Holsteins Shakes and Buns - Las Vegas, NV

Lunch - Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holsteins is the Cosmopolitan's take on the ubiquitous burger joint. It stays true to its genre, with various iterations of the standard beef/chicken/vegetable/fish burger. Prices for individual items tend to be in the low-to-mid teens, in line with other "gourmet" burger joints. As is standard, you can also customize each burger by adding various accoutrements.

Sage - Las Vegas, NV

Dinner - Monday, December 27, 2010

Sage is Shawn McClain's (he of Spring, Green Zebra and Custom House fame) Vegas venture in the Aria casino, and represents his first restaurant outside the Windy City. Having eaten at all his Chicago establishments, my general impression is of well-executed food grounded in a Midwestern sensibility - the chef elevates many tried-and-true combinations to the level of fine-dining. However, I never found myself bowled over by his dishes. To me, his restaurants always seemed to lack that certain je ne sais quoi experienced at truly transcendent meals. We had not planned to eat at Sage, but a plethora of positive reviews changed our mind. "Don't judge Sage by Spring or Green Zebra," said one poster on Chowhound, "it seems like Chef McClain ages like a fine wine."

And so it was that we found ourselves here on a Monday night, 2 hours after arriving in Sin City. We were promptly seated in the main dining room, which was about half-full at 7.30 pm. We decided to skip the four-course "Signature" prix fixe (which I should note is quite a steal at $79) and craft our own tasting menu.