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Being a New Yorker, the name Rao’s is like the white rhino of the New York Food scene.  It’s New York’s most exclusive and most coveted reservation.  You can’t call Rao’s and ask for a reservation. You are either invited, or can win a table through some charity auction. i have seen tables won in an auction for as much $10 k.

So, when I met a friend of mine from NY at Caesars, curiosity got the better of us.  When we arrived I went to Caesar’s concierge and asked if there were any tables available. I was told that they only had availability at 10 pm.

Despite being told this, we decided to try our luck at the restaurant. When we walked in, the place was empty. In this large restaurant there were perhaps 70 percent of the tables available. After we asked to be seated, we were abruptly told that the restaurant would be filling up shortly and that we should wait at the bar. After waiting for 20 minutes, no one had arrived. we asked again, and they reluctantly let us sit outside where most of the people were sitting.

I looked over the wine list and ordered an 06 Chianti Riserva.  Moments later the wine steward came over and asked us if he could over the wine list with us. Instead of our 60 dollar bottle, he suggested a $150 dollar bottle of Brunello.  Of course that is better option, as would a $1,000 dollar bottle be.  He then showed me a different bottle for $120 dollars. This bottle that was “a better suggestion”. Of course it is. I stuck to my guns and he walked away kind of unhappy. Moments later,  he returns and our bottle just happens to not be available.  I ordered a 70 dollar bottle of Chianti and he again offers to show me some better choices. Again I stick to my guns. I know wine, i know what I like. I was looking for a single varietal San Giovese. I was some people who are not wine people. i was not looking for a complex wine but, a light drinking table wine.

Out comes the waitress and selling continues.  She suggests we essentially order the entire menu.  What a novel idea. My friend does not mix milk and meat, my other friend does not eat this, i was fairly limited in what I ordered. Most of the pasta dishes had a combination of ham and cheese or just cheese. Obviously, not their issue.  The menu read well.  I wish i could have ordered some of the pasta dishes.

He had a salad, me and my other friend ordered the seafood salad and the clams.

Seafood salad was mostly calamari and octopus with small bits of lump crab, shrimp, and some lobster claw bits. It was decent. Nothing special.

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Clams were really over done. Very bready, they were over seasoned with dried oregano.  A pretty blah version of an easy dish:

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Next came the pasta with garlic and oil.  Pasta was cooked well, not much garlic but, just swimming in oil. It could have used toasted bread crumbs:

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We then all split the chicken with lemon and the veal chop with peppers.  Veal chop was nice, I don’t if 49 dollars was reasonable price.  The chicken was a really scrawny gam hen.  It was simply charred and spritzed with lemon. We asked them while ordering to add capers. this was nice touch. the chicken had a little wine added to the pan sauce. Not exciting.

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During our diner, perhaps 4 tables of 2 came into the restaurant.  I still do not understand why they made us wait and would not let us eat inside the place.  The entire time I felt a desperation in the staff to upsell.  Our waiter was pushing dessert, drinks, it felt uncomfortable.

The food was no better than a touristy Italian restaurant in NY’S Little Italy or a local spot, prices were outrageous.

I have been seeing all over Las Vegas empty tables.  The restaurants need to adapt and work on fostering the people they do have instead of alienating them and trying to milk them.

I can only assume the food in NYC’s branch is a totally different experience.

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