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THE DISH: Always bet on brunch in Las Vegas

You may have stayed home this holiday weekend, but that doesn't mean you don't have big travel plans in mind. If you're headed to Las Vegas this fall and you like to eat (and doesn't everyone), here are some new options to explore.

Those who can't wait to try something new can head over to the Bellagio Resort & Casino for a new lakeside brunch at its Spago by Wolfgang Puck.

Launched last month, the brunch is only served on weekends, taking advantage of the restaurant patio's proximity to one of the city's most iconic landmarks.

"Spago's brunch by the famous Fountains of Bellagio quite literally exists nowhere else in the world!" Puck said in a news release. "Given our unique location, we wanted to create a special dining experience that (leaves) guests with astounding memories for years to come."

The restaurant has its own take on a brunch favorite with its poached gulf shrimp cocktail, served with a salsa verde aioli, cocktail sauce and horseradish. Another "new-fashioned" appetizer is the big eye tuna tartare, mixed with avocado, yuzu ponzu, marinated cucumber and nori rice crisp.

Pizzas, made in Spago’s legendary wood-oven pizzas, are also on the menu with a brunch-worthy bacon and egg pizza, topped with fresh mozzarella, leeks and Fresno chiles, along with the signature salmon pie, with dill cream, red onion and salmon pearl toppings.

Entrees run the gamut from sweet to savory with brioche French toast complemented by Puck’s specialty toasted almond streusel, mixed berry compote and vanilla chantilly, and the hanger steak "tartine," which is served on freshly baked bread alongside sauteed mushrooms, pickled shallots and bearnaise. Pasta is also available including the sought-after lobster "fra diavolo," plated with handmade linguine, king crab, Thai basil, spicy pomodoro and calabrian breadcrumbs.

And what would brunch be without mimosas? Spago's brunch offers the bottomless kind with a selection of fresh-pressed juices such as grapefruit, orange and pineapple. 

Spago, located in Via Bellagio, serves brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For reservations, visit Bellagio’s website at or call Bellagio Concierge at 702-693-7111.

Get whisked away to the coast of Mexico later this month with Casa Playa, a new restaurant opening Sept. 16 at Encore Resort inside Wynn Las Vegas.

It is opening in the former home of Elio, another Mexican restaurant that closed in November. The eatery's executive chef, Sarah Thompson, is debuting her own menu at Casa Playa.

Meant to evoke the ambiance of a "lively Mexican playacita to the Las Vegas Strip," Casa Playa will put its own spin on authentic Mexican coastal cuisine with a sustainably sourced menu including ceviche, aguachile and seafood platters.

"My goal when crafting the menu for Casa Playa was to balance creativity with tradition to ensure that every item is a culinary adventure," Thompson said of the menu in a news release. "Casa Playa will offer a lively social atmosphere, so we wanted to complement that with food that is designed to be shared and enjoyed with great company and conversation."

Along with fresh grilled seafood, the restaurant will serve classics like squash blossom quesadillas, baja fried fish tacos and queso fundido with house-made chorizo.

Guests can order crudo plates including Mexican blue shrimp ceviche with young coconut, tomatillo and cucumber; yellowfin tuna tartare served with pasilla chile and avocado; and towering seafood platters with Kusshi oysters, Hokkaido scallops, king crab legs, lobster tail and shrimp cocktail. If they want to share, appetizers such as black truffle tostada with Cabot clothbound cheddar and corn cream, duck confit tamal with mole de la casa and ricotta, or octopus served with coloradito mole and potato in escabeche are options.

Even entrees can be shared with selections such as whole cauliflower al pastor featuring pineapple butter and cashew salsa macha; branzino a la talla topped with guajillo adobo, herbs and salsa cruda; and Yucatan chicken pibil made with orange annatto adobo and potato.

The "para la mesa" menu options are dishes served family-style with house-made tortillas and salsas. Entrees include whole roasted carnitas with crispy skin, smoked agave syrup, chipotle slaw, chile toreado and charred cucumber salsa; and the Casa Playa surf and turf featuring wagyu carne asada, lobster and chorizo, short rib suadero, green chorizo, and serrano.

Of course, Casa Playa would not be a Vegas restaurant without a robust selection of adult beverages.

Wynn resort mixologist Mariena Mercer Boarini created a menu of daring cocktails such as Temple of Doom, made with Mal Bien Espadin Mezcal, grilled pineapple, chipotle and lime, and Forbidden Fruit, a frozen margarita featuring El Tesoro Blanco, mango, lime, chamoy caramel and mango trinity salt. Other unique offerings are the City of Dawn, composed of Grey Goose Essence Watermelon Basil Vodka and cucumber mint agua fresca, and the Ojo De Tigre, made with Uncle Nearest Bourbon, Patrón Roca Añejo Tequila, salted peanut marzipan and plantain.

Assistant general manager and agave expert Noah Arenstein curated a robust mezcal and tequila collection for the eatery with a number of sought-after barrel picks including Neta Mezcal Tepextate, Cascahuin Extra Añejo Tequila, Fuenteseca 18 Year Tequila and Vago Mezcal Tobala de Aquilino, which, with a limited 125-bottle batch, is only available at Casa Playa.

Casa Playa is the latest venue set to debut at Wynn Las Vegas, which has more planned through the end of the year. Visit more information about the restaurant and the resort's plans.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter: @realstefanidias.