By Sarah Feldberg | November 3, 2016 | Food & Drink
Forget nightlife and blackjack: Sin City sizzles for its food!
At Cosmopolitan, Clique Bar & Lounge raises the bar for Vegas craft cocktails.
When Wolfgang Puck opened Spago inside Caesars Palace’s Forum Shops in 1992, he launched a dining revolution in Las Vegas. Almost a quarter-century later, the Strip is a culinary wonderland stacked with Michelin-starred chefs and bold cuisines that would’ve once seemed unthinkable in the city once known for bad buffets and free chicken dinners. And the Vegas restaurant scene isn’t content to grow lukewarm, let alone stale.
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s highly anticipated sushi restaurant is on its way to MGM Grand this fall, while the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino debuts a new steakhouse from restaurateur Michael Morton, a man whose family knows a thing or two about creating iconic meateries. Early next year, the Cosmopolitan will welcome Momofuku and Milk Bar, the westernmost outposts of David Chang’s expanding empire, as well as Rainer Becker’s Japanese izakaya joint Zuma, which now has 10 global locations, including in London, Hong Kong, Rome, and Dubai.
These forthcoming venues are just the cherry on top of a year that’s already been packed with buzzy openings. London and Manhattan’s tony Mr. Chow arrived at Caesars Palace last December, bringing with it the high design and polished service that’s earned the brand a devoted, A-list clientele Clique Bar & Lounge filled a corner of the Cosmopolitan casino floor, offering cocktails mixed with fresh-pressed juices and shareable Champagne sangria, while upstairs, guests at Tao Group’s new Beauty & Essex walk through a working pawn shop on their way to indulge in tuna poke tacos and French onion soup dumplings.
Grilled cheese, bacon, and tomato soup dumplings from Beauty & Essex.
Mandalay Bay recently unveiled its own entry in the pre-party dinner race with the August arrival of Libertine Social, an energetic collaboration between James Beard Award-winning chef Shawn McClain and master mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. The pair who first teamed up on an episode of Iron Chef America have created a multi-functional culinary playground—complete with an outdoor patio and two bars—in which to enjoy well-crafted bar fare and a wide-ranging beverage menu that boasts barrel-aged, draft, and bottled cocktails.
Of course, you don’t have to venture into uncharted territory to find a memorable Vegas meal. Try one of the city’s new classics: Estiatorio Milos delivers fresh Mediterranean seafood with blessedly spare embellishment at Cosmopolitan, while José Andrés’s Bazaar Meat makes magic with suckling pig at SLS. Or go old-school: Emeril’s Delmonico Steakhouse at the Venetian and Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace survive the city’s constant cycles of reinvention precisely because they’re consistently brilliant. Wherever you decide to book, the best advice is this: Come hungry.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF GALE. OPPOSITE PAGE: JON ESTRADA (CLIQUE); COURTESY OF CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT (MR. CHOW)