The arrival of the Wynn Las Vegas in 2005 has meant an influx of chefs, clubs and shows and forced the competish to spruce up, even if it means bringing in new talent. The Wynn itself has received mixed reviews, but its more than two-dozen restaurants have been generally hailed.
And since last year’s NATPE, the Vegas nightclub scene has received an even greater infusion from the two coasts.
Joel Robuchon at the Mansion
MGM Grand; (702) 891-7925
The Parisian chef who quit at the top of his game, Joel Robuchon has surfaced in Vegas with a restaurant that already has the food cognoscenti agog. He was considered, a decade ago, the finest chef on the planet, and his latest French eatery is formal and elegant without stuffiness. Make sure the expense account can handle it, though. The 16-course tasting menu runs $325; six-course is $165. Main courses on the a la carte menu run $80-$120.
Daniel Boulud Brasserie
Wynn Las Vegas; (702) 770-7000
Overlooking the Lake of Dreams, Boulud’s brasserie is casual Parisian style. The signature dish here is a 10-ounce New York strip steak and fries; the cassolette of snails and seasonal mushrooms is an absolute winner; and the wine list isn’t packed with outlandishly marked-up bottles. Main courses run between $27-$42.
Mandalay Bay; (877) 632-7800
Sleek and comfortable, the interior of this seafood specialist is designed as a luxury yacht club. Downstairs features an open-air kitchen and a raw bar while the upstairs features seafood from both coasts plus the usual lobster, crab and diver scallops dishes.
Stack Restaurant & Bar
The Mirage; (702) 791-7111
Casual-hip, the Stack in the title refers to the mahogany stacked walls that create a canyonlike feel at this eatery, which opened in December. The restaurant is putting the emphasis on making American bistro fare fun with items such as mini tuna poke tacos and miso bass cups. Desserts and specialty drinks are particularly delicious.
Tao Las Vegas
The Venetian; (702) 388-8588
A four-level club divided into spaces such as the Monk Bar and the Opium Room, Tao has a New York pedigree courtesy of Gotham’s Tao and the Marquee. Women clad in strategically placed roses lounge in bathtubs filled with flower petals as the music sticks mostly to the hits of the last 15-20 years. It’s the T-shirt, jeans and jacket crowd for men; glitter and skirts for the women.
MGM Grand; (702) 891-7183
More lounge than club, Tabu values privacy with booths, a circular VIP area and the vibe of a luxurious living room. Its three rooms are tasteful in decor with images projected on the walls, bars and tables. Those tables, though, can be expensive: Bottle service starts at $350 a pop. A champagne and vodka locker is a nice touch, too.
Wynn Las Vegas; (702) 733-4300
Casual chic is the recommended style of dress at Wynn’s posh and pricey ultra-lounge complete with fire pit on the patio. Dance music is always going but the sound system doesn’t drown out the cocktailing and conversation. Modern-styled room offers Euro bottle service.
Blue Man GroupThe Venetian; (702) 388-8588
The boys in blue began performances in October, moving up the Strip after five years at the Luxor. The trio like the new digs because they can do more technically, and the feeling — from the stage — is more intimate. They have kept much of the original version’s beloved antics while adding 20 minutes of new material. One show nightly.
The Colosseum at Caesars Palace; (702) 731-7110
It’s big, brassy and curious. Franco Dragone’s designs are occasionally off the wall and don’t always fit with the songs Dion sings, but it’s certainly never dull. Dion delivers her hits and other tunes in one of Vegas’ nicest showrooms. One show nightly Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Wynn Las Vegas; (702) 733-4300
The Tony winner with puppets has arrived in Vegas with all its jokes intact and stars from the original Broadway production reprising their roles. Show, a rare one in Vegas with an intermission, is a winner from start to finish. Two shows Sunday and Thursday, one show Monday and Tuesday, dark Wednesday.
Want more on what to do in Sin City? Check out the previously published Variety Weekend Las Vegas Edition.