Las Vegas dining is and probably always will be about indulgence above all else, but as the rest of the world continues to think and eat healthier, even Sin City must follow suit. More and more casino restaurants are accommodating vegetarian and vegan eaters, and not just with a few special menu items. Today, it’s easy to hit the Strip, skip the meat and still enjoy a completely satisfying and delicious experience.
The surprises come when you discover which restaurants do vegetarian dining best. French cuisine is known for rich sauces, abundant use of fatty proteins and overall decadence, but visit Andre Rochat’s two local restaurants and you might be shocked at how good meat-free can be, and how many amazing vegetarian meals are available.
- Monte Carlo, 798-7151.
- Tuesday-Sunday, 5:30-10 p.m.
- Palms, 951-7000.
- Daily, 5:30-10 p.m.
Of course, Rochat has been helping set the standards of fine dining and French food in Las Vegas since he opened the original Andre’s Downtown in 1980. He expanded his local empire with a location at Monte Carlo in 1997, then the regal Alizé atop the Palms in 2001.
Let’s start there. Alizé’s tasting menu (seven courses for $135) goes the extra mile by offering three options for each course, and the vegetarian choice stands out every time. Spring dishes include: a starter of chilled vichyssoise and tomato soup with crispy potatoes, chives and truffle oil; a powerfully flavorful bowl of roasted mushrooms and thin rice noodles in miso-mushroom broth and sesame oil; Dutch white asparagus sautéed with green onions and parsnip puree; and tofu with tamarind-glazed vegetables and dried fruit. With each course it becomes more evident that extra attention is being paid to these vegetarian dishes, almost as if the kitchen’s goal is to out-do the fish or beef dishes in flavor and presentation.
At Andre’s, similar ingredients are highlighted in different ways on the tasting menu, which runs $100 for five courses or $125 for seven. Chilled white asparagus soup is a revelation, refreshing yet rich, topped with a parmesan tuile and a drizzle of bright green herb oil. There’s a fried tomato salad, a roasted piquillo pepper stuffed with a ratatouille of spring veggies, and saffron risotto crowned with green beans anglaise.
Simply put, lots of fancy restaurants on the Strip offer delicious vegetarian dishes, plenty of them serve full vegetarian menus, and all will do their best to accommodate special dietary needs. But Andre’s and Alizé do it so well, you may forget about foie gras altogether.