During Mother’s Day weekend every spring, Vegas Uncork’d is a citywide food and drink festival bringing together over 50 celebrity chefs, 60 Las Vegas restaurants and 30 sommeliers to showcase their talents and venues to a limited audience. Chris Meyer, CEM/CMP, vp of sales for Las Vegas CVA, invited select planners for food samplings at the participating restaurants.
“How cool was it that I got to introduce my meeting planner guests to star chefs and they were able to sample their offerings and hear about their private dining venues?” asks Meyer. “Memorable networking experiences begin with unique food and bar offerings, done correctly, and there’s no one who does it better than Vegas.”
Chef Alain Ducasse, who operates miX atop Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, taught planners in a blind tasting how to distinguish wines and pair with foods. Chef Gordon Ramsay debuted his new Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris and smoked beef tartare with Guinness-infused mustard seeds. Ramsay’s candied kumquat-infused pork belly with braised Swiss chard turned heads too.
The same group that created Bagatelle Champagne Party Brunch in New York’s Meatpacking District is recreating the event at the Tropicana Las Vegas this summer. Aria Resort & Casino debuts Javier’s, a restaurant famous in Cabo and California for its premium tequilas and special margaritas.
New fine dining options include Center Cut Steakhouse, a 172-seat restaurant at the Flamingo Las Vegas. Nearby at the new Mizumi in Wynn Las Vegas, chef Devin Hashimoto mixes contemporary Japanese cuisine and classical French cooking techniques.
The Palazzo Las Vegas brought back the #luxelife program this spring at its exclusive Azure Pool for the 4th year running. The “pool experience” is designed after similar trendy milieus in St. Tropez and Capri where guests are pampered with everything from sunscreen application to a personal concierge, who will make theater reservations while feeding you frozen grapes.
Chef Wolfgang Puck is catering #luxelife with grilled steak satays, big eye tuna tataki and tuna nicoise. Try the Costa Azure cocktail with Cruzan coconut rum, Bombay Sapphire, fresh orange and pineapple juice, and a Pedro Ximenez floater.
The 181-room Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace opens late this year with the first Nobu restaurant on the Strip and the first Nobu in-room dining menu. Looking forward to the first time we dial down for an “RLT” with rock shrimp, butter lettuce and Maui onion tomato salsa in a creamy spicy sauce. Celeb designer David Rockwell is incorporating bowed columns of bamboo around the exterior of the 11,000-sf restaurant to resemble a traditional Japanese ikebana bowl used for flower arranging.
The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas is redefining the cutting edge of cuisine on The Strip at a few of its 13 restaurants. The 275-pax Blue Ribbon out of New York is sleek and warm with a heap of natural woods and Asian accents. The crispy fried chicken with sweet and strong wasabi honey have earned Blue Ribbon a cult following.
Comme Ça is a French brasserie offering modern French cuisine by chef David Myers, always popular with planners and groups. For them, Myers recommends the Atlantic skate served with giant white beans, guanciale and crispy little neck clams.
But it’s chef Jose Andrés who arguably dishes out the most fun for groups at his 140-seat China Poblano. The Chinese/Mex mashup features artsy installations, communal tables and a tapas menu ideal for sharing. Try the mango sticky rice, 20-veggie fried rice, carnitas tacos with chunks of crunchy chicharrones, and the innovative SaltAire Margarita rimmed with salt foam.