Vegas puts a sophisticated spin on childhood favorites

On a Vegas vacation, a cheat day can turn into a cheat week. The city can be a theme park for adults, so there are countless ways for visitors to reconnect with their inner child, including at dinner time. But this isn’t a Tuesday night taco or chicken nugget - grownups can enjoy a classed-up take on their childhood favorites.

Not Your Mama’s Mac ‘N’ Cheese
That blue box mac may taste good, but the childhood staple has nothing on the Lobster Mac & Cheese (market price) at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar inside The Venetian. The luscious dish is made with an entire lobster as well as five artisanal cheeses, including Red Leicester.

Sparrow + Wolf in Chinatown, meanwhile, offers an “intoxicating” twist on the classic kids’ dish. Its Mac-N-Cheese ($55) features one-ounce drams of three Macallan scotch whiskies paired with three cheeses to showcase the nuance of each sumptuous selection.


Haute Hamburgers
Forget the basic cheeseburger you loved as a kid. Holsteins Shakes and Buns inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas features an array of succulent burgers topped with gourmet items to relish, like the dry-aged beef sirloin Gold Standard ($18.50) topped with smoked bacon, aged goat cheddar cheese, tomato confit, baby arugula and garlic-chive aioli.

For true tycoons, Fleur by Hubert Keller inside Mandalay Bay has a Wagyu beef burger topped with foie gras and truffles that’s served with a bottle of 1995 Chateau Pétrus 5000. Appropriately named the Fleur Burger 5000, the combo also costs a whopping $5,000.

Chic Comfort Food
Your palate isn’t the only thing that’s matured over the years. Once (pronounced on-seh) inside the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian | The Palazzo offers an adult spin on chicken nuggets called Chicharron Karaage ($13). Made from pieces of jidori chicken coated in a housemade rocoto aioli and rolled in crispy popped kiwicha, the crunchy dish comes garnished with Peruvian peppers and julienne green onion for an added kick.

If chicken seems a little pedestrian, try the Lobster Pot Pie ($52) at Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House inside MGM Grand. Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s delicious alternative to classic chicken pot pie, the dish is also features spinach, mushrooms, leeks, roasted heirloom tomatoes, cream and Serrano ham topped with a jalapeño biscuit.

Decadent Desserts
Desert is every kid’s favorite meal, so don’t forget to save room. Classic carnival treats become share-worthy sweets thanks to the #thecloud dessert ($20) at STK inside The Cosmopolitan. Angel food cake, fresh strawberries, white chocolate cremeux and strawberry ice cream are surrounded by a fluffy cloud of cotton candy that’s drizzled with orange liqueur and torched at the table to reveal the dessert inside. Make sure everyone gets a photo before digging in!

Guests can also savor a selection of childhood sweets on Beauty’s Wonder Wheel ($32) inside Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan. A “Ferris wheel” for two or more features a chef’s selection of desserts that often includes such whimsical favorites as caramel apples and elephant ears.

-Heather Turk, Custom Publishing Writer