Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

I just returned from one night at Wynn to catch the very last performance of Avenue Q. I�m not going to give a full-blown trip report as I usually do since it was solo and pretty mellow. I�ll just throw out some highlights, updates, thoughts, and a couple restaurant reviews for everyone. More after the jump...

Most of you know how strongly I vouch for Tower Suites at Wynn Las Vegas. They were sold out solid and I tried desperately to upgrade at check-in, but to no avail. Still, I can�t complain about a $159 rate during Memorial Day weekend. You know you�ve got a good deal when the front desk clerk says, �Huh? How�d you score that?� Service everywhere was excellent, but impersonal as can be expected for the 2100 rooms on the north side of Wynn�too many employees, too many shifts, and too much space to make a �connection� with anyone. This trip just reconfirmed my love for the south side.

I walked over to the roof of the self-park garage at Wynn to get a good look at Encore�s construction. Thus far, they�ve dug the hole for the tower�s foundation. It�s curved like its sister, wider, and shorter in length as all the reports have mentioned. It looks like the concave will face north making rumors of the �W� that the slants of both hotels� rooftops would create at a certain angle seem less far-fetched.

The B Bar, or whatever they wind up calling it, is far from finished. I took a peek through the construction walls to see nothing but bare cement and ladders everywhere. I hope it�s done by my July trip.

The top floors of Mirage that are continuous glass now have a transparent advertisement for the new Cirque show �Love�. It actually looks pretty cool (the ad, not the show).

I played some slots this trip since the table limits were too rich for my blood. While I�m not a thorough convert, I must say playing the multiline machines were pretty enjoyable and a nice way to pass the time.

Sometimes I�ll walk to Wynn�s spa in my robe and slippers since it�s on the second floor and I don�t need to walk through the casino, but note to self: don�t try this during such a busy weekend! 9 people in an elevator + 1 guy in a robe = awkward for all of us!

Speaking of spas, I hate shaving in them. I�m somewhat of a shaving snob and even went through the trouble of steaming my towels in the steam room, but it�s either a Mach 3 blade or forget it. Needless to say, I was a bloody mess by the time I was done.

Hard Rock is such a massive party, especially on Sundays with Rehab during the day and Body English at night, that it�s almost disturbing. While waiting in the cab line for only a couple of minutes, I saw no less than four guys who had just come from Rehab completely passed out. I think security was overreacting a bit, but paramedics were called on the scene. I was too impatient to wait for an hour, so I started talking to the limo guys out front and they wanted $50 for a five-minute ride back to Wynn in a regular Lincoln sedan. To top it off, they were being jerks about it telling me how I can take the offer or be a sucker (their words, not mine) and wait in line. I decided to take charge and walked to a cab pulling up and ready to pick up passengers. The limo guys watched me slip the cabby a 20 to take me to Wynn. Pricey? Yes. Illegal? I think so. $13 tip on a $7 fare? Works like a charm�

With all the time I saved and being solo, I thought that I�d be able to knock off Wing Lei from the restaurants I haven�t tried at Wynn before Avenue Q started. I was seated immediately in a small, but very elegant room almost reminiscent of a Chinese palace�lots of red and gold including the china and utensils (gold chopsticks!), a gold sculpture amidst two pomegranate trees, and rich fabrics. The light fixture above is almost as stunning as the one at MIX restaurant. Wing Lei claims to have the most expensive chairs in the city at $1500 a piece and waiters decked in Armani. From everything I saw, I believe it. Despite the restaurant�s extreme use of gold and elegant feel, it�s not gaudy or snooty in the least. Service was very good, but the entr�e left a little something to be desired. I had the shrimp and broccoli and I suppose I can�t fault them since I ordered such a conservative dish and they pride themselves for their more adventurous offerings like the Peking duck (I don�t like the texture of duck) and the pork belly (I don�t like the idea of eating a pig, let alone its belly). So with that said, the shrimp was good, but not outstanding. For dessert I had the chocolate dome with vanilla bean sauce. Absolutely fantastic. It had a slightly hard and bitter dark chocolate shell surrounding a dome of milk chocolate that was very light in texture and effortlessly melted on your tongue. The total for an entr�e, side of rice, dessert, and tip was just below $70. I really enjoyed Wing Lei, but will experiment with a more unusual dish next time.

The gentleman sitting next to me was a solo diner as well and naturally we struck up a conversation. He was quite a character to say the least. While very ill mannered to the staff (he actually told the hostess to let the chef know that what he was eating should be off the menu), he was quite fun to speak with. After introducing myself, he introduced himself as �Santa Claus�, fitting of his white beard and red complexion. I never did find out his real name. Although I perceived him as dissatisfied completely with the service and meal, he tipped very well.

Going back to Encore, it�s masterplanned to share the same �theater district� as Wynn LV and walking back towards Avenue Q�s theater, the d�cor is drastically different than the rest of the hotel. Could this be Encore�s color scheme? If it is, I really like it.

I suppose giving a review of Avenue Q is pretty pointless since that was its last night in Vegas, but when it goes on tour, please do yourselves a favor and go see it. I�m not a fan of musical theater, but I loved it�non-stop laughs throughout. It was a packed house and it was interesting to listen to the crowd �evolve� with the show hesitating to laugh at every gay and racial joke. After a while though, it seemed like everyone accepted it in good fun and the house exploded with every shock. The roaring standing ovation at the end was well deserved.

After the show, I got to meet Norm Clarke of the Review Journal�s Norm! Vegas Confidential and spoke to him for a few minutes. Some of the actors came out from back stage and I got to chat with them as well. Good times.

I�ve had a hard time believing Wynn�s casino revenues since it�s always been dead, but not after the action I saw that night. $300 minimum blackjack and pai gow tables packed on the main floor and the high limit room was nearly as crowded as a nightclub, mostly with onlookers. I decided to walk in and take a look. Turns out Wynn was hosting several whales this weekend and rather than take the private rooms in the back to themselves, it seemed like they all decided to share one baccarat table out front. The minimum must have been $5000 because I never saw less than a white chip down and there were at least three players betting $15,000 per hand. Unbelievable.

The highlight of the next day was dinner at Daniel Boulud Brasserie. This place has been no stranger to mixed reviews, but I absolutely loved it. I was seated outside in a nice corner among trees perfect for the solo diner and overlooking the waterfall. The ceiling is bare and minimal while the entire floor is mosaic tile both inside and out. I had the three-course prix fixe menu with the caesar salad, grilled salmon, and cocoa-crusted profiteroles along with a glass of white wine recommended by the waiter that had a fruity flavor and complemented the food well. The salad was fresh and well done. The salmon was to die for�perfectly grilled, flaky, and bursting with unexpected flavors thanks to the orange glaze and herbs. The desert, while very good, wasn�t as memorable as Wing Lei�s. Service was exceptional and the courses were timed perfectly. My only complaint was the cold bread they brought out, but I hardly had any since my appetizer was on its way. Twist my arm enough and I might just say Boulud has thus far been the best restaurant I�ve tried at Wynn and the only ones that I haven�t yet given a go to are Alex and Corsa Cucina. The total bill was just under $80 after a hefty tip.

That�s about it. Funny as this wound up being almost as long as a normal trip report but I hope it�s been insightful and that you enjoyed the read!


Read archived comments (10 so far)
May 30, 2006 9:36 PM Posted by Hunter

Thanks Mike.

I haven't eaten at Corsa since it was redone but I did eat there last April and really enjoyed it.

May 31, 2006 4:39 AM Posted by Brian Fey

Please tell me you took pics of the Encore foundation area and plan to post them! ?

May 31, 2006 5:56 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike, thanks. I agree that Boulud is excellent. When dining there solo, I've opted to eat at the bar. It's a casual, friendly atmosphere, and as you reported, the food is excellent. The only drawback to the bar is there are no windows or view of the waterfall.

You really need someone with you to appreciate Alex. It's a great experience, but once is enough for me. I think I reported on Corsa in my last trip report. It's a high energy, enjoyable experience, and the new decor is perfect for it. Based on your report, I'll try Wing Lei next month. That will complete my dining at all Wynn restaurants.

May 31, 2006 7:43 AM Posted by Hunter

I ate at Wing Lei the opening weekend and though the menu wasn't 'finished' (I believe the chef was the last addition to Wynn's staff and the restaurant wasn't truly ready), the food was amazing.

I have yet to try Alex but after touring the room I can see what you mean detroit... The room is *gorgeous* though.

May 31, 2006 8:56 PM Posted by josh

I know this is random, but I was just wondering what happened to the proposed Balthazar at the Wynn.
Will the new bar at the Wynn casino be similar to the one before?

May 31, 2006 10:10 PM Posted by Mike E

Josh, I have no idea what that is or when the B Bar will be completed. Someone in the know want to chime in?

June 1, 2006 1:11 AM Posted by mike_ch

Would you say the jump in service for the mini-tower is equivelant to the jump in price?

I don't know what they cost, but I wouldn't pay 100% over basic rate for 20% over basic service.

June 1, 2006 1:22 PM Posted by Mike E

Mike, I would say it is worth it, but not just because of service. It's the promximity you get to everything that makes it worth it.

June 2, 2006 7:38 AM Posted by Hunter

Popular New York eatery Balthazar was supposed to be a part of WLV when it was still being called Le Reve.

Supposedly the owner/chef dude came to Las Vegas and thought it wasn't sophisticated enough for his bistro and pulled out of the project. At least that was the smear campaign that went out when he pulled out. They probably just couldn't agree on $$'s or something like that.

Those were the days... Right about the same time I got my 'please don't put our construction site on your 'Internets'' letter from Steve. I have that one framed.

June 2, 2006 7:54 PM Posted by brianfey

Hunter, you care to expand on this "don't put our construction site on your site" letter? I am really curious what you mean by that?