Petrossian Bar

Caviar sampler

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This is a delightful piano bar just off the Bellagio lobby, and next to the casino. Despite its location, it is neither noisy nor smoky.

Many creative cocktails are one offer. One of the most interesting items is the caviar sampler, which includes a taste of three grades of caviar, and a glass of Champagne. I suggest ordering it with the creme fraiche on the side, though, as the way it’s served it’s almost impossible to keep it from getting mixed into the caviar, which makes them all taste the same.

Petrossian Bar
3600 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV
89109
(702) 693-7111
https://www.yelp.com/biz/petrossian-bar-las-vegas

é by José Andrés

Cream Catalana custard

Fluke

Caviar

Freezing sangria

Four gras

Cheeses

Spanish pizza

Preparation of cava sangria dew drops

Interior

**** (4.5 stars)

This is one of the more unique dining experiences in Las Vegas, with only nine seats at a counter in an intimate room. The experience is as much or more about the presentation as the actual food. Twenty or so courses are meticulously assembled in front of you. And unlike, say, l’Atelier, where there is a server between you and the chefs, here the chefs do that interaction as they work. It requires great talent and personality to fill that role.

Several levels of wine pairing are available here, and the wines are masterfully chosen to match the food. While it is expensive, I must say that the highest level wine pairing offered the best wines Ive encountered on a paring menu, with selections such as Unico and Chateau d’Yquem.

While none of the courses contained that home run of flavors that would stick with me in memory, I think the experience is well worth it, because of its unique intimacy.

é by José Andrés
3708 Las Vegas Blvd SLevel 2, Boulevard Tower
Las Vegas, NV
89109
(702) 698-7950
https://www.yelp.com/biz/%C3%A9-by-jos%C3%A9-andr%C3%A9s-las-vegas-4

Michael’s Gourmet Room

Exterior

Interior

Scampi fra Diavolo

Mixed green salad

Petite filet mignon

Bone in filet mignon

Bananas Foster for one

Fruit and chocolates parting gifts

**** (4.5 stars)

If you are over a certain age, you will remember what fine dining restaurants used to be like, before they were, bright, loud and trendy. Visiting Michael’s is like stepping back into that era. The decor and the menu are exactly what we would have encountered in the 60s or 70s at the finest places in town. Well, except for the prices, anyway.

That said, while the menu prices might seem high, it’s important to note that there is a LOT included that isn’t on the menu. You start a basket of parmesan toast, a basket of lavash, and a generous relish tray with everything from pickled vegetables to quail eggs. And the meal ends with an enormous fruit bowl and an array of hand-dipped chocolate fruit slices. Of course, no one can eat all that, so you end up with a five pound to-go bag–snacks for a week.

In between all that free stuff are some great starters and steaks. Mixed green salad was simple, fresh, and enough for two. Scampi fra Diavolo had perhaps the best marinara sauce I’ve tasted (although it wasn’t spicy at all).

My bone-in filet was a superb piece of meat, and came with a lovely mushroom and red wine reduction. My companion’s petit filet seemed a bit mealy and flavorless in comparison, but the accompanying Bernaise sauces was wonderful.

For dessert we shared Bananas Foster for one (not on the menu, but nice of them to suggest the smaller serving). There was also a very tempting array of pastries on the cart.

I would have finished with an espresso, but at $16 that just seemed over the top, price wise.

The wines list focuses on many well-chosen California selections at reasonable prices.

Service was friendly, but also offered with the high degree of professionalism one would expect in a restaurant that so perfectly recreates the golden age of fine dining.

Michael’s Gourmet Room
9777 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV
89183
(702) 796-7111
https://www.yelp.com/biz/michaels-gourmet-room-las-vegas

SUSHISAMBA – Las Vegas

El Topo

Peruvian sea scallops

Kanpachi, yellowtail and yellowtail ceviche

Pumpkin spice old fashioned for Thanksgiving!

Interior

**** (4 stars)

Very good sushi with a slight Peruvian spin, such as the sauces used for the sashimi preparations. Fish quality was good, and service was friendly. Chill vibe.

SUSHISAMBA – Las Vegas
3327 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV
89109
(702) 607-0700
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sushisamba-las-vegas-las-vegas

La Casa De Isaac & Moishe

Interior

Bar

Exterior

Chiles Rellenos

Enchiladas

Duck tacos

**** (4 stars)

This is a pleasant family style restaurant serving all the standard Tex-Mex dishes. The place is surprising large, with the dimmer, more intimate area being on the bar side. They did a great job with the decor and acoustic treatments.

La Casa De Isaac & Moishe
2014 1st St
Highland Park, IL 60035
(847) 433-7400
https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-casa-de-isaac-and-moishe-highland-park-2

Taza Cafe

Gyro Plate

Falafel Sandwich

Interior

Exterior

***** (5 stars)

Extremely friendly staff in this counter service restaurant make it special.

I tried the gyro platter, which came with lentil rice, hummus, a falafel, salad, and pitas. It was very good, especially the gyro meat coated in tzatziki and spicy sauce.

Even better was the falafel sandwich, a generous serving of falafel, lettuce, tahini, spicy and a very fresh pita pocket to hold it all.

Definitely one of the best choices for fast Middle Eastern food in Chicago.

Taza Cafe
176 N Franklin St
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 201-9885
https://www.yelp.com/biz/taza-cafe-chicago

Bar Ramone

Interior

Citrus-Cured Hirame

Bigeye Tuna Tartare

Parmesan & Manchego Marshmallows

Bloody Mary Shrimp

Duck Confit Poutine*

Caulini

Japanese Ice Fish*

Galician Octopus*

Lamb Meatballs*

Basque Cheesecake

Crema Catalana

***** (5 stars)

This is definitely another win for Lettuce Entertain You, much better than Bottlefork, which it replaced. The space is largely unchanged, narrow and deep, with a bar along one side. It’s not just a small plates restaurant, but actually closer to a true tapas bar, with many traditional Spanish dishes, and a few twists or completely new creations.

Our favorites were the tuna tartare, which was particularly savory as a result of being mixed with black rice and garlic aioli, and the Japanese ice fish, tiny little fish served in an udon-like broth.

We also liked the duck confit poutine, with its crispy potatoes and rich sauce; I thought it would have been just as good without the duck!

Octopus, lamb meatballs, bloody mary shrimp, and caulini (a cauliflower broccolini cross) were all good. Parmesan & manchego marshmallows were interesting, a jiggly cube of cheese-flavored goo. The only dish that left us cold was the rather flavorless hirame crudo.

Desserts were also standouts. We couldn’t pick a favorite between the creme Catalana with its bitter orange flavor and the Basque cheesecake, which was infused with amaretto.

Although it’s a wine bar, you won’t find very many familiar choices on the list. Wine by the glass are on the back of the one-page menu, but there is a more extensive bottle list. I’d say the emphasis on both is fairly obscure.

Service was good, especially considering we were there opening night and the place was packed. This is definitely a welcome addition to the River North dining scene, and especially to the local Spanish tapas selections.

Bar Ramone
441 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 985-6909
https://www.yelp.com/biz/bar-ramone-chicago

P.F. Chang’s

Interior

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This is a chip off the P.F. Chang’s block, pretty consistent in all ways. Maybe a bit higher ceiling, a staircase, a more prominent bar, but definitely P.F. Chang’s.

There are some interesting new lunch menu bowls, if you haven’t been in a while. The Bibimbap and tempura bowls were both interesting, although the beef in the Mongolian bowl was probably the best.

P.F. Chang’s
530 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 828-9977
https://www.yelp.com/biz/p-f-changs-chicago-8

Le Grill de Joël Robuchon

Exterior

Bar

Nibbles

Gazpacho

Cheese soufflé

Duck

Ice cream and sorbet assortment

***** (5 stars)

l’Atelier is one of my favorite restaurants around the world, so I always try to visit when I’m in a city that has one. However on this Monday night only Le Grill was open, so we decided to try it, and we were glad we did.

Le Grill offers a relaxed environment, a reasonably priced and very interesting menu, and an excellent wine list. Service is as perfect as at all of Joel Robuchon’s restaurants, professional, yet never stuffy. It’s wonderful to have such an excellent meal experience without it having to be a production number.

Le Grill de Joël Robuchon
85 10th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 488-8885
https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-grill-de-jo%C3%ABl-robuchon-new-york-4

Per Se

Exterior

Interior

View

Extensive selection of half bottles

Oysters and Pearls

Yellow fin tuna

Scallop

Parker House roll

Quail

Lamb

Assortment of Desserts

**** (4 stars)

Whenever I go to Per Se I come away comparing it to all the other top-rated restaurants I’ve been too. Although I think the staff is wonderful, and the restaurant is beautiful and beautifully situated, I can’t convince myself that the food lives up to expectations. It’s all beautiful, but there are no home runs.

In its favor, it has perhaps the best selection of half bottles of wine I’ve seen anywhere, so you can put together an amazing tasting to match your meal. But I think you’ll find that the food doesn’t live up to the wines.

On this latest visit, the best course was the quail, and the most forgettable was a completely mundane lamb chop.

The desserts were the best. Usually when a restaurant fills the table with a half dozen small desserts, many of them are misses; but at Per Se each dessert deserved to be there, and provided a lovely variety to end the meal.

If you’re looking for a sophisticated experience with great service and a beautiful view, and if cost is no object, the Per Se is a great choice. If you’re looking for the best food in the city, this is not it.

Per Se
10 Columbus Cir
Fl 4
New York, NY 10019
(212) 823-9335
https://www.yelp.com/biz/per-se-new-york