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Aureole-Mandalay Bay — (702) 632-7401; 3950 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada.
Amenities: Traffic dictates the character of their stainless steel communal table. During slower times,
groups vie for it. When it's busy, solos and couples opt for the 10-12 cushioned high stools surrounding it.
(Solos who wish to avoid being part of the center of attention, please plan to reserve one of several small
Cuisine: Progressive American
Rosemary's Restaurant — (702) 869-2251; 8125 West Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada
Amenities: Locals now seek fine dining off the Strip. They've found it in a strip mall situated restaurant
just named Sante's 2003 Wine and Spirits Cooking Restaurant of the Year! Their love affair with co-chef-owner
Michael Jordan began earlier during his stint as executive chef for Emeril's New Orleans Fish House in the MGM
Grand. (He formerly worked at Emeril's in New Orleans, Louisiana — SoloDining.com, the newsletter May/June97.)
Seated four feet away from the kitchen, Foodies seated at the eight seat food bar feast their eyes on team action
as he and wife Wendy, "do their thing" at dinner and lunch on Fridays. Other solo seating includes the
bar area (smoking); two tops throughout the restaurant.
Cuisine: American with an emphasis on ingredients secured from local purveyors in Nevada, So. Utah and So.
Neighborhood: West Las Vegas
Simon Kitchen and Bar - Hard Rock Hotel — (702) 693-4440; 4455 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nevada
Amenities: "Chef-turned-Playgirl model Kerry Simon (ex-Prime Steakhouse at Bellagio Hotel)
has gone solo with Simon Kitchen & Bar . . ." blared the news release.
It brought back fond memories of Simon's beloved impromptu communal table (SoloDining.com, the newsletter
— Sept/Oct 1999) located in a tiny kitchen in the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The cuisine was superb, the company
(chefs) — jovial and the quarters were close (Chair moving was the rule whenever a waiter darted through the doors.)
and hot (no air condition). Even celebrities enjoyed examining Kerry's "guest book" and creating a page
to add as a memorial of his or her visit.
The communal table may not be in evidence in Simon's Kitchen, but care and concern for solo diners continues. Walk
in without something to read and a staff member will offer you a magazine or newspaper. There are "nice tables
for two" which solos reserve — usually on weekends — AND a special "booth" with a view of the entire
restaurant.(Yes, it seats four, but management believes it offers superb comfort for a solo — isn't that terrific?)
Dining at the bar is always an option; claim one of nine seats often enough and maybe they'll name it for you!
Cuisine: Modern American
Neighborhood: Hard Rock Complex Feature
Louis' Basque — (775) 323-7203; 301 E. Fourth Street; Reno, Nevada
Amenities: Imagine how amazed people are when they discover that the "strangers" seated near them
at the same communal table actually are "neighbors." Back home, their houses are separated by mere miles!
And how about other people who get to talking with "strangers" over a meal and discover that they're
related? "It happens," according to Debbie LaPrairie who oversees Louis' banks of long picnic tables.
(Each table seats six to 12. Eight in one dining room; six in another.)
She chuckles about guests who arrive without understanding "the concept." "The first thing out
of their mouth is, 'I'm not going to sit with those people!' But they do. After a short time, talking starts. Everyone
always leaves, having had the best time!"
People "in the know" assure themselves of seating by making reservations (This is also a great opportunity
to check the menu. Steak and lamb are always available, plus a rotating array of specialties.) They know that tables
are filled as guests appear and as for dining companions, it's always "pot luck"!
Dubbed one of "10 Great Places to Fill Up Your Plate" by USAToday, Louis' Basque began as a
combination hotel/Basque-style dining complex (The hotel is still located upstairs.) created to care for Basque
sheepherders from Spain. In business since 1969, it attracts customers from around the world, including college
kids, though ages range from 30s on up.
Cuisine: Good, family-syle cooking from scratch
Neighborhood: Fourth and Evans, three blocks East of the Bowling Stadium
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