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Dining

The Golden Age of Vegas Dining: Once-in-a-lifetime meals, anytime

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Twenty courses. Eight chairs. One é.
Photo: Beverly Poppe

There’s never been a better time to eat Las Vegas. As the Strip and the city around it have evolved, so has the Valley’s sprawling dining scene. From eat-your-way-through neighborhoods to groundbreaking restaurants, these 10 reasons are a right-now snapshot of why today truly is the Golden Age of Las Vegas dining.

9. You can have a once-in-a-lifetime meal anytime

It’s Wednesday night and you want to step into the mind of acclaimed Spanish chef José Andrés. Good thing there is é, the eight-seat restaurant-within-a-restaurant in a back corner of Jaleo at the Cosmopolitan.

“It’s like dining inside José’s brain,” says sous chef Cody Jeffs, referring to the eccentric décor and the menu—20 carefully orchestrated, perfectly choreographed mini-courses that pay homage to classic Spanish dishes and flavors with a decidedly modern twist.

é's <em>bocata de calamares</em>

é's bocata de calamares

It’s the kind of meal that often ends with new friends and occasionally with tears of appreciation, but perhaps the most remarkable thing about é is simply that it’s here. If you have the email address (reservations are not accepted over the phone) and the funds (dinner costs $195 without wine), you can have Andrés’ once-in-a-lifetime experience any time you like.

In fact, in Las Vegas, there are bucket list-caliber meals available every night of the week.

As the city’s dining scene has evolved, the Strip hasn’t just wooed the world’s culinary big guns, it’s dared them to create over-the-top experiences for a town that doesn’t do subtle. Hence, the Krug Chef’s Table at Guy Savoy, a six-seat private nook where diners have an intimate kitchen view as they sample Krug champagne and up to 13 courses—in the company of Olivier Krug and chef Guy Savoy. Fellow Frenchman Joël Robuchon’s eponymous MGM Grand restaurant—affectionately called “the Mansion”—serves a 16-course menu degustation, an epic fine-dining experience that lives up to the $435 price tag and will change the way you look at bread forever (and, for that matter, carts). Just down the street, Masayoshi Takayama’s Tetsu elevates teppanyaki cooking with ingredients like Australian filet mignon, foie gras and whole lobster with pineapple butter, while across CityCenter’s central plaza, Twist at Mandarin Oriental transports diners into the inventive orbit of Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire, known for melding flavors and textures in ways you never imagined were possible, let alone delicious.

Perhaps that’s ultimately the mark of the once-in-a-lifetime meal—that it alters your concept of an ingredient, a dish or dining in general. Whether you get that from an über-aged steak at Carnevino, Gagnaire’s horseradish and quince ice cream or the 17th bite at é, in Vegas, it’s all at your fingertips, all the time, ready to astound.

NEXT: 10. The future looks even brighter

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Sarah Feldberg is the editor of Las Vegas Weekly magazine. A veteran journalist, Feldberg previously worked as the Weekly's web ...

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