Big Apple gems in Sin City.
When it comes to great food destinations, New York always leads the pack. So it’s no wonder, when the dining revolution hit Las Vegas, that top chefs and restaurateurs from the great city were clamoring to get in on the scene here. Soon, outposts of popular classic Big Apple restaurants—and some shiny new ones—began popping up everywhere along our four-mile Strip. So many in fact that we had to narrow our “NY Strip” down to a lucky seven—all of which can be found at Caesars Palace.
Bobby Flay brings heat and flavor to the table of his Mesa Grill restaurant. One of the first bigname chefs to open in Las Vegas when he set up shop a stone’s throw from the Caesars Palace race and sports book nearly 10 years ago, Flay’s crew is still serving big, bold Southwestern flavors today. For Flay, it’s all about textures, spices and heat. That means plenty of chili peppers to balance the fresh fruit flavors, such as mango and papaya, found in his dishes.
It may have originated in New York City, but we think the triple-digit temperatures of Las Vegas lend themselves better as a sipping spot for a Frrrozen Hot Chocolate: the signature blended icy beverage—featuring 20 types of chocolate—that’s so good First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis once asked for the recipe but was politely turned down by owner Stephen Bruce. The casual café with a Strip-side patio serves comfort-food favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as its share of drugstore sundaes, milkshakes and floats.
Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro
Perfect pastries and decadent desserts are what third generation French pastry chef François Payard is serving up in his charming patisserie. Named “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation in 1995, the chef opened his namesake bistro in New York two years later before bringing his chocolate confections to Las Vegas. In addition to packaged treats, the location here has a small dining room with a centered showcase kitchen, plus counter service where guests can grab fresh pastries, made-to-order omelettes and panini.
There is little to no chance of securing a table at the original, famously tiny, 10-table Rao’s in East Harlem. Lucky for us, they grew the Caesars Palace space to 175 tables complete with two side rooms off the main dining area that are exact replicas of the original. Rao’s chefs prepare Italian dishes using family recipes passed down for generations (like Uncle Vincent ‘s lemon chicken). The original Rao’s opened in New York in 1896.
Old Homestead Steakhouse
Even Annabelle, Old Homestead’s celebrity cow, made the cross-country journey to her new home. She’s now proudly displayed over the entrance. For co-owner Marc Sherry, who has been running the Meatpacking District digs for decades with his brother, Greg, bringing “Texas-size slabs of porterhouse, whale-size lobster and award-winning wine” to Caesars Palace was a no-brainer. And if you thought Rao’s had history, well, Old Homestead dates back to 1868: U.S. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Harry Truman are said to have dined there.
Bigger is better at Carmine’s, where mounds of pasta arrive on enormous platters. But even the room is huge. A behemoth 27,000-square-foot, multilevel space, with north of 750 seats and 9 private dining areas, it’s equally as stunning as the mammoth dishes coming from the kitchen. “Las Vegas presents visitors an over-the-top experience,” says Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Bank. “Carmine’s serves as a destination where guests are ‘wowed’ at the table with the large, family-style portions.”
Il Mulino New York
The flagship restaurant in New York’s Greenwich Village spawned a sisterhood of siblings the world over, including in Puerto Rico and Tokyo—all serving authentic Abruzzo region cuisine. We’re talking farm-fresh meat, fish and vegetables in an Old World atmosphere. Meals at The Forum Shops at Caesars location end with the traditional lemon liqueur, limoncello.