Four must-try dishes at Wally's inside Resorts World
Las Vegas may have been the hardest hit among large US metropolitan areas during the pandemic. Particularly in the hospitality world, it essentially put a stop in the wine industry. But, what Las Vegas didn’t expect is that the city’s wine culture would emerge to new heights and experiences during the recovery. Wine is flowing once again, and we owe this in part to the opening of Wally’s Wine & Spirits.
Wally’s is a restaurant, a wine shop and bar, and specialty gourmet market – essentially a one-stop tasting and shopping experience situated inside Resorts World. The exterior is impressive and enticing, especially while walking outside the wine vault, which is visible through the glass windows from the property’s casino floor. From the front, the multi-story-high sage-green paned windows and welcoming patio under the resort’s natural lighting lead to an energetic, convivial space.
Until now, Las Vegas had never had access to the caliber of wines, not to mention the breadth and depth of wines that are offered at Wally’s. Inside this Los Angeles-based institution – named after the founder Steven Wallace – one of the remarkable beauties is that these wines are available at approachable retail prices. There is something for everyone here.
This is one of the reasons why Wally’s can be enjoyed by all, from locals to visitors, whether they be casual discovery-driven wine drinkers to experienced industry professionals. Other reasons? The delicious creations from the open-air kitchen, the cheese box, the caviar, and the feeling of being in the mix among passionate wine stewards that are there to offer an elevated – but unpretentious – experience.
Before sitting down at one of the white marble butcher block tables, take a good look around. Walk around. It’s a retail store first and foremost, after all. Wally’s began as a retailer in the late 1960s in Los Angeles. “And we kept that concept,” says general manager Laurent Gallais-Pradal. “Now, we also offer dining inside a fine retail shop.”
According to him, owner Christian Navarro started working at Wally’s in Los Angeles when he was 18, and then in 2013 when Wallace retired, Navarro bought Wally’s with Paul and Maurice Marciano, the brothers behind the Guess clothing line who have long trusted him to steer them in the right direction when it comes to wine.
In addition to the Santa Monica and Beverly Hills locations, the newest location in Las Vegas is reminiscent of a large and airy underground warehouse with a contemporary twist. A centrally-located caged elevator shaft leads to a private dining room below, exposed venting, industrial grey tones, rolling ladders, Edison style lighting – the feel is casual, special.
Wine Director Michael Rone, formerly of Grand Award winner Joël Robuchon Restaurant, runs the program at Wally’s and oversees the largest sommelier team in the US. He is excited about what Wally’s has to offer Las Vegas.
“We have over 100 wines by the glass – anywhere from Frenzy Sauvignon Blanc to DRC [Domaine de la Romanée-Conti] Richebourg,” says Rone. While perusing through the wine vault, he says, “This will be the finest rare wine collection in the city and west coast.” Currently, Wally’s boasts over 5,000 bottles and is quickly working toward expanding to 8,000.
“We have magnums of DRC, 1990 Lafite [Rothschild] – one of my favorite vintages – Cheval Blanc, Marciano Estate from St. Helena…” says Rone. “The whole world is represented here.” The selection includes old and new world wines in a wide range of prices, styles, producers, and regions. While Wally’s wall-to-wall wine indulgences are enticing for connoisseurs, they can also be a bit overwhelming (in a good way) for others. So, ask a sommelier for a recommendation. And to elevate the experience, ask them to share a little story about the wine.
All retail bottles are $40 less than the list price for guests who decide to purchase a bottle or more for home or to bring up to the hotel room. But the best way to enjoy it is inside Wally’s alongside some dishes that are created to go with the wine, such as the wood oven-baked brie.
And yes, there’s more cheese. Wally’s cheese box showcases a treasured collection of over 150 of the world’s best cheeses from Croatia, to Australia, Italy, Holland, and burgeoning American farmsteads. Again, purchase to take home or enjoy there.
Wally’s delivers an ambitious menu by executive chef Eric l’Huillier that draws its influence from Southern France and California. Ingredients are market-fresh, seasonal, offering a diverse array for all tastes: caviar from Italy’s Cavisius farms, salads, pizzas, to signature dishes, such as Wagyu Tomahawk and Wally’s Hundred Dollar Chicken.
Below are few dishes to try:
Cheese and Charcuterie Plate (3 for $25/5 for $40) – Mix and match, but a few highlights include the creamy fresh triple cream French Brillat-Savarin with its buttery rind, the two-year-aged amber-colored L’Amuse signature gouda from Holland’s Holstein Fresian cows, and Prosciutto San Daniele from northeastern Italy with its deliciously aromatic, delicate, and velvety texture.
The Wally Burger – American Wagyu burger, Old Amsterdam gouda, heirloom tomato, caramelized onions, Wally’s sauce, housemade brioche bun, and French fries.
Truffle Lentils – A rich ragout of French green lentils, bright English peas, truffle butter, and shaved truffle.
Wood oven-baked brie– French baguette, fermier brie, truffle honey, truffle butter, and shaved truffle.
“We have Southern French/California cuisine, finest ingredients executed well,” says Rone. “It’s experiential and interactive. There’s nothing quite like it in Las Vegas or anywhere.”
Wally’s is the place to embark on a virtual trip to a famous or undiscovered wine region. Let your taste buds lead the journey. Wally’s will take care of the rest.