ML - Vegas Magazine

2013 - Issue 5 - September

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

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ON THE TOWN LET'S MEET where: Tacos & Tequila, Luxor, 702-262-5225; when: Open seven days a week, 11 AM to 11 PM what: Mezcal margaritas, mariachi brunch, and tacos, tacos, tacos FAR LEFT: David Robins watches Matt Dickerson try the queso fundido. ABOVE: Alambre tacos. LEFT: The décor mixes the tradition and modernism of Mexico City with Vegas panache. Space Jam SPAGO'S DAVID ROBINS AND MATT DICKERSON JOIN MICHAEL FREY AT HIS TACOS & TEQUILA TO DISCUSS RESTAURANT DESIGN AND ANGRY CHEFS. BY MITCHELL WILBURN PHOTOGRAPHY BY RONDA CHURCHILL I n the dark ages of Las Vegas dining, marked by discount buffets and frozen shrimp cocktails, Spago was a crucial spark that helped ignite our now-vibrant food culture. Opened by Executive Chef David Robins, who eventually became managing partner and corporate chef of Spago's parent company, the restaurant was a runaway success, and it remains as relevant and creative as the day it was unveiled two decades ago. When he needs to let loose with like-minded pals, Robins heads to friend Michael Frey's Tacos & Tequila, where he recently dined with longtime colleague and friend Matt Dickerson, Wolfgang Puck's Las Vegas director of operations, to spend a rare night off talking Mexican treats, restaurant design, and the modern plating of food. Would you characterize, in the context of a restaurant, the food as the body and the design as the soul? David Robins: Design is always the soul of a restaurant. In our company, 88 design comes first, even before the chefs start putting together a menu. It's about the space, the identity; it's what we use as the building blocks. With food, design, and hospitality, all of that needs to have synergy to be successful. At the end of the day, the food is an accompaniment to the whole process, although a key component. Longevity is what we're all about, and the most important thing is that the customer gets a great experience. This restaurant speaks to what it's all about: fun. It's really open, there's always great energy, you feel comfortable. Matt Dickerson: You can sit here, and even though you're in a big hotel, you still feel like you're only in this restaurant. That's a tough thing to capture. DR: We have a freestanding restaurant in MGM Grand, right across from KÀ, designed by Tony Chi to kind of float in the middle of the casino. You continued on page 90 VEGASMAGAZINE.COM 088-090_V_SC_Taste_OTT_Sept13.indd 88 8/6/13 10:25 AM

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