This is a big deal, primarily because it shifts the focus from theHOTEL boutique concept from MGM to a known entity. Â I’m not particularly familiar with the current financials of theHOTEL, but it seemed to make a big splash initially and then fizzled with the advent of the Cosmopolitan.
Morgans Hotel Group is known for their design-based boutique concepts, such as the Starck-designed Mondrian, etc. Â Late last year they obtained a controlling interest in Light Group- the folks that run many of the noted nightclubs in Vegas- ostensibly to run food and beverage across the spectrum of their investments. Â My feeling is that Light Group will have far more in-depth involvement with this new venture.
This should be an interesting addition to Las Vegas- if done properly. Â Rumors of The Sahara green-lighted as a design-based hotel destination abound at the moment. The Sahara concept would make 3 proper design/boutique-marketed hotels (despite size) on the Strip. It’s quite possible that Las Vegas may become the design destination I hoped for when we moved here 11 years ago. Mandalay Bay was the top hotel/design destination on the Strip at that time, despite those awful chandeliers. Very nice to see MGM beginning to get back to basics.
I wish them all luck and the fortitude to stay on top of trends, no matter how silly.
Here’s the press release:
August 6, 2012 (Las Vegas, NV) â MGM Resorts International andÂ Morgans Hotel GroupÂ have announced an unprecedented partnership to introduce Delano Las Vegas, an all-suite hotel atÂ Mandalay Bay. After completing a property redesign, Morgans Hotel Groupâs signature luxury brand will come to life in place of THEhotel in late 2013.
This strategic brand partnership marries the traditions of excellence from both of these leading hospitality companies. Delano Las Vegas will be managed by MGM Resorts under a long-term licensing agreement withMorgans Hotel Group.
âIn keeping with our commitment to create superior experiences for our guests, transforming THEhotel into Delano Las Vegas will add a new dimension of energy and excitement to the Las Vegas Strip,â said Chuck Bowling, president and COO of Mandalay Bay. âTheÂ DelanoÂ SouthÂ BeachÂ experience is very special and loved worldwide, most notably in key Latin American and European markets which we have strategically identified for future growth potential.â
AsÂ Delanoâs second outpost in theÂ United States, Delano Las Vegas will transport the iconic brand from the shores ofÂ SouthÂ BeachÂ to the Las Vegas Strip. Once completed, guests will experience theÂ DelanoÂ lifestyle, and its unique blend of effortless luxury and impeccable service at the world-renownedÂ MandalayÂ Bay.
In addition, Morgans Hotel Group plans to introduce several new food and beverageÂ concepts atÂ MandalayÂ Bayto be managedÂ byÂ The Light Group. VenuesÂ willÂ includeÂ a casual American bistro by Chef Brian Massie, a Japanese dining destination by celebrity chef Akira Back and a new vision forÂ Red Square. The Light Group will once again reinventÂ Las VegasÂ nightlife with a revolutionary nightclub. All venues are scheduled to open in 2013.
Michael Gross, Morgans Hotel Group CEO said âMGM Resorts International is the market leader inÂ Las Vegasand we could think of no better partner to operateÂ Delano. Weâve had our eye onÂ Las VegasÂ for many years, and have finally found the right location and opportunity.Â DelanoÂ as a brand evokes luxury with an unexpected touch of individuality. This enables our guests to easily discern between mere travel and the unparalleled experience atDelano. We can see no better market and partner to help us launch our largest property to date.â
Built on an ideology centered around unique guest experiences and the feelings those experiences conjure, no twoÂ DelanoÂ properties will ever be the same. Each location will adapt to its surroundings, providing exclusive experiences that combine superior service with high-energy night and daylife, as well as an unmatched standard of fine dining.Â DelanoÂ enthusiasts from around the globe can expect the same attention-to-detail, premier service and quality experience at Delano Las Vegas as its iconicÂ SouthÂ BeachÂ predecessor.
Each of the propertyâs 1,100 all-suite accommodations will be redesigned in keeping with theÂ Delanopersonality. Rounding out theÂ Las VegasÂ experience will be the transformation of the destinationâs public spaces including bars, lounges, spa, and restaurants, with additional details to be released in the coming months.
Chef Sammy DeMarco, aka “Sammy D”, or the “D Man”, is a busy boy these days. He’s just opened a restaurant in Melbourne, Australia, and still finds time to be one of the most creative chefs in the city.
Now, DeMarco is doing a series of Friday evening dinners, “Farm to Strip” at First Food and Bar, his Palazzo restaurant. The menus rely on whatever is fresh that day from the Downtown 3rd Farmer’s Market, and the kickoff dinner, which DeMarco cooked for ten people, was one of the most colorful and impressive meals I’ve eaten this year.
This is the sort of dinner I miss here, a California aesthetic if you will, revolving around fresh produce, fish and meat. If I’m in the Bay Area, I try to eat at The Café at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, where Alice Waters practically invented this genre.
This menu was lovingly simple; a vegetable salad with Green Goddess dressing, American Gulf wild red snapper with fresh vegetables, a farm roasted pig with pickles, peaches and Okinawan sweet potato puree, a strawberry donut trifle, and various libations.
But oh, how this food tasted. First, DeMarco plied my table of ten with his well known Skittles vodka cocktail, a silly, kid cocktail that no kid can drink, a rainbow of vodkas flavored with Skittles of varied colors. I opted, instead, for a Blue Moon beer, one of my faves. The salad, full of chunked, fresh avocado, tomatoes, and several greens, was terrific.
Chef Sammy then came to the table with a giant whole snapper with a salt crust, that he showed us before serving. The meat, moist and juicy with a slightly sea-like tang, fell apart when prodded. On the side there were several platters of market fresh vegetables; yellow sweet corn, a plate of both purple and gold cauliflower, sweet Italian peppers and an unusual anchovy aioli that only Al Mancini could identify, and gorgeous green asparagus. Your greedy reported ate several tips.
The chef then brought out the pig, snout, ears and all, plus enormous sheets of crisped skin that we ate like potato chips. The meat had the same juicy resonance as the snapper, but I stuck to the skin. I couldn’t stop eating it. Finally my wife had to jab me with a fork. Sorry, dear.
Mercifully, I’m not fond of sweet pickles or sweet potatoes, although I admit that the purple sweet potato puree was unusual to the eye. But I did feast on the roasted peaches on the platter with Porky. Wow!
Dessert was rich, creamy and indulgent, like much of DeMarco’s food. The donut was yeasty, the strawberries ripe and market fresh, and the cream thick and sweet, like many women I know in this town. This will be a monthly occasion, probably the 1st or 2nd Friday of the month, with the dates to be announced. I’ll keep you posted on the site.
For reservations, call 607-3478, or visit www.firstfoodandbar.com. The prices will be kept as low as possible, most likely in the $60-$75 range depending on market availability.
Reprinted with permission from Seven Weekly Las Vegas. Check out Seven Magazine by picking a copy up at Unicahome and other fine venues in our fair Village of Las Vegas. Find out what is new and notable in Las Vegas online here.
It’s too early to call Ray Nisi an empire builder, but he seems to be making a success of Bottles & Burgers in Tivoli Village, the most recently opened member of his Double Helix wine bar family. And lord knows this mall can use him.
The concept is simple: wines by the glass or half-bottle, imaginative and well-crafted burgers, shareable plates and both a soda fountain for kids and a bar for adults. Anyone fancy a Hostess with the Mostess—Three Olives Cake vodka, vanilla ice cream and a pulverized chocolate cupcake? I thought as much.
Of course, Nisi has an ace in the hole with the talented chef Doug Vega, a man who is, perhaps, working under speed here. Like his counterpart Anthony Meidenbauer of Block 16 Hospitality (the Barrymore, Public House, etc.), Vega has free rein to create an upscale menu with considerable variety and international flair.
Max’s Menu Picks
Irish sliders, $8.
Garden of Eden Salad, $9.
Burgers & Fries
Block Sixteen burger ($9) with Baltimore fries, $5.
One can just as easily get plates of hummus orarancini here as half-pound Angus beef burgers. And don’t for one minute expect anything as pedestrian as lettuce and tomato. The Block Sixteen—named after a portion of the original city grid, but still paying unwitting homage to the competition at Holsteins—is topped with caramelized onions, sharp cheddar and chipotle aioli on a tender brioche bun baked by a small, local Vietnamese bakery. As burgers go, this one is a must.
This is a large space, more than 6,000 square feet including the outdoor patio. The best seats may be at the soda fountain, where soda jerks create those adult milkshakes like the aforementioned cupcake affair.
Since the place has been designed for families as well, there are gooey milkshakes with add-ins such as Oreos and sprinkles in addition to the grown-up stuff. If you’re in the mood to be cozy, booths are spacious and comfortable, leather lined and plush.
When I first visited, the signature Double Helix burger was a baseball-size gob of chopped beef stuffed with pork belly, short rib, horseradish and tomato compote. Now it has morphed into the Double Helix BBQ, which subs in bacon, cheddar and charred onions for a more conventional, more appealing take.
You don’t have to go beef, but spicy turkey and an oddball vegetarian option—a quinoa mushroom patty that a kid could turn into pure mush before a parent could turn his head—make unusual burger bedfellows.
I’m a total mark for Irish sliders, which the menu says is grilled beef brisket, but is really corned beef with sauerkraut, a Thousand Island dressing thick enough to stand a spoon up in, and Jarlsberg cheese. I wonder why they don’t simply call the damned thing a Reuben. I’d eat them anyway.
Fries are done five ways: Baltimore, with brown gravy and pepperjack cheese sauce, is the closest thing to poutine you can get in northwest Las Vegas. (For that dish, visit Meidenbauer’s Public House.) The Double Helix fries get shallots, sherry aioli and fines herbes. These are my two faves, anyway.
The extensive wine and beer list includes seven boutique drafts, such as the terrific Canadian dark ale, Trois Pistoles, and endless wines in half bottles, full bottles and glasses. Two killer bargains include a Curran grenache blanc ’09 ($45) and the ’06 Costa de Oro pinot noir ($27) both from Central California.
Mr. Nisi, we think you might be onto something.
Vegas Uncorked 2012, the cityâs premier food event, kicks off this coming Thursday with the famed Saber-Off event, by invitation only, where chefs line up to knock champagne corks off with a saber.
Twenty six separate events follow, each sponsored by Bon Appetit Magazine. Â Itâs the cityâs premier food festival, open to the public, for a price, naturally.
What makes it unique is the presence of our celebrity chefs, from Charlie Palmer and Wolfgang Puck, to Alain Ducasse, Michel Richard and dozens of others. It all comes to a head Friday evening, at a Grand Tasting at the Caesars Palace pool, beginning at 7:30. Tickets are still available at the Website, www.vegasuncorked.com, along with further details with regard to events still available.
Many of the Masters Dinners and Lunches are already sold out. Iâll be attending Michel Richardâs Thursday evening dinner at Central, and the 11 a.m. Sunday Steak and Eggs with Charlie Palmer, one of the festival events I look forward to every year.
In addition, Iâll be at Charlieâs poolside Clambake Saturday night at Mandalay Bay, and the noon Saturday fish market with Milos owner Costas Spiliadis. It all looks to be a great time, and Iâm loosening my belt already. See you there.