Foodies in Sin City and Northern California
January 6, 2014 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Were would you go in Las Vegas and Mendocino County (CA) in mid-February for interesting food?

We're up for anything and everything, from a fantastic lunch truck to high-end fine dining. The important thing is that it be fun and the food excellent. We're a week in both places, and so will have a chance to try a number of suggestions. One of the meals (in Vegas) will be a birthday, so a specific recommendation for a place to breakout the nice jewelry and a fancy tie would be appreciated. Previous standouts for us include Aldea in NYC and Bayona in New Orleans, to give you a sense of our preferences.

Which of the many signature fine dining places in Vegas is not to be missed? What vinyards in Northern California open in in the off-season or worth a look-in? Is there a hole-in-the wall diner that's awesome?
posted by bonehead to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
In Vegas: Comme Ca in the Cosmopolitan. I have only eaten brunch there, but the braised oxtail eggs benedict was so good I wanted to marry it.
posted by bedhead at 9:25 AM on January 6, 2014

e by Jose Andres
posted by hamsterdam at 9:26 AM on January 6, 2014

Best answer: Where in Mendocino county will you be? It's kind of big.

But all the wineries in the Anderson Valley should have open tasting rooms. Our favorite is Navarro, especially since you can't get their wine retail (you can have it shipped to you, depending on where you are).
posted by rtha at 9:30 AM on January 6, 2014

mendocino coast? try the restaurant at the albion river inn.
posted by bruce at 9:32 AM on January 6, 2014

FWIW, We'll be in Pointe Arena, Mendocino. However, we will have a car, and will not be afraid to use it. :)
posted by LN at 9:41 AM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Thomas Keller's place in Vegas was good. I also liked China Poblano for a casual & convenient lunch (although some folks were put off by the fusion aspect -- the sort of person who would go to a fusion restaurant and complain that a given dish was not "authentic").

I found the dishes at Lotus of Siam to be a bit erratic -- some were insanely great, while others were merely good, so your experience will probably vary based on what you order (ie., read that link). Also, some northern Thai dishes can be mildly challenging for people used to strip-mall Thai.

For low-end, Taco Gordo was decent and frankly a nice counterpoint to everything else.
posted by aramaic at 10:11 AM on January 6, 2014

Best answer: Mendocino county recommendations.

If you go through Ukiah, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, has a really excellent vegetarian restaurant staffed by cranky nuns. Oco Time is also pretty great.

If you make it to the coast, Eggheads in Fort Brag has the best eggs Benedict I have ever had.
posted by St. Sorryass at 10:25 AM on January 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Frankie's in Mendocino village is always popular. Moosse Cafe is also very good and somewhat upscale. I've heard good things about Raven's Restaurant, also somewhat upscale, I take it.

North Coast Brewery in Fort Bragg has pretty good food, but excellent beer. Also, there's a very good, home-in-the-wall pizza place in Fort Bragg called Piaci.

If you're in the Anderson valley, there's always The Anderson Valley Brewing Company, and the Boonville General Store, both in Boonville.

In Ukiah, the Ukiah Brewing Company is a local favorite, as are Oco Time, and I'd also recommend the Himalaya Cafe, though it's quite pricey. It sounds like you'll be pretty far from Ukiah though.
posted by Llamadog-dad at 11:07 AM on January 6, 2014

Best answer: Las Vegas's native cuisine is the buffet, and the high-end ones are very worth their price.

Bally's Sunday Brunch is amazing. The all-you-can-eat caviar and all-you-can-drink quality champagne are what distinguish it from the other brunch buffets, so if you don't care for either of those then the Bellagio or Wynn brunch buffets are probably adequate for your needs.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:16 AM on January 6, 2014

You are going to think I am nuts but I highly HIGHLY recommend going to Kabuto while you're in Vegas. It is a very traditional, very small/exclusive sushi restaurant that is unlike any sushi experience I've had anywhere in the US -- and I live in Seattle where we have amazing, fresh sushi. This is NOT a place where you order fireball spider crunchy extreeeeeme rolls and fried crap. This is a place where you do omakase and let the chef put together a wonderful meal for you, including courses of nigiri, sashimi, meat, and vegetables. It's pricey and it's a long meal and you need to make a reservation way in advance because only about 12 people fit in the entire space. But it's worth it.

I know what you're thinking, sushi in the desert?!? BUT REALLY. The chef has fish flown in every single day from Japan. The chef makes his own freaking soy sauce! (and you don't get any at your table, the chef will put it on your fish for you because he knows whether you need it and how much to apply)

Kabuto. Go.

(check the yelp reviews if you don't believe me, this place is no joke)
posted by joan_holloway at 11:58 AM on January 6, 2014

I rather enjoyed Mendo Bistro in Ft. Bragg, which is a quick jaunt up the road from Mendocino. There are no reservations, so there can be a wait sometimes, but the food is good.
posted by cleverevans at 4:30 PM on January 6, 2014

Double super seconding the Kabuto recommendation in Vegas, it's stunningly good.
posted by drapatz at 10:18 PM on January 6, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all for your answers. I've marked as best those recommendations we were able to use use and enjoyed. We were limited by time and budget from exploring all of them, but you guys all helped make the trip a lot more fun.

Lotus of Siam we'd go back to in a heartbeat. While the food in LV was mostly excellent, they really are a standout both for value and quality.

Fort Bragg was a lot of fun too. We enjoyed the Brewery tour, and Eggheads does indeed make fantastic Eggs Benedict. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas was also incredible. We never would have seen it without your suggestion---it was much appreciated!
posted by bonehead at 8:56 AM on March 26, 2014

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