For the basketball loving sports-bettors, the opening days of March Madness are here and this is an event that is like no other. Formally known as the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament, March Madness is a series of single-elimination basketball face-offs that select the college basketball’s championing team. The preliminary, ranging from March 14 through April 3, offers the chance for bettors to bet on an overall of 32 games. Thus, action-junkies flood Las Vegas and glory in 12 inspiring days of unchecked betting. In 2015 more than $200-million was wagered and only God knows just how many Buffalo chicken wings were eaten.
However any bettor who dines just on greasy wings and so on, while adding gambling in Vegas, is a double sucker. Considering the ever-expanding number of food options there, this string of games is also a time for a culinary holiday for sharp risk-takers who like to dine well. We advise skipping the buffets set out in gambling establishment ballrooms– the food is poor and prices are high– and, instead, going the a la carte path and free styling your March Madness eating arrangements. Here are some of favourites for eating while you bet, and yes, some places you are able to get by just in your teams basketball shorts.
If you’re up for a nice piece of meat, the Gaucho Sandwich will please, and do not be scared off by the promise of less-than-soft eggs, they’re moist, all of it works. And be sure to grab extra napkins for this one. You can easily end up with sauce down your arm after a couple of bites into the Gaucho’s warm brioche bun. Due to the fact that lines for these sandwiches can be aggravatingly long, have a friend hold your spot while you run over to The Juice Standard for what’s known to be Vegas’ best cold-filtered drinks and nut-milk beverages.
Just a ten minute walk away is the Aria Resort and Gambling establishment that is understood for having a few of the best dining options in town. They include superb sushi at Masa, the Vegas iteration of Carbone and the exceptional Sage where Chef Shawn McClain outdoes himself with a fantastic farm-to-table menu. Luckily for us basketball fiends, McClain also runs an elevated pizza shop next to the sports book. Five50 Pizza Bar spins up thin-crusted pies with garnishes that include ghost-chilli salami, clams, truffles and smoked mozzarella. Salads are good bets too. Our personal favourite is ‘the chopped’, with fantastic soppressata and provolone, it goes down exceptionally well with a drop of yarra valley wine.
If you want to view the games in real baller-style, and your bets are already in place, visit Aria’s second level and check out Herringbone, the brainchild of Top Chef competitor Brian Malarky. From the sound of things, the fish-centric area is being changed into a food-lovers’ sports bar with great deals of displays and a projector. Just one set back, a table for two will set you back $500 as a minimum and it only goes up from there. Yes, it’s a bit pricy but you’ll definitely stuff your face in grand style (Herringbone’s bacon and egg ravioli stands apart as first-rate) and maybe your gambling acumen will assist to balance things out.
If you reside in New York or L.A., you probably understand all about the fifth-flavour patties from Umami Hamburger. But there’s just one issue with those coastal areas, you can’t legally bid on games while you’re eating those delicious beef bun burgers. At Umami Burger inside SLS Las Vegas, no such inconvenience exists. Indoor and outdoor dining options are both readily available and yes, every seat features a view of the restaurant’s well dispersed screens. Prices begin at a rather decent $50 per person. You’ll spend that in no time though, and make sure you spend some of it on those french fries that are house-made and topped with truffled cheese, and you’ll still have lots of money left over for wagering at the close-by betting windows. Sounds fancy but don’t worry, you can rock up in your teams basketball hoodies and celebrate March Madness in true style.
Or you can just make your way downtown to the The D, which deals away with any reservations you may find on the Strip. Table limitations are low, and, both, the sports book and the casino’s Long Bar are great areas for watching the game. Food cravings are dealt with in a way that goes well with the watching of games; top notch crispy-skinned chilli dogs, thanks to American Coney Island Las Vegas, which initially established itself as a haunt for Motor City rockers and the fans who adore them.
After the last seconds of play tick down, head upstairs to the D’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse by Joe Vicari for a big-boy post-mortem on the day’s games and bets. The timeless, high-end beef-joint, imported from Detroit, evokes a Sin City of yore with a menu to please paired with renowned Australian wines straight from the Yarra Valley.
And there you have it, a food and wine plan guaranteed to have you left with a good taste in your mouth. Hopefully you win big too.