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Golfing Las Vegas

(Contemporary) Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV; 702-632-7401. $$$$

New York restaurateur Charlie Palmer knows how to put on a show and a gourmet feast. The centerpiece of the minimalist décor is a four-story glass-encased wine tower regularly scaled by skin-suited women who rappel up and down on pulleys. The menu served by husband-and-wife chefs Joe and Megan Romano is equally lithe and nimble, consisting of such "comfort foods" as filet mignon and tuna. The seared foie gras is the best in town, and nothing beats a dessert like the chocolate mint cake and mint ice cream float combination.

Commander's Palace
(Cajun/Seafood/Steaks) Aladdin, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV; 702-736-7114. $$$$

The Vegas version of this classic New Orleans eatery occupies a featured spot at the newly opened Aladdin. Insiders expect it to emulate the menu and style that prompted Food & Wine to name the original the number-one restaurant in America. Try the jazz brunch or the New Orleans barbecue stew made with jumbo Gulf shrimp, garlic-crusted redfish and Louisiana oysters sautéed with rosemary barbecue sauce. And do not leave without sampling the bread pudding.

(Seafood/Contemporary) Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV; 702-693-7223. $$$$$

Yes, the Picassos dotting the walls are real and valued at an estimated $30 million, and Chef Julian Serrano, who left San Francisco to be on-site here, produces dishes that are works of art. Like Picasso himself, the Madrid-born maestro draws influences from Spain and the South of France in preparations of langoustine, sea bass and other marine delicacies. This is an experience designed to be savored over a two- to three-hour period as you look out at the erupting fountains on Bellagio's man-made lake.

(French) The Mirage Hotel & Casino, 3400 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV; 702-791-7223. $$$$$

Renoir is one of two Las Vegas restaurants (Picasso is the other) and only seventeen in North America to receive a Mobil Travel Guide Five-Star Award this year. The dining room inside the Mirage casino offers luxurious banquettes and features Renoirs from the collection of former owner Steve Wynn. The service is flawless and unpretentious. Both the five-course tasting menu of contemporary French cuisine and the four-course vegetarian tasting menu prepared by Alessandro Stratta are delicious, especially when accompanied with wines suggested by the sommelier.


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