In 1985, my parents were super excited when they took a tour of Italy. My mom’s travel log was filled with details about the amazing art, architecture, and people. My dad’s entries? Let’s just say they were a little less than favorable. Here’s one I remember. “Saw St. Mark’s Basilica on Venice tour. Had the veal; it was tough.” A tough but spot-on food critic, I always followed his suggestions when I went out to eat in the tri-state area.
If you’re headed to ISC West, you might be looking for some advice on choosing from the variety of Vegas restaurants. So I asked some of our food critics for their favorite spots. When you’re ready to take a break from the show, consider the recommendations below. And, if you are a real foodie and have indulged in Vegas cuisine, comment with your pick.
Dean Mason’s Pick: Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo
Just a short walk from the Sands Convention Center, this has become my favorite spot to grab a bite after a long day on the show floor. Lagasse’s Stadium’s seating is much more comfortable than your average stadium or sports bar, and you are surrounded by every sporting event on the large monitors. Since this is Las Vegas, you can wager on the games while you have your meal.
The menu is fairly simple, but with an Emeril flair. You can choose from a number of salads, wings, nachos, pizza, burgers, or sandwiches like the oyster or shrimp po boy, the French dip, a Reuben, and more. I usually opt for the Stadium Burger that can be customized with chili, avocado, or even a fried egg. There are many restaurants to choose from in Las Vegas, but for me, Lagasse’s Stadium is just the ticket.
Stan Martin’s Pick: Grand Lux Café at the Venetian (Cheesecake Factory)
This is absolutely my favorite restaurant when I’m in Las Vegas! Every selection is prepared perfectly from entrees to salads. The service is always excellent, portions are large enough to split and the price is reasonable. You’ll nearly always find friends or colleagues eating breakfast, lunch or supper – because it is terrific and it’s convenient. See you there!
John Smith’s Pick: Todd English Pub
One of my favorite spots, this pub has great Happy Hour Specials and higher-end pub fare including a Raw Bar. There is a large tap beer selection featuring the 7 second beer chug challenge. It’s free if you can drink a pint in 7 seconds. I have not attempted it yet, but have watched many do it.
Kristopher Cuva-Scheible’s Pick: Sensi in the Bellagio
I love this restaurant. It has four kitchens so there is something to please everyone, making it a great choice if you are going with a large group. I don’t have a favorite dish because they are all good. From Italian to American and Asian fusion, I’ve never had a bad meal.
Jason Lutz’ Picks: Max Brenner Chocolate
One of my favorite places for breakfast or a quick snack is Max Brenner’s Chocolate in The Forum shops. Now you are thinking to yourself this sounds good, but chocolate is not a breakfast food. And you may be a little right, but Max has more than the traditional chocolate bar you see at the candy store. Think grandma’s egg omelet next to the Illegal Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Pancakes. Yes, Chocolate times three. And no morning is complete without a cup of dark chocolate espresso. This drink is so smooth that you don’t notice the extreme kick of chocolate and coffee. Awake and energized you are now ready to hit the show floor!
Tao Las Vegas
So you want the sizzle and style that is Las Vegas? TAO Asian Bistro and Night Club is the place for you. Tao is always on my list for their Sea-Bass and Surf and Turf sushi, topped off with a nice beverage. Tao can be a little busy at post convention times, but don’t let that scare you off. Their huge bar is one of the best places to network in town. Tao is known for their service, drinks and great fusion flare, but be sure to check out the dessert menu.
David Gottlieb’s Pick: Triple George Grill
Away from the hustle and bustle of the Strip in Downtown, the Triple George Grill takes you back in time to the Las Vegas of another era. The spacious private booths make it relaxing and comfortable to enjoy their large varied menu and especially the steaks and seafood. The steak I had at last year’s ISC was great and I haven’t had a better one since.