Traditional recipes

Rejuvenating Las Vegas’ Classic Casinos

Rejuvenating Las Vegas’ Classic Casinos

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Las Vegas is known for its magnificent mega-resorts home to world-class amenities and celebrity chefs. Over the years, Boyd Gaming’s investments have elevated and enhanced its dining, entertainment, and hospitality offerings. There have been many new restaurant openings, several thousand redesigned hotel room upgrades, and additional food and beverage concepts scheduled to be unveiled this year and next. After hearing about the changes, we just had to explore these options.

Our first stop was the legendary Ping Pang Pong restaurant, which recently underwent a redecoration. “During the last 17 years, Karrie Hung, Kevin Wu, and the Ping Pang Pong team have created one of southern Nevada’s most celebrated culinary destinations,” said Tony Taeubel, senior vice president and general manager of the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino. “Now, Ping Pang Pong has a beautiful new space befitting its legendary reputation and its delicious and authentic Chinese dishes.”

It had been a while since our last visit, but we were in awe of the new bright venue with a busy, bustling dining room. We were drawn to the elaborate dark walnut screen work and a modern version of a Chinese pergola with wood paneling, which creates a welcoming and stunning façade. In the entry portal, we were greeted by two authentic foo dog sculptures acquired from China.

Even though the decor is brand-new, the classic Chinese cuisine that made the restaurant what it is today is unchanged. The noted dim sum service was nothing but spectacular, with classic pushcarts offering a selection of more than 80 authentic dishes from provinces throughout China. Guests should stop in to taste the rotating selection of seasonal favorites like the mango lobster scallop roll, with the ingredients fried in panko-tossed rice paper, and the aromatic duck bun, featuring southern Canton five-spice roasted pulled duck with mandarin cucumber, served in a sumptuous steamed lotus bun.

The Macanese crustacean clay pot, featuring live-tank seafood presented in a ginger laksa curry broth with saffron and chopped herbs will have you coming back again and again. Prefer lobster? Tai Pan Australian lobster is for you. This beautiful dish tossed in a high-flame wok with chopped shallots, scallions, peppercorn, ginger, and cilantro stems will satisfy your seafood craving.

Since its 2001 opening, Ping Pang Pong has earned numerous dining awards including Travel + Leisure’s top 10 Chinese restaurants in America and the Best Chinese Restaurant award six times from Las Vegas Review-Journal’s annual “Best of Las Vegas” readers’ poll. We see many more awards on the horizon with the brand-new Ping Pang Pong.

Downtown, the California Hotel and Casino’s multi-million-dollar redesign of the Redwood Steakhouse is a must visit. “Along with the numerous updates we’ve made to the California in the past year, we also raised the stakes at Redwood Steakhouse for fine dining in Downtown Las Vegas,” said David Lebby, vice president and general manager of the California. “While our loyal customers will still find many favorites on the menu, we’ve introduced a distinctive new perspective on the menu at Redwood to set a new standard for fine dining in Downtown Las Vegas.” The renovation of the casino engages tourists and locals alike with its energetic new look and feel. Experience the freshness and vibrancy at Redwood that resonates throughout one of Downtown Las Vegas’ most popular gaming destinations.

The Redwood’s new environment is influenced by the famous beachfront resorts of Waikiki. The restaurant façade offers glimpses into the bar and main dining room between detailed, carved-walnut pilasters. The all-new bar features a custom butcher-block countertop, and over-scale chandeliers and herringbone-patterned wood flooring adorn the main dining room. Large fan-inspired chandeliers hang from high, vaulted ceilings giving the space an airy, open feel.

If you like a good happy hour like we do, pull up a chair in the contemporary lounge-style bar and enjoy social hour from 4 to 6 p.m. The bar menu features island-inspired small bites like the tuna poke nachos, oxtail fried rice, and bao “wow,” a grilled char-sui pork belly served in a steamed bao bun with Thai chili, pickled cucumber, hoisin, and baby lettuce. The small bites pair flawlessly with a selection of signature cocktails, including the blood orange whiskey sour and spiced mai tai.

Taking our seats in the main dining room, we settled to explore the distinctive dishes. We started off with a seared ahi tuna with a lemon-pepper crust accompanied by a refreshing green apple and jicama slaw. Redwood’s classic French onion soup, featuring a dash of aged sherry and topped with creamy Gruyère cheese and a brioche crouton was a great way to kick off the dining experience. It’s a steakhouse by name and reputation, and on this visit we enjoyed traditional cuts such as filet mignon, bone-in rib-eye, and the Redwood’s signature prime flatiron steak. With a variety of savory sauces to choose from we opted for the “classic Oscar” of crab, asparagus, and béarnaise; indeed a delightful addition to our perfectly prepared steak. Other specialties that are worth indulging the palate include the miso sea bass, a pan-roasted Chilean seabass in white miso broth with bok choy and seafood fra diavolo, featuring shrimp, crab, clams and mussels served atop spicy marinara and linguini pasta.

Boyd Gaming is also redesigning and modernizing its hotel rooms. Within the last three to five years, several thousand hotel rooms have been remodeled, with more in the process of completion. These include rooms at the Orleans, Gold Coast, Sam’s Town, Suncoast, and the California. Recent acquisitions include Aliante and Cannery and Eastside Cannery. The Boyd Gaming brand offers a perfect staycation experience in addition to the hottest places to visit for dining, gaming, and entertainment in the northern part of the Las Vegas Valley.

We are always up for a staycation, and Boyd’s stunning Aliante Resort and Casino offered up a refreshing way to unwind far from the Las Vegas Strip. Pulling up to this exquisite four-star resort in North Las Vegas with mountain views and the faint lights of the Strip in the distance, we began to relax even before we checked in. Checking into our stellar suite accommodations with sweeping city views, Jacuzzi, waterfall shower, premium bedding, and state-of-the-art flat-screen televisions and wireless Internet access made us feel right at home. After settling in for a few moments, it was time to explore the resort and see what it had to offer.

Our appetites were telling us it was time to seek out a midday culinary experience, and we started looking at the resort's dining establishments, which include six restaurants and a coffee shop/café. Deciding on a more casual dining experience we took a seat at FARM 24•7. Looking over the menu we discovered a nice selection of fresh and locally sourced seasonal fare served all day, as well as variations of classic favorites including skillet scrambles, burgers, meatloaf, and chicken-fried steak.

Our cravings satisfied for now, it was time to experience a spa treatment and a visit to the very well-equipped gym to relax and work off our lunch. A 90-minute deep tissue massage at the Aliante’s popular Re:lax Spa was just what we needed for a bit of pampering before making our way to the poolside cabana for the rest of the afternoon under a cloudless sky.

Watching the sun set behind the mountains from our suite was awe-inspiring and had us forgetting we were only 30 minutes from home. Our rumbling stomachs urged us on to explore yet another dining venue. We have heard many great things about MRKT: Sea & Land, the fine-dining venue on the property known for its consistently well-prepared and flavorful dishes. Walking past the spectacular, well-stocked bar we were seated in the main dining room adorned with a floor-to-ceiling wine cellar and deep mahogany wood accents. Looking over the many menu offerings we decided to let our veteran server “drive the dinner bus” and choose selections for us. A parade of deliciousness began as a tray of filet mignon, porterhouse, and prime rib worthy of a culinary showcase arrived at our table. Just when we thought the parade had come to an end, sumptuous salmon, lobster, scallops, and crab, and the classic surf and turf came together like a perfect symphony of gastronomic delights, leaving us satisfyingly satiated.

Making our way back through the hotel our attention was drawn to sounds of mariachi music and the smell of freshly cut limes. Of course these sights and sounds must mean tequila is close at hand. Walking briskly, we found the last two seats at the popular Salted Lime, one of the coolest hotspots in North Las Vegas. The giant margarita bar anchored in the center of the restaurant was the place to sip one of the many selections of premium tequila and savor bites of south-of-the-border fare from chef George Jacquez. Then back to our suite we went, wishing we had just one more day to explore this picturesque resort and the many exceptional dining and entertainment options.

After visiting some of the newly remodeled and updated dining venues and amenities we were pleasantly surprised and excited to experience more of what Boyd Gaming has in store for the future. What has been consistent throughout Boyd Gaming’s history has been its diligent attention to the loyal customer base and its appreciation for the dedicated team members that have been with the company over its many years of growth and development. “After working for several of other companies in town I agree that this is one of the richest environments culturally that I have worked in,” said Marc LaVoie, vice president of food and beverage for Boyd Gaming. “I really like the approach of the longer term play, listening to what guests are asking for and providing that. We are putting the money back into our properties and back to the team members.” Going forward with that sentiment is a winning hand for everyone.

Need to get out of the city? Check out some easy day trips:

Watch the video: A trip through Las Vegas early 1980s (May 2022).


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