Saturday

Mon Ami Gabi, in the Paris

Mon Ami Gabi, in the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino
3655 Las Vegas BlVd.
Las Vegas, NeVada 89109


Need a place to sit and haVe a drink while watching the Bellagio's water show? Check!
Need an impressiVe wine list? Check!
Need to feel like you're in Paris eVen though you just came in on the 20 hour non-stop flight from Paris? Check!

Mon Ami Gabi is a gem of a restaurant, because:
- It's right in the middle of The Strip
- EVen though it's on The Strip, the prices aren't twice as high as they could be
- EVen though the prices are reasonable by Strip standards, the portions are Very generous.
- Taking all that into account, the food quality is still top-notch.

The oysters are Very fresh -- Malapecs, Blue Points, not to mention Kummomotos!!

The french onion soup isn't too salty -- so many are ruined by an oVerdose of NaCl.

Each steak is better than the next -- New York strip with caramelized shallots, Onglet Classique (hangar steak), Seak au PoiVre.

And the frites -- they rank among the best I'Ve had. I'm talking Les Halles quality (Anthony Bourdain's restaurant).

And the wine. Ah, the Vino. The 1998 Cotes-du-Rhone Parallele 45, Jaboulet at $28 is a good Value. If you want to blow someone away, get the $38 Bordeaux -- Baron de Rothschild, "Legende R", Pauillac, 1998. Tastes like a retail $60 bottle. Put the Cotes-du-Rhone to shame, and that was already a Very good bottle.

Add in competent waiters and witty bartenders, and you'll get:

Final Comment: One of the few restaurants that get no complaints.

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Greek Island Cafe, Fashion Show Mall

Greek Island Cafe, Fashion Show Mall
3200 Las Vegas BlVd.
Las Vegas, NeVada 89109

Cruising around The Strip, a sharp hunger pang hit me as I was walking by the Wynn. Looking up at the great space ship in the sky, the food court at the Fashion Show Mall called me -- "Come up to the mothership, we're on the 3rd floor. Bwahahahaha."

Entranced by the promised Wall Of Food, I oVerlooked the options --
Hot Dog On A Stick, Sbarro, Basin Street Cajun Cafe. Then I saw it like a beacon of light -- the Greek Island Cafe. The counter was eVen staffed by a grecian temptress.

Unable to stop my feet from walking oVer, I ordered the greek salad and the
aVgolemono (lemon/chicken/rice soup).

The salad was quite underwhelming. Somewhat limp lettuce, not too many toppings -- at least there were zero beets. Whew. But I was able to sweet-talk the temptress into adding on a couple dolmades (stuffed grape leaVes), which were aboVe-aVerage.

The soup, on the other hand, was the best I'Ve had this side of Detroit's world-class Greektown. Best
aVgolemono in the U.S. is at Cypress TaVerna in Detroit.

The unassuming
aVgolemono in this food court was a surprisingly good rendition. The broth was lemony, but not a bright and fresh lemon flaVor -- more like cooking-all-day-so-only-the-essense-is-left lemony. (It could also be that the soup was fiVe days old). There were good amounts of chicken and not too much rice.

Final Comment:
Cheapest food in the Vicinity, best option in the food court, get the soup.

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Friday

Panevino

Panevino (doesn't deserVe capitalized Vee)
246 Via Antonio
Las Vegas, NeVada 89119

Friends were in town. We're all budget-minded people. How simple should it be to find a great sandwich shop with good views and waiter service?

Well keep on driVing past this oVerblown wasteland of a restaurant. Actually, since the airport is across the street, catch a ride to NYC instead.

Let me set this up for you:
The VVV: "Do you haVe waiter serVice, or just a walk-up deli counter?"
Lying sack of *%&$ operator: "We haVe sit-down service, yes."
VVV: "Can I order sandwiches at the table."
LSOSO: "Sanwiches are aVailable."
VVV: "Are they the same price as I see on your Web site -- around $7.50 each?"
LSOSO: "Yes."

So then we all head over there and sit down at a perfect table, oVerlooking The Strip. White tablecloths, quite an upscale atmosphere. Restaurant was empty. The only things we were taking a table from were the yellow-bellied rat bastard employees who might haVe wanted to sit down to rest for a second before running off to screw over some other unlucky wenches. As you can see, the people running the place weren't fit to manage a dog-food eatery in Dubuque, Iowa.

Factual chain of eVents:
1) Menu comes with entree prices near $20, no sandwiches listed.
2) Ask waiter for list of sandwiches.
3) Brings printed off list that a cashier would use to mark off indiVidual's orders.
4) Waiter: "Sandwich prices are double here at the restaurant."
5) Calmly explain the phone conversation.
6) Haughty Manager comes over, eyes us over, sees us as overwhelmed suckers.
7) Explain phone conversation again, saying that this is a bait-and-switch operation. He explains that the chef said that portions are different "etcetera," so prices are double. Said he'll check w/the chef again.
7b) During this argument, bus-boys continue to re-fill waters, bring bread, pour oil/vinegar. Ridiculous.
8) At this point, Panevino experience is worse than a used car dealership experience ("Let me check w/my manager to see if I can take this deal).
9) Repeats aboVe line.
10) Takes three requests to finally get the check for the $2 Cokes and iced teas.
11) Manager says things like "won't you still stay and haVe lunch with us?"
12) After final "no," don't even get the drinks comped.
13) As we're walking out, manager offers his hand and tells me to call him personally the next time we come if we need anything at all. Gee, some $7.50 sandwiches at the table MIGHT BE NICE.

Easy solution #1 -- we get restaurant sandwich platter at same price.
Easy solution #2 -- manager runs to the deli side (run as separate business) w/our money and brings it to us.
Easy solution #3 -- at the very least, apologize for the unqualified phone operator's mis-information and comp the Cokes.

We then walked to the deli and got a fantastic deal -- $8.50 for any salad on their menu (incl. seafood salad with mussels/calamari/tons of shrimp/octopus) and 1/2 sandwich and cup of soup. That's "WOW"!

As for Panevino?

Final Comment:
Hope you get aVian flu instead of a window-front seat here.

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Sushi King, in the Stardust

Sushi King, in the Stardust Hotel and Casino
3000 Las Vegas BlVd.
Las Vegas, NeVada 89109


Sushi King is located in the Stardust Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The Stardust oVerall is not glamorous -- think utility instead of oVer-the-top gaudy.

But the sushi quality is surprisingly high for a restaurant in the 2.5-star Stardust. They claim that fresh fish is flown in daily. EVen in New York, fish serVed on Monday night came in on Friday morning. So daily is hard to belieVe, but it IS quite fresh.

Dinner and a la carte prices (two pieces of Hamachi for $5.50) are relatiVely expensiVe -- you can get it as good elsewhere for cheaper.

HoweVer, at lunch, they haVe a bento box special for $8. I'Ve gotten the Unagi each time -- the portion of BBQ eel they giVe on top of a pile of rice is Very generous. But then you also get aboVe-aVerage miso soup, a typical salad and a Cali roll.

I'Ve been stuffed each time I'Ve left the place -- and so haVe people who can eat a lot more than I can. But usually quantity means a lack of quality. Not with this Value-packed lunch special.

Final Comment: A tried-and-true lunch hot-spot.

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Vegizzle Victizzle Vizzle

EVer get this feeling at a restaurant? If you don't, do you eVer eat out?!?!?!

EVen worse -- eVer feel like this after researching your chosen hashery???

If you're like anyone else, citysearch has let you down. So has zagat's. The newspaper? Who eVen reads it! Better used for the crab shells.

So stick around for the Vegizzle Victizzle Vizzle.

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