When chef John McKibben first opened Grape Street Cafe in 1997, his small restaurant took a back seat to a large front-of-the-house retail area where customers could purchase house-made sauces, salads, and high-quality wines. Though the concept quickly transitioned to focus on the fresh, house-made dishes flying out of his kitchen, McKibben has held on to his retail license and continues to encourage his diners to finish their meal by picking up a bottle of wine to go or commissioning a self-portrait painted with balsamic vinegar.
With the exception of a handful of rotating nightly specials, the menu has stayed largely the same, and Chef McKibben credits the cuisine as the eatery's 14-year secret to success. Dinner finds the shop's signature hot sandwiches, creamy pastas, and pizzas sharing top billing alongside nationally inspired entrees such as a baked Alaskan halibut topped with lemon beurre-blanc and Colorado lamb in a sweet-and-sour mint glaze. However, the diverse menu is designed to complement the restaurant?s real draw: its extensive wine selection. Up to 90 vinos are available by the glass each day, with selections that hail from as near as Napa and as far away as Mosel, Bordeaux, Rioja, and Mos Eisley.
Nora's Wine Bar & Osteria fosters a social dining experience with a menu of authentic sharable Italian plates and an innovative way to serve wine that opens up dozens of eclectic bottles for the tasting. Consummate serial monogamists, each of Nora's dinner courses would prefer to be paired up with a glass of wine, making the pre-paired cheese and wine flight of nine cheeses and three wines ($28 per person, must have at least two participants) an elegantly orchestrated delight. An appetizer of bruschette, such as eggplant or chick peas and sardine (choice of three for $10), a selection of small bites ($10–$15), and pizzas ($15) make palatable passables. Dive fork-first into creatively concocted entrees, such as the crêpe lasagna ($12.50) or the half rabbit served five ways ($32). Or, keep it traditional with organic grass-fed lamb chops ($24 small/$44 large). The lunch menu pares down the dinner menu and adds a selection of panini served with fries or salad, such as the wild boar with roasted mushrooms ($13.50). The lunch menu also offers a pasta trio tasting, which includes a glass of sangria, chef's crostini, unlimited tastings of three different pastas, and gelato for $17.
It's hard to imagine what 10 million dollars looks like. Luckily, visitors to The Wine Cellar and Tasting Room don't have to?they can just take a gander at the inventory, which includes upwards of 10,000 of the world's rarest and and most renowned varietals. The collection is valued at more than 10 million bucks, but it's not the only reason to visit. Atmosphere also plays a factor. According to Las Vegas Weekly, the vibe is that of "a drinkable museum," where "wandering the cellar... feels like visiting an ancient castle, minus the dust."
Once guests settle into one of the stately stone-and-tile tasting rooms, they can sample wines in multiple ways. There are more than 100 wines served by the glass, plus wine and cheese pairings and up to 30 unique flights available daily. Groups gather around barrel tables by the bar, while couples cozy up on leather couches, sharing sips and flirtatiously feeding each other leftover corks.
Zagat-Rated French Cuisine
Lauded for its brunch?which CBS Las Vegas listed as one of the best in the area?Master Chef Alex Stratta and Executive Chef Jose Aleman oversee the French-influenced Sunday morning fare at Marche Bacchus French Bistro. Dotted with offerings such as classic quiche lorraine and croque madame, the Zagat-rated cuisine is an off-the-strip favorite among locals. It's even owned by a local couple who took the restaurant over from the original owners in 2007.
A Short Trip, Worlds Away
Though it's just a short ride from the Vegas strip, Marche Bacchus French Bistro "feels worlds away," according to USA Today's 10Best. Situated on the shores of Lake Jacqueline, the restaurant's breezy patio is dotted with lush palm trees and looks out over the sparkling water, while inside leans upscale with crisp white tablecloths under a dramatic chandelier.
The Wine Shop
Before heading to a table, visit the wine shop. There, guests find more than 950 labels to choose from?all of which can be enjoyed inside the restaurant for a $10 corkage fee. On Saturdays, drop in between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to take part in a wine tasting; pours vary from week to week and follow themes such as varietal, region, and top 10 lists.
For those looking for the finest USDA prime beef and a top-of-the-line wine list, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, is the place to go. Inside the restaurant, rich reds and browns help to create a private and relaxing environment. Tables are beautifully covered in white cloths and are candle-lit, making for an intimate setting, while the dim lights and classic décor create the atmosphere of an authentic steakhouse that still manages to be unique. Some of the most popular items include the baked brie, braised short ribs of beef, dry-aged steaks and Alaskan king crab legs, to name a few. Sides such as chipotle cheddar macaroni 'n' cheese and the Fleming’s Potatoes, as well as creme brûlée and chocolate lava cake desserts, are also available.