Hyde Bellagio
Published July 2013

10 New Reasons to Visit the Strip

Just when you think you’ve seen, done, and eaten it all in Las Vegas, more firsts await

BYJill Schildhouse
What happens in Las Vegas may stay there — but thankfully this Nevada hotspot never stays the same. There’s always something new to do on the Strip that never sleeps. Last year, a record 39.7 million visitors flocked to The Entertainment Capital of the World to see its newest shows and restaurants. For Arizonans, restaurants, such as American Fish, and top productions, like Blue Man Group, are just a weekend road trip away. Here are our 10 favorites, listed in no particular order:
1. Bacchanal Buffet. Sometimes you just can’t decide what you’re in the mood to eat. Happily, Caesar’s Palace’s newest brunch, lunch, and dinner spot provides every option under the sun — and around the world. What starts as a feast for your eyes with an ultra-modern ambiance, quickly reveals well-organized sections for Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, American, seafood, pizza, and desserts. The chefs behind the pristine displays make pleasant conversation while custom-preparing your made-to-order items, including omelets, crepes, and street-style tacos. Eager eaters are distractedly drawn from one mouth-watering display to the next, so I recommend fully surveying the scene and its nine open kitchens before willy-nilly filling your plate.
2. Rock of Ages. It’s the story of a small town girl, living in a lonely world, and a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit. Well, sort of. Rock of Ages, at the Venetian, tells the story of a young couple chasing their dreams in the music business on L.A.’s famous Sunset Strip in the late ’80s. Attendees are handed battery-operated “lighters” with their programs, to wave like at a true rock concert, during such classic rock hits as “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” and “Don’t Stop Believin’”. It’s a silly, feel-good love story that pokes fun at hair bands — and nobody cares if you sing along at the top of your lungs. Or at least nobody said anything to me.
3. American Fish. Chef Michael Mina’s fifth Las Vegas restaurant, located in ARIA Resort & Casino, features a menu that is uniquely divided by cooking method: Poached in ocean water, griddled over cast iron, baked in sea salt, and wood-grilled and smoked. These rustic techniques allow the fresh fish (such as ono, Skuna Bay salmon, wild sturgeon, branzino, and black cod) and simple flavors to stand on their own. Don’t miss the salmon tartare and Thai beef carpaccio appetizers or the truffle macaroni and cheese side dish. American Fish also offers an impressive cocktails menu, from which I ordered my first (and second) Moscow Mule.
4. Zarkana. Cirque du Soleil’s newest fantasy world, Zarkana at ARIA Resort & Casino, features everything you already love about its sister shows: gravity-defying acrobatics, sure-footed tightrope walking, and extravagant trapeze-flying. But it adds in new elements, such as an artist using a light table to tell a story through images she has drawn in sand, and a woman who tap dances up stairs while simultaneously juggling. As always, the colorful characters, music, and costumes help tell the story, this time of a magician, Zark, who seeks to find his lost love.
5. Jaleo. Spanish tapas restaurant Jaleo, at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, is a José Andrés concept (the chef credited with bringing the small plates dining style to the United States). The golden rule of tapas is sharing, so my best friend and I order a smorgasbord of delicious bites: oysters with lemon, gin, and tonic; a sliced apple and fennel salad with Manchego cheese, walnuts, and a Sherry dressing; grilled skirt steak with piquillo pepper confit; and shrimp sautéed with garlic. Of course, no tapas meal is complete without paella — this one made with the ribs of the black-footed Ibérico de bellota pig and cooked over a large wood-burning grill. 

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Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages
If You Go
All of the following destinations are within Las Vegas, Nev.
Caesar's Palace
3570 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
The Venetian Las Vegas
3355 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
ARIA Resort & Casino
3730 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
ARIA Resort & Casino
​3730 S. Las Vegas Blvd. 
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
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