Adding to the List of Culinary Legends on the Las Vegas Strip
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Renowned chef and restaurateur Michel Richard recently opened a 24-hour outpost of his Washington, D.C. restaurant, Central, at Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. We were amazed at the vastness and elegance of this sophisticated, yet accommodating dining establishment that has something for everyone.
We began our meal with the goat cheese Caesar salad, a composition of bright-green endive with a tangy Caesar-style goat cheese dressing. There was a bright kick from a dash of lemon and the small, crisp croutons added a crunchy bite to accent the dish. Another house-favorite appetizer is "Michel’s Faux Gras", which proved to be a delightful terrine, bursting with flavor. Every bite was tangy, earthy, and downright delicious. Another French classic, the onion soup, had an oriental take with a Miso-based broth. The soup was filled with the typical mounds of caramelized onions topped with gruyére cheese.
For our main courses we had the loup de mer, a delectable fish dish that made us take notice of executive chef Todd Harrington's culinary skill and artistry. This dish was cooked to perfection; the fish melted in our mouths. The baby arugula side salad was filled with peppery greens that complemented the flavors of the fish. A delightful meat item was next up. Rib-eye served with sautéed mushrooms was a dish we could not pass up . The steak was served with an au pouive sauce that did not overpower the meat at all. The rib-eye was again, cooked to a perfect medium, and served with an abundance of sautéed mushrooms. Our palates were getting satiated and we took a break sipping our Monterey County pinot noir, a wine that had enough structure to hold up to the rich au poive sauce, yet delicate enough to complement the fish dish.
For dessert we ordered the chef's take on a chocolate bar, and this was unlike any chocolate bar that we have ever experienced. The dessert was comprised of light milk chocolate in a chocolate sauce with a wafer base that reminded me of a favorite childhood cookie — Neapolitan wafer cookies — but far more refined. Central is the perfect eatery to stop by for breakfast, lunch, or dinner while staying at Caesar’s or if you are hungry after a late night. It has something for everyone with classic French and American cuisine.
LV Monorail Map
The Las Vegas Monorail operates along a 3.9-mile route from the SAHARA Las Vegas Station to the MGM Grand Station. The Monorail is an easy, safe, and entertaining way to see the best sights on the Strip from luxurious resort pools and spas to famous Vegas nightlife entertainment venues, clubs, and bars along the system. Monorail trains arrive approximately every 4 to 8 minutes with station announcements to keep you up to speed on the next arrival time. Learn more about the seven Monorail stations that take you where you want to go quickly, conveniently and without hassles of traffic.
MEATPACKERS AND AUTOWORKERS
The tension between companies’ need to reopen shuttered plants and union concerns about safety are also playing out in other industries.
President Donald Trump this week ordered meat-processing plants to stay open to protect food supplies, despite concerns about coronavirus outbreaks, drawing a backlash from unions that said at-risk workers required more protection.
Ford Motor Co F.N on Thursday outlined safety measures to restart U.S. plants, following similar efforts by General Motors Co GM.N and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCHA.MI FCAU.N to convince leaders of the United Auto Workers union to send members back to work.
Public health experts say it is far too soon to allow the kinds of mass gatherings that happen in a place like Las Vegas, where tourists jam casinos, restaurants and even the sidewalks. But the economic devastation wrought by public health orders closing businesses and forcing residents to shelter at home is also a powerful incentive to loosen the orders.
In Nevada, nearly 350,000 people have filed for unemployment benefits since the shutdowns began - a quarter of the state’s workforce, said Stephen Miller, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The shutdowns and slow return of tourism after the casinos reopen could lead to losses of 20% of the Las Vegas metropolitan area’s gross domestic product, or more than $20 billion, Miller said.
Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak has said casinos will likely not be allowed to welcome guests until the third or fourth phase of reopenings - which could be months away.
Season 6 Top Chef Cast Revealed!
Season 6 Cast Revealed! Yay! Today, Bravo announced the cast of Top Chef's sixth season: filmed in Las Vegas and premiering August 26. Among the latest crop of seventeen cheftestants: one foreigner (this time from France), a pair of brothers, and the Executive Chef at Google!
After the New York-centric last season, the Las Vegas locale promises to add glitz and glamour to the kitchen heat. As for favorites? New York food blog Eater is reporting that Los Angeles Chef Michael Voltaggio is the cheftestant to beat, citing his numerous awards and status as a nominee for the James Beard Foundation's "Best New Restaurant" award.
Get excited! Head judge Tom Colicchio says, "Las Vegas has become a culinary destination -- some of the world's best chefs and restaurants are here -- so it's only fitting that our newest season was the best yet. You'll be surprised by the quality of cheftestants we discovered this season. They really raised the bar."
Perhaps "best ever" is subject to interpretation, but if last season's focus on the New York scene is any indication of what these Sin City-bound chefs are in for, it's sure to be over the top.
Celine Dion leaves the Colosseum as Las Vegas Strip groundbreaker
Construction of the Colosseum and the signing of Celine wiped out plans to renovate the legendary Circus Maximus Showroom.
A few months before the Colosseum at Caesars Palace opened for Celine Dion, I toured the venue with a group of architects in town for the International Builders Convention.
The group marveled at the gorgeous venue, with its clear sight lines and regal design reviving the architecture of ancient Rome. It was spacious, seating 4,300 fans, but as they were told, no seat was more than 120 feet from the stage.
The tour guide explained the venue was being built specifically for Celine. One of the architects turned to me and said, “All of this, for one person.”
Oh, yeah. It took a special sort of artist for Caesars and booking partner AEG Live to commit to this new venue and a new sort of Vegas residency. Construction of the Colosseum and the signing of Celine wiped out plans to renovate the legendary Circus Maximus Showroom.
That decision marked a turning point in Las Vegas entertainment. Every superstar star of merit to play the Strip — ranging from Sammy Davis Jr. to Diana Ross to David Copperfield — had headlined Circus Maximus. Performers still speak in idolatry terms about the space.
But the showroom scale of Circus Maximus, with its 1,200-seat capacity, would never be replaced. The grand House that Celine built would be Caesars Palace’s foremost superstar headlining venue.
Celine had established an international following, and had amassed an impressive array of hits. But skeptics openly wondered if Caesars wasn’t shooting a little high with its all-in commitment with the French-Canadian chanteuse.
In a quote Celine often recited, one critic wondered if the woman who sang the them from “Titanic” wouldn’t herself capsize. But the the entertainer and hotel engineered a terrific opening in March 2003, with a then-boyish Justin Timberlake hosting the CBS special “Celine in Las Vegas, Opening Night.”
The show, “A New Day …” was exactly that. Celine has simply set the pace, and the standard, for Vegas residencies through her original residency through 2007, and her second run from 2011 through Saturday night’s closing. She will have run more than 1,100 shows for more than 4 million fans, generating more than $700 million in ticket sales, by the time she closes out.
The list of stars who followed Celine into the Colosseum runs the range of contemporary entertainment: Elton John, Cher, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart, Shania Twain, The Who and Reba, Brooks & Dunn. Britney Spears’ “Piece of Me” show at Zappos Theater was made possible largely because Celine showed a performer still in her artistic peak could headline the Strip.
Since, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Pitbull and — just last weekend — Christina Aguilera all owe a measure of gratitude to Celine for changing the Vegas entertainment ecosystem.
But Celine herself has always pooh-poohed her role as the modern-era Vegas resident trendsetter. In September, she said to me, just after she announced she was leaving Caesars, “I don’t want to sound pretentious. I didn’t start anything. The entertainment business in Las Vegas started way before me. I didn’t start anything. The music industry had people like Frank Sinatra, Elvis and names way bigger than me, and it all started way before me.”
At a time when “interactive” and “immersive” have become trite terms to describe stage shows, Celine long ago achieved those qualities. Not just with technology and staging but by evoking a visceral response from those in attendance. She has characteristically invited her fans along on her triumphs and travails. We have watched, from the Colosseum audience, home movies of her and her late husband, Rene Angelil, and the kids 18-year-old Rene-Charles and 8-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy.
Celine’s return to the stage in February 2016, when she broke down during, “All By Myself,” was a staggeringly powerful moment, as sniffling could be heard throughout the sellout crowd.
Celine, too, has become a legend even among legends. In his final years, Jerry Lewis put together a short list of Vegas shows he felt he needed to see while he still had the opportunity. In June 2016, we went to Celine’s show at the Colosseum, and he was thrilled to be re-united with the woman he’d called “Dion” years earlier on the MDA Telethon.
In her late flurry of international media activity, Celine last month appeared on James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” CBS-TV special. As the two cruised the Strip, Corden asked Celine about what it was like living in Las Vegas.
She answered, “I live where my heart is.”
Celine has lived in Vegas, she has been a Las Vegan for a long time, but she is also a citizen of the world. The Colosseum might have been built for “just one person,” but today it is home to many superstar entertainers. We’ll see Celine off once more, this weekend. And if she ever wants to park it here again, we’ll be there, on opening night.
Block 16 Urban Food Hall
Block 16 Urban Food Hall is a culinary destination like no other on The Las Vegas Strip. Showcasing a curated selection of purveyors, we’ve scoured the country's most traversed city streets to bring the most crave-able, easy-to-love food & drink to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Bold flavors, world-renowned chefs and a lively atmosphere draw you in and compel you to stay. From breakfast to late night, at Block 16 you can indulge in spontaneity, absorb the atmosphere—and maybe even surprise yourself.
Bāng Bar by Momofuku
Bāng Bar by Momofuku is a quick spot to grab freshly griddled flatbread sandwiches and rice bowls. Chef David Chang and the team put an Asian-accented spin on spit-roasted meats and sides.
District: Donuts. Sliders. Brew.
New Orleans’ cult favorite, District: Donuts. Sliders. Brew. makes its West Coast debut at Block 16, serving handcrafted craveable classics, prepared fresh-to-order. Recognized as a leading craft donut purveyor, District’s rich, homemade confections include more than 100 consistently rotating flavors including Chocolate Blackout and Bananas Foster. The eatery’s boundless donut collection complements wider menus highlighting both lunch and dinner. Breakfast favorites include made-from-scratch biscuit sandwiches and the signature crowd favorite, kolache—a tender, sweet pastry dough filled with a selection of sweet and savory ingredients. Lunch and dinner menu items include waffle cheese fries, pork belly sliders and savory donut sandwiches. Widely known for its specialty coffee and espresso program, District brings a full array of craft espresso beverages as well as nitro cold brew, Vietnamese iced coffee and house-made chocolate milk, expertly poured on draft.
Hidden within Block 16, New York City tequila and mezcal lounge Ghost Donkey’s menu pulls inspiration from the alluring ingredients and flavors of Mexico to authenticate a true fiesta experience. Featuring an extensive selection of mezcal, Ghost Donkey serves expertly selected tasting flights alongside specially crafted cocktails made with traditional Mexican spirits and artisanal brands, complementing the resort’s world-renowned cocktail program. One of the highlights of the menu, Truffle Nachos, adds a new legend to the lexicon of lounge snacks.
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Famed for its emphasis on quality, flavor and true Southern hospitality, Nashville’s family-owned and operated Hattie B’s Hot Chicken showcases its first West Coast location at Block 16, serving Nashville hot chicken, Southern sides and local brews in a casual, counter-service eatery. The menu standout, perfectly-fried chicken bathed in hot melted spices, is served in a variety of heat levels from Southern (no heat), Mild, Medium, Hot, Damn Hot to the daredevil’s dream, Shut the Cluck Up. Hattie B’s also features complementary comfort dishes including pimento mac and cheese, Southern greens and local Nashville favorite, banana pudding.
Portland Chef Rick Gencarelli brings Lardo’s ruthlessly bold and flavorful approach to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas as an over-the-top sandwich eatery featuring big flavors and even bigger sandwiches. Primarily a pork sandwich shop that uses genuine ingredients made into carefully crafted standouts, Lardo’s menu features favorites such as the Griddled Mortadella, Korean Pork Shoulder sandwich, and Lardo’s signature dirty fries, coupled with a selection of Chef Gencarelli’s favorite beers on tap, sourced directly from Portland.
Tekka Bar: Handroll & Sake
Tekka Bar: Handroll & Sake draws inspiration from the ancient gambling destination in Japan dating back more than 100 years ago, with "Tekka Ba" translating to "old gambling place." Tekka Bar debuts a signature Tekka Tuna roll, featuring the restaurant’s notable spicy sauce, alongside an eclectic sake program to Block 16 Urban Food Hall. Handrolls are prepared counter-side and made-to-order for guests highlighting the freshest seafood featuring blue crab, yellowtail, salmon and more.
Don’t-Miss Dishes in Las Vegas
High rollers rub elbows with circus performers at Las Vegas restaurants that go from all-day breakfast buffets to late-night taco joints. In recent years, an influx of celebrity chefs has raised the stakes on local cuisine, turning Las Vegas into a foodie destination in its own right. Be sure to try these classic dishes on your next trip to Sin City.
In keeping with the over-the-top approach that defines the Vegas scene, steaks in this city are as big as they get. Top-shelf spots feature Kobe beef, but there’s a steak for every pocketbook, and budget-friendly prime rib remains a favorite.
It’s a meal, not a menu item, but brunch in Las Vegas might be the city’s defining food experience. This is where late-night partiers shake off the morning (or afternoon) fog, and the menu often includes ritzy perks such as seafood bars and free-flowing bubbly.
While you can still find examples of the bargain-basement shrimp cocktail that was once a Vegas essential, the signature Sin City dish has grown up since it was introduced in the 1950s. Today, different versions pop up across town, and every casino kitchen gives the classic a personal twist.
Las Vegas is blessed with a wealth of Mexican restaurants, and tacos here range from simple taco-truck classics to crunchy, deep-fried versions. They’ve become so popular that a wide variety of restaurants—Mexican or not—have their own takes.
Hours from the ocean in every direction, Las Vegas might seem like an unlikely spot to order lobster, but it gets pride of place on local menus. You’ll even find lobster dressing up classic comfort food here, whether it’s slipped into grilled-cheese sandwiches or enriching a cheesy plate of macaroni.
Blame it on Frank Sinatra, but spaghetti remains a favorite in Las Vegas—with or without meatballs. It has all the retro appeal of a night at the blackjack tables, and it’s a fitting tribute to Vegas’ Italian heritage.
Workers at a 2nd Station Casinos resort want out of Culinary union
A majority of Palace Station workers signed a petition opposing union representation.
Employees at a second Station Casinos property said they no longer want representation from the local Culinary union.
Station Casinos, the operating subsidiary of Red Rock Resorts Inc., said it has stopped recognizing Culinary Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 as authorized bargaining representatives of Palace Station employees after a majority of the property’s workers signed a petition opposing union representation.
“Our Team Members at Palace Station have spoken. Station Casinos respects their decision and certainly appreciates the confidence that our Team Members have placed in us,” Station Casinos Chief Operating Officer Bob Finch said in a company statement.
But the Culinary union isn’t throwing in the towel. Spokeswoman Bethany Khan said the union has demanded to negotiate immediately and argues that Station Casinos has withdrawn union recognition unlawfully.
A majority of workers at Palace Station’s sister property, Boulder Station, signed a similar petition in August to forgo union representation. The union claims that withdrawal was unlawful as well and maintains that it still represents workers at the two properties.
In 2017, Palace Station was the second of Station Casinos’ Las Vegas properties to unionize, following Boulder Station.
While the unions have a large influence over the state’s hospitality industry, representing roughly 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, they have had limited clout at Station Casinos properties. A contract between Boulder Station, Palace Station and the unions failed to materialized over the years, and workers never paid union dues.
Union contracts have not been signed at any of the other five Station Casino properties that have voted for union representation since 2016: Palms, Sunset Station, Fiesta Henderson, Fiesta Rancho and Green Valley Ranch Resort.
A contract would have allowed workers to join the Culinary union’s prized health care plan and make other changes within the property.
Khan argued that the union has been able to positively affect Palace Station workers, even without a contract in place. She cited a 2018 campaign to retain workers when Palace Station was undergoing renovations, as well as the union’s current work with the Clark County Commission to give Station Casinos workers the right to return to their jobs.
Earlier this year, Station Casinos laid off roughly 39 percent of its full-time workforce as the tourism industry suffered under the pandemic. Medical, dental and vision benefits for these workers is set to end Sept. 30.
Khan said about 58 percent of Station Casinos workers within the union’s bargaining unit lost their jobs with no right to return.
“When workers are recalled back to work, they are having to reapply as a new employee and are paid $3-$4 less per hour when they get the job,” she said. “That isn’t right.”
Union’s history within the property
Station Casinos operates 10 hotel-casinos in Southern Nevada. Four of those — Texas Station, Palms, Fiesta Henderson and Fiesta Rancho — have yet to reopen.
Three of the company’s properties — Santa Fe Station, Red Rock and Texas Station — have not voted in favor of union representation. Employees at Red Rock Resort voted against union representation in December.
“We look forward to having the same great direct relationships with this group of Team Members (at Palace Station) as we have with our Boulder Station, Red Rock and Santa Fe Station Team Members,” Finch said in the statement.
Khan said the Culinary union has filed unfair labor practice charges regarding the withdrawals at both Palace Station and Boulder Station.
“Station Casinos continues to waste time trying to bust the union,” she said.
Employees at Palace Station originally rejected the union in October 2016, with the Culinary union falling just four votes short of winning representation. Union officials said at the time that they would seek a new election and accused Station Casinos of manipulating the vote by offering raises days before the election.
Five months later, Station Casinos agreed to settle an unfair labor practices complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board and recognize Palace Station as a union property. Company officials said they agreed to the settlement to avoid a prolonged dispute.
Red Rock Resorts shares closed down 3.6 percent to $16.64 Wednesday on the Nasdaq.
7 Off-Strip Resorts That Mean Business In Las Vegas
As the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” Las Vegas knows how to offer a unique blend of fun and productivity for any business meeting or corporate gathering. And though the famed Strip is a major driver of the Vegas scene, it’s not the only option for business events.
Check out these seven off-Strip resorts, all of which offer plenty of amenities, yet are still close to the action, if you desire it.
Downtown Las Vegas has enjoyed a strong resurgence in the past five years, and the Golden Nugget has been an active participant in the downtown makeover. Fresh off a $170 million renovation, the long-celebrated resort offers 37,000 square feet of meeting space and theater-style capacity for 1,300. Sophisticated and approachable, the property is also center-stage for all the downtown Fremont Street and Fremont Street East vibrancy.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Just two blocks east of the Strip, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is one of Vegas’s iconic properties. If your group works so hard during the day that it demands to cut loose at night, the Hard Rock will fit your bill. The site has about 100,000 square feet of meeting space, ranging from intimate executive and board gathering rooms to larger halls seating several thousand people.
Hard Rock planners can also tap The Joint concert venue or space at Vanity nightclub for meetings. The property features a broad mix of restaurants, from creative and edgy to more classic. Culinary Dropout, Pink Taco and 35 Steaks + Martinis are a few of the popular culinary players.
JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa
Some business meeting leaders prefer being insulated from the non-stop excitement of the Strip. The JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa is a luxury non-gaming property with one of the best pools in the Las Vegas Valley. The property has more than 76,000 square feet of meeting space and a maximum capacity of 1,280 for its largest event facility.
Because the JW Marriott strives more for elegance than spectacle, it’s perfect for business travelers who prefer spending downtime in a spa/resort atmosphere. On the other hand, the Strip’s just a short shuttle ride away.
Green Valley Ranch
Green Valley Ranch is a hidden gem capable of becoming a company’s go-to business meeting destination year in and year out. GVR, as locals refer to it, offers easy freeway access to the airport or the Strip in 10 minutes or less.
It’s an all-around winner, from its impeccable resort grounds, including 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and numerous on-site restaurants, to its location near the neighboring District, an outdoor shopping facility where you’ll find more dining and shopping.
Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino
Location drives this selection. Formerly the Las Vegas Hilton, the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is within walking distance of the Las Vegas Convention Center. It’s also just a short jaunt to Strip resort heavyweights like the Wynn and the Venetian.
You can check out nearby conventions while still holding your own business gathering on-site, taking advantage of 70,000 square feet of flexible space. The ballroom and pavilion can accommodate crowds of up to 10,000.
M Resort Spa Casino
Don’t let its Las Vegas Boulevard address fool you – M Resort Spa Casino is actually located several miles south of the Strip. The M is well-suited to handle large or small corporate and business meetings. It boasts 92,000 square feet of flexible space, including the 25,000-square-foot M Pavilion and a 17,400-square-foot ballroom, and there’s plenty of event-facilitating technology on hand, if you need it.
Shuttles can take guests to the Strip in minutes, but it’s not uncommon for guests to stay on-site to enjoy the elaborate spa and pool and nearby amenities such as the SpeedVegas driving experience.
Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa
Formerly the Ritz-Carlton, the Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa is for those with a retreat mindset who want quiet for productive meetings during the day. Situated on the banks of the 320-acre Lake Las Vegas, the property offers more than 100,000 square feet of flexible space for meetings or corporate events and a grand ballroom that holds up to 1,200 guests.
In your downtime, paddleboard, play a round of golf or enjoy a variety of dining options at the Aston MonteLago Village Resort. The rustic Italian complex, with its cobblestone streets, fountains and gorgeous lake views, is charming, and it’s hard to believe there’s a casino anywhere nearby. At the same time, it’s only a 20-minute ride to the Strip.
Brian Sodoma is a journalist who covers business and health. He lives in Southern Nevada.
Gordon Ramsay talks Las Vegas steakhouse in exclusive interview
Gordon Ramsay Steak in Paris Las Vegas, which reopens Saturday after a five-day renovation, holds a special place in the heart of its namesake celebrity chef.
Gordon Ramsay Steak in Paris Las Vegas, which reopens Saturday after a five-day renovation, holds a special place in the heart of its namesake celebrity chef.
“I think it’s (about) my culinary prowess in a way that it defines me,” Ramsay said of the restaurant just days before the hiatus. “It’s a platform for me to be a chef. It’s got nothing to do with TV.”
Ramsay has long held a unique position atop both the culinary and entertainment worlds, with a constellation of Michelin stars to his name, and as much celebrity star power as some A-list musicians or actors. Each of his five Strip restaurants draws legions of fans daily to pose for selfies in front of their signs and sample his cuisine. But in addition to being his first Las Vegas venture, the steakhouse has always been, and remains, a showplace for his culinary chops.
“I’m challenged here more than any other restaurant in the group, because it’s a little bit of a chef’s haven. I see the list of chefs who come in here, chefs who come over from Europe and their first destination is here. Whether it’s (Alain) Ducasse, Guy Savoy, (Thomas) Keller, they absolutely adore coming here.”
Seven years in, with four other Las Vegas restaurants now under his belt and Gordon Ramsay Steak spinoffs in Baltimore, Atlantic City and soon Kansas City, it’s tempting to see this restaurant’s success as a foregone conclusion.
“Everyone thinks that you travel at 1,000 miles an hour. You don’t have worry, nightmares, cold sweats,” Ramsay says. “(But) you do. And I still do.”
As he prepared to open the restaurant in 2012, there were plenty of reasons to worry, despite his fame and acclaim. The most obvious was the Paris Las Vegas location that Caesars Entertainment had chosen for his Las Vegas debut.
“We weren’t in that prime a location. We were tucked back, sort of off the beaten track, given a site that they fell out of love with.”
Beyond that, he notes, “not many British chefs get a chance to make it in Vegas.”
Any worries soon proved unfounded, as the restaurant opened to rave reviews and a consistently packed dining room. And those English touches that seemed risky at the outset quickly became signatures.
“I was a bit nervous about the Scotch egg,” Ramsay admits today of the key component of his popular Caesar salad. “The dream has been (the success of) the Wellington. And the most sought-after dessert is the sticky toffee pudding.”
The restaurant’s success was rewarded with a string of Ramsay restaurants throughout Caesars Entertainment’s Las Vegas portfolio: a pub, an elevated burger spot, quick-casual fish and chips place and, most recently, a “Hell’s Kitchen”-themed restaurant at Caesars Palace.
“So six years later, (when) I landed something like Hell’s Kitchen, I’d sort of proven my worth,” the chef now says of the restaurant that’s become his local flagship. But, he notes, that opening led to new concerns over the place of the steakhouse.
“The big worry with Hell’s Kitchen opening was it was going to damage this. But no, we raised our game. And lo and behold, a year later after Hell’s Kitchen opened, we’re shutting it down and repositioning it.”
That repositioning involves mild remakes of both the décor and the menu. The chef describes both as “lighter” and “a touch more feminine.” There’s a brighter color scheme and new artwork scattered throughout the restaurant, including in the Chunnel-themed entrance where tourists flock for Instagrammable moments.
To lighten up the cuisine, more seafood options have been added to the menu, including a larger shellfish selection and multiple crudo dishes. There are more vegetarian options, including caramelized tofu bacon with broccolini. And the team has revamped the dessert and cocktail offerings, even combining the two in a “spotted dick” dessert cocktail meant to accompany the sticky toffee pudding.
Fans of a more traditional steakhouse experience won’t be left out in the cold, however. Classic dishes such as the Wellington, tomahawk steak and bourbon-flavored bone-in rib-eye haven’t gone anywhere. A duck Scotch egg wrapped in duck sausage has been added to the bar menu. And a new “chef’s table” area of the dining room has been added to offer exclusive large-format tableside dishes such as lamb saddle, a half-rack of prime rib and a whole lobe of foie gras.
“We need to move, or it moves you,” Ramsay says of the restaurant’s evolution. “I’m a firm believer in keeping it fresh to keep them coming back. And let’s not forget, customers are still coming here for the first time.”
In his sights: Living in Las Vegas
Gordon Ramsay’s relationship with Las Vegas now stretches back more than eight years, since he began researching our city as a possible restaurant location. Over that time, the 52-year-old father of five says he and his wife Tana have considered making the valley their home. And it’s a discussion that’s recently been revived in their household.
“To be honest,” the chef confides, “I could see myself living in Vegas. That’s the next step for me. Tana has woken up to the idea.”
Ramsay made the city his base of operation this year while shooting “Hell’s Kitchen.” During that time, he says he took the opportunity to explore beyond the Strip, particularly the exploding local restaurant scene.
“I spent three months here — April, May and June. So I had a really good chance not just to see the American stuff, but some of the Asian stuff, which was beautiful, breathtaking. Sunday night was the night to hit those places, Sunday and Monday.”
So would Ramsay ever consider opening a neighborhood restaurant in the valley?
“I think if I did it, I’d rather set somebody up. So if a young chef who had worked under my tenure for that length of time wanted to set up (a local restaurant), Caesars would have no problem with me setting him up. Because it’s not a threat, it’s an enhancement. I got a break. And so to give somebody else a break would be really important.”