The Skinny: I have been blessed to try 9 restaurants on the MGM Grand property seeing what they have to offer for good eats. This is part 1 of that dine around with 4 restaurants on the board. First stop: Joel Robuchon. This is the one restaurant I’ve been told is a MUST try once in your lifetime. That’s absolutely a restaurant I want my rich husband to take me too. lol Second stop: Shibuya, one of my favorites Japanese Restaurants on the strip. Extensive sake selection! Third stop: Fiamma. This is a trendy Italian restaurant equipped with a fireplace in the middle of their lounge. Fiamma is designed to be seen, so if you want to be noticed, this would probably be the best place to go. Final stop for the evening: Diegos. Great place for you and the girls or even you and the guys to go hang out and grab a margarita before going out. See the high for more details of all these restaurants
Joel Robuchon: The minute you walk into that restaurant is amazing, with the amazing chandeliers & purple velvet upholstry, down to the beautiful table settings. For a lot of people I’m sure they’ll feel misplaced, this IS a high end Forbes 5 star restaurant so yes it’s an intimate, elegant atmosphere. Joel Robuchon is definitely for a more of a sophisticated palate. They came over to the table to show us their bread cart and explained which seemed like a hundred different types of bread, but really it was like maybe 10 or so? Then he came over with the awesome butter display, I don’t know what they do but the bread + butter was amazing. I could’ve just ate that all night alone. Then came the “lobster ravioli” Small bite in the middle of a dinner plate. It was delicious. I didn’t see it on their online menu to give you a description. That mini experience makes me want to go back for the full Joel Robuchon experience…..even if it’s for $400 per person. Remember: It’s a once in a lifetime experience.
Shibuya: Inspired by Tokyo’s Shibuya district, this is a the ultimate Japanese dining experience. Aside from the sushi bar, and regular dining tables they have 3 teppanyaki tables in the back of the restaurant. They also have an extensive Sake list. I tried the KANI SALAD (King, Snow and River Crab, Pickeled Cucumber, Seaweed, Lotus Chips). This dish is definitely unique as it is served on top of a fish bowl….yes! with a live beta fish swimming around while you’re eating the goods placed in a cone shaped bowl on top. I also tried the AUSTRALIAN KOBE BEEF TATAKI (Lemon Tamari Soy, Garlic Chips, Red Onion, Tarragon Oil) I LOVE beef tataki if it’s made right. This was good, I’ve definitely had better, but still great nonetheless. The sake I had to accompany all these good eats was the Junmai Ginjo. When I first took a whiff of it it had a fruity smell to it, and when I took a taste it, it was one of the best easy to drink sakes I’ve ever tasted. Definitely recommend having this with your dinner.
Fiamma: Traditional Italian recipes in a trendy fine dining atmosphere. This is my kind of place. I had tried their food at this event I went to called Wet Your Appetite during Restaurant Week and it was my favorite. I had the GNOCCHI ALL’ARAGOSTA (Soft Potato Dumplings With Maine Lobster Mushroom and Black Truffle) This is everyone’s favorite out of the whole night, but then again you can get me to fall in love with anything that has black truffle. The gnocchi was just the right texture, some restaurants make it too chewy or too mushy. Fiamma did it just right. We also had a vegetarian dish that had a spinach stuffing in these little handkerchief pastas w/ marinara sauce. I liked this dish too, but the gnocchi get the trophy for the evening. The restaurant has a very “sexy” feel to it. The restaurant is pretty open and faces the restaurant row so everyone that walks by sees you. You definitely don’t want to look broke eating in that restaurant. The lounge area is pretty nice too, has a nice big fireplace right in the middle of the lounge. If you’re tired of the nightclubs in Las Vegas, this would be a cool place to hang out, people watch and have a few drinks.
Diegos: Your traditional mexican recipes with a twist. The table side guacamole is THE BEST!! I LOVE Guac and I’m very particular about my guac. By far Diego is the best. All fresh ingredients prepared table side. Diegos has 125 different 100% agave tequila lables…..need I say more? If tequila is your friend, this is the place to be. They have this unique waterfall slide right in the middle of the restaurant. It’s definitely a fun non traditional atmosphere.
The Low: Shibuya: The last dish I tried was YELLOWTAIL SASHIMI (Shichimi Pepper, Garlic Ginger, Yuzu Juice). This wasn’t the most memorable dish that’s why I put it as a low. It really isn’t too much of a low because it was still good, it’s just not something I’d order at a hotel Japanese restaurant. I like to try something I can’t get anywhere else. Give me something different, something unique…..like the fish bowl Kani 🙂
Would you come back again? I loved all 4 restaurants and only having a taste of each restaurant, I absolutely want to go back and try the full experience.
More Info: Joel-Robuchon-French-Restaurant // Shibuya-Japanese-Restaurant // Fiamma-Italian-Restaurant-Bar // Diego-Mexican-Restaurant// Diego’s has a happy hour! Available at Bar & Lounge Area Only: Sunday through Thursday 4:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M. They also have Latin nights Friday & Saturdays.
– Sniper Tam *Pew Pew Pew*
The Skinny: Ortega 120 is a Mexican restaurant located in Redondo Beach. It is headed by Thomas Ortega who has been featured on Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and according to LA Weekly, his restaurant has the best margaritas in Los Angeles. The style of the food can be described as traditional and simple Mexican fare but with the use of alternative methods, like Duck Confit in an enchilada.
The High: I went to Ortega 120 for the first time with my older brother and cousin. The interior and decor of the restaurant had a hip and colorful Dia de los Muertos celebration feel to it. As we sat down we were served warm chips and salsa that were endless and tasty. They even had a spicier version of the salsa that the waiter challenged me to try, but it wasn’t that bad. It had a nice heat that lasted, but it didn’t make me regret using it over and over again.
While I should have ordered something more traditional in the Mexican sense, I saw that they had an American Kobe Burger. At that time I was on a “Great Burger Hunt,” so I went with that dish. My “Ortega 120 Kobe Burger” came packaged in an 8oz beef patty, lettuce, tomatoes, Ortega chiles, queso asadero, spicy mayo, and on a pan de leche bun. It also came with crisp skinny fries that were good even though they came out a bit cold. The medium well Kobe Burger itself was nice and beefy while the bun was squishy and quite sweet. All the extra fixings within the burger were subtle but added welcome complexities to the patty, especially the Ortega chiles. I can’t say it’s the best burger I ever had but it was solid and delicious.
My brother had the “Tour de Tacos” and my cousin ordered the “Duck Confit Chilaquiles.” I didn’t try my cousin’s dish but I did take a bite from one of my bro’s tacos. The “Tour de Tacos” came with 5 street style tacos topped with pastor, carne asada, shrimp, carnitas, salsa, and on top of flour tortillas that were preferred by my brother. I nibbled on the shrimp taco and it was quite tasty. I can’t say I remember exactly how it tasted, but at the time I was tempted to steal the rest of it away. However, the flour tortilla did change the texture a bit, giving the whole bite a nice extra chewiness. The Duck Confit Chilaquiles my cousin ordered is casserole styled “with green enchiladas, corn tortillas, roasted poblano chiles, queso oaxaca, onions, cilantro, Mexican sour cream, queso cotija, and salsa verde.” While I didn’t get a chance to try it, my cousin did mention the duck wasn’t as tender as the last time he had it, but he did finish it all….again.
The Low: While the interior was pretty cool, it did have that Buca Di Beppo feel of trying too hard to be authentic and yet commercially corny. Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as the Italian latter thanks to the deeply dark wooden chairs, tables, and bar.
I also wanted to get one of their margaritas but I was persuaded by the waiter to try their tequila taste test special where they infuse 3 blanco shots with bacon, pineapple, and jalapeno. So I gave it a go and it just reminded me of flavored rum you can get off the shelves at supermarkets. It was a waste of booze space, but it wasn’t horrible.
Would you come back again? Yes, the place has a fun atmosphere and the food is good. They even have a patio section to hang out on for summer nights. There are also more dishes I need to try out.
More Info: 1814 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach, CA 90277. Credit Card Friendly. Full Bar! Expect to pay $10-25 for food and around 10 bucks for a margarita.