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Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare: Meka morskih plodova u pustinji

Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare: Meka morskih plodova u pustinji

Uz šetnicu u sklopu Las Vegas Wynn Casino je mjesto gdje se nalazi istoimeni restoran Paul Bartolotta, Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare. Meka morskih plodova usred pustinje, ovaj moderni restoran na više nivoa opravdava svoju buku.

Večera u Bartolotti je izuzetno iskustvo od početka do kraja. Jelovnik inspiriran Italijom postavljen je u jelima, omogućavajući gostima da u jednom obroku probaju nekoliko prikladno porcioniranih namirnica, a veliko finale je odabrana riba. Sorte s egzotičnim imenima, poput orata, scorfana i gallinella, redovno se dolijeću i prezentiraju restoranima u velikim kolicima, a poslužitelji se jako trude istaknuti svaku ribu i opisati njenu pripremu. Imajući ovo na umu, moj suprug i ja odlučili smo podijeliti salatu od hobotnice, lingvini i školjke te branzino sa soli.

Ranije sam jeo salatu od hobotnice, ali nikad nisam probao ovako dobro. Lagano odjevena u maslinovo ulje i limunov sok, Ligurska hobotnica bila je toliko nježna da se topila u ustima. Posluženo s dva mala krompira i malo rukole, bio je to savršen uvod u ono što će tek doći. Sljedeći kurs tjestenine bio je linguini sa školjkama, što je takođe bilo ukusno, sa tjesteninom skuhanom do savršene al dente konzistencije i umakom po mom ukusu.

Glavno jelo, branzino, bilo je u dva kilograma soli i začinjeno komoračem i citrusima. Naš server je vješto uklonio koru i filetirao riblji stol uz opisivanje niske i spore metode kuhanja koja je korištena. Preliven s malo mladog krumpira i dinstanim tikvicama, bio je to savršen dio za dvoje. Uobičajena na Siciliji, ova metoda kuhanja proizvodi vlažnu, gotovo kremastu ribu s malo tračka soli. To je izuzetno jednostavan način za spremanje ukusne ribe.

Meni za desert uključivao je nekoliko talijanskih standarda: semifreddo, ligurski kolač od limuna, sladoled i čokoladni kolač od badema. Podijelili smo čokoladni kolač od badema i nismo mogli biti sretniji. Prepunjen domaćim sladoledom od vanilije, bio je to odličan način da se obrok završi.

Kvaliteta i priprema hrane te znanje i usluge koje pruža osoblje u Bartolotti izuzetni su. Ako ste u Vegasu, volite plodove mora i imate nekoliko dodatnih dolara za potrošiti, toplo preporučujem večeru u Bartolotti.


Traženje romantike u Vegasu

Zaboravite u šta biste vjerovali Nicolasu Cageu iz njegovog remek -djela iz 1992. godine Medeni mjesec u Vegasu, da Vegas nije mesto za ljubav. Zapravo, zaista biste trebali obratiti veću pažnju na lekcije Nicolasa Cagea iz 1995. godine Odlazak iz Las Vegasa, gdje saznaje da Vegas nije mjesto za ljubav. Na osnovu tog filma, međutim, čini se da je Vegas mjesto za vidjeti Elisabeth Shue golu, pa ljubavna stvar možda nije toliko važna. Upravo sam proveo šest dana u Vegasu & četiri dana predugo & mdash i dok možete pronaći ljubav u Gradu greha, konačno možete pronaći romantiku u nevjerovatnoj kolekciji restorana koji sada prožimaju grad.

Pariz je grad romantičan, Pariz hotel i kazino nisu. To je zato što Pariz iza sebe ima stoljetnu povijest i šarm, dok je Vegas 60-godišnja turistička zamka izgrađena u pustinji kako bi potaknula hedonizam i smanjila životnu uštedu. Imajte to na umu, jer je romantika u Vegasu izuzetak, a ne pravilo, a prvo što morate naučiti je razlika između djevojke koja traži romantiku i djevojke koja traži nešto drugo. Znate onu prekrasnu djevojku koja sjedi sama za video poker barom? Ona i rsquos nisu tu za romantiku. Ona je tu za vas da joj platite na kraju noći. Zapravo, svaku atraktivnu slobodnu djevojku u Vegasu treba smatrati zabranjenom. Tako je jednostavno sigurnije. Držite se očiglednih turista i bit ćete u dobroj formi.

Bilo da idete u Vegas sami ili sa svojom drugom drugom, pravi izazov je pronaći te rijetke romantične lokacije. Budući da je Vegas jeziv i užasan, ta mjesta su gotovo uvijek restorani koji se osjećaju kao da nisu u Vegasu. Možete eliminirati bilo koji restoran koji je rsquos dio casina & rsquos priključenog trgovačkog centra. Niko se nikada nije osjećao romantično jedući u tržnom centru. Ono što vam treba je restoran koji se osjeća potpuno izolirano od ostatka Vegasa. Ostaju nam Mandalay Bay i The Wynn/Encore.

Mandalay Bay dobiva bodove za Mix od međunarodno priznatog kuhara Alaina Ducassea. Nevjerovatna hrana i najbolji pogled na grad čine romantičnu večer. Ako se želite osjećati kao Bondov filmski superzlikovac koji sa 64. kata gleda na vašu kriminalnu domenu, Mix je pravo mjesto za to. Wynn i Encore, međutim, nude značajku s kojom se Mandalay Bay može & rsquot natjecati: vodopadi. Postoji nešto o dobrom slapu koji svaku večeru pretvara u romantičnu. Srećom, Wynn je preplavljen njima. Bilo da uživate u vrhunskoj predstavi vodopada u SW Steakhouse-u ili se opuštate uz teppanyaki u Okadi, vodopadi u Wynnu stvaraju nevjerojatno romantičnu pozadinu. Moj novi favorit ipak nema vodopad. Ne, Bartolotta ima svoje privatno jezero. Osamljeno i intimno, ovo & ldquoristorante di mare & rdquo (čitaj: brodovi talijanskih plodova mora) moj je glas za najromantičnije mjesto u Vegasu. Večerao sam tamo pre dve nedelje sa mojim prijateljem, i uprkos činjenici da oboje imamo devojke, skoro smo se zabavljali. To je#39 to romantično.

Pronaći savršeno romantično mjesto izazov je u klasno izgladnjeloj pustinji poput Vegas Stripa. Ako ste pametni u vezi toga, možete pronaći sebi restoran koji će vam pomoći da zaboravite bendžamine koje ste upravo isprali za stolom sranja. Ako vas romantika ne zanima, razgovarajte s tom zgodnom mladom osobom u video poker baru. Ne zanima je ako je odvedete u Margaritaville, sve dok novac ostavite na komodi na kraju noći.


All Star Chefs Picnic in the Fire Valley

Grupa slavnih kuhara s predstražama u užarenom Las Vegasu okuplja se na hladnom pikniku 4. jula u pustinji Nevada.

Većina ljudi ne bi izabrala mjesto za piknik mjesto zvano Vatrena dolina, ali većina ljudi ne radi i ne apostolira u pečenju profesionalnih kuhinja. Čini se da kuhari imaju drugačiji odnos prema toplini od nas ostalih, posebno kuhara s restoranima u užarenom Las Vegasu. "Čak smo igrali fudbal na dodir na stijenama", kaže šef kuhinje Paul Bartolotta iz Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare u Wynn Las Vegasu. "Bilo je prilično ludo."

Za ovaj piknik od 4. jula u pustinji, Bartolotta i njegovi prijatelji, uključujući Todd English of Olives Las Vegas, Bradley Ogden iz Bradley Ogdena u Las Vegasu i Wynn Las Vegas & aposs izvršna potpredsjednica restorana, Elizabeth Blau —rove to Valley of Fire State park, sat vremena izvan Vegasa, za mini odmor. Izletnici su raznijeli nekoliko svojih jela, plus neka od vrhunskih kuhara koji barem ovaj put nisu mogli prisustvovati —. Bartolotta & aposs bogata italijanska tuna, bijeli pasulj i salata od rukole donijeli su Mediteran u pustinju. Englezi su došli sa klasikom za piknik, salatom od krompira, oživljenom sa tri vrste senfa. Craftsteak & aposs Tom Colicchio dodao je peperoncini (kisele paprike) u svoju salatu od limuna od slanutka radi oštrog zalogaja.

Nakon pripreme salata, grupa je počela odmotavati sendviče. Dimljena slanina i izmrvljeni plavi sir učinili su Ogden & aposs hrskavim podlogama od piletine neodoljivima. Emeril Lagasse iz Emeril & aposs New Orleans Fish House Las Vegas isporučio je pikantne mufflette, punjene salamom, mortadelom, sirom provolone i salatom od maslina. Za desert, slastičar Sherry Yard iz Wolfgang Puck & aposs Spago (koji ima predstražu u Las Vegasu) dao je pahuljice od maslaca, nektarine veličine zalogaja i#x2014 koliko, niko ne zna. Proždirani su tako brzo da nije postojala prilika da ih se prebroji.


Restorani s finom hranom u Vegasu “Top Chef ”

The Houston Chronicle nedavno je napisala članak o tome Vrhunski kuhar, prepoznavanje kuhara i restorana u Vegasu. Evo spiska.

Šef kuhinje Alessandro Stratta ’s raskošan Alex služi ono što naziva blagovaonicom na francuskoj rivijeri. Mi to zovemo zapanjujuće. Sve o poduzeću - raskošan interijer, stručna usluga, izvrsna hrana - na vrhu su igre. Smješten u Wynn Las Vegasu, dom neugodnosti zbog kulinarskih bogatstava, Alex nudi jela poput John Doryja s krumpirom od fondanta, oceanske pastrve s ugljenisanom sipom, hrskavi svinjski trbuh s graškom i šunku Serrano, pirjana američka kratka rebra Wagyu s džemom od luka i pečenim prepirka sa pečenim foie grasom. Ako ste na odmoru, mogli biste i razbacati degustacijski meni od 295 USD, uključujući vina. Na kraju krajeva, živi se samo jednom.

(Foto kredit/Bilten zvijezda: Kuhar Alessandro i kreacija#8217)

Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare

Postoji razlog Paul Bartolotta osvojio je nagradu za najboljeg kuhara na jugozapadu na ovogodišnjoj dodjeli nagrada James Beard. Kritičari hrane opisali su njegov restoran u Wynn Las Vegasu kao jedno od najljepših svjetskih iskustava s plodovima mora. Puno je napisano o restoranskom putu s morskim stvorenjima koja svakodnevno dolijeću. Ali pravi mjerač je vaš vlastiti ukus: Idite na cijelo branzino (brancin), orata (orada) ili pečenu aragostu (jastog). Bartolotta želi impresionirati, od sitnih školjki u umaku od rajčice s bijelim lukom, rižota s plodovima mora do kantariona. I impresionira ga. Cijene bi mogle šokirati Poseidona, ali ćete morati putovati daleko da biste pronašli bolje iskustvo talijanske morske hrane.

BLT Burger

Vrhunski restorani možda pate u ovoj ekonomiji, što hamburger (posebno dobar) čini logičnom opcijom za večeru. Kuhar Laurent Tourondel, viđen u 4. epizodi, zna iz dobrog hamburgera, a njegov BLT Burger u Mirageu spreman je poslužiti suštinski američki obrok, uparen sa stručnim krumpirićima i gustim mliječnim napicima. Šiljati restoran čini da se osjećate kao odrasli igrač dok vas snabdjete dječjom udobnom hranom, poput štapića mozzarelle, kolutića luka, nachosa, s ’mores i pudingom od krafni Krispy Kreme. Teško je odoljeti pa nemojte ni pokušavati.

Bouchon

Pronalaženje užurbanog bistroa Thomasa Kellera u Venecijanskoj kuli#8217s pomalo je mučan posao. Ali vaše nagrade su brojne u ovom velikom kafiću od kuhara čije je francusko rublje jedno od najtraženijih svjetskih restorana. Bouchon poslužuje vrhunske francuske bistroe, uključujući salatu od kozjeg sira, pačetinu, pečene janjeće bute, croque madame, brandade, pomfrit odreska i profiterole. To je domaća hrana u ležernom okruženju koje nudi doručak, ručak i večeru. Kruh je nebeski. Ne propustite rulete lososa (i izgovor da konzumirate još više kruha). Sirovi bar spreman je za posluživanje kamenica i hladne čaše Sancerrea. Usred pustinje, osjećate se kao da ste u Parizu.

Craftsteak

Glavni sudac Tom Colicchio ’s otmjeni steakhouse u MGM Grandu vjerojatno je najbolji Vrhunski kuhar restoran. Iste laserske oči koje Colicchio trenira kod takmičara fokusirane su na njegov jelovnik mesa sa roštilja i pečenja sa vrha goveđe gomile. Ali kao što smo vidjeli u epizodi 6 i#8217 sa Natalie Portman, Craftsteak je više od hrama krava, već služi i besprijekorne morske plodove i najčišće povrće. Ako ste željni Vegasa, zasigurno nećete uspjeti, nećete ga pronaći u ovoj prilično ozbiljnoj blagovaonici. Ali pronaći ćete stručnu uslugu i izvrsnu hranu.


Za kuhare u Las Vegasu izgledi postaju duži

Robert Martinez, 33-godišnji konobar u Rao-u u palači Caesars, rekao je da su ovi teškaši "imali papire od 100 dolara i davali ih svima u osoblju, a izdavali su čekove od 12.000 do 15.000 dolara".

Ali sada, rekao je Kevin Carter, 49-godišnji konobar u Craftsteaku u MGM Grand hotelu i kazinu, "kitovi su migrirali".

Prošle godine, četvrti od najvećih bruto restorana u zemlji bio je u Las Vegasu. Ali gozba je prešla u glad. Sve manje guštera stiže, a troše manje. Sa ekonomskom krizom, više od 5.000 radnika u hrani i restoranima je nezaposleno.

"Pazimo i vidimo svaki mlaznjak kako dolazi i odlazi", rekao je Michael N. Baker (50), konobar osam godina u restoranu Top of the World u tornju hotela Stratosphere Casino. "Nekada su bili složeni po cijeli dan", dodao je. “Tada nije bilo ničega vani. To je bilo zastrašujuće. "

Mnogi od 2.900 gradskih restorana očarani su umorom od fenomenalnosti.

"Bilo je zlato, i odjednom je postalo zlato budale", rekao je Malcolm M. Knapp, koji vodi konsultantsku kuću u restoranu koja nosi njegovo ime.

Bill Lerner, direktor istraživačke kompanije Union Gaming, rekao je da postoji "previše restorana sa pet zvjezdica, emisija, banja-previše slavnih kuhara".

Na Stripu, u blizini Circus Circusa, zijevajuća je praznina projekta Echelon vrijednog 4,8 milijardi dolara, zaustavljenog prošlog kolovoza, sa svojih 12 do 15 novih restorana, uključujući one kuhara poput Davida Changa iz Momofuku Ko na Manhattanu.

Nedovršena, zrcalna plava oka ogledala tornja Fontainebleau vrijednog 3,915 milijardi dolara, vrijednog 2,9 milijardi dolara, preko puta Cirkusa, nadvija se nad gradom poput proročanstva. Otišao je u stečaj i sa sobom odveo 6.000 radnih mjesta.

Ali u pustinjskom svemiru restorana sada je nastala fatamorgana koja bi mogla značiti ili spas ili propast: projekt CityCenter vrijedan 8,5 milijardi dolara.

Preplavljen građevinskim dizalicama i blistav na suncu od 100 stupnjeva, kazino CityCenter, hotel, kongresni centar, trgovački centar, stambena i zabavna metropola izgleda kao halucinogena parodija Red Grooms od 67 hektara na Las Vegas Strip. Razvoj se proteže na četvrt milje, od Bellagia do odmarališta i kazina Monte Carlo, a zakazan je za otvaranje u decembru.

Oko 30 restorana smjestit će se u zbrci sedam zgrada - od konusnih kula do kristalnih krhotina - koje je osmislilo osam slavnih arhitekata, uključujući Sir Normana Fostera i Daniela Libeskinda. Na izložbi i na probi bit će predstavljeni koncepti lioniziranih kuhara, među njima Pierre Gagnaire, Michael Mina, Masayoshi Takayama, Wolfgang Puck i Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Za neke će CityCenter, koji su razvili MGM Mirage i Dubai World, ponuditi blago koje nadilazi buku i buku: 4.000 poslova u hrani i restoranima, trećina od 12.000 novih radnih mjesta u kompleksu.

Ali ako kanibalizuje postojeće restorane, mogao bi dodatno raniti ovu nekada uspavanu stanicu za navodnjavanje pruge okruženu ogromnom količinom pijeska.

Već je grad greha postao sandbox sa poticajima, popustima i promocijama, gdje čak i luksuzne nekretnine poput Bellagioa nude besplatne hotelske noći, plus kocke za kockanje, hranu i piće svojim korisnicima klupskih kartica.

Neki ekonomični turisti bježe iz svojih kockarnica kako bi večerali izvan Stripa. No, restorani u susjedstvu su pod sve većim pritiskom Stripa, budući da se stanovnici kao nikada do sada udvaraju kockarnicama s „paketima smještaja“ koji uključuju obroke u restoranima.

I tako, usred sokolara i peraja kartica sa uslugama pratnje, nadmeće se vrtoglavo obilje znakova za jeftinu ponudu. Uključuju ogromne nadolazeće novine za „New York Steak N Eggs“ od 5,99 USD u Bill's Gamblin 'Hall & amp; Salonu, mamutni pano u Tropicana Casino & amp Resortu koji hvali svoju „Legendarnu jastogu posebnu cijenu od 19,95 USD“, i krajnju ponudu, bilborde Siegel Suites proglašavajući "Live Here Eat Free."

Na vrhu se nalazi pustinjska fešta reklamiranih „ljetnih degustacijskih menija“ u MGM Grandu (60 USD u Craftsteaku, 59 USD u Shibuyi, 45 USD u SeaBlueu, 39 USD u Taverni Nobhill). U restoranima Aureole i Mix u odmaralištu i kazinu Mandalay Bay postoje novi prix fixe meniji. U ponudi su i Mario Batali i David Burke u Veneciji, Wolfgang Puck u Spagu u Caesars palači i snižene cijene "Taste of Wynn" promocije (uključujući jelovnike od 36 USD u Society Café Encore i Daniel Boulud Brasserie).

Steve Wynn, predsjednik Wynn Resortsa, rekao je da njegovi kupci "ne kupuju tu bocu Margauxa i ne naručuju toliko - ali oni su ovdje". Njegovi Wynn i Encore, poput nekoliko nekretnina na visokom nivou, imaju 90 posto popunjenosti.

Gospodin Wynn je rekao da je ohrabren što je „svaki mjesec rok za rezervacije sve duži - nekad je to bilo 90 dana, zatim 30 prošle jeseni, sada se vraća - a rezervacije su također u porastu“.

Prošle godine, "nebo je padalo, a ljudi su bili prestravljeni", rekla je Elizabeth Blau, savjetnica za restoran. "Sada su se stvari stabilizirale."

No, za mnoge restoratere u Las Vegasu stan je i dalje nov, a za neke je "s 10 posto manje, to je novi stan", rekao je Joseph Bastianich, partner Maria Batalija u tri restorana u hotelu Venetian Resort i Casinu.

Gospodin Bastianich je rekao da je njegova talijanska odreska Carnevino u Palazzu u Venecijanu ove godine projicirala 18 milijuna dolara prihoda, ali sada "očekujemo da ćemo napraviti 13 do 14 milijuna dolara".

Sirio Maccioni, pionir fine večere u Las Vegasu sa svojim restoranima Le Cirque i Osteria del Circo u Bellagiou, upozorio je da će "trebati jako puno vremena da se vrati na staro". Napomenuo je da su nedavno prihodi od njegovih restorana opali za 5 do 10 posto, a prošle godine za 25 posto.

Konobari u luksuznim objektima pretrpjeli su smanjenje napojnica sa 20 na 50 posto. "Naše članstvo se smanjilo za 10 ili 11 posto u odnosu na prošlu godinu", rekao je D. Taylor, sekretar blagajnika Sindikata kulinarskih radnika Local 226, koji predstavlja 50.000 radnika u hrani i piću i drugih zaposlenika u hotelima i kockarnicama.

Gospodin Martinez iz Rao -a rekao je da je osoblje pristalo na smanjenje radne sedmice sa 5 dana na 4, a tokom radnog dana sa 8 sati na 6, samo da bi se sačuvali svi njihovi poslovi. On je procijenio da su prosječni troškovi čeka za njegove stolove pali 30 USD, na 50 USD.

Započela je i mračna recesijska igra staža na muzičkim stolicama. Francisco Rufino, 33-godišnji kuhar za prženje u pariškom kasino hotelu posljednjih devet godina, odbačen je u tamošnji kafić zbog smanjenja u vrhunskom kazino restoranu. "Zauzvrat, smijenio sam drugog kuhara - koji je dobio otkaz", rekao je.

Ipak, mnogi još uvijek imaju nade. Gospodin Bastianich planira restoran u Venecijancu, pod uslovnim nazivom Nancy’s Luncheonette, koji nudi hranu Nancy Silverton, njegove partnerice iz Los Angelesa u Osteria Mozzi s gospodinom Batalijem.

Gospodin Maccioni, koji je rekao da ima 75 godina, nije odvraćen od otvaranja restorana s toskanskom tematikom u CityCenteru-"sa 175 mjesta i prekrasnim barom", rekao je-koji će se zvati Sirio.

Gradski ugostitelji jedva su prestali rasti do zapanjujućih nivoa nudeći luksuz profinjenom nepcu. Carnevino sa 300 sjedala nudi izvorno provjerenu govedinu koja se hrani travom, sušeno odležava sedam sedmica u vlastitom objektu za starenje u Las Vegasu, gdje kompjuterski čipovi kontroliraju protok i vlažnost zraka.

A Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare sa 230 sjedećih mjesta u Wynnu svake godine leti u tonu morskih plodova sa Mediterana, uključujući rakove s mekom školjkom iz Venecije i carske crvene škampe iz Maroka. Neke se ribe isporučuju uživo, a sve se transportira "putničkim avionima koji bi letjeli bez obzira na to je li moja riba na njima", rekao je Paul Bartolotta (48), koji je jednom trenirao u pariškom Tailleventu i kuhao u Spiaggia u Chicago.

Rick Moonen u RM Seafoodu u zaljevu Mandalay nudi tri vrste kamenica istočne obale, kao i žive rakove Dungeness i jastoge iz Mainea. "Morate biti ludi da želite ponuditi održive plodove mora usred pustinje", rekao je gospodin Moonen, koji je 2002. godine nagrađen sa tri zvjezdice iz The New York Timesa za svoj rad u RM Seafood -u na Manhattanu, a sada, poput G. Bartolotta, živi ovdje.

Ali gospodin Moonen i drugi smatraju da ih luksuz ovih dana ne može odvesti toliko daleko. U njegovom elegantnom restoranu s nautičkom tematikom, vrijednom 6 miliona dolara, pojačan je volumen, rekao je, ali prosjek čeka, koji je prije iznosio 65 do 70 dolara, sada je "u 40 -ima". Prije tri mjeseca, gospodin Moonen morao je zatvoriti svoj restoran sa 80 sjedećih mjesta, RM Seafood Upstairs, gdje je prosječni ček iznosio 120 USD. "Bio je to užasan dan", rekao je, "ali ponovo ćemo otvoriti na jesen."

Alessandro Stratta rekao je da je njegov ležerni restoran u Wynn Las Vegasu, u Stratti, sa prosječnom cijenom čeka od 60 dolara, "ove godine 30 posto zaposleniji nego prošle godine". Ali njegov vrhunski restoran Alex, sa prosječnim čekom od 320 dolara po osobi, ima prihode od 15 posto, a sada radi četiri dana umjesto pet.

U ovoj ekonomiji, rekao je David McIntyre, potpredsjednik za hranu i piće u MGM Grandu, "nije dovoljno samo izaći s prix fixe jelovnikom, morate redefinirati svoj proizvod."

Tako je kafana Nobhill Tavern ponovno dobila svoje jelovnike i sada je "došlo do pada od 40 posto po čeku", rekao je gospodin McIntyre. "Ali sada smo porasli za 60 posto u ukupnoj količini."

I premda Joël Robuchon sa 66 mjesta i dalje nudi degustaciju menija sa 16 slijedova, 385 USD, sada služi dva jela po 89 USD.

Stoga se dolazak konkurentskih restorana u CityCenter ne čeka univerzalno.

"Ne želim nikome zlo", rekao je gospodin Bartolotta, "ali treba li nam još 20 restorana? Ne. Sada se svi bore za dio kolača koji se smanjuje. ”

Ali Bart Mahoney, potpredsjednik za hranu i piće partnera CityCenter -a MGM Mirage, rekao je da se „nadamo rastu tržišta“.

Robert Goldstein, 54-godišnji predsjednik konkurenta, Venecijanca, zvučao je optimistično o CityCenteru dok je sjedio u svom uredu na drugom katu i gledao replike Campanilea i Mosta uzdaha potpisanih u 90 posto u kazinu. "To neće biti smak svijeta i neće ponovo pokrenuti turizam u Las Vegasu", rekao je. "To je samo još jedno otvaranje projekta u teškim vremenima."

Osvrnuo se na naslovni članak časopisa Life od 20. juna 1955. koji je uokvirio, prikazujući plesače kankana u kasinu i izjavljujući: "Las Vegas - Je li Boom prenadužen?"

Dodao je: „Las Vegas je sada malo u padu, a trenutno je grad prenagrađen. Ali mislite li zaista da će sve ovo nestati i postati crno? ”


Obroci sreće

Nazvao sam Dannyja Meyera, sveznajućeg njujorškog ugostitelja, i rekao mu da imam pitanje o Las Vegasu.

Prije nego što sam mogao nastaviti, prekinuo me.

"Odgovor je novac", rekao je. "Šta je pitanje?"

To bi bilo ovako: Zašto kuhari ne mogu reći ne?

Danas svi odlaze u Las Vegas na kockanje, osim kuhara, koji tamo odlaze sa zagarantovanim bogatstvom. Imenujte kuhara koji je objavio kuharicu (dobro), osvojio nagradu James Beard (bolje), redovno se pojavljuje na televiziji (najbolji) ili ima svoju kuharsku emisiju (džekpot), a netko iz Vegasa će vas nazvati. Novi moto hotelske mafije u Vegasu: Ubijte ih gotovinom.

Prije nego što su zaposlenici hotela u Vegasu otkrili ogroman profitni potencijal hrane, volio sam tamo jesti. Ne na švedskom stolu, to su hranilišta za ljudsku rasu. Govorim o ranijim vremenima, kada je svaki hotel imao tri vrste restorana - ni više, ni manje. Govorili su o gradu na isti način na koji je smeđi derbi govorio o Hollywoodu, a sada ih nema.

Kafići su bili društveni centri, središta političkog, društvenog, a ponekad čak i porodičnog života. Najbolje je bilo u palači Caesars, gdje sam 1968. večerao za Dan zahvalnosti sa hotelskim šefom kockanja, starim porodičnim prijateljem. Htio je da me lijepo isprati prije nego što odem u Vijetnam, pa je sastavio nekoliko stolova, a ja sam s njegovom porodicom jeo puretinu i nadjev. Nakon toga, njegova mi je žena posudila svoj ružičasti kabriolet Pontiac za vožnju po gradu, a on mi je posudio djevojku za vrijeme dok se nisam vozila po gradu.

Izložbeni prostori kazina nisu bili samo za zalutale djevojke iz karijere. Takođe su obezbijedili kraljevski obrok (obično na vrhunskom rebru) prije nego što su Steve i Eydie stupili na binu. Sada je sjedenje u izložbenim salonima gotovo uvijek u kazališnom stilu, a uz večeru nećete dobiti besplatnu predstavu ako niste raspoloženi za natjecanje u Areni King Arthur (Invading armies! Dancing devenens!). Gurmanske sobe bile su za visoke rolere - još se nisu zvali kitovi. Gotovo svi su bili natjecani, što je praksa trajala do 90 -ih. Gurmanske sobe općenito su sadržavale najljepšu moguću gastronomiju plus prvi rast Bordeauxa iz loših godina. Imali su divna imena: Sultanov stol na dinama, Regent soba na dvoru Sands Palace u Caesars Palace House of Lords u Sahari i soba za svijeće u Flamingu.

Ako ste bili u Vegasu posljednjih nekoliko godina, vjerovatno mislite da je postao veliki grad restoran. Možda ste u pravu. To jednostavno nije grad s dobrom hranom. Hotelski restorani - nikoga ne zanimaju druge vrste - svi su isti, špiljski i skupi. Nemaju značajnih razlika osim u svojim ukrasima, što može biti prilično zapanjujuće, od kineskog Limogesa do laguna ispunjenih labudovima. Ipak, kada izgradnja svakog restorana košta 6 do 10 miliona dolara, sličnosti prelaze razlike. To je prokletstvo pretjerano bogatih: postoji samo toliko mjesta na kojima može kupovati osoba s neograničenim novcem.

Dobra večera u Vegasu govori o svjetlucavom i novom. To je vrhunska korporativna kuhinja za mase. Radi se o tome da sjedite puno ljudi i brzo ih premjestite u kockarnice i salone. Većina kupaca pregledava svoje degustacijske menije za devedeset minuta, ali sve što trebate učiniti je pitati i hrana će doći još brže. Veličina nije ograničena na kvadraturu. Kubična stopala također mnogo vrijede. Restorani ne samo da moraju biti široki, već moraju biti i visoki-četrdeset dva metra u slučaju Aureole. Jesu li svi sretni? Bojim se da je tako.

Evo biltena: Ovi novi restorani ne mijenjaju samo grad. Mijenjaju i fine blagovaonice u Americi. To su velike vesti. Vegas godišnje posjećuje i do 40 miliona ljudi sa otvorenim očima, a njihova jedina obavezna rekreativna aktivnost, osim što se ponašaju blesavo, je i jedenje. Vegas je sada šablon gdje se lekcije o dobroj ishrani utiskuju u kolektivnu svijest Amerike.

Neiskusni kupci otkrivaju da luksuzni restorani nude čulno uživanje u kombinaciji s gastronomskom ujednačenošću. Da su trošili svoj novac u San Franciscu ili New Yorku, mogli bi naučiti nešto drugačije, ali ne odlaze u te gradove da postanu vrhunski gosti. Njihove školske učionice su restorani prilagođeni konvencijama, računima troškova i praznicima, ustanove bez istorije i tradicije, restorani koji nisu postojali prije deset godina.

Evo prve zabrinjavajuće poruke: Uče ih se da restoran može biti odličan čak i ako nema prošlosti, nema ličnosti i nema jedinstvenosti. Amerika je izmislila standardizaciju hrane kako bi prodala hamburgere od petnaest centi, a sada je čudovište na slobodi.

Posjetioci Vegasa vjeruju da se večera u restoranu šefa kuhinje Guya Savoya u Caesars Palaceu ne razlikuje od večere u njegovom restoranu u Parizu, te da je večera u Daniel Boulud Brasserie u Vegasu ista kao i večera u Danielu u New Yorku. (Guy Savoy u Vegasu doista je zamišljen kao kulinarska replika, ali pomalo ležerno mjesto Bouluda u Wynnu znatno se razlikuje od njujorškog perjanice.) Prosječnim Amerikancima - apsolutno zadovoljni adaptacijama i previše ravnodušni ili previše blaženi da bi brinuli o doživljaju originala —Vegas je postao prava stvar.

Nisam čak ni siguran šta znače imena vezana za restorane. Predstavljaju li Daniel Boulud i Guy Savoy stvarne ljude onima koji jedu u njihovim restoranima ili su samo logotipi? Možda se Bobby Flay i Emeril Lagasse percipiraju od krvi i mesa jer se vide na TV -u. Svi ostali su zaštitni znak. Za novopridošle večere, kuhari više nisu ljudi koji kuhaju.

Krivac je brendiranje, koje je besmisleno kopiranje. Charlie Palmer, kuhar s dva restorana u Vegasu, planira kondo-hotel, sljedeći (ali zasigurno ne i posljednji) korak u stvaranju sveobuhvatnog načina života Charlieja Palmera. To se događa u ime naše dvije velike američke ambicije, zarađivanja novca i zabave.

Osnova bitnog sloma iskustva finog ručka je nepostojanje poznatih kuhara. Posjetio sam trinaest restorana u Vegasu, a bila su prisutna samo tri kuhara: Paul Bartolotta iz Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare u Wynn Guy Savoy, u gradu radi otvaranja svog restorana u palači Caesars i Tom Colicchio, koji vodi Craftsteak u MGM Grandu . Colicchio se zatekao u gradu snimajući epizodu Vrhunski kuhar za Bravo, da ne kažem da se nije mučio u kuhinji između snimanja. Kuhari s restoranima u Vegasu vjerojatno će zarađivati ​​300.000 do 750.000 dolara godišnje, u osnovi za korištenje svog imena. Nekoliko koji redovno dolaze na posao mogu zaraditi dodatne bonuse za pojavljivanje.

Većina restorana u Vegasu, bez obzira na cijenu, vrhunske su franšize. Imaju velika imena, veliki budžet i ništa drugo. Oni su lažne stvari. To je tragično, jer franšizing uništava kreativnost. Zaustavlja razvoj kuhara. Zavara klijente. Utvrđeni vlasnici restorana, uglavnom se ne slažu sa mnom.

Pitao sam Drewa Nieporenta, čuvenog njujorškog ugostitelja, misli li da je replika cijenjenog objekta superiornija od originala neočekivanog kuhara, a on mi je odgovorio: „Nokaf je bolji.“ Otvorio je podružnicu Nobu u Hard -u Rock Hotel & amp casino - kad sam bio u Vegasu, rezervaciju je bilo najteže dobiti. Kaže: „Ovi veliki programeri radije bi nazvali nekoga poput mene nego stvorili nešto novo i originalno. Lako je i prepuno je. Zapravo, to je van ljestvice. Oni misle da je to bez napora, a za nekoga s novcem to jest. "Dodaje Charlie Trotter, koji je 90 -ih imao neuspješan restoran u Vegasu i očekuje se da će pokušati sljedeće godine," Recimo da Spago u Las Vegasu nije kao dobar kao Spago na Beverly Hillsu. Ne znam da li je tako, ali nije li Spago koji je 85 posto bolji od originala bolji od hotelskog operatera koji otvara restoran? "

Jeo sam u Nobuu u New Yorku i u Vegasu. Isto za Spago na Beverly Hillsu i u Vegasu. Problem je u tome što oni nisu 85 posto. Dao bih 60 posto Nobuu u Vegasu, dijelom zato što je optužba traljava, a dijelom zato što je spoj haotičan. Spago in Vegas drops under 50 percent because it’s not nearly as ambitious as the estimable Spago in Beverly Hills and because the food seems to be ecuted mechanically—the famous Chinese chicken salad looked and tasted as though it had been assembled in a Cuisinart.

Trotter is correct in principle: If those restaurants were at 85 percent, they might be acceptable, but they’re not close. They lack animation and spirit. Most are classy looking, but they look like the creations of hotel corporations, not restaurateurs, and the most exciting day for a hotel ecutive is the one in which a chandelier salesman stops by. There are no adventures in dining in Las Vegas. Missing are independent-minded restaurants, such as Montrachet in New York and Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, the places that launched the careers of Nieporent and Trotter.

Visitors to Vegas are getting the message that restaurants aren’t worth patronizing if they haven’t made a name for themselves somewhere else.

Even before Las Vegas ecutives created their new economic prototype—hotels, casinos, and restaurants as revenue partners—hotel dining in America had undergone a revival. Owners realized that restaurants could bring life, as well as customers, to the terrible void that was their lobbies and bars. And if they brought in restaurants with the right names, the seats were practically presold. Only beloved old Broadway musicals are more of a sure thing. Vegas gets no credit for ending the terrible ennui that was hotel dining. What it has done brilliantly is work out a particular ambience problem. It created a perverse form of alfresco dining, seating areas open not to the air but to the noise and lights of the casino. To some guests, this constitutes entertainment. At the very least, the clatter is an excuse for people dining together to engage in no conversation whatsoever.

Hotel planners follow systems, like card counters at blackjack tables. The architect David Rockwell, who designed the interior of the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, calls the climactic design element at every Vegas hotel the Big Weenie. He explains, “It can be a lake, a volcano, a sphinx, a pyramid.“

There are Restaurant Weenies, too. The most famous is Aureole’s four-story wine tower, which features “wine angels“ soaring up and down on wires—they have a lot more in common with rappelling Army Rangers to me. The ultimate Restaurant Weenies are at Alain Ducasse’s Mix in Las Vegas, on the sixty-fourth floor of the Hotel at Mandalay Bay. Above the bar, suspended from the ceiling, is an intimate seating area my showgirl-quality waitress described as “a strawberry that’s landed in the dessert.“ In the dining room is a huge white amorphous blob, a kind of space platform, possibly representing a champagne bubble. Celebrities canoodle in both the berry and the bubble.

The most normal-looking restaurant I visited was Michael Mina’s. It has low ceilings, an open kitchen, and simplicity of design. I never ate in one similar to it. The overly colorful Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare is a tribute to a time-honored fishing technique—toss a stick of dynamite into a lake and splatter bits and pieces of things everywhere. The room has several centerpieces, Mini-Weenies, huge urns that appear to serve no apparent purpose, although they are large enough to hide the bodies that the Mob used to bury in the desert. Oddly, this restaurant also offers one of the most serene and attractive dining options in Vegas, cabana-style tables circling an artificial lake. Such a wacky indoor-outdoor contrast could exist only in the mind of a Vegas entrepreneur.

Absent from Vegas restaurants are women. Don’t expect hatcheck girls. There are none. Don’t look for female celebrity chefs. Not represented. Mother Nature doesn’t get much respect, either. In Vegas, the natural world exists only in bogus form. Hotel owners love ordering up artificial lakes or indoor gardens, and most are predictably calming, an exception being Wynn’s Lake of Dreams. I found it unsettling to eat while staring out at a bunch of semi-immersed statues that seemed to represent naked gamblers drowning themselves after losing their shirts. At Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, just as the chef was telling me that he wanted his restaurant to feel as though it were on the coast of Italy with speedboats roaring by, along came a vacuum-cleaning machine about the size of a Zamboni, noisily sweeping the carpet outside his front door.

Noticeably missing from Vegas restaurants are smells, which are sucked away with uncanny efficiency. Hotels are continually invaded by tourist bodies sweaty from walking up and down the Strip. Once a magical string of lights, the Strip has been transformed into a garish indoor-outdoor mall with a scorching pedestrian walkway. Walkers walk in. Walkers cool off. Walkers walk out. The coefficient of perspiration—my term—must be stupendous. Without gigantic ventilation systems, hotels would ripen. Think of the crew quarters on nuclear submarines. Still, something is lost when restaurants become as sterile as operating rooms.

Another lesson: The natural world never wins in Vegas.

Las Vegas is essentially artificial, a cubic zirconium. The hotels shimmer in the desert, one part Imax, one part simulacrum, one part mirage. The city offers one great experience that no other major city on earth can match, free parking for one and all. (You can upgrade to valet parking at no additional charge.) The restaurants are the apex of American extravagance. They have the tallest ceilings, the biggest rooms, the largest portions, and the maximum prices. This, by the way, is good news for struggling chefs across the country. The people who visit Las Vegas are learning to pay staggering prices for food.

Surf and turf at Michael Mina’s goes for $85. Rack of lamb at Joël Robuchon’s L’Atelier, $55. Colicchio’s ten-ounce Kobe filet, $110. My meal for two at the newly opened Guy Savoy was about $500 without wine. The last man I knew who operated an all-comp room was Trotter. He opened at the MGM Grand in 1994 and was out of business a little more than a year later. A nonrival restaurateur said of Trotter’s failure, “He did tasting menus, the same as he was doing in Chicago. That’s just what a person who has lost $50,000 gambling wants to eat—minuscule portions for four hours.“


4 thoughts on &ldquo RM SEAFOOD &rdquo

I agree with you John, Chef Moonen is more than deserving of recognition by Michelin and also the James Beard Foundation.

His knowledge of not only seafood, but the sugar content of different types of peaches (paired with silky foie gras), is incredible-and it shows in his cuisine.

In my book, while some of the other upscale fish restaurants in town are quite good, I think RM’s overall cuisine, (which focuses on seafood), ranks it as the top seafood restaurant in town.

We ate at the downstairs RM Seafood restaurant on Wednesday and I got the Restaurant Week menu with the crab cake and scallops. The food was okay but pretty pedestrian. My scallops were gritty and I thought the red pepper coulis was too sweet and overpowered the scallops. The service was really annoying too with the waiter taking everyone’s plates as soon as people finished, even though other people were still eating.

I wasn’t planning on going back there, is the upstairs restaurant worth a second chance?

I would definately recommend the upstairs dining room. We found the service to be almost too attentive. Not to the point of taking plates away too fast like you experienced at the Cafe. (But how many times can they scrape the crumbs off the table cloth!).

Really, they were very gracious and all of the wait staff were well-informed as to how the dishes were prepared and the source of the ingredients. The wine service was especially good.

We ate upstairs a couple of weeks ago and everything was superb. Even my abalone dish was cooked perfectly and every dish on the table was completely on point. Sommelier/GM Jeff Eichelberger is a consummate professional and is creating a amazing list of sustainably farmed wines to compliment Chef Moonen’s sustainable food philosophies. I have always been a big fan of Rick Moonen the person and now I am an extremely big fan of Rick Moonen the Chef!

PS. The Ice Cream game is the perfect way the end the meal, especially after two bottles of wine!


10 GREAT MEALS

If you eat one meal in Las Vegas, do it at Lotus. (Well, that and breakfast at the Wynn buffet – see below.) Yes, this Thai dive has been lauded coast to coast, but it still feels like one of the city’s best-kept secrets, largely due to its location. It’s tucked away inside Commercial Center, one of Vegas’ most famously dodgy strip malls, east of the Strip. Stores run the gamut from Serge’s Showgirl Wigs to a Filipino Christian church to a variety of sex clubs licensed (but poorly concealed) as novelty shops and health spas. Don’t let that put you off some of the best Thai food west of the Mississippi. Easy-to-miss, the walls of this diminutive dining room are plastered with the hundreds of press clippings that justifiably praise chef Saipin Chutima’s cooking. Avoid the bafflingly bad lunch buffet and request the Chiang Mai menu to try her northern specialties like sai ua (country pork sausage full of basil) and kai soi (curry noodles garnished with pickled vegetable, red shallots and lime). A warning: Trust the waiters on the heat levels or you’ll leave with seared taste buds. From the main menu, try seared scallops with chile and mint leaves, tangy beef jerky and fried, salted fish chunks. Cool down with the other big surprise: Lotus’s incredible wine list, full of hard-to-find Rieslings that perfectly douse the flames.

INFO: 953 E. Sahara Ave. (702) 735-3033

2) Rosemary’s Restaurant

This mostly-locals spot on Sahara, just ten minutes west of the Strip, serves incredible comfort food derived from the Southern and Midwestern roots of chefs Michael and Wendy Jordan, influenced by France. If it sounds like a strange combo, you’ll be converted when you try the dishes. The menu changes often, but some items thankfully never go away, like Hugo’s Texas BBQ shrimp, served over Maytag bleu-cheese-laced coleslaw. Other standouts include thick pork chops with hopping John (rice and peas seasoned with fatback) and Creole mustard reduction and striped bass with crispy skin atop a hash of andouille sausage, rock shrimp, and fingerling potatoes with a Creole meuniére sauce. The best time to go is Sunday nights, when chefs and sommeliers come here on their nights off, bottles of wine are half-price and you can eat at the bar or one of the high tables surrounding it and overhear some of the best restaurant-industry gossip in Las Vegas.

INFO: 8125 W. Sahara Ave. (702) 869-2251 rosemaryrestaurant.com

3) Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare

One of the most extravagant Mediterranean seafood experiences, well, ever, Bartolotta receives a daily shipment of langoustines, cuttlefish, and prehistoric-looking slipper lobster from the Ionian, Tyrrhenian, Adriatic and Ligurian seas. Chef Paul Bartolotta (formerly of San Domenico in New York, Spiaggia in Chicago and still a household name in his native Milwaukee), is nearly always in the kitchen, ensuring the astounding quality of everything that comes out. The theatrical bi-level room – with neo-Baroque chandeliers and tented outdoor dining loggias surrounding a lake – is maximalist. The best dishes – fish you can choose from a cart piled high and then simply grilled with olive oil, lemon and parsley – are minimalist. The best way to eat at Bartolotta is family-style. Bring along as many friends as you can and order either the Menu di Paranza or the Gran Menu di Mare (for $135 and $155 per person), and allow the chef to prepare a meal of the day’s best ingredients. In a town filled with big-ticket restaurants, this is one so very worth the splurge.

INFO: 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South (inside Wynn Las Vegas) (888) 372-3463 www.wynnlasvegas.com

4) Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas

Even non-buffet people will like this fanciful departure from the usual Vegas trough, er, buffet line (generally characterized by harsh décor and overcooked, institutional food). First, and most importantly, it’s lit overhead by natural light, evoking a garden party (unlike other buffets, which evoke the fluorescent-lit school cafeterias of our youth). Towers of fruit and flowers fill the central atrium, around which are arranged multiple stations. You’ll find faultlessly fresh maki rolls, ceviche, tandoori chicken and truffled risotto among the Mexican, seafood, Japanese, Indian and Italian selections. An entire sweetshop-style room is devoted to pastries, baba au rhum, lemon tarts, bread pudding, and a full complement of gelato flavors. The pastry chef has even thoughtfully included sugar-free desserts so everyone can indulge. If you’re not in a hurry, offer to wait in order to secure a table in the atrium – you’ll be glad you did.

INFO: inside Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South (877) 321-9966 www.wynnlasvegas.com

5) Vintner Grill

While most of the best restaurants off the Strip can be found in a strip mall, Vintner Grill has mixed things up and opened in an office park. Never mind: They’ve done a grand job creating a Hamptons-like environment in the all-white modern dining room, which opened in 2006. Close to Red Rock Casino (a 15-20 minute drive from the Strip), the Mediterranean-influenced American dishes include Moroccan-spiced lamb spareribs crispy wood-fired flatbreads (try prosciutto with roasted peppers, fennel, micro arugula and white truffle oil) and halibut with toasted orzo, lemon gremolata, and sweet tomatoes. Everything is well paired with a reasonably priced wine list of more than 200 bottles, half-bottles, and wines by the glass, from 10 different countries. Dinner for two, with wine, $150.

INFO: 10100 W. Charleston Blvd, Suite 150 (702) 214-5590 www.vglasvegas.com

6) Marche Bacchus

What began as a wine shop called Marche Bacchus has evolved over the years into Bistro Bacchus: Pass through the impressive shop and you’ll find yourself on a tiered patio on a manmade lake – definitely one of the Vegas valley’s most transformative experiences. The waterfront tables are the most romantic in town, lit by torches and tiny twinkling lights. Wander the aisles inside and select your own wine (competitively priced to the Strip even with the $10 corkage fee) and order the charcuterie plate with pate, French salami, prosciutto and red onion confit or moules frites steamed in wine with Parmesan-crusted frites. The whole experience is very affordable – two can easily slink out down only around $60.

INFO: 2620 Regatta Drive (702) 804-8008

7) L’Atelier de Joi 1/2l Robuchon

The 16-course tasting menu at Joi 1/2l Robuchon at the Mansion is nothing short of amazing – and totally ponderous (it’s also more like 20 courses, after cheese, bread, multiple sweets courses, coffee, etc.) A better way to sample the three-Michelin-starred master chef’s French cuisine can be found next door, at L’Atelier de Joi 1/2l Robuchon, a microscopic, sushi bar-style counter surrounding a very open kitchen. Order the tangy steak tartare with perfectly crispy crinkle fries, and watch the chefs execute each precisely plated dish. Throw caution to the wind and order Robuchon’s cream-and-butter laden signature pommes purée along with the fries. Sure, there’s one in New York, but this one’s so much more laid back (plus, there’s way more bar seating).

INFO: Inside MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South (702) 891-7358 www.joel-robuchon.com

8) Paymon’s Mediterranean

Las Vegas’s least likely favorite college hangout is also one of its best restaurants: a former Mediterranean deli that morphed into an incredible Turkish, Persian, and Greek restaurant near the UNLV campus on the eastside of the Strip. Paymon’s, named after Iran-born Paymon Raouf who began cooking his childhood favorites here in the late 1970s, has a new location 20 minutes west of the Strip on Sahara. Here, you’ll find a more grown-up crowd, but eating the same intricately spiced dishes like fesenjan, chicken in crushed walnuts and pomegranate sauce and cinnamon-spiced moussaka. Or, just spend the entire time in the hookah lounge next door, slouching in its velvet banquets beneath sexily lantern-lit, tapestry-bedecked walls. It’s as authentic as any Middle Eastern sheesha café. Order one of the fragrant fruit and floral hookahs to pass around (try the rose), and a selection of appetizers like meat-stuffed grape leaves and hummus.

INFO: 8380 W. Sahara Ave (702) 804-0293

9) Abuyira Raku

Tucked in the back of one of the many shopping centers that comprise Las Vegas’ vibrant Chinatown, this small Japanese joint is a current chef favorite – come here after midnight on a Friday and it could just end up being a who’s-who of major players on the strip. Its extensive robata (grilled items) and oden (broth pot) menus are a draw, as are the specials: On a recent evening, we tried the golden-eye snapper collar with a tofu-laden broth – a steal at $35, but priced through the roof compared to the rest of the very reasonable menu. It’s open until three o’clock in the morning on weekends, perfect when you’ve got the late-night munchies for something other than a bad buffet. Points if you order the “meat guts,” which actually turn out to be a very tasty pork stomach dish.

INFO: 5030 Spring Mountain Road, (702) 367-3511

10) T.C.’s Rib Crib

Vegas is a town with its share of barbecue pretenders, but this is smoked meat at its most authentic, from a man who left Katrina-ruined Louisiana with family recipes in his pocket. At this way-west, pocked-sized shrine to Southern cooking, you’ll eat at cafeteria-style tables under harsh, fluorescent lighting. And you’ll like it. Choose from moist pulled pork, spare ribs, baby backs and beef ribs (pork is better) with sides like spicy collards and fried okra. Ask for sweet tea or Kool-Aid (on tap), and check the chalkboard for the glazed-doughnut bread pudding. We like to order one of the giant “Lots O’ Meat” meal deals, which come with sides named after various uncles and cousins. We also take perverse pleasure in ordering it to go, back to as fancy a hotel room as we can manage.


Tag: Desert Companion

We seemed invincible once, didn’t we? Thirty years of ever-expanding prosperity will do that to you. Having survived Gulf wars, dot-com busts, recessions, mass shootings and depressions, it was a cinch the public’s appetite for all things Las Vegas was insatiable. Since 1994, we had seen one restaurant boom after another: celebrity chefs, the French Revolution of the early aughts, Chinatown’s twenty year expansion, Downtown’s resurgence — all of it gave us rabid restaurant revelers a false sense of security. A cocky confidence that the crowds would flock and the champagne would always flow.

And then we were floored by a Covid left hook no one saw coming. Poleaxed, cold-cocked, out on our feet. In an instant, literally, thirty years of progress hit the mat. To keep the metaphor going, we’ve now lifted ourselves to the ropes for a standing eight count. The question remains whether we can recover and still go the distance, or take one more punch and suffer a brutal TKO.

There was an eeriness to everything in those early months, as if a relative had died, or we were living in a bad dream. A sense of loss and apology filled the air. Like someone knocked unconscious (or awakening from a nightmare), our first instincts were to reassure ourselves. Restaurants were there to feed and help us back to our feet and the feelings were mutual. Reassurances and gratitude were the watchwords whenever you picked up a pizza or grabbed take-out from a chef struggling to make sense of it all.

Then, as quick as an unseen uppercut, the mood turned surly and defensive. The moment restaurants were given the go-ahead to start seating people again, the battle lines were drawn. It took some weeks to build the trenches, but by July, what began as a “we’re all in this together” fight for survival devolved into a multi-front war pitting survivalists on all sides against each other. Mutual support evaporated as tensions arose between those needing to make a living and those who saw epidemic death around every corner. Caught in the middle were the patrons: people who just wanted to go out, take advantage of our incredible restaurant scene and have a good time. Suddenly, everyone felt uncomfortable, and in a matter of a few calamitous weeks, dining out in America went from “we’re here to have a good time” to “let’s all struggle to get through this’ — not exactly a recipe for a good time, which is, after all, the whole point of eating out.

Reduced hours and crowds meant shorter menus, since every restaurant in town was forced to narrow its food options. No one seemed to mind, since anyone taking the time to dine out was simply happy the place was open. But if you sum it all up — the rules, the emptiness, the fear, the feeling of everyone being on guard — it’s a wonder anyone bothered going out at all. But going out to eat is what we do, because it is fun, convenient and delicious, and because we are human.

As Las Vegas’s most intrepid gastronaut, I’ve had to curb my voracious appetite more than anyone. Overnight my routine went from visiting ten restaurants a week to a mere few. Even in places where I’m on a first-name basis with the staff, the experience is as suppressed as the voices of the waiters. Instead of concentrating on hospitality, the singular focus is now on following all the rules. All of which makes you appreciate how the charm of restaurants stems from the sincerity of those serving you — something hard to notice when you can’t see their face.

Nowhere are these feelings more acute than on the Strip. “Las Vegas needs conventions to survive,” says Gino Ferraro, facing the simplest of facts. “If the hotels suffer, we suffer.” He’s owned Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar since 1985 and will be the first to tell you how thin the margins are for success in the business. Restaurants are in your blood more than your bank account, and micromanaging, cutting costs, and (hopefully) another year of government assistance are what he sees as keys to their survival. “Good restaurants will survive, but there’s no doubt there will be less of them.”

Unlike the free-standing Ferraro’s, the Strip is different. There, the restaurants are amenities — like stores in a mall if you will — and from Sunday-Thursday (when the conventions arrived) they used to thrive. These days, like Ferraro’s, they still pack ’em in on weekends, but almost all are closed Monday-Wednesday. This doesn’t mean the food or the service has suffered, far from it, only that everyone is hanging on by their fingernails, and this anxiety is palpable when you walk through the doors. The staffs are almost too welcoming, which is nice, but you can sense the fear and it’s not pretty, and it is not going away for many months to come.

As Vegas slowly re-opens, one thing you can no longer take for granted is that each hotel will have a full compliment of dining options, from the most modest to world famous. If I had to make a prediction, it would be that a year from now, some hotels may field a smaller team of culinary superstars, and their bench will not be as deep, and those stars will have another season of wear and tear on them without any talented rookies to come along and take their place.

Long before the shutdown, there were signs we had reached peak Vegas and things were starting to wane. Some fancy French venues were showing their age, the Venetian/Palazzo (with its panoply of dining options), seemed overstuffed, and rumblings were heard that even the indefatigable David Chang had lost his fastball. The same could be said for the whole celebrity-chef-thing, which was starting to feel very end-of-last-century by the end of last year. The Palms’ murderer’s row of newly-minted sluggers was mired in a slump, and our gleaming, big box, pan-Asian eye-candy (Tao, Hakkasan) were not shining as bright as they once did.

The stakes are much higher when you consider the reputation of Las Vegas as a whole. Survey the landscape these days and all you can ask is, how much of this damage is permanent? It took from 1989-2019 to take Las Vegas from “The Town That Taste Forgot” to a world class, destination dining capital — a claim to fame like no other — where an entire planet of gastronomic delights, cooked by some of the best chefs in the business, was concentrated among a dozen swanky, closely-packed hotels. Now, what are we? A convention city with no conventions? A tourist mecca three days a week? Can we recapture this lost ground, or is some of it gone forever? Everyone is asking but no one has the answers.

Perhaps a culling of the herd was already in the works and all Covid did was accelerate the process. Are the big money restaurant days over? Certainly until those conventions return, and no one is predicting that until next year, at the earliest. If that’s the case, it will be a leaner/meaner gastronomic world that awaits us down the road — not the cornucopia of choices laid before you every night, no matter what style of food struck your fancy. The fallout will include the casinos playing it safe not throwing money at chefs like they once did, and sticking with the tried a true for awhile. Less ambitious restaurant choices? Apsolutno. It is impossible to imagine a single European concept making a splash like Joël Robuchon did in 2005, or any Food Network star getting the red carpet treatment just for slapping their name on a door. The era of Flay, Ramsay, Andrés and others is over, and the “next big thing” in Las Vegas dining won’t be a thing for a long time.

If the Strip’s prospects look bleak (at least in the short term), locally the resilience has been astounding. Neighborhood venues hunkered down like everyone else, but now seem poised for a resurgence at a much faster rate than anything happening in the hotels. If the Strip resembles a pod of beached whales, struggling to get back in the water, then local restaurants are the more nimble pilot fish, darting about, servicing smaller crowds wherever they find them. Four new worthwhile venues are popping up downtown: upscale tacos at Letty’s, Yu-Or-Mi Sushi and Sake, Good Pie and the American gastro-pub Main Street Provisions, all in the Arts District. Off the Strip Mitsuo Endo has debuted his high-toned yakitori bar — Raku Toridokoro — to much acclaim, and brew pubs are multiplying everywhere faster than peanut butter stouts.

Chinatown — with its indomitable Asians at the helm — seems the least fazed by any of this, and Circa will spring to life before year’s end on Fremont Street, hoping to capture some of the hotel mojo sadly absent a few miles south. Going forward, some of these imposed restrictions will remain in place to ensure survival (more take-out, smaller menus, fewer staff), but the bottom line is look to the neighborhoods if you wish to recapture that rarest of sensations these days, a sense of normalcy.

Watching my favorites absorb these body blows has been like nursing a sick child who did nothing to deserve such a cruel fate. In a way it’s made me realize that’s what these restaurants have become to me over decades: a community of fledgling businesses I’ve supported and watched grow in a place no one thought possible. As social experiments go, the great public health shutdown of 2020 will be debated for years, but this much is true: Las Vegas restaurants were at their peak on March 15, 2020, and reaching that pinnacle is a mountain many of them will never again climb.


On High-Stakes Tables in Las Vegas: Fish, Not Chips

LAS VEGAS - JOËL ROBUCHON and his creations travel very nicely, thank you.

His newest venture, Joël Robuchon at the Mansion, which opened on Monday in the MGM Grand hotel here, represents a leap back into the rarefied realm of haute cuisine, from which he "retired" in 1996. During the tryouts preceding its official debut, the restaurant served the best food in Las Vegas, by a decisive margin, and some of the very best French food I have ever eaten on this continent.

This is no revolutionary Robuchon, like his Ateliers (including one here and, soon, in New York), where one eats at a counter and talks to the chefs. It is no casual, scaled-down, moderately priced Robuchon, like La Table de Joël Robuchon in the chic 16th Arrondissement, and its counterparts in Monte Carlo and Asia. This is full-scale, damn-the-torpedoes, three-stars-or-bust Robuchon, worldly, luxurious, costly.

Getting there is none of the fun. You walk through the crass clamor of hundreds of slot machines, past a Starbucks and other lesser diversions and into a bombastic stone doorway more suited to a central bank than a casino. But inside you are in Paris, in a subdued neo-Deco room lighted by a glamorous Swarovski crystal chandelier, furnished with handsome chairs in the fashion of Ruhlmann and graced by Lalique vases.

A small glass of lemon gelée flavored with vanilla and topped with an anisette-infused cream sets the tone straight away -- a complex, entirely original and appetite-rousing prelude to the many delights that lie ahead, and a vivid demonstration of the French master's familiar maxim that three tastes in any one dish are quite enough.

Mr. Robuchon's arrival signals another step in the evolution of Las Vegas as a culinary capital, and the onset of a struggle between two visions of its future. Will it specialize in a kind of ghost cuisine, conceived but seldom cooked by absentee chefs who made their names elsewhere, or will it nurture its own kitchen superstars?

Steve Wynn, whose gigantic new $2.7 billion casino opened in the summer of 2005, helped put Las Vegas on the world's gastronomic map in 1998 when he lured luminaries like Julian Serrano, Alessandro Strata and Sirio Maccioni to the Mirage and Bellagio, the Las Vegas resorts he then owned. Mr. Serrano and Mr. Strata moved here, and their food profited from their daily attention. But many of the chefs and restaurateurs who followed in their profitable wake did little more than phone in menus.

Mr. Wynn said that one evening in 2000 he ran into Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Prime, the Bellagio steakhouse that bears Mr. Vongerichten's imprimatur. Mr. Vongerichten, who is involved in restaurants in New York and around the world, told the casino boss that it was the first time he had cooked at Prime since it opened two years earlier.

That set Mr. Wynn to thinking, he told me, and he decided that "the only thing that matters is who's cooking dinner, not whose name appears on the door." As a result, most of the nine fine-dining restaurants at Wynn Las Vegas (among 22 food operations) are run by younger chefs, well known in the cities where they formerly cooked but not nationally celebrated. All have relocated to Las Vegas as a condition of employment, except Mr. Strata, who has moved over from the Mirage, and Daniel Boulud.

"A sense started spreading that something was fishy here," Mr. Wynn said. "If Steve Wynn paints a painting he doesn't get to sign it Picasso. So we're going down a different path. It's a bit of adventure, and I admit I'm not sure it'll work."

Gamal Aziz, who ran Bellagio's food and beverage operation and who considers Mr. Wynn his mentor, thinks not. Now the president of MGM Grand, the Egyptian-born Mr. Aziz is still reaching for stars. He persuaded Mr. Robuchon to set up shop here, where the chef is contractually required to spend just two weeks a quarter.

"I think it's an uphill battle to bring in these relatively unknown chefs and introduce them," Mr. Aziz said. "Most of our clients come to the desert for four or five days, not long enough to get used to new faces. They want to recognize names. I think we gain a competitive advantage by associating ourselves with the very best, and it will not be easy to top Joël Robuchon."

Well, Guy Savoy, another Paris heavyweight, holder of three Michelin stars, may come close if he wants to. His Las Vegas entry, on the second floor of the new Augustus Tower at Caesars Palace, a kitschfest even by Las Vegas standards, is set to open early in 2006 Mr. Savoy's son, Franck, has arrived to oversee it.

Some equally big names have decided not even to pretend to reproduce the food they serve at their home bases. At Wynn, Mr. Boulud runs a brasserie, not a replica of Daniel, his brilliant Manhattan establishment (although the executive chef, Philippe Rispoli, who grew up near Lyon, like Mr. Boulud, makes a rough-textured pâté de campagne, unctuous pork and goose rillettes and other dishes that would evoke cheers in New York).

Thomas Keller transplanted his bistro, Bouchon, not the French Laundry or Per Se, to the Venetian in Las Vegas. And the omnipresent Alain Ducasse, with two Michelin three-star restaurants, in Paris and Monte Carlo, eschews French classicism for a more populist approach at his local spot, Mix, perched on the 64th floor of a tower at Mandalay Bay. With sensational views across Sin City, it is much more endearing than its recently departed New York namesake. Thai beef salad and curried lobster cohabit happily on the menu with the best baba this side of the Atlantic, served with a choice of three premium rums. Hanging from the ceiling, thousands of shimmering Venetian glass baubles, said to have cost $500,000, remind you that you are in the world capital of wretched excess.

"Trying to replicate a Paris three-star on the 64th floor, maybe anywhere in Vegas, would have been a big mistake," said John Cunin, Mix's general manager.

Šta kuhati ovog vikenda

Sam Sifton ima prijedloge menija za vikend. Na New York Times Cookingu čeka vas na hiljade ideja šta da kuvate.

    • U ovom receptu za sporo kuhanje za škampe u čistilištu, začinjena crvena paprika i umak od rajčice razvijaju duboke okuse satima.
    • Dodajte malo zelenog chutneyja u trgovini u ovu brzu, pikantnu zelenu masala piletinu. moglo bi biti dobro za večeru, a za doručak i malo muffina od borovnice.
    • Za desert, granita od lubenice? Ili kolač sa maceriranim jagodama i šlagom?
    • A za sam Dan sjećanja? Znate da imamo mnogo, mnogo recepata za to.

    Obviously Mr. Aziz and Mr. Robuchon don't think so, and for now at least they seem to have brought it off. Mr. Robuchon took an almost obsessive interest in the design of the menu and the kitchen and put two seasoned Breton friends in day-to-day charge: Loïc Launay as general manager, and Claude Le Tohic, who worked at Mr. Robuchon's side during the glory days at Jamin in Paris, as executive chef.

    Mr. Le Tohic holds the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman of France), a coveted distinction awarded by a jury of his peers, so no one doubts his credentials. Seven cooks and six front-of-the-house people also came from Robuchon operations in Paris and Tokyo. Only time will tell, however, how long they will stay and who will replace them when they go.

    Two set menus are offered at Joël Robuchon at the Mansion, 9 small courses plus coffee for $165, and 16 small courses plus coffee for $295. Many items are also served à la carte. The 750-entry wine list includes risibly expensive items, presumably for those who have hit several jackpots, such as 1978 Le Montrachet from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti at $8,845 a bottle. But for mere mortals, 2002 Puligny-Montrachet from Dujac at a modest $108 should more than suffice. It did so for me.

    Though relaxed, service is in the grand French style, with main courses delivered on silver trays (or carved at table side, in the case of the lobster and turbot and delectable roasted guinea hen with foie gras). Breads, cheeses (all French, all ripe), digestifs and after-dinner treats roll to the table on handsome wooden carts. The lighting is subtle, the air-conditioning far less overpowering than the Las Vegas norm the tables are well spaced. Only 40 people can be seated in the square dining room, centered on a black fireplace with gas-fired flames, with room for a dozen more on a side terrace and 10 in a small private room.

    If the gelée amuse-bouche attested to Mr. Robuchon's unflagging creativity, a mille-feuille consisting of two triangular layer cakes of fresh king crab, Fuji apple, watercress and bibb lettuce with perfectly fitted tomato lids bespoke his artistry. They rested on a red disk formed by a coulis of tomato and Périgord verjus (unfermented juice of unripe grapes), delightful in its balance of acid and fruitiness, with minuscule green dots of parsley-infused mayonnaise around its circumference. So precisely was all this applied, each dish reportedly requiring 20 minutes to complete, that I thought for a second that it was part of the decoration of the plate. Magija.

    I could not resist trying langoustines, a Robuchon specialty, which are not often seen in the United States. Pulled into tight circles, enveloped in ephemeral ravioli cases with more than a few slivers of truffle, and cooked for only a few instants, these were meltingly sweet and ultratender. A hillock of barely steamed baby Savoy cabbage shared the plate, along with a slick of glossy veal reduction. Nothing else.

    The langoustines had been flown across the Atlantic, of course, but the milk-fed veal was all-American, from the highly regarded Four Story Hill Farm in Pennsylvania. Listed on the menu as a veal chop, it was in fact two rectangles, less than half an inch thick, judiciously cooked to a uniform pink from edge to edge and moistened with deeply flavored pan juices. This time the accompanying act was a nest of taglierini made from carrots, zucchini and broccolini and lightly sauced with pesto. Somebody somewhere may do a more succulent veal dish -- there are lots of restaurants in this world -- but if so I have never sampled it.

    Everything I ate was thought-out and free of frivolous gestures. Each combined delicacy with a certain muscularity of taste in a most unusual equilibrium. And each left my palate fresh as the dawn.

    THINGS have gotten off to a bumpy start at Wynn. Its nightclubs are already being revamped, its computer system has been plagued by bugs and one of its regional chefs, Jimmy Sneed, formerly at the Frog and the Redneck in Richmond, Va., left before the resort even opened, after personality clashes and a dispute over what style of food he should cook.

    Some of the other restaurants still seem a little ragged, including Okada, where the gifted Takashi Yagahashi cooks European-influenced Japanese food.

    The look of the place is a bit of a letdown as well. Whereas Bellagio's lyrically swaying fountains evoke Busby Berkeley musicals, Wynn's ersatz Yosemite, waterfalls and all, comes straight out of B-movies.

    But Wynn has had its triumphs as well, including Alex, the new domain of Mr. Strata and his rich, layered Franco-Italian food, which is one of the town's handful of truly successful haute cuisine restaurants. Its two steakhouses are booming, too Las Vegas has always loved beef.

    From my viewpoint, Paul Bartolotta's Ristorante di Mare is as thrilling as it is unexpected: an Italian seafood trattoria smack in the middle of the American desert. Although forewarned, I leapt with surprise when he wheeled out a trolley banked with bright-eyed orata, branzino, triglia (red mullet), spigola and other fish -- even ugly, fiery red scorfano, the rascasse so vital to bouillabaisse -- from Venice, Sicily, Liguria and other maritime parts of Italy, which come directly from a Milanese broker.

    Milwaukee-born, trained in top kitchens in New York, France and Italy, Mr. Bartolotta, 44, made Spiaggia in Chicago the best Italian restaurant between the coasts. When they met, Mr. Wynn said, "I wanted a normal Italian menu -- you know, veal piccata -- but he insisted on doing something different and wore me down."

    So seafood it is: steamed mussels with cannellini beans, tender octopus salad, linguine with clams and tomatoes, charcoal grilled lobster or langoustines and those beautiful fish, simply poached or roasted whole with olive oil and perhaps a touch of grapefruit for balance, dressed with herbs and some simple condiment like salsa salmoriglio (olive oil, lemon, garlic and oregano) -- real seaside stuff -- with a few token meat dishes like rabbit, chicken and rack of lamb. No veal piccata.

    "I'm shooting for extreme simplicity and explosive flavor," Mr. Bartolotta said, and he is hitting those targets.

    Another veteran of the Chicago restaurant wars, Taiwan-born Richard Chen, who won acclaim at the Peninsula Hotel's Shanghai Terrace in Chicago, also seems to have hit his stride in Las Vegas. He cooks Western-inflected Chinese food at Wing Lei at Wynn, including a fabulous Peking duck salad that owes a debt to a similar dish at Hakkasan in London, a lobster spring roll, thinly sliced abalone with a spicy green papaya salad and a memorable Dungeness crab slow-cooked with ginger, scallions and garlic in a clay pot.

    All fine eating -- and a joy to look at as well, as is the miniature garden that lies just beyond a wall-size window, with a pair of 100-year old pomegranate trees and a big black Fernando Botero sculpture.

    Still, the question remains: as important as dining has become to Las Vegas, where gambling now accounts for only 40 percent of revenues, can a rootless place with no indigenous gastronomic traditions and no local raw materials (except for the odd blood orange and sprig of rosemary) ever be a great restaurant town, as opposed to a resort town with good restaurants -- "a Disneyland for foodies," as the restaurant consultant Clark Wolf calls it?

    "I doubt that you will ever have a true food culture here, in the sense that Lyon and Venice and San Francisco have food cultures," commented Elizabeth Blau, executive vice president for restaurant development at Wynn Resorts, who is considered one of the savviest food people in the city. "Nothing is local."

    I asked Mr. Aziz whether Las Vegas is yet a great restaurant city.

    "No, not yet," he replied, "but we've made some quantum leaps. We've built a strong foundation, and eventually we'll get there. This is a large, prosperous region now. We have the economic means to support not only great restaurants in the casinos, but also the bistros and other places that are popping up in the neighborhoods."


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