments that kick our experiential menu up a notch, without being too over the top that we stray from who we are as a concept.”
See this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLv0BXnJGTs
Catch is located within the main lobby of the Aria Resort & Casino. It is open for dinner Monday through Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The lounge is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 p.m. – 3 a.m. To make reservations, call the Aria Concierge at (702) 590-5757 or visit OpenTable.
LUNCH AT SPAGO: We had a delicious lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s legendary flagship restaurant Spago (https://wolfgangpuck.com/dining/spago-lv), located at the Bellagio (https://www.bellagio.com/en/hotel.html). Puck’s revolutionary restaurant debuted in this location last summer with an entirely new look and menu and the exceptional level of service for which the restaurant is best known.
The restaurant is beautifully situated in front of the Bellagio Fountains for a fantastic view while you eat. Spago’s re-imagined menu features Puck’s signature California fare paired with modern technique and inspiration from his chef’s weekly trips to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. At lunch and dinner, the market-driven menus feature handmade pastas, wood-oven pizzas, fresh seafood, all-natural meats and prime steaks, alongside handcrafted cocktails and a robust wine list.
From popular Spago dishes to new dishes offered only at Bellagio, guests have a wealth of options to choose from for lunch or dinner.
The chefbrings his own signature to the Las Vegas steak dinner, allowing guests to indulge in prime meats, such as Wagyu and Japanese Ribeye carved tableside. In addition to trying one of their delicious cuts of American wagyu, complete with white truffles, we also indulged in their smoked salmon pizza with caviar, a true highlight on their menu. We enjoyed a fresh strawberry cocktail as we sat on the patio enjoying the fountains, along with a dessert that I can only describe as outstanding: their Spiked Lemon. Words cannot do this desert any justice, but you need only take to the internet to see it for yourself, as our waiter described as their menu’s “Most Hash tagged Item” due to its astonishing appearance, complete with flakes of gold.
Similar to the menu, the wine list will be seasonally inspired, starting the summer months with a strong selection of Rosé wines. In addition, the list features nearly one dozen wines from Wolfgang Puck’s private label, a collection of food-friendly wines that celebrate the spirit of food and life for which the chef is known.
Spago commissioned Las Vegas artist Katie Lewis to create a series of 20 topographical map images inspired by the Nevada desert landscape. One wall of the restaurant is dedicated to “Hugging a Black Hole, Hoping One Day to Forget,” a piece crafted by Jacob Hashimoto, known for his three-dimensional wall hangings inspired by his Japanese heritage. The most coveted seats are positioned on the circular and covered outdoor patio, giving guests unobstructed front-row views to the magnificent fountains.
Gelila Puck said, “The fountains were everything for us. We used the water as a key element in the design of the restaurant, bringing the beautiful feature to the forefront of the dining experience from the moment our guests enter the restaurant. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows highlight the grandeur of the space while distinct dining spaces meld classic architecture with modern art, all creating an atmosphere as memorable as the food.”
As for the main dining room, this space boasts beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows imparting picturesque views of the Bellagio’s famed lake from any seat in the house. Spago also offers two private fountain-view dining rooms, each seating up to 20 guests. The private rooms feature translucent glass panels with elegant white sheers that act as filters, allowing guests to enjoy their privacy while being able to fully take in their surroundings.
Spago is located in Via Bellagio and is open for lunch daily from 11:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. Dinner is from 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m Sunday – Thursday and 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Friday & Saturday. The bar menu is available from 2:45 p.m. until close. To make reservations, call the Bellagio Concierge at (702) 693-7111 or visit OpenTable.
CAESARS PALACE BUFFET: What would a visit to Las Vegas be like without spending some time at the famous Caesars Palace? As famous as Las Vegas itself, this spot is perhaps the best-known casino resort in the world. What began as a grand casino honoring the indulgent luxuries of ancient Rome has somehow evolved into something even more spectacular.
Caesars Palace spans 85-acres at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, just 10-minutes from McCarran International Airport. During our trip, we experienced a fantastic dinner at their Bacchanal Buffet—voted the Best Buffet in Las Vegas by USA Today two years in a row. I was unsurprised to hear that they were given this title when I realized that their buffet presents nine distinct restaurants, all in one location!
The modern setting of the buffet is inspired by the elements of glass, wood and steel. With nearly 500 dishes to choose from, every guest is sure to satisfy their cravings, whether they are in the mood for prime rib, chilled king crab legs, or freshly made sushi. A team of seven specialized chefs oversee the preparation of the majority of the food in front of the guests, creating an interactive environment.
The cuisines offered include:
- Mexican – featuring freshly made enchiladas, tortillas and more
- Italian – Pastas, baked lasagna, antipasto display
- Chinese – Made-to-order assorted soups, wok-fried dishes, and dim sum
- Japanese – Fresh sushi, sashimi, cooked fish
- American – BBQ house-smoked meats from a wood-burning smoker and wood-burning grill; numerous carving stations including prime rib, brisket, rotisserie chicken and more
- Seafood – Fresh East and West Coast oysters, king crab, snow crab, stone crab, mussels and prawns
- Pizza – Varieties of pizzas served fresh from a wood-burning oven
- Deli – Soups, cheeses, seven charcuterie selections including house specialties and individual, prepared, and make-your-own salads
- Dessert – Chocolate, vanilla and pistachio soufflés baked-to-order, selection of gelato, sorbets
The Weekday Brunch is $39.99 (Mon-Fri 7:30 am – 3 pm.); The Weekend Brunch is $54.99 (Sat-Sun 8am – 3pm); Weekday Dinner is $54.99 (Mon-Thur 3p m – 10 pm); and Weekend Dinner is $64.99 (Fri-Sun 3pm – 10pm). For an additional $15 per person, add the All You Can Drink option and receive unlimited Draft Beer, House Wine, Mimosas, or Champagne.
There is also line pass option available for $20 per person during select hours of operation. See the manager for details.
Info: (702) 731-7928. For large party reservations and private dining, call group dining at Caesar Palace at (702) 731-7778 or toll-free at (866) 733-5827. Log on to www.caesarspalace.com.