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Foodie Report: Culinary Travel Tips in Las Vegas

November 25, 2015 By: David Moseder

Carbone at Aria Resort & Casino

It's no secret that, for the Millennial market, cuisine is king. Foodies and oenophiles will be interested to know that the dates have been confirmed for the 10th anniversary celebration of Vegas Uncork’d. Sponsored by Bon Appétit magazine and hosted at selected hotels, the wine and food experience will be held April 28 through May 1 and will offer food and wine lovers a chance to sample the wares of, and rub elbows with, some of America’s top celebrity chefs, master sommeliers and cutting-edge mixologists.

For clients who would like to help out while they dine out, Three Square Food Bank will present the 10th annual Las Vegas Restaurant Week (12 days, actually) in June. More than 150 participating eateries offer special menus that provide discounts to diners, with a portion of the proceeds going to help end hunger in Southern Nevada.

Meanwhile, the restaurant scene in Las Vegas continually offers new dining venues — a potential selling point given that 80 percent of the city’s visitors are repeat guests. Here are some recent developments of note.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is cooking up two new restaurants for 2016, reaching out to the Far East and the East Coast for inspiration. Beauty & Essex will open at the hotel in 2016 in the space formerly occupied by Comme Ça. A partnership with TAO Group and Food Network celebrity chef and restaurateur Chris Santos, Beauty & Essex is one of the most popular dining destinations on New York’s Lower East Side. Santos will bring his brand of communal and innovative share plates and stylish design to the Vegas location.

The Cosmopolitan and Azumi Group are partnering to bring the world-renowned contemporary Japanese restaurant Zuma to the resort in late 2016. Created and co-founded by Chef Rainer Becker, Zuma serves up modern Japanese cuisine in an elegant and sophisticated environment. Inspired by the informal izakaya dining style, the restaurant specializes in dishes that are authentic, but not traditional. The menu is designed to be shared and offers selections from a sushi counter, main kitchen and a robata grill. 

New York’s renowned Carbone recently brought its signature dining experience to Aria Resort & Casino. The concept from Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick pays homage to the Italian-American restaurants of the mid-20th century — an era of glamour, showmanship and tableside service. The food is inspired by that same time in history, but takes its culinary cues from the talents and techniques of today, showcasing elevated classics such as lobster Fra Diavolo, chicken scarpariello, veal parmesan, octopus pizzaiolo and spicy rigatoni vodka. A wine selection of 550 labels from Italy, France and the U.S. provide ample pairing possibilities. Some of Carbone’s vintages date back as far as 1929. A cart rolls tableside following dessert, and classic cocktails with an original twist are also served.

Costa di Mare opened at the Wynn in October, well ahead of schedule. The menu, created nightly by Chef Mark LoRusso, includes fresh Mediterranean seafood and Italian cuisine with house-made pastas and more than 40 varieties of fresh fish and shellfish flown in daily from Italy. Seating options include the bold, freshly redesigned dining room or outside in a private cabana surrounding the serene lagoon. For the latter, it is recommended to make a table reservation well in advance.

Mr. Chow is set to open this month at Caesars Palace, promising “fine dining with a raucous atmosphere.” This seventh incarnation of the internationally renowned restaurant will be overseen by Michael Chow himself, who created the interiors for his six other namesake restaurants. The menu includes Beijing duck, chicken satay, green prawns and hand-pulled Mr. Chow noodles.

The restaurant will be on the second story overlooking the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis and will seat more than 250, including terrace seating and two private dining spaces.

Rivea at Delano Las Vegas
Rivea at Delano Las Vegas

The Rivea restaurant and Skyfall Lounge opened at the Delano Las Vegas in October. These hot spots on the 64th floor of the hotel have awe-inspiring views of the Strip along with buzz-worthy food and drink. Michelin-decorated Chef Alain Ducasse is creating the cuisine. Influenced by the food markets of Provence and Italy, Ducasse and Executive Chef Bruno Riou’s menu focuses on simple, fresh Mediterranean flavors made with West Coast-sourced seasonal ingredients. 

In addition to small plates, diners can enjoy vibrant creations such as lobster with purple artichokes; line-caught striped bass with a minestrone reduction; rack of Colorado lamb accented by an herb pesto; and roasted duck breast with bigarade sauce and nougat. To accompany the meals, there are more than 1,300 wines, including select Riviera vintages that have been handpicked by Executive Wine Director Guillem Kerambrun, as well as wines sourced from the U.S. West Coast, including Oregon, Washington and the “California Riviera.”

Craft beer and handcrafted cocktails are on the menu at Skyfall Lounge. Visitors should take in the view but also admire design touches such as the lighted “wave wall” made from hundreds of glass squares that mimic the Mediterranean Sea and the hand-blown chandelier made in Italy. The signature cocktail here is the Climbin’ High, which is fitting given the bar’s ultra-lofty perch. This drink blends kappa pisco, Appleton’s Signature Blend Rum, champagne, and fresh pineapple, lime and raspberry juices.

Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar recently introduced Francesco Di Caudo as its new executive chef. The Sicily native comes to Ferraro’s with more than 20 years of experience, cooking in kitchens around the world, and has been a Las Vegas mainstay for more than a decade. In his current role, Chef Di Caudo works closely with family patriarch Gino Ferraro to oversee not only the staff and operations, but also the award-winning menu. In addition to incorporating his own touches to the classic menu, he has created new signature dishes such as tagliarini aragosta, a one-pound Maine lobster with forest mushrooms and lobster sauce; raviolini del plin, pasta pockets stuffed with veal and served with parmesan cheese reduction and veal truffle sauce; and angello in crosta, Colorado rack of lamb with a pecorino cheese and thyme crust.

Food Network star and restaurateur Guy Fieri will bring El Burro Borracho (“drunken donkey”) to the Rio early next year. The Mexican restaurant, the original of which is in Laughlin, NV, is expected to set up shop near the VooDoo Beach pool. Fieri will continue to oversee Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar at the Linq Hotel & Casino.

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About the Author

David Moseder
David Moseder is the Managing Editor for Travel Agent Magazine.

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By David Moseder | November 25, 2015
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