Fine dining is alive and very well inside the “mansion,” a fitting nickname for Chef of the (last) Century’s opulent Michelin three-star restaurant just off the MGM Grand casino floor. The honorific was awarded by prestigious French culinary guide Gault & Millau in 1989, and as you’d expect, a meal inside Joël Robuchon’s jewel-hued rooms is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so opt for the full experience. The 16-course parade of transcendent French cuisine takes more than three hours, makes ample use of caviar, black truffles and foie gras and won’t leave you contemplating a slice of pizza on the way home. There simply is no dinner more decadent on the Las Vegas Strip.
When he built the tropical-themed, volcano-fronted Mirage in 1989, Steve Wynn lit the fuse on a renaissance that would see Las Vegas Boulevard virtually rebuilt within 15 years. The city awoke from a long dormancy—the years when it was popular with those slightly embarrassing friends of your parents'—and began to deal in high-volume density. Soon populist attractions began to spring up all along the Strip (effectively the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South between the classic 'Welcome' sign and Sahara Avenue). Now glitzy high-rise hotel-casinos such as the Cosmopolitan have dwarfed earlier giants like Bellagio, and old Vegas's neon has given way to brighter-than-bright LED screens. As Vegas goes vertical, it seems the entire ethos of the city is shifting as well.
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