Dine 909, Vegas edition

Went to Las Vegas earlier this week.

Of course, other than gamble, the other thing I like to do in Vegas is eat. And eat I did.

It’s also the first trip since finding out about the Grand Lux Cafe that I didn’t eat there.

For the uninitiated, Grand Lux Cafe is an offshoot of The Cheesecake Factory. In fact, I think of it as a slightly more upscale version of The Cheesecake Factory, with better food. Not that the food at The Cheesecake Factory is bad, in fact, I think it’s quite good…it’s just that I feel that the food at Grand Lux Cafe is that much better.

There are two Grand Lux Cafes in Las Vegas, in adjoining casinos, no less — one in the Venetian and one in the Palazzo. I’ve heard that the one in the Venetian is always crowded, while the one in the Palazzo is hardly ever crowded. I can’t compare…I’ve only been to the one in the Palazzo.

So this trip, I have a couple of recommendations and a couple of places you might want to pass on.

Let’s start with the two that didn’t fare so well.

First is the Bistro Buffet at the Palms Casino, where we had dinner.

I’m kind of surprised that the buffet wasn’t better, since I’d eaten at their 24 Seven Caf several times and always had good food there, especially their breakfasts.

It’s almost as if they were trying to have interesting and unique items on their buffet and were unsuccessful at nearly every turn. There were exceptions– the chicken shawarma comes to mind — but as a whole, it was disappointing.

It seemed like most of the folks in the sparsely-populated dining room were there for the crab legs, anyway.

The desserts were a bright spot, however, and they are the only buffet I’ve ever been to that has a Douwe Egberts Cafitesse coffee machine. I took advantage and made myself a cappuccino and an espresso, too. Yum.

The other is the Paradise Garden Buffet at the Flamingo, where we had breakfast just before leaving town.

The view from the gigantic dining room is quite nice — the buffet abuts their wildlife habitat. Waterfalls and flamingos abound.

The food, unfortunately, is only so-so. They did have two serving stations — one for omelettes and one for crpes — but nothing really stood out.

Now for the places I can recommend…and they’re both in Paris.

First up is Le Burger Brasserie. Yep, a burger joint. A really good burger joint.

If you’re not a fan of (100% black angus) beef, you’re in luck! Your patty can be made of ground salmon, ground chicken, ground turkey, lamb or in one of two veggie varieties.

They’ve got 18 toppings — including prosciutto, fried egg, and crabmeat — and ten different cheeses to choose from. You also have five different options for your bun.

I opted for “Le Bleu,” topped with bleu cheese, avocado and smoked bacon, on the whole wheat and oat bun. Delicious.

It’s not cheap — a burger will set you back at least $9.99, with just lettuce, tomato and red onion — and fries (thin-cut, steak or waffle) are an extra $3.99. So, you’re realistically looking at nearly $20 for a decently-equipped burger, fries and a soft drink.

But it’s worth it. The burgers (and the fries) are that good.

Of course, we had a coupon for $5 off each entre, so that helped.

And if you’re not a burger person, they also have a small selection of soups, salads, other sandwiches and a New York strip steak.

If you’ve just hit the progressive jackpot and want to celebrate, you can order the 777 Burger, which consists of Kobe beef and Maine lobster and is served with a bottle of Rose Dom Perignon Champagne…and will set you back, you guessed it, $777.

I won’t be ordering that anytime soon.

Just around the corner is Le Village Buffet. We ate there for breakfast ($14.99).

This is the second time I’d eaten at Le Village Buffet. The other time was for lunch. Both meals were excellent.

Good variety. Good service. Attention to detail — even the yogurt was exceptionally good!

The best thing about Le Village Buffet is the food, obviously. The second best thing? The ambiance. I know it’s faux, but with the lighting and the architecture, you feel like you’re dining (in the main dining room, at least) on the sidewalk of a French caf at dusk.

It’s very relaxing.

It’s a nearly perfect pairing of atmosphere and cuisine.

And in case you were wondering…yes, they have French toast.

So there you have it. Two good choices and two not-so-good.

Next time you happen to be in Vegas and you are looking for a good meal, try one of the Paris options. Or if you feel daring, try one of the others.

Let us know how it went by leaving a comment below.

  • http://vitaminOC.com Michelle

    Grand Lux Cafe is yummy…I think it’s better than Cheesecake Factory. Dessert is 10x’s better at Grand Lux Cafe — I don’t remember the name of it, but they’ve got some kind of molten chocolate cake that is way too good to pass up. If you’re ever in the mood for a little Grand Lux Cafe, there’s one located in the Beverly Center in Los Angeles!!

  • John Plessel


    You think I didn’t know that? Unfortunately, it’s the only one in California. Fortunately, it’s an hour away. In fact, we went there Saturday, after catching Outrage at the Laemmle Sunset 5. I tried their BBQ chicken pizza this time around. Excellent, as expected. Oh, and beignets for dessert. Who knew fried dough could be so good? The only dud I’ve ever encountered is their Kentucky “hot brown” sandwich, which Mom ordered the first time we ate there, in Vegas. Dry and salty. It appears they may have recently pulled it from their menu…it’s gone from their online menu, anyway. Grand Lux is definitely a non-909 favorite!