The show is over and now the question’s where to eat. Nearly all the hot places are booked but all hope is not lost. The following is a list of new, lesser-known and off-Strip restaurants and clubs that locals and those in the know recommend.
ANDRE’S FRENCH RESTAURANT
Where: 401 Sixth St.
Hours: 6-10 p.m., Monday through Saturday
Phone: (702) 385-5016
Cost: $20-$50 per person
Behind a Mulberry tree in a 1930s-era cottage stands this intimate but pricey downtown eatery. After 20 years, Andre Rochat’s very upscale version of French cuisine has earned Zagat’s vote as the best restaurant in Vegas. What’s more, residents consistently vote it best place for dinner in the Las Vegas Review Journal’s annual poll. Local whales (incredibly high rollers) also come in to sample one of Nevada’s largest wine collections.
Where: In the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., daily
Phone: (702) 891-7349
Cost: $15-$44 per person
Site of a biannual tequila fiesta when Jimmy Buffet plays the MGM, chef Mark Miller makes this cafe worth a stop even when Buffet’s not in town with his Southwestern-style menu. The ribs, chili and portobello mushroom pancakes won Miller the prestigious James Beard Award as Best Chef of the Southwest in 1996.
DRAI’S AFTER HOURS
Where: Barbary Coast Hotel and Casino
Hours: 2 -11 a.m. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and the first Sunday of every month
Phone: (702) 737-7111
Providing a bit of Hollywood ambiance in the desert, this cousin to L.A.’s Drai’s offers the same southern French cuisine as the original, but after hours it offers a Vegas twist. The basement-level, leopardskin-decked lounge does less supper and more club from 2 a.m. until 11 a.m. when Tony Verdugo, who ran the former Giant nightclub in L.A., bathes the place in red light and pumps up the techno. Getting in can be tricky, so with dinner guests cleared out at midnight and long waits past 3 a.m., the sweet spot for entry is around 2.
THE FIRESIDE LOUNGE
Where: 2985 Las Vegas Blvd. (in the Peppermill Coffee Shop)
Phone: (702) 735-4177
Hours: Open 24 hours
For a real dose of Vegas retro-kitsch, check out the Fireside Lounge, where the eponymous hearth is a circular pit surrounded by a pool of bubbling water. “Casino” stars Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci have made this place a stop on their Sin City spins. For normal people, however, it’s a good idea to get there before 11 p.m. on weekends to ensure a seat.
THE LONDON CLUB
Where: Aladdin Resort and Casino
Phone: (702) 785-5555 (ask for the London Club)
Hours: 6 p.m.-midnight, late supper until 2 a.m.
Cost: $20-$50 per person
This high-end European-style casino and restaurant won’t turn you away for wearing a T-shirt and shorts, but it’s best to be a bit more proper. After all, the casino is home to the largest single denomination chip in the world (a $10 million roulette plaque) and the restaurant offers a ritzy panoply of world food. Be it French, Italian, Asian-American or Middle Eastern, executive chef Jacques Van Staden has five high hats under him to do your bidding. Or if you’re really feeling like a big shot, push the menu aside and just ask for what you want. They’ll prepare it.
THE ORIGINAL PANCAKE HOUSE
Where: 3460 E. Sunset Road and 4833 W. Charleston Blvd.
Phone: (702) 433-5800 and (702) 259-7755
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday through Thursday
A great option for that pre-show, early morning meeting — and for avoiding those anemic continental breakfast buffets — is the Original Pancake House. Though it has its roots in Portland, the chain hasn’t lost sight of one important thing: great pancakes. Whether it’s a buckwheat, German or chocolate chip stack you’re craving, owners Kim and Stephan Fruedenberger and their staff prove a recent visit to Emeril Lagasse’s soundstage was entirely merited.
Where: 8125 W. Sahara Ave.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. daily
Phone: (702) 869-2251
Cost: $30-40 per person
He may not have played for the Chicago Bulls, but (along with wife Wendy) owner Michael Jordan has certainly proved himself an all-star with this community favorite. The slaw, shrimp and steak menu has been a hit with hearty-appetited locals as well as out-of-towners, who appreciate the Jordans’ passion for freshness that’s caused them to bypass produce vendors and go directly to regional farmers for their fruits and vegetables.
Where: Venetian Hotel & Casino
Hours: 4 p.m.-4 a.m. daily
Phone: (702) 414-3200
For those in Vegas who don’t want to be, there’s V Bar. Big Apple hipsters David Rabin and Will Regan of Lotus fame have teamed with Brad Johnson from L.A.’s Sunset Room to add a bit of bicoastal chic to the Strip. The club’s pedigree, the space’s 180-person capacity and appointments such as a 50-foot opaque glass wall, suede banquettes, extra deep chaise lounges and Rothko-inspired cocktail tables seem to attract an elite crowd. Early arrival and fashion-forward dress are a must.
WILD SAGE CAFE
Where: 600 E. Warm Springs Road
Hours: 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (lunch) Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (brunch) Saturday-Sunday; 5-10 p.m. (dinner) Friday-Saturday; 5-9:30 p.m. (dinner) Sunday-Thursday
Phone: (702) 944-7243
The former Spago husband-wife team of Stan Carroll and Laurie Kendrick may have located their upscale American establishment in a strip mall near the airport, but they haven’t lost any of the culinary tricks they learned in the limelight. Wild Sage offers mostly upscale comfort food such as chops, meatloaf and mashed potatoes on par with Spago, but in a casual setting without the attitude.