I had an extensive list of places I researched or heard I must eat at while in Las Vegas. I only got through a small fraction of the 34 options. But here’s the details of the good, the bad, and the ugly of my food in Vegas for two days.
Surprisingly one of the only 24-hour diners in Vegas, Ellis Island was the first place we grabbed a very late-night dinner. (Around 1:30 am) No, we weren’t partying, we just got there late due to car troubles.
Ellis Island was one of my top “must-try” restaurants due to their $8 steak deal. Without a casino player’s card, (you can get even better deals with one)
I got a 12 oz. New York Strip, two eggs, potato hash, and toast. The steak was cooked a perfectly medium-rare, though it was not well seasoned at all. So, not much flavor. The eggs were cooked perfectly. The potatoes were your regular frozen squares, fried up. The toast was standard. Overall, that was a great deal! I couldn’t finish but about half of the hash and toast.
*No worries, a well-dressed, middle-aged white man sitting next to us collected my leftovers after we left the table and ate them at his own table, as he did everyone’s leftovers. Vegas….
Drew decided on the $9 reuben with a side of coleslaw. While it didn’t look nearly as good as it tasted, it was amazing! I ate a few bites because I couldn’t help myself. It was drippingly juicy, very flavorful, just perfect! The slaw was terribly bland.
MONTA NOODLE HOUSE
For lunch the next day, we took a lyft to Chinatown to try Monta Noodle House, suggested by a friend and highly supported by great online reviews.
I got a huge $8 bowl of Kuro Ramen Black Garlic Oil. With pork broth, actual pieces of pork, roasted garlic flavor mushrooms, scallions, soft boiled egg (for a $1.50 extra) this was delicious! There were so many noodles, I couldn’t finish, but I slurped all the broth up. If you like garlic, this is the one to try! There is also a heavy mushroom flavor. The pork is very tender, but not plentiful.
Drew got the spicy tonkotsu ramen for $8, which was made with the same pork that was in mine, pork broth, the same veggies as mine, and a spicy chili sauce. It was tasty as well, but the spice seemed to take over. I couldn’t get much pork or mushroom flavor. Drew was able to finish his off! And we did swap bowls a couple times to get a different flavor. A bowl that big can get very spicy when you don’t break it up with something else.
This place was super fast as well. We got there at opening time, there was already a line out of the door and we had to wait for the first set of patrons to finish their meals. (There is very limited seating). But we were seated, ordered and fed within about 40 minutes. They don’t piddle around here.
One of my favorite food shows is definitely Ugly Delicious on Netflix. The chef and restaurant owner, Davis Chang, hosts this travel show about food. So, I had to try some of his food while in Vegas! Unfortunately, his restaurant here, Momofuku, was a little too expensive for my taste. However, the baker he had in Momofoku that made the desserts there crazy famous, Christina Tosi, has opened Milk Bar right next door. This is a dairy-focused dessert stop (no where to sit) inside of the Cosmopolitan.
The most popular item from this place is the funfetti cake. At $14 a slice (though this is a HUGE slice) I decided to splurge and go for it.
It was VERY similar to the boxed, make-at-home version. The icing was a little denser than the stuff you buy at the store, but it all was an all-too familiar overly sweet piece of cake. It was disappointing to me. Drew loved it, though. However, I hardly ever feed him cake.
And if that wasn’t enough disappointment for our trip to Milk Bar, I got a small serving of “cereal milk” soft serve for $6. The cereal milk is made with corn flakes. CORN FLAKES. As if she said “let’s use the least flavorful cereal when making our cereal milk. Let’s use corn flakes!” This made the ice cream taste like straight whole milk. I hated it. I took one bite and was done. Drew was very disappointed as well, we threw most of it away.
THE WICKED SPOON
The last time we came to Vegas, we had the buffet experience of a lifetime eating at The Buffet in the Bellagio. The best parts were perfect steak tartare and the largest Alaskan King Crab legs you’ve ever seen, already sliced open for you with a saw. You can’t beat pulling a foot of super thick crab leg meet right out of the shell.
Anyway, this buffet was rated lower online than The Wicked Spoon, so I wanted to give this one a shot. They also have Alaskan King Crab, plus bone marrow!!!!
We were starving this day, not having much to eat in preparation for this buffet, so we got there about 2:45. There was a line, but the wait was only 20 minutes. The cool thing about this, though, was since dinner didn’t start until 3:00, they charged us the lunch price ($28) instead of the dinner price ($36) even though by the time we got seated, it was after 3:00. Nice!
Now to the buffet. It was smaller than I imagined, much fewer choices than The Buffet at the Bellagio. The crab was much smaller and not already cracked open. There was plenty of bone marrow and crostini to spread it on. And the plating of a couple dishes was cute, like the fried chicken wings and the shrimp and grits.
As for flavor- besides the bone marrow- everything was very disappointing. The chicken wings had no seasoning and were very overcooked. The crab was fine, but a lot of work. Most items were under-seasoned or overcooked, especially their meats. I got a small slice of completely inedible sirloin.
This was not the only plate I got before dessert, but the other plates consisted of mostly bone marrow, which was perfect. I ate way too much of that!
The desserts were cute and tastier than their savory dinner options. They also had a gelato stand that was delicious. The bread pudding was probably my favorite, followed closely by the macarons. Other than that, nothing was really worth eating.
Overall, stay away from The Wicked Spoon and go to The Buffet at the Bellagio.
That’s it for Vegas! Overall, I’d say stick to places in Chinatown- everyone said that has the best, most affordable food, no matter where you choose to eat there.