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I went up-scale this week and my credit cards and waistline took a real beating courtesy of the Bellagio. Some of my best times have been at Petrossian, the world famous caviar bar located in its lobby. The bar at Petrossian gives you not only some of the best fish eggs money can buy, but also the best seat in the house to watch the human highway and the vanity fair that is the Bellagio.

Speaking of which, forget about the food and just go to see the décor of the place—I'm speaking of the restaurants of course—the bar has been raised to unbelievable heights by the design and décor of the Bellagio's temples of gastronomy. Sorry Andre's, Pamplemousse and Hugo's but your décor just doesn't cut it anymore. Now that the major leagues have come to town, gastronomically speaking that is, I can finally come out of the closet and tell you how mediocre to downright lousy these gourmet wannabes really are, just like the Las Vegas stars, they were only considered good when they were the only game in town. Now that the big leagues are here, it's no contest, not for my dining-out dollars anyway.

Finally, word on the street is that Chinois, in the Forum Shops, is in trouble. Last Saturday they were jammed but that seems the exception, not the rule, these days. The food is still fantastic, and it still has one of the best sushi bars in town, but the service has definitely slipped. And this was on a night when the great Puck himself was around. While I waited forty-five minutes for dessert, Wolfgang and his designer wife, Barbara—or is it his wife who's a designer—anyway, they schmoozed everyone in the place but me—no loss there—but all I wanted was one of Mary Bergin's fabulous desserts. Wolfie and Babs would do well to get back to the stoves or at least to the front of the house. Don't say I didn't warn them.

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A photo of a table tent at the lobby bar of the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte during CIAA week.
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