Las Vegas Puts March Madness On the Menu

LAS VEGAS (TheStreet) -- March Madness, when even the slightest of basketball fans is glued to the television screen, has been the scene of some of the largest upsets in NCAA history. Even when you think your team is a sure thing, there's always the possibility of a swift defeat -- like when Boston College beat the Tar Heels 75-72 in the second round of the 1994 tournament, destroying their 13 straight advances to the Sweet 16.

Will this year provide yet another series of upsets or will it be smooth sailing for the No. 1 seeds?

No one knows for sure, but TravelsinTastehas some great ways to find out. If you're in Las Vegas for March Madness, check out these ultimate viewing parties and their exceptional cuisine, massive television screens and even ways to play the odds.

There's no need to choose between the big game and gourmet food at Lagasse's Stadium, a restaurant that offers more than 100 high-definition televisions tuned to sports events.

First stop is Lagasse's Stadium. Here one can dine on celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse's signature fare, such as New Orleans-style crab cakes and barbecue ribs, while watching the game from stadium seating, luxury boxes and patio dining on more than 100 high-definition televisions, including the 9-by-16-foot main television. You can also use "pocketcasino" devices to place bets.

For the first and second round and the Sweet Sixteen, the food and beverage minimum is $200 per person; for the Elite 8, Final Four and Championship, the minimum is $100 per person. Reserve early, but if it's already full the action will be playing at all the casino bars at The Venetian and The Palazzo ( LVS), including Oculus bar and La Scena Lounge at The Venetian and Laguna Champagne Bar, Fusion Mixology Bar and Salute Lounge at The Palazzo.

Further down the Strip at the newly opened Cosmopolitan, it's all about the burger. At BLT Burger, Absolut girls will be on hand serving Absolut wild tea cocktails; "Dunks and Drafts" will offer discounts on beer from the Sweet 16 on; and Holsteins, known for its burger concept, will be serving The Bracket Burger -- a dry-aged beef patty topped with American cheese, applewood smoked bacon, fried egg, lettuce, tomato, firecracker onions, "udder" sauce and mustard served with a choice of shoestring or steak fries for $14.95.

Next to the Sports Book at Aria Resort & Casino ( MGM), Skybox Sports Bar & Grill gets "nothing but net" with its March Madness menu and 23 high-definition screens. From Thursday through March 20, Skybox will serve breakfast from 9 a.m. to noon to accommodate fans. Later in the day one can enjoy Big Game Wings, Pull Pork Sliders and celebrate the heat of the moment with the acclaimed Firecracker Burger, which features the bhut jolokia chili pepper, one of the world's hottest. Here you can have your choice of 12 beers on tap to wash it down.

If you win it big on a long shot, though, you might want to plan a celebratory dinner where you can enjoy some recently legalized absinthe in addition to Shawn McClain's award-winning cuisine at Sage. You can also try the ultimate omakase experience at Shaboo in Bar Masa, also in the resort.

Overlooking the lower level of MGM Grand's Race and Sports Book are four private skyboxes that can accommodate up to 10 guests, complete with plasma televisions, surround-sound and CD systems. Stop by Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill for a signature pizza and then come in to enjoy nothing but net!

It it's just booze you crave, head to ROK Vegas, where two-for-one cocktails and beers, $15 beer buckets and $20 Absolut pitchers tip off at noon each day!

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