Sunday, April 30, 2017

Golden Gate Hotel & Casino Spring 2016

It is literally the original hotel in Las Vegas, built in 1906 and given the address 1 Fremont St. It was originally the Hotel Nevada, then in 31 it became a casino and was renamed Sal Sagev, Las Vegas backwards until 1955 when a group of Italian-Americans from San Francisco rethemed it into the Golden Gate.

Fast forward to today and this isn’t what you would expect out of a 110 year old property. This is the very definition of classic. It’s old without being dated, it’s small without feeling cramped and it's themed without being gaudy. Much of that can be attributed to it’s most recent owners, Greg and Derek Stevens. Their 2012 renovation may be the most subtle and functional ever in a place that doesn’t really have any space to grow. With 122 rooms Golden Gate is the smallest hotel/casino in Vegas on Fremont or the Strip but again, that somehow adds to it’s charm.

And the future looks even brighter. The Stevens group’s recent acquisition of La Bayou next door seems to indicate plans for expansion of the Golden Gate. And the purchase of the Las Vegas Club, Glitter Gultch and Mermaids across the street makes it clear that they are making their claim to shape Fremont St as they see fit. Those who are fans of the D have reason to believe a players club card that connects all 3 properties is coming soon.


Keren - 3/5
Mark - 3.5/5
Alastair - 4/5

Saturday, March 25, 2017

New York New York Hotel & Casino Spring 2016 (aka Kayotay Tackos)

The themed resort is one of the things that makes Vegas so special.  If you just want to gamble, you can find casinos all over the place.  Only in Vegas can you walk from an Egyptian pyramid to a Mid-evil Castle to New York City without even traveling a mile.   

Enter NYNY, MGM’s contribution to the Vegas themed offerings.  Located on the corner of the busiest intersection in the United States, Tropicana and Las Vegas Blvd, NYNY was a huge hit from day one.  It aimed for the mid-market right out of the gate and they came.  Some have argued that the property has an identity crisis with Cirques most provocative production in residency while also offering a huge arcade and a roller coaster, clearly aimed at entertaining those not old enough to gamble. 

Today, it’s one of the anchor properties of MGM’s outdoor promenade “The Park”, a play off of New York’s central park, if only in general concept and location to the themed resort, complete with a 20,000 seat arena and home to the cities first professional team.  Coming up on it’s 20th anniversary, it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.


Mark & Alastair - 3/5
Keren - 2/5

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Bazaar Meat @SLS Spring 2016

When the fabled Sahara casino closed its doors on May 16th 2011, many were sceptical as to whether new life would be breathed into this grande dame of the strip. Fast forward to August 23rd 2014 and SLS, a shiny white concept of ‘LA in the desert’, was born kicking and screaming into the world. Replete with Olympic mascot lookalike Sam, the shiny silver cyclops welcomed the non-existent foot traffic to the property. Would SLS succeed? Or would it be buzzed off stage faster than Tony Snyder at an America’s got talent audition.

The jewel in the dining crown at SLS was ‘James Beard Award-winning chef’ Jose Andres’ Bazaar Meat. Already a known quantity in Las Vegas through his presence at The Cosmopolitan with Jaleo, e and China Poblano, expectations were high. Fortunately, whilst the rest of SLS seemed to struggle with stores, restaurants and casino layouts coming and going, Bazaar Meat built a solid and growing reputation.

After reading a glowing recommendation in a magazine (but not listening to the constant verbal love fest that Alastair has been having with the place), Keren finally decided to head out to the wasteland of north strip to discover the truth for herself

Rating (scale of 1-5)
Keren & Alastair – 5/5

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Giada's @Cromwell Spring 2016

Okay, she’s hot.  No one is going to argue that.  She is also Italian so the odds of her being batshit crazy is also pretty probable.  All those things aside, this women couldn’t have gotten famous as a chef if she wasn’t actually good at it to begin with; right.  Well this is her first restaurant ever anywhere so if you want first hand knowledge, here's your chance

Giada’s is Cromwell’s only dining option and it is brilliantly located on the 2nd floor, basically in the same spot the famous Barbary Coast/Bill’s cascading neon signage formerly resided.  As has become the newest fade in Vegas, that this show can’t encourage enough, it offers outdoor dining, right on the strip…well, elevated above the strip.

The restaurant is described as Italian cuisine with refreshing California influences.  To encourage perfect pronunciation, the menu phonetically spells out how to pronounce bastardized words like Spaghetti and Rigatoni. But let’s not focus on the pretentious and let's get to the food.

Rating (scale of 1-5) 

Mark & Keren  5/5 

Alastair  4.5/5

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Broadway Burger @NYNY Spring 2016

It’s a burger, right?  Sure, some are better than others but how do you justifying charging $10-20 for it.  Well, once you taste it, you’ll understand why.  Apparently there really is such a thing as a gourmet burger and Broadway Burger is a good example of one.

You wouldn’t expect much from a restaurant with a name that fits the theme of the hotel/casino it resides in but you would be wrong to overlook this experience.  Broadway Burger showcases the concept that the whole is more than the sum of it’s parts because, while each element is well taken care of, the combination is something special.

While the concept isn’t new the simplicity of their build a burger is something to be enjoyed, appearing to be inspired by the Chipotle concept, if only in menu layout.  Pick your protein, cheese, veggies, meats and even fry styles.  I know your listening to this and thinking, lots of people do this, it isn’t anything new.  Let me assure you, Broadway Burger doesn’t do burgers like everyone else does.
Rating (scale of 1-5)

Mark – 5/5
Keren – 4/5
Alistair – 4/5