GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

November 7, 2013

Las Vegas Weekly

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> MIND OF A CHEF At the é inside Jaleo, diners get to dive into José Andrés brain. 10. The future will be even more golden 9. You can have a once-in-a-lifetime meal anytime It's Wednesday night and you want to step into the mind of acclaimed Spanish chef José Andrés. Good thing there is é, the eight-seat restaurant-within-a-restaurant in a back corner of Jaleo at the Cosmopolitan. "It's like dining inside José's brain," says sous chef Cody Jeffs, referring to the eccentric décor and the menu—20 carefully orchestrated, perfectly choreographed mini-courses that pay homage to classic Spanish dishes and flavors with a decidedly modern twist. It's the kind of meal that often ends with new friends and occasionally with tears of appreciation, but perhaps the most remarkable thing about é is simply that it's here. If you have the email address (reservations are not accepted over the phone) and the funds (dinner costs $195 without wine), you can have Andrés' oncein-a-lifetime experience any time you like. In fact, in Las Vegas, there are bucket list-caliber meals available every night of the week. As the city's dining scene has evolved, the Strip hasn't just wooed the world's culinary big guns, it's dared them to create over-the-top experiences for a town that doesn't do subtle. Hence, the Krug Chef's Table at Guy Savoy, a six-seat private nook where diners have an intimate kitchen view as they sample Krug champagne and up to 13 courses—in the company of Olivier Krug and chef Guy Savoy. Fellow Frenchman Joël Robuchon's eponymous MGM Grand restaurant—affectionately called "the Mansion"—serves a 16-course menu degustation, an epic fine-dining experience that lives up to the $435 price tag and will change the way you look at bread forever (and, for that matter, carts). Just down the street, Masayoshi Takayama's Tetsu elevates teppanyaki cooking with ingredients like Australian filet mignon, foie gras and whole lobster with pineapple butter, while across CityCenter's central plaza, Twist at Mandarin Oriental transports diners into the inventive orbit of Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire, known for melding flavors and textures in ways you never imagined were possible, let alone delicious. Perhaps that's ultimately the mark of the oncein-a-lifetime meal—that it alters your concept of an ingredient, a dish or dining in general. Whether you get that from an über-aged steak at Carnevino, Gagnaire's horseradish and quince ice cream or the 17th bite at é, in Vegas, it's all at your fingertips, all the time, ready to astound. –Sarah Feldberg Two separate worlds make up the universe of Las Vegas dining—there are fancy casino restaurants, and there's everything else. It used to be that locals wouldn't trip to the Strip for a meal, while tourists found no reason to leave the big Boulevard. That's just not true anymore. There's brilliant French bistro fare and amazing craft cocktails available in our neighborhoods, and rustic Thai noodles and killer New York-style pizza slices within mega-resorts. Famous chefs continue to gravitate to the Strip, and the yearslong tradition of casino kitchen pros migrating into neighborhoods to open their own restaurants has reached a new evolution, demonstrated by Summerlin-area developments like Honey Salt and Ogden's Hops & Harvest. The Downtown dining boom is just getting started. More and more local talent is being highlighted on national TV, and hidden hot spots like Kabuto and Chada Thai & Wine are earning exposure (and high praise!) in national publications. More than ever before, Las Vegas is ripe for culinary development. We've been talking and writing about Vegas becoming a great food city for a while now. Well, we've arrived, and it's only going to get better. –Brock Radke é PHOTOGRAPHS LEFT AND TOP RIGHT BY BEVERLY POPPE, BOTTOM RIGHT BY STEPHANIE SALVADOR 20-21_Feature_Dining_20131107.indd 21 11/6/13 4:32 PM

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