You do not venture to Las Vegas in search of the ordinary or typical. When it comes to happy hour, Vegas does not disappoint, you are not going to find your typical wings and nachos here. Sin City is going to make this a gourmet happy hour with items such as Truffle Mac and Cheese, Steak & Stout Pies. These are just a few choices that will entice you get your night started a little early.
Pool season is upon us and whether you are coming from one of ARIA’s three pools or the Liquid Pool and Lounge, you can dry yourself off and do a quick change and make your way over to American Fish by Michael Mina or Sirio Ristorante for a gourmet happy hour experience.
American Fish by Michael Mina has a beautiful setting, a great little lounge area to kick back with friends and a creative classic bar that is perfect to sidle up next to and make some new friends. You are not going to come across a menu that contains the likes of a Maine lobster roll, a prime rib sandwich, truffled mac & cheese, shrimp and grits, Dungeness crab truffles and fish and chips at your local tavern. The best thing about this menu is that the more you order, the better the deal gets. One item is $8 and you can work your way up to four items for $28 and the quality and quantity make this an amazing value. The truffled mac & cheese is made to make sure that you know that truffles are not just in the name, they are one of the main ingredients and then the dish is completed with some fresh mushrooms and broccoli. With the name American Fish, the fish and chips had high expectations and they did not disappoint. A perfect batter and fish that tasted so fresh you would have thought it was just taken off the fishing line. Finally I would suggest the prime rib sandwich, very rich and flavorful, the prime rib is shredded nicely with a little bit of horse radish and the ciabatta bread makes for one great sandwich.
While American Fish does have a number of beers and drinks on their happy hour menu, I would suggest you dig a little deeper into their cocktail menu. One of the most unique cocktail menus in town, American Fish has classic drinks that will take you back to the days when Las Vegas was just getting its start. The “Blinker” is one of those drinks that doesn’t get too fancy, but lets you know you are drinking a real cocktail. Bourbon, grapefruit juice and raspberry syrup, just a enough sweet to take the edge off but this is one strong and flavorful drink that might make you feel like you are on the set of “Mad Men.” To finish off the very happy hour, try the white chocolate bread pudding, this is what a dessert was meant to be, sweet and rich, hard to beat this one for a mere $6.
Sirio Ristorante is right across from American Fish so you are going to have your work cut out for you trying to decide where to eat. When it comes to authentic Italian food you will not find a better dining experience than Sirio and with the happy hour they offer, it is a great opportunity to try a few smaller dishes to get a sense of the restaurant. The two dishes that I would highly recommend would be the spinach and ricotta cheese ravioli in sage butter sauce and the chicken meatballs with tomato-gorgonzola fonduta. The ravioli lets you experience the freshness that you get with all of the hand-made pasta at Sirio, while the sauce that accompanies the chicken meatballs and so rich you could eat it just by itself. The other items offered on the happy hour menu include pork cheeks and tomato bruschetta, salted cod croquette and finally mozzarella bites with oven roasted tomatoes and basil pesto. You can try any single item for $7 or you can try a group of three for only $18. The bar is a more casual setting than the restaurant, but don’t limit yourself to the happy hour menu, you can order a Sirio thin crust pizza or a dish of pasta and pair it with one of the $6 glasses of happy hour wine.
The MGM Grand has a number of restaurants that make great happy hour stops. If you are looking for some Mexican flavor you can stop at Diego and start off with the Queso Fundido, made with traditional baked cheese with poblano chile rajas, black beans, and pork carnitas. You can also try the fresh guacamole or go with the gorditas sampler which includes duck carnitas and you can enjoy a pitcher of margaritas or sangrias while enjoying your south of the border dishes. Another Michael Mina restaurant, NOBHILL TAVERN, features a late night happy hour, if there is such a thing in Las Vegas. From 10 p.m. to midnight, you can enjoy New England crab and lobster rolls, beer-battered shrimp and BBQ pulled pork finger sandwiches for just $8 apiece. Over at SEABLUE by Michael Mina, you can have your bartender pour you a $3 Stella Artois while you are eating an assortment of clams, oysters or shrimp.
Over at New York New York a visit to Nine Fine Irishmen at happy hour is a must. $5 dollar pints of Guinness, Harp and a great number of other beers will get you started but the food will keep you there. How could you turn down a steak & stout pie for $6? Filled with Guinness braised beef and mushrooms, this is one hearty appetizer. You can also order yourself some drunken onion rings, the potato basket, the beer n’ cheese dip with country breads and ale battered fried sausages. That is what happy hour is all about!
Part of the Las Vegas experience is dining out and making an event of the evening. It can be difficult with all of the restaurant choices to make that dollar and time commitment to a restaurant you don’t know. These happy hour menus are a nice way to get to know a restaurant and to get a sense of what the chef is like without having to dive all the way in.