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High-Stakes Dining

Troy Johnson

If Las Vegas casinos exist for one reason, it’s to shower guests with obscene sums of money. That’s what they want us to believe, anyway. So for the sake of argument, let’s assume you’re winning very large, that you’re splitting threes against aces and that, somehow—with panache, impeccable grooming, and unparalleled intelligence—you’re still winning. Now there’s the matter of allocation. You could use those spoils as the foundation of a college fund. Likewise, you could funnel it into sound ventures and investments. But most likely, you’ll look at your newfound wealth and see it as funny money. You earned it recklessly, after all, and lest you taunt the gods of the felt, you’d be wise to deposit it back into the local economy in an equally reckless, but oh so delicious manner.

If you’re looking for suggestions, we recommend that you start at the top, with a trip to the MGM Grand for a $425, 16-course degustation menu at Joël Robuchon. It’s the only Michelin three-star restaurant in Vegas and it’s the playground for a chef with a more expansive Michelin constellation than any other on the planet (he has 28 in total). Robuchon’s degustation includes foie gras (in an haricot vert mimosa salad), caviar two ways, white truffles (in an open matsutake-mushroom ravioli), and spiny lobster in green curry.

Sticking with a French theme, at Caesars Palace, Robuchon’s fellow Frenchman Guy Savoy has procured a wine list to end all wine lists, which includes gems from the cellar at his Michelin three-star restaurant in Paris. Savoy’s 14-course Innovation Menu is a show of what extreme talent can do with earth’s most precious bounties, including caviar, urchin, lobster, foie gras, black truffles, and wagyu beef.

Of course, Vegas is known as a city for fleshly pleasures, so if you’re in the mood to sink your teeth into something meaty, we understand. Carnevino, which is owned by Mario Batali and the restaurateur Joe Bastianich, offers steaks that have been dry aging since the days when Sammy Davis Jr. walked the strip. If you’re feeling generous, we suggest treating your good-luck craps companion to a dry-aged, bone-in rib-eye for two ($144) or a Fiorentina porterhouse ($160).

If you’d rather your steakhouse fare be served on a bun, the $777 burger at Burger Brasserie in Paris Las Vegas should do the trick. This not-at-all-American classic has Kobe beef, seared foie gras, Maine lobster, pancetta, goat cheese, and arugula slathered in a 100-year-old balsamic vinegar. A bottle of Dom Pérignon Rosé Champagne accompanies the dish, because . . . well, because it can.

Those preferring to stay light on their feet would do well at barMASA at Aria, where the legendary chef Masa Takayama constructs a seasonal sashimi grand tasting menu ($181) that may just as well be called a collection of the sea’s greatest hits. From bluefin tuna belly and abalone to yellowtail and crab, the grand tasting menu highlights whatever is divinely fresh (and likely flown in daily from Japan).

It is possible that all the adrenaline has ruined your appetite and left you thirsty instead for a celebratory beverage. If that’s the case, swing on over to XS Nightclub at Encore. Sure, you could just spring for a bottle—prices start at $450 plus sales tax and a 20 percent server gratuity—but where’s the fun in that? If you want something that measures up to your legendary play, only the $5,000 cocktail will do. Available just for this year, this amber alchemy includes measures of Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6 Cognac, Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23-year-old bourbon, Martini Gran Lusso 150th Anniversary vermouth, and Bénédictine D.O.M. “Black Monk” 500th Anniversary Edition. It’s finished with Peychaud’s bitters, angostura bitters, and flamed orange oils, and it’s prepared tableside on a fitting vessel: a golden tray.

Once you’ve had your fill, you can return to the tables, where the action will be fierce and the cocktails are on the house.

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