This Week on Good Food: What Happens in Vegas: From Buffets to Mind-Bending Mixology

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Good Food heads to the strip to explore the evolution of Vegas dining, all you can eat buffets, luxury fine dining and the city’s most mind-bending cocktail.

Highlights from this week’s show:

1. The Evolution of Vegas Dining – From Shrimp Cocktail to Spago–Robin Leach of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Wolfgang Puck of Spago and Elizabeth Blau of Blau and Associates all discuss how the Vegas dining scene has evolved over the years.

Leach remembers the Vegas of yesteryear when all-you-can-eat shrimp cocktails were $1.99 and hoteliers had secret dining rooms for luxe dining. Puck talks about how Vegas was initially a difficult sell, but 21 years later he has 6 restaurants on the strip and “never looks back.” And Elizabeth Blau reflects on bringing Vegas fine dining into the entertainment realm.

2. Vegas for Vegans–Tal Ronen is the chef at Crossroads in Los Angeles. Three years ago he was hired by Steve Wynn to create vegan menus for all 22 restaurants at the Wynn and Encore hotels in Las Vegas.

3. All You Can Eat —Of the many vices visitors indulge in while in Vegas, Chef Kris Yenbamroong of Night + Market says buffets have the most allure for him. The escapist quality, he says, is what makes them unique.

Mark Crane is the Chef de Cuisine of The Wicked Spoon, which buffet aficionados describe as the ultimate buffet experience. He guides Evan Kleiman through the endless offerings from kale salad to bone marrow.

Plus, LA Times critic Jonathan Gold digests the buffet experience.

4. Mind-Bending Mixology for the Masses–Mariena Mercer is the mastermind behind the cocktail program at the Cosmopolitan property in Vegas. Her Verbena margarita is the most popular cocktail at the hotel’s Chandelier Bar, and it’s not even on the menu. Find a picture of it on the Good Food blog.

5. The Pope of Cuisine: Joël Robuchon–Evan Kleiman sits down with Joël Robuchon at his namesake restaurant in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. He talks about why he likes the city, how he tailors his menu to each location and remembers his early days in the seminary.

6. Is Las Vegas LA’s Defacto Luxury Dining District?–Jonathan Gold is the Pulitzer-prize winning food writer for the Los Angeles Times. This week he joins Evan Kleiman to review the definitive restaurant to “go big” in Vegas – Joël Robuchon. He describes Las Vegas as the defacto luxury dining district of Los Angeles, not dissimilar to what the Time Warner Building in New York is for fine dining in Manhattan.

Good Food on the Road– Jonathan Gold reviews Carnevino, and talks about its meat program that piqued his interest. Click here to listen to his review.