Baby-mooning in Vegas: Dining at Raku aka Husband’s new fave Vegas restaurant

Enter and feast...

With the impending birth of our son, Husband and I decided to escape to Vegas back in July for one last relaxing jaunt before we became parents and became home-bound for a while.  It was a nice long weekend spent in the pool (a huge relief on the pressure my hips are suffering) and since we drove out, we got to explore restaurants off the Strip.  We already blogged about our awesome first time experience with Ethiopian cuisine.  Another recommendation from friends was a Japanese charcoal grill called Raku.

I had heard about Raku via friends on Twitter and Kirk over at Mmm-yoso blogged about it.  I was curious and Husband was game since well…the menu touted meat on a stick.  I called on Friday for same-day dinner reservations and when they said the earliest they could seat us was 10pm, Husband was in disbelief.  I told him Raku was that good but he didn’t believe me…till then.

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Baby-mooning in Vegas: Merkato, our first Ethiopian experience

One of our good friends, Dave, lives in Vegas and we used this opportunity to meet up with him and his lady friend for lunch since we don’t get to see him much.  He is a Vegas native so we let him choose the place to lunch at; he picked an Ethiopian off the Strip.  Neither Husband nor I have had Ethiopian but I was curious to try it based on what I knew.  Husband, on the other hand, was a little wary and I was somewhat concerned he would not be able to find something to eat…

Starting off...

Ethiopian food is a bit different; instead of using utensils and plates, a spongy, slightly sour bread called injera is used. Vegetarian and meat dishes are served family style on top of the injera and extra injera is served on the side.  You tear off pieces and use it to scoop up the food.  A goat-like cheese very much like feta called lab and a simple green salad with tomato are served on the main injera.

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Vegas Trip: Casino Eats

Labyrinth of Jareth took up a bit of my time the past couple of weeks…lots of building, organizing, and actual event working.  I got to play with power tools and still have all my fingers.  *wriggles all 9 of them*  Wait, what?  However, I’m off to Comic-con tomorrow for more torture fun er something.  If you see a frazzled Asian chick running around the Exhibitor Hall floor with a headset on, that’s me!  Hopefully, I’ll get in some good eats somewhere in the Gaslamp.  *crosses fingers* Anyways, let’s go back a couple of months to Vegas, shall we?

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Vegas, baby… Honey Pig off the Strip

Last October, Husband and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary on the Big Island of Hawaii.  We stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa where we promptly got suckered into buying a timeshare with their Grand Vacations Club.  Fast forward a few months later, we get a call inviting us to stay at the Las Vegas HGVC on the Strip for a whopping $99 (plus tax & fees) for 3 nights.  $99 (plus a few hours listening to some guy try to sell us on an upgrade) for 3 whole nights?  Um, okay, sure! We decided to take advantage of this deal during my birthday since it was a major one…the BIG 3-0.

Here piggy piggy piggy...

One of my friends moved there a little over a year ago so we met up with him Friday night for dinner.  Since Dan and I have only ever hung out on the Strip (there’s more to Vegas???) we were unaware of what was off it food-wise.  My friend, D, took us into the Asian district for all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ at Honey Pig.  As we drove to it, I oogled all the shopping centers filled with various Asian eateries – Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai…  I told Husband that we were renting a car next time cuz I wanted to explore and EAT!!!

When we got there, the cartoon-y and cute pig logo confirmed this was a sister restaurant to the Honey Pig in Los Angeles’s Koreatown which I have never been to.

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Boa – Las Vegas

In the Forum Shops (Caesar’s Place) is a well-known steakhouse, BOA.

Saturday night, we and 3 other couples gathered there for a birthday dinner. We had 8:30 reservations and due to the Mayweather-Hatton fight, it was not as busy as I thought it would be.

After we get seated, our waiter comes by with our menus. This waiter, by far, was one of the best I have ever encountered. He knew his wines, had good recommendations, was attentive, polite and just all around fabulous. We start off with a couple of bottles of red wine based on his recommendations for our price range and some appetizers.

Our waiter arranged for us to get a free order of truffle nachos which were potato chips with melted gruyere cheese, diced tomatoes and since I didn’t see truffles, I’m guessing truffle oil was involved. It was mediocre as the chips were soggy and the flavor muted. However, the blue fin tuna tartare that I shared with one of the couples was fantastic. The tuna was sliced into deli-thin long pieces and covered with some sort of sauce that added a lovely sweetness and amazing flavor to the tuna. The fish quality was grand as it just melted in my mouth. Another couple had crabcakes and claimed they were the best ever. We had warm rolls that were infused with herbs and were amazingly soft on the inside and slightly crunchy on the outside.

For our main course, Dan got the petite filet mignon with peppercorn sauce and a lobster tail. I chose the petite as well with a side of fresh horseradish (beware, quite potent compared to other places’ fresh horseradish). My piece of meat was one of the best filets I’ve ever had. It was very moist, tender and perfectly cooked to the medium rare request. Even though I did not ask for a rub, it was seasoned so well that every bite was flavorful. Dan’s lobster tail was the best lobster I ever had. It was not overcooked thus not rubbery at all and was fresh as the taste was mild but good. As sides, we all shared mashed potatoes which where whipped to a creamy goodness, truffled mac n’ cheese which were okay as it was already lukewarm when served and grilled asparagus which was quite tasty.

For dessert, I ordered a glass of Fonseca 10 yr old port and the vanilla beam creme brulee which I could not finish due to being absolutely stuffed. The brulee came with a cinammon cone of crunchiness that held blueberries and some strawberry pieces. Dan opted for the flourless chocolate cake which was just a mound of gooey chocolate deliciousness. The other two couples ordered the restaurant’s more mature take on s’mores which looked quite yummy. The roasted marshmallow was perfectly done, having the soft gooey center and crispy outer browned layer. Somewhere during that meal, a 3rd bottle of wine was ordered. Since the bottle we did want just sold out, the waiter brought another comparable selection for us instead.

Overall, thanks to Dan’s lobster, our bill came out to $300+, $80 of that being the lobster. Gotta love that “mkt price”. o_O But even though there was a slight twinge of buyer’s regret, that meal was the best that I have ever had in my life (so far) in terms of quality, taste and service. The waiter noticed that we were all in couples and divided our bill without asking into 4 separate checks to make it easier on us. Brownie points for that!

Would I go back? In a heartbeat. If only we could afford to eat like that every night…

Boa gets 5 NOMs and a whole lot of purring from this Catty Critic.  This was definitely a good case of “you got what you paid for”.
Boa Prime Grill (Caesars Palace) on Urbanspoon

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