The pick of the platter: Where and what to eat

LAS VEGAS -- With celebrity chefs seemingly opening new restaurants every day, Las Vegas has become the place to wine and dine.

Here is an update of the best places to chow down in style:

Commander's Palace, Aladdin Resort & Casino

Is that the sound of a Mardi Gras parade or is it the cacophony of slot machines?

In the Aladdin Resort & Casino, Commander's Palace is an offshoot of the famous and highly regarded New Orleans restaurant of the same name.

The Brennan family, proprietors, assigned its youngest member, Brad, to manage this string of individually themed rooms, which opened to its first diners in 2000.

The Grill Room seats up to 50 people, while the Wine Room and Parlor each seat up to 80; a private room caters to 40. Typical for the Commander's Palace, modern dishes share the menu with Southern and Creole favorites.

Under no circumstances is the chocolate blackout cake to be missed.

For more information, call (702) 892-7102 or visit www.commanderspalace.com.

Craftsteak, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino

Tom Colicchio, the owner and chef of New York's celebrated Gramercy Tavern and Craft, opened a restaurant -- his first outside the Big Apple -- in June in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.

Craftsteak, with 320 seats, offers Colicchio's typically simple but tasty fare.

A private room accommodates up to 60 people and complements a 19-seat bar. This year, Colicchio received a feather in his cap when he was bestowed with a prestigious James Beard Award for Craft.

For additional information, call (702) 891-7337 or visit www.mgmgrand.com.

Mon Ami Gabi, Paris Las Vegas

Live la belle vie at this French eatery in Paris Las Vegas.

With its high ceilings and dark wood walls, the restaurant serves such decadent French dishes as tarte aux champignons de Paris and filet mignon with merlot butter and potato gratin.

Mon Ami Gabi hosts groups of 16 to 130 in space that includes a 16-seat private dining room and the 65-seat North Pavilion. Up to 200 can dine in the Pavilion or the Terrace area.

For additional information, call (702) 944-4224 or visit www.monamigabilasvegas.com.

Pearl, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino

Less than a year old, the stylish Pearl restaurant has become the hottest spot in town for nouvelle-Chinese fare.

Chef Kai-Wa Yau serves fresh creations in a minimalist setting of white tablecloths, light-red lamp shades and sprigs of cherry blossom.

A highlight is the tea trolley, at which expert servers prepare an assortment of rare Chinese teas.

Private rooms seat up to 20 or 40 people, respectively, and the entire restaurant seats up to 160. Be sure to try the shark fin and dungeness crab spring rolls.

For additional information, call (702) 891-3110 or visit www.mgmgrand.com.

Picasso, Bellagio

Chef Julian Serrano presents a palette of culinary treats at Picasso.

Within view of genuine Picasso masterpieces, up to 136 guests can dine on elegant French cuisine prepared with a hint of Spain.

Dishes include sauteed medallions of fallow deer with caramelized green apples and zinfandel sauce, and roasted pigeon with crust of honey, walnuts and almonds with wild rice risotto.

Pale walls, crisp linen and bright carpeting add to the experience.

For additional information, call (702) 693-7223 or visit www.bellagiolasvegas.com.

This story was reprinted with permission of Meetings and Conventions, Travel Weekly's sister publication. For more information on meetings in Las Vegas, visit www.meetings-conventions.com.

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