Las Vegas Celebrity Chefs have claimed their spots in town
One thing you will notice about Las Vegas is how many celebrity chefs populate the area, some with multiple restaurants. How important is a name when you dine is something to plan for before you head to Las Vegas. Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, and Gordon Ramsey all have at least one restaurant to choose from. The upside of having so many celebrity restaurants is the plethora of options.
Don’t just plan your gambling, be sure to check out menus for the different restaurants before heading into town. Remember that pricing can be a large factor at the celebrity restaurants. In the newest edition of The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas we ranked the top 25 restaurants without regards to price. The top five restaurants are all profiled in the book and are all listed as very expensive. However, there are a few options like Jaleo and Bouchon that make the list and fall under the moderately expensive category.
Here are three of the many Las Vegas Celebrity Chefs we recommend
José Andrés at the Cosmopolitan
We rate quality and value ****
SETTING AND ATMOSPHERE Colorful, open restaurant filled with contemporary art from Spanish painters and sculptors. Seating is at small tables on one side of the room and at communal wooden tables that seat more than one party.
HOUSE SPECIALTIES Creative tapas from chef José Andrés, the man who imported this genre from his native Spain. Excellent chicken croquetas. Catalan sausage stew with braised onion and mushrooms is not to be missed. Excellent selection of Iberian hams and boutique cheeses. Imaginative desserts.
OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS Don’t miss the paellas, cooked over olive and orange wood–burning fires in an open cooking area. The best choice is probably the paella valenciana, which features rabbit and chicken, but the seafood paella is also wonderful. Avant-garde Spanish cuisine is served in a small private room in the rear, but be sure to make reservations, as it’s by prior arrangement only.
SUMMARY AND COMMENTS José Andrés once cooked with Ferran Adrià at elBulli in Roses, Spain, so he’s comfortable with both traditional and cutting-edge Spanish cuisine. The patatas bravas—small, blistered potatoes served with a salt crust—come with a pair of exotic sauces from the Canary Islands. A most memorable experience.
Mario Batali at the Venetian
We rate quality **** and value ***
SETTING AND ATMOSPHERE Dark woods and white tablecloths make this Italian restaurant feel like a classic supper club.
HOUSE SPECIALTIES Rustic Italian, of course. Cured meats are made in-house or from Salumi, the Seattle store of chef Mario Batali’s father. Pastas are wonderful, such as bucatini all’amatriciana (hollow spaghetti-like pasta flavored with cured guanciale, marbled hog jowl) or a seasonal offering like tiny ravioli stuffed with tomato confit and sauced with pork innards. That’s just one example of how Batali loves to use organ meats in his cooking.
OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS Calamari Sicilian Lifeguard–Style, rings of delicate calamari with a subtly spicy tomato sauce, and an amazing beef brasato. A sumptuous five-course pasta tasting menu is available paired with wines, selected by Batali’s partner, Joe Bastianich. (Hence B&B.)
SUMMARY AND COMMENTS For a more casual experience, check out the other Batali outpost within the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, Otto Enoteca & Pizzeria, which offers more of a wine-bar experience and great people-watching, plus that great salumi from Batali’s father.
Chef Thomas Keller at the Venetian
We rate quality ****and value ****
SETTING AND ATMOSPHERE Chef-owner Thomas Keller and renowned restaurant and hotel designer Adam Tihany have designed a Belle Époque room filled with ornate floor tiles and brass. You could easily be on a Paris boulevard.
HOUSE SPECIALTIES Fresh seafood plateaus—grand plates with an assortment of freshly shucked raw items and shrimp and lobster; superb oysters (selection changes with the season); country pâté served with cornichons and radishes; roast leg of lamb with flageolet beans in thyme jus.
OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS Salmon rillettes in a glass jar; steak frites, an herb-roasted flatiron steak or grilled New York strip with French fries; endive salad with Roquefort, apples, walnuts, and walnut vinaigrette; white sausage with potato puree and caramelized apples.
SUMMARY AND COMMENTS The most requested tables are on the outdoor terrace. They’re difficult to get, but worth a try. Many à la carte options are available at a moderate cost.
For a complete list of all celebrity chefs and a review of their restaurants in Las Vegas check out the Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas.
Also check out our blog on the best Las Vegas buffets!