Review of Las Vegas's TAO Asian Bistro
by Chrisryan on April 27, 2011
When entering the TAO, a roughly 40,000-square-foot mega complex in The Venetian hotel, one will easily be amazed. TAO is a combination of a nightclub, beach club, and restaurant, and always has a lively crowd.
The restaurant is in a two-story space, with tables overlooking a wall of candles and a giant Asian statue. TAO has no shortage of things to discover; it seems as though every time you turn a corner or look a different way there is something new.
The cuisine is good, but not as strong as the atmosphere. It is really more of a place to be seen rather than a place to be seen eating. With that said, let's talk about the pre-party ambiance.
To not diss the restaurant as a whole, there are a few especially noteworthy items on the menu. The spicy eel over brown rice is a great way to start your meal. With the crunchy rice cake on the bottom, it's both flavorful and texturally pleasing.
One dish that surprised me was the chicken wontons. Usually, some sort of crispy, fried triangle gets plopped on your table with overly dried out shreds of what once might have resembled a chicken. But at TAO, the chicken wontons come in a clay pot and are soft and tender. Meaty chunks of chicken fill these housemade dumplings and are nestled in between shiitake mushrooms in a sweet, creamy sauce. The dish is a bit on the heavy side but is perfect for sharing.
But lets get back to the atmosphere. This is Vegas, and if you want food, there are approximately 300 all-you-can-eat buffets on the strip. The atmosphere at TAO is sort of like a cross between Harry Potter and Enter the Dragon, with a steady stream of beautiful people making there way around the club. There is a lot of good energy and not a lot of pretension that you would expect with other Vegas nightclubs.
The only problem with TAO is that it is on the busy Las Vegas strip, which on a Friday or Saturday night will take you an average of 30-45 minutes just to get there. And that's if you valet the car. If not, add another 30 minutes to the equation. The other problem with TAO is that it is expensive--worth it yes, but expensive none the less.
So, if you are hungry for fun and not so hungry for food, TAO at The Venetian is a good choice.