In this weekly update, food and beverage reporter Bob Barnes fills us in on noteworthy restaurant openings and closings, special dining news and culinary events about delicious bites worth knowing about.
Bellagio Resort & Casino
The Bellagio Resort & Casino will celebrate its 25th anniversary the weekend of October 13-15 with culinary experiences featuring its world-renowned chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Michael Mina and Julian Serrano, who were all part of Bellagio’s opening team.
The exclusive epicurean weekend experience, priced at $10,000 per person, includes the Pappy Van Winkle Tasting at The Vault on Oct. 13 at 6:30 p.m. hosted by Van Winkle family member Preston Van Winkle; Celebrated Chef Anniversary Dinner on Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. at Picasso restaurant, a four-course dinner with high-end wine pairings prepared by chefs Vongerichten, Mina and Serrano; and Wolfgang Puck Brunch on Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. lakeside at Spago with live music, specialty cocktails and signature cuisine. Also, throughout the month, anniversary menus will be served at Le Cirque, Picasso, Michael Mina Bellagio and Petrossian Bar.
For more info click here and to book the anniversary package call Bellagio’s Luxury Services team at 702-693-7355 or email email@example.com.
Ottimo Gourmet Pizza Kitchen
Ottimo Gourmet Pizza Kitchen at the Ahern Hotel will host a 4-course beer pairing dinner featuring the local CraftHaus Brewery prepared by chef Joel Ott.
Pairings are Warm Sourdough Rolls with roasted garlic butter, sliced prosciutto di parma and 18-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano paired with Evocation Belgian-Style Ale; Roasted Beet “Carpaccio” with Société Roquefort Bleu, toasted pistachio and arugula matched with Zitrone Wheat Ale Gose; Braised Duroc Pork Shank with sharp cheddar, scallion corn grits and roasted Brussels sprouts paired with Rebel Spirit Golden Ale; and Tres Leches “Tiramisu” with mascarpone mousse, cocoa powder and coffee crème anglaise matched with Belgard Coffee Stout.
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the cost is $60 per person plus tax and tip. To purchase tickets click here.
Cigar Aficionado’s Big Smoke
Cigar Aficionado’s Big Smoke will be held at Resorts World Events Center on November 3 and 4. The evening sessions are 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and are priced at $350 for general admission and $450 for VIP (with early admission at 5:30).
Attendees will receive 30+ premium cigars; samples of premium spirits, whiskies and beer; and an extensive selection of food. While it’s not a food and beverage event per se, having attended twice in the past I can attest that the eats and drinks are top notch.
Last year I enjoyed a taco bar, prime rib and an array of desserts; and Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, Blackened American Whiskey and Ron Zacapa Centenario Rum. So, if enjoying fine food and drink and premium cigars appeals to you, you’ll have the best of both worlds, as there will be more than 30 participating cigar companies including Alec Bradley, Arturo Fuente, Cohiba, Monte Cristo, Rocky Patel and Romeo Y Julieta.
For more info and to purchase tickets visit www.lasvegasbigsmoke.com.
Pick of the Week
AMARI Italian Kitchen & Wine Shop
The full-service restaurant AMARI Italian Kitchen & Wine Shop opened recently at UnCommons, the 40-acre mixed-use urban campus development located off of Durango just south of the 215. The welcoming neighborhood eatery is showcasing reimagined Italian American cuisine alongside a diverse wine list, extensive spirits list and a quality beer list.
The décor contributes to a relaxed and welcoming vibe, with wood grain floor, cluster globe lights, blue/gray booths, an open kitchen, windows all around and a four-sided wraparound bar. There’s also a 10-seat private wine room, soon-to-open wine shop, patio and artful presentation of each dish accentuated by colorful, hand painted dinnerware.
The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Brent Stanford, who after working with some of the best Italian chefs on the East and West Coast, most recently worked alongside Chef Nicole Brisson as Executive Sous Chef for Brezza at Resorts World.
Chef Brent has developed a 25-year-old sourdough starter that is used in the incredibly delightful focaccia bread that takes six hours to make, which you can top with pesto, whipped ricotta, classic tomato sauce or Calabrian honey. It’s also used for the dough for the pizzas baked in an Italian-made Fiero Forni oven like the Margherita with parmesan crust, fresh mozzarella and basil; and Truffle with taleggio cream, truffle gouda and shaved black truffles.
Other items on the menu well worth investing your appetite in are the Sesame Arancini with beef & pork sausage, Chicken Cacciatore with mushroom and olives, Truffle Ravioli with truffle gouda and capers, NY Strip Steak with black garlic-peppercorn sauce and finales like Affogato with salted caramel gelato and espresso.
The beverage program is curated by Corporate Executive Director of Beverage Miklos Katona, who previously put together a similar program at Brezza. True to the restaurant’s name, there are 80 Amari, the largest selection in town. The evolving collection includes the likes of Amaro di Capo and some of the cocktails feature the bittersweet Italian liqueur such as the Fernet About It with Fernet Branca, Streta and Lemon Demerara. In addition to locally brewed Able Baker Mango Calutron Girl, there are some Italian craft beer gems including the unique Ducato Verdi Imperial Stout brewed with a bit of hot chili.
AMARI is open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday and will soon be opening on Sundays. Happy hour is daily from 3 to 5:30 p.m. in the bar, lounge and patio with bites (including Arancini, Meatballs and Margherita Pizza) ranging from $5-$15 and beverages (white or red wine, Cocktail of the Day, Peroni) from $8-18. Opening in the coming weeks will be a boutique retail and wine shop offering a collection of curated wines, amari, freshly baked bread, sandwiches, salads and house-made pasta sauces.
More Dining News and Delicious Bites Around Las Vegas
Slice of Vegas
Slice of Vegas Hosting Indoor Tailgate Parties
Slice of Vegas at the Shoppes at Mandalay Place is hosting its “Indoor Tailgate Experience” in its private Grand Marquee Room beginning 2 ½ hours prior to all Las Vegas Raiders home games.
The tailgate includes a buffet, private bar with all-you-can-drink beer, wine and well drinks, NFL décor and TVs showing other games as well as the Raiders game. The all-you-can-eat buffet offers chicken wings, chicken tenders, meatball sliders, mini hotdogs, a taco bar, a nacho bar, pretzels, assorted pizzas, taquitos, chips and salsa, and street corn. For the earlier games and tailgates, breakfast items will be added, such as breakfast burritos, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, biscuits and gravy, and chilaquiles.
The cost per person is $75 and attendees seeking premium liquor can upgrade for $25 more. Walk-ins are welcome, but the seating capacity is limited to 80 people. To RSVP email AshleyB@sliceofvegaspizza.com call 702-632-6470.
Naxos Taverna Now Open for Lunch on Weekends
The fresh seafood restaurant Naxos Taverna at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa has launched weekend lunch, available Friday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to the full menu, also being offered is a $35 three-course prix fixe menu.
The meal includes choice of Green Chickpea Falafel with tahini yogurt, red schug, Greek Salad with pickled shallots and marinated feta, Marouli Salad with cucumber and olives, Chef’s Choice Oysters (4 pieces) with East or West Coast oysters or Kataifi Wrapped Prawns ($10 supplement) with kalamata olive aioli; entrée choice of Faroe Island Salmon with roasted pumpkin and chermoula, 8 oz Skirt Steak with salsa verde, Lavraki grilled and served with charred lemon & sea salt, Chicken Kaftedes with tomato and feta or Seafood Linguini ($10 supplement with shrimp, crab, clams and garlic butter).
Dessert is a choice of Homemade Ricotta Olive Oil & Pistachio FroYo, Cookies & Bites, Spiced Date Cake with warm caramel and candied walnuts or Baklava cheesecake with pistachio filo and strawberry sorbet ($7 supplement).
Guests can add a specialty cocktail to the prix fixe menu for $16-$18 such as The Spartan with Ketel One Botanicals Grapefruit & Rose, grapefruit, rosemary, Retsina and soda. There are also Greek beers and house sangria available.
Founders Coffee Offering Fall Coffee Flight
Founders Coffee is now offering its fall coffee flight, a tray of four signature flavors, carefully crafted with the season in mind. Priced at $14.50, the flight includes:
· Banana Bread Latte—banana, hazelnut, cinnamon, white chocolate, espresso, milk
· Caramel Apple Chai—caramel sprinkle rim with apple, chai, milk, whipped cream and caramel drizzle
· Salted Pumpkin Brûlée Cold Brew—vanilla cold brew with salted pumpkin cold foam and torched sugar on top
· Biscoff Latte—Biscoff butter, brown butter syrup, espresso, milk, cookie on top