Approaching the global culinary crossroads of Michelin-starred fine dining, Las Vegas has all but left the all-you-can-eat ‘chuck wagon’ buffets and bargain basement prawn cocktails in the rear vision mirror. Once considered recession-proof, the GFC took a big bite out of southern Nevada’s resort hotels.
As a result, Vegas is no longer placing all its bets on gambling as it recalibrates its focus on a more luxurious tourism experience that was once the domain of high rollers only.
Creating his vision daily, world-renown chef Thomas Keller has just clocked-up a decade at Bouchon at The Venetian. On the other hand, newish recruit Gordon Ramsay has opened a steakhouse at Paris casino resort hotel called, you guessed it, Gordon Ramsay Steak. Look out for Posh and Becks sightings at their mate’s place.
Gourmet dining, wellness centers, luxury brand shopping, it’s clear that Las Vegas is banking on more than a roll of the dice to lure the fashionably fabulous and wanabees. With stakes high, the world’s entertainment mecca is upping the ante….
Overflowing with high profile celebrity chefs, Vegas has attracted some gourmet heavy hitters over the past few years. Perched high above the Strip, Alain Ducasse creates bespoke menus at miX at Delano fusing Franco-American influences which he updates seasonally. Degustation dishes are the best way to sample Ducasse classics and rather than plow through the 5,000 bottle wine list, have the sommelier match them with wines from Alsace, Bordeaux and Napa Valley as you sit back 43 floors above the Strip and enjoy the view.
Wolfgang Puck has spread himself all over town with various eateries while Los Angeles’ wunderkind Michael Mina’s restaurant at Bellagio is arguably the town’s best seafood restaurant, its seasonal produce impeccably presented. Carnivores swear by Mina’s StripSteak eaterie at Mandalay Bay while at Sinatra’s restaurant at Encore, Theo Schoenegger riffs his modern Italian cuisine as a tribute to ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’. Offers you can’t refuse include Frank’s clams Possilipo – Manilla clams, tomato, garlic, oregano and parsley – and Osso Bucco ‘My Way,’ braised veal osso bucco, risolotto Milanese and gremolata.
As Sinatra croons, cocktails are shaken including Sinatra Smash – Gentleman Jack Tennesse whisky, crème de cassis, freshly muddled blackberries, fresh sweet and sour and vanilla syrup served over crushed ice or simply served Frank’s way – a Gentleman’s Jack Daniels taken tableside with classic coca cola.
Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli who created London’s Canary Wharf, Aria Resort and Casino sits at the heart of the Strip’s CityCenter, a sweeping slice of glass with spa, 16 restaurants, 10 bars and 3 pools. Its culinary offerings include Julian Serrano’s (a culinary nomme-de-plume surely?) delectable interpretations of his native Spanish tapas delivered in an edgy design environment. Serrano also runs the two Michelin-star restaurant Picasso at Bellagio.
Vegas stalwart Jean-Georges Vongerichten runs his eponymous Steakhouse restaurant at Aria, Lemongrass is
predictably modern Thai while Jean-Philippe Maury’s JP Patisserie on the casino level will sweeten any gaming losses.
Eating a prime five New York cut steak on the patio of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Prime restaurant as Bellagio’s aquatic fountains play alongside is hard to beat but if 24-hour Nobu restaurant room service is your idea of heaven then consider this. Las Vegas is the only place in the world you can order up a Nobu breakfast of eggs Matsuhisa, Nobu’s take on eggs Benedict where hollandaise is replaced with bonito egg sauce sprinkled with salmon roe and served on a toasted bao.
Nobu at Caesar’s Palace is also home to the world’s largest Nobu restaurant and lounge where his fusion artistry prevails. Whether sitting at teppanyaki tables, perched at the shushi bar, donning large sunglasses and hanging with celebs in the private dining zone or just being in the 327-seat lounge and bar, it’s an unparalleled opportunity to sample his multi-course omakase menus in a sublimely sophisticated space.
This is Vegas baby so just remember whatever you eat in Vegas ………
Tags: Alain Ducasse at miX, Aria Resort, Bouchon at The Venetian, Dining in Las Vegas, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jean-Philippe Maury, Las Vegas Tourism, Michael Mina, Nobu at Caesar's Palace, Sinatra's restaurant at Encore, Wolfgang Puck