DEGUSTATION CHOICES FOR NYE

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<p>Twist at Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter is the culinary place to be New Year's Eve if you have the means to splurge. Legendary French chef Pierre Gagnaire will oversee a six course meal for $525, which will include all-night admission to a nightclub after the dinner.</p>
<p>Marche Bacchus is offering a five-course menu for New Year&amp;#8217;s Eve that will provide a classy and intimate send-off for 2013 for area residents who want to forego the parties downtown or on the Strip.</p>

Las Vegas does not lack for New Year’s Eve celebrations. But even with Vegas’ world-class ability to party down, all are not created equally. Here are a half-dozen dining selections around town that we think would be the best ways to usher in 2014.

Top of The World

Let’s be blunt: New Year’s Eve dining in Vegas is all about the view (Okay, maybe just 90 percent), and you’d be hard pressed to find a better choice than the Stratosphere’s revolving restaurant, 800 feet above street level. Especially since it’s serving Chef Rick Giffen’s excellent cross-cultural cuisine, including roasted pork belly and shrimp with orange gastrique, tamarind and “Asian chimichurri” or short ribs in root beer demi-glace; lobster bisque with roasted cauliflower; salmon and branzino with citrus brown butter foam and hibiscus gastrique or Mediterranean rack of lamb. Nice vegetarian options available, too.

Five courses/$299 per person. For an additional $75-$110, you can stick around for an open bar party (DJs, dancers, hors d’oeuvres) until 1 am.

Stratosphere Casino Hotel, 2000 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 380-7777, www.stratospherenewyears.com

Le Cirque

Sitting right on the edge of Bellagio’s Lake of Dreams, you are sure to be surrounded by class and elegance for the first moments of 2014 at Le Cirque, one of the Strip’s finest enduring restaurants. Just for this evening, Chef Paul Lee has created two distinct menus.

The early menu is a five-course degustation with choices of their caviar egg, yuzu uni, and their beautiful prosciutto-wrapped monk fish (a relative value at $135). The later Grand Gala ($475) is eight courses of all new items created for the big night, with unique dishes like cauliflower panna cotta with caviar, foie gras torchon with madeira gelee, and Kobe beef “oxtail timbale.”

Bellagio Resort, 3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 693-8100, www.lecirque.com

Sushi Roku

One of the most under-regarded, Strip-view dining spots (their Blade Runnerish room overlooks the entrance to The Linq) is offering a pretty amazing deal in NYE dining. For $125 per person, you’ll enjoy a creatively presented six-course Omakase highlighted by uni pie, lobster Chawanmushi, blue fin sashimi, kobe with foie gras and seared toro and truffle sushi. If you’re there at midnight, a champagne toast is included. Hell, you’d spend that much for a couple slices of pizza on NYE.

3500 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 733-7373, www.innovativedining.com

Panevino

A view of the entire Strip and a five-course gourmet menu awaits the guests who reserve their spots to the Panevino gala. It will be an elegant late evening of wine, cocktails, and a menu that includes surf & turf, lobster bisque, and black truffle orecchiette pasta as well as a full vegan service (both menus are $185/person). Party favors, a live band, and a champagne toast will all be present while everyone lines the massive bay windows to see the fireworks.

246 Via Antonio Ave., (702) 222-2400, www.panevinolasvegas.com/‎

Marché Bacchus

Aside from an amazing menu by Chef David Middleton and a fantastic wine selection, the westside’s jewel of French cuisine will offer live music and a complimentary champagne toast for every diner. The first seating (5:30-7:30 p.m./$95 per person) will have you dining through a five-course menu including an amuse of coriander-crusted blue fin tuna with a cauliflower panna cotta and ponzu gelee, and an artichoke veloute, with goat cheese crisps and hazelnut powder.

The main is a choice of beef tenderloin Rossini (filet topped with foie gras, along with a truffle custard and king trumpet mushroom borderlaise sauce) or John Dory with shellfish fricasee, winter bean ragout, and sherry beurre monté. The second seating (8:30 p.m.-10 p.m., $125) is five courses including both main dishes. For oenophiles and Summerlin residents, this is a classy and intimate send-off for 2013.

2620 Regatta Drive, (702) 804-8008, www. marchebacchus.com

Mandarin Oriental

If you’re going to splurge, and we mean, really freakin’ splurge, reserve the second seating (9 p.m. onward) at Twist by Pierre Gagnaire, where the legendary French chef himself will oversee a six course degustation including sea urchin custard with caviar & vodka granite; lobster fricassee with ginger and lemongrass butter and creamy pumpkin puree; warm scallop carpaccio with stew of black truffle, cuttlefish, smoked haddock, celery root and chestnut; duck foie gras shortbread; tajima wagyu beef au poivre with fondue of endive and mache with bacon; and a grand dessert which has so much going on…well trust us, it lives up to the name. The $525 per person (or $350 for the earlier four-course version) includes all night admission to the SkyLobby/Tea Lounge/Mandarin Bar party (otherwise $150) with one of the best views on the Strip and a great cocktail program.

Yes, we know that’s probably your food budget for the entire month - at the least - and yes, we think it’s worth it. But we’re food critics, of course we’d say that.

3752 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 590-3172, www.mandarinoriental.com/lasvegas/ CL