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Celebrity Chefs Go Casual - Changing the Dining Experience in Las Vegas

By Stephan Martin

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The decadent dining experience is abundant in Las Vegas, but if you are looking for all of the flavor with a little less of the fuss, some of the best chefs around have gone casual. Now you have the chance to savor all of the genius of these chefs with a more casual and affordable twist to their everyday menu.

The creativity of some of the great chefs in Las Vegas can be seen when they take an everyday dish such as a hamburger, macaroni and cheese or tapas and they are able to turn something ordinary into something that will leaving you talking long after leaving Sin City. We have put together a list of some extraordinary restaurants for you to visit on your next trip to Las Vegas that will make your casual dining experience feel anything but casual.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Chef Joel Robuchon opened this casual concept next to his fine French restaurant at the MGM Grand, giving you the perfect opportunity to just walk up and grab a seat at the counter and dive right into the menu. This is a beautiful restaurant and sitting at the counter and being able to watch up close and personal as your food is being prepared really enhances your experience. If you want the full experience, for a mere $59 you can try the L'unique. With the L'unique you are able to design your entire meal from start to finish and it will all be served within 15 minutes. What a deal and if you don't have time to waste this is perfect for you.

Burger Bar

The “Better Burger” revolution started with Chef Hubert Keller and the race has been on ever since, as restaurants have been trying to keep pace with the creative burgers at Mandalay Bay. The Surf & Turf burger featuring lobster was one of the first burgers that took everyday lunch item from fast food to delicacy. If you have a sweet tooth the burger line also includes a Chocolate Burger, the Peanut Butter and Jelly Burger and the Creamy Cheese Cake Burger.



Chef Tom Colicchio shows off his own quick-fire skills with sandwiches that would sure to be winners on Top Chef. Featuring artisanal breads, seasonal produce and premium cheeses, these sandwiches are a perfect food to grab on the go while still giving you all of the flavor that you would get from a sit down meal. If you are at the MGM stop in and give the fried egg with bacon, gorgonzola and frisée on ciabatta roll a try. That is truly taking sandwiches to a new level.

Todd English PUB

Todd English P.U.B.

Pulling off a pub concept at Crystals would seem like a tough task, but when you have three-time James Beard Award winner Todd English setting up shop, you are in good hands. The Todd English P.U.B. was created in a pub style with the wood curved bar, thirty premium beers and plenty of bar food and plasma tv screens mixed in to provide you with a great experience. Todd took things a little further by adding a full raw bar to show off some of the amazing seafood that you can find in Las Vegas. If you are looking for an upscale pub, this is it.

Todd English PUB

Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina

Another restaurant in Crystals, this time Wolfgang Puck is giving you a little twist on what you might normally expect as he takes on pizza. Pizza lovers get a chance at a gourmet version of America’s favorite food, prepared only the way Wolfgang could do it. If you are looking for a vegetarian pizza the baby Squash, cherry tomatoes, and ricotta is a must try. Gourmet cheeses and meat will make any pizza you try here a treat and the Panini sandwiches make a meal all by themselves.

Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina

Sirio Ristorante

The latest and greatest Italian restaurant from the Maccioni family is located at ARIA and they recently complimented their amazing restaurants regular menu with a caffe menu. This combined with a beautiful bar setting allows diners to come in and enjoy the rich Italian experience with some great smaller portion items at a lower price.  Sirio offers an assortment of pizzas, but the pasta is the true diamond of this restaurant.  The ravioli and lasagna are two of the items that you should try if you want to take in the authentic Italian flavors that Sirio offers.

Fleur by Herbert Keller

Chef Keller developed Fleur exactly for this reason, it provides you a chance to take in his culinary expertise while. The restaurant itself provides a more refined, upscale setting if that is what you are looking for, but if you just happen to want to pop in, the center bar is perfect for you. This stunning bar allows you a chance to take in all of the people watching that Mandalay Bay can offer, while providing a chance to sit at a table to dine off the menu or you can grab a seat at the bar and watch some sports. Either route you go gives you a chance to taste some smaller plates and get a sense of what Chef Keller is all about. A nice bonus if you are going to visit Fleur is they offer a fantastic a happy hour.

Fleur Burger

BLT Burger

Chef Laurent Tourondel decided to take a little detour from his fine steak and seafood restaurants and try his hand at creating a unique American burger joint. The burger menu is truly original, where else are you going to find a Lamb Tandoori, made from Colorado lamb and featuring a mint-cilantro yogurt sauce. To wash down your dinner you will have a hard time making a choice from the large wine, cocktail and beer selections and you might actually be enticed to order from the milkshake menu and grab a Twinkie Boy or a Nut Job.

BLT Burger

SEABLUE by Michael Mina

Located inside of the MGM Grand, SEABLUE is known for offering some of the freshest seafood selections in all of Las Vegas, but don’t pass on some of the new dishes and appetizers as they might be the most addicting things on the menu. SEABLUE recently added tapas, seasonal tasting menus and new cocktails to go along with a happy hour that allows you to try some amazing items such as stuffed Chincoteague clams and falafel fritters for only five dollars. While the side dishes pair perfectly with one of the steaks off of the wood-burning grill, you might be tempted to make a meal from any combination of these tasty selections; crushed potatoes with crispy garlic and rosemary, bacon-creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes and truffled mac & cheese.

Julian Serrano

Chef Serrano has already taken the Las Vegas dining experience to its highest level with his award-winning restaurant Picasso, located inside of the Bellagio, but now he has taken on a new challenge by showcasing more of his native cuisine and culture with the opening of Julian Serrano in ARIA. The assortment of flavors in these dishes will amaze you; the mix paella contains lobster, chicken, chorizo, vegetables and saffron rice, just a sample of what this menu is all about.

If that list of restaurants and chefs does not wet your appetite, then you might as well not come to Las Vegas. While the gambling, clubs and pools are sure to entice you, the ability to go from one extraordinary restaurant to another just by taking a short walk is what separates Vegas from every other vacation spot in the country. So next time you are walking through a casino in Las Vegas and come across a restaurant that catches your eye, don't worry about the reservation, just grab yourself a chair and prepare to be wowed.


Published on Aug 31, 2011

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