Review: The Top of The World Restaurant at The STRAT

By Josh Muchly

Upshot: As a Valentine’s Day treat, I visited the Top of the World Restaurant located in The Stratosphere (recently re-christened The STRAT). I have mixed feelings.

Let me state the obvious first: the 360-degree view of the Vegas Valley with the rotating dining experience is phenomenal. It is, certainly, the selling point for the restaurant. That said, once the selling point is established for any service, the priority should be enhancing the other touch-points for maximum customer enjoyment; this review will focus on those other touch points:

Highpoint: The four-course menu; the filet mignon, medium well, was delicious and perfectly pink. The crab-cake was both oceanic and fluffy. The Caesar salad, on the other hand, was drenched with dressing but still edible — less is more, STRAT folks. At the recommendation of the waitress, I chose the spumoni for my desert over the crème brûlée. It was quite enjoyable, but I’d never tried spumoni previously so I can make no comparisons.

Lowpoint: The silverware placement; I prefer a clean, white, linen tablecloth, but if a restaurant would rather not bother with such a nicety, placing the silverware on a napkin will suffice. At Top of the World, patrons arrive at their table with silverware placed on a hard, rough, grayish place-mat; some level of trust is required to believe these were adequate substitutions for a soft tablecloth that is obviously unused. That trust vanished completely when the time came for the steak to arrive and my steak-knife was placed directly on the table. As far as I’m concerned that’s a deal-breaker. I’m convinced I’m not alone in holding that opinion.

Am I over thinking this? Watch the video below and take note of the table presentation:

I saw neat, white tablecloths. What did you see? A tip for The STRAT: if its good for marketing optics, its probably beneficial for the consumer experience as well.

Rundown: The staff was friendly, the wine list complimentary (though I didn’t imbibe), and the side dishes satisfactory: as an indulgence, I sampled the sweet potato fries and lobster mac’n’cheese; both delicious.

Before being seated, patrons must go through a lengthy registration process. First, you can check-in at a welcome desk on the ground floor before going though a TSA-like security checkpoint (luckily, I didn’t have to remove my shoes!) after which you must stand waiting for a 37-second ride up 107 floors to the restaurant lobby … where you stand and wait even longer after checking in with a second welcome desk. This was particularly irksome to me because I made a reservation and arrived on time; why so much waiting?

And why so much standing around? There were (seemingly) lovely places to be seated while waiting for the elevator …. This experience would be far superior if the first desk-person notified the second desk-person and prompted them to prepare a party’s table — which could be done while patrons went through security. When the table is ready, the party could then be prompted to take the elevator up after having sat comfortably in a welcoming lounge area, as opposed to the frigid elevator lobby.

Overall, some advice for both patrons and management alike: don’t let the view fool you into thinking the rest of the experience doesn’t have to meet expectations; it absolutely must.

Score: 4/7



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