The Hot List: Where to eat in Las Vegas, Crabbe's choices

This year, The Rental Show has moved to a different part of The Las Vegas Strip, which means the chance for attendees to experience new hotels and new restaurants. So, resident foodie John Crabbe Jr., CERP, also known as president of Vermont Tent Co., South Burlington, Vt., and former ARA president, has some suggestions for those attending The Rental Show. The upshot? You certainly won’t go hungry.

“It’s my favorite area. I always stay at Harrah’s and am very familiar with the area restaurants. The Venetian is a great spot with great restaurants,” Crabbe says.

“The Venetian has, for fine dining and casual, a ton of places. It has more than 30 restaurants. One of my favorites is Bouchon. I tell people, the sourdough waffles are the best. It’s like eating a cloud. It’s the best breakfast in the world. You have to have the waffle,” he says.

You can get your own sourdough waffle fix at Bouchon, located in The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd., from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday when breakfast is on the menu. Bouchon is open daily, and serves dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. An oyster bar
is open from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., and brunch is available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations can be made daily from 10 a.m. to midnight by calling 702-414-6200. For more information online, go to or

“Mario Batalli has a new steak house, Carnevino. Apparently, he has a 240-day dry-aged ribeye on the menu and it’s supposed to be the best steak ever. I haven’t tried this restaurant yet, but I’ve been to his other restaurants and I haven’t had a bad meal. We’re going there for sure,” Crabbe says.

Carnevino, Italian for “meat wine,” is located on the casino level of The Palazzo and is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner. Reservations can be made by calling 702-789-4141. Carnevino boasts a serious wine list and also has a Taverna/Bar side that is open for lunch and late-night eats from noon to midnight each day. For more, go to or

“Also, the Wynn Hotel is close by and they have a couple of great restaurants. One that stands out is Bartolotta. Chef Paul Bartolotta used to be a chef in Chicago and then he opened in Vegas. It’s a great Italian meal. He does the best ravioli, the best gnocchi and risotto. Also, the fish dishes are excellent. We ordered one and they brought the entire fish to the table,” Crabbe says.

Bartolotta really does serve the entire fish — there is a whole section for it on the menu. This restaurant is open from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily and is located in the Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Boulevard South. Call 702-770-3463 for reservations. For more, go to

“At Harrah’s, there’s a great burger joint by Chef Kerry Simon. KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers is really good for a burger or quick dinner. It’s not expensive and has very good food. There’s also raw seafood at the Oyster Bar at Harrah’s. That’s good for light fare and quick snacks. They have a great seafood chowder,” Crabbe says.

Simon’s claim to fame is that he slayed Cat Cora in a burger showdown on the “Iron Chef” TV show. Burgers are available from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. You can get reservations at KGB by calling 702-369-5065. The Oyster Bar at Harrah’s is open from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. For reservations, call 702-369-5000. For more about dining at Harrah’s, go to

“Mon Ami Gabi at Paris is the only restaurant that has a patio out on the Strip. It’s right across from the Bellagio, so you can watch the fountain show as well. They have great meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner,” Crabbe says.

This bistro experience, which includes fresh bread on the table and people-watching on the patio, is available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, under the lights of the mini-Eiffel tower, at Paris Las Vegas, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. For reservations, call 702-944-4224. For more information, go to or

“Off-strip, there’s Ferraro’s Italian restaurant. It’s right on Paradise Road, right behind Harrah’s, so about a quick five-minute cab ride. To me, the osso buco is the best. They have it every night,” Crabbe says.

To have Ferraro’s version of osso buco, a dish of veal shanks browned and simmered with fresh vegetables, it’s best to make reservations. Ferraro’s, 4480 Paradise Road, is open for dinner from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily, as well as for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and “reverse happy hour” from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. The late-night reverse happy hour means 50 percent off the dinner menu as well as some drink discounts. For reservations, call 702-364-5300 or go to

“The Lotus of Siam is another place. It’s the best Thai food I’ve had. It’s right on Sahara Ave. and recently I read it was named the best food in Vegas. There are a lot of plates and great flavors. Located right behind the Strip, it’s a quick two-minute cab ride. We must have had 30 dishes there, so anything is good. We didn’t have a dish we didn’t like,” Crabbe says.

Between Frommer’s, Gourmet magazine, Food Network and, Lotus of Siam has a lot of fans, meaning reservations will be necessary. Lotus of Siam, 953 East Sahara Ave., Suite A5, is open for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and also serves lunch and a buffet Monday through Friday. Bonus: You can pick your spice level on most dishes. To make reservations, call 702-735-3033. For more, go to

“Vegas is great in that, especially this area, there are so many options for restaurants,” Crabbe says. “You don’t even have to leave the hotel to eat well.”