Iconic Italian Cipriani Opens First West Coast Location at Wynn Las Vegas

photos courtesy Cipriani

The iconic Italian institution which originally opened as Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy in 1931, has debuted at the new Wynn Plaza. This new expansion follows openings of 16 locations around the globe, including New York, Miami, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Dubai and Monte Carlo, and is the first location on the West Coast.

Once you walk in, you may feel as if you have been transported to Venice, as the most common accent you will hear from the staff is Italian, and the mood is enhanced with soft Italian music. You may also feel as if you are on a luxurious cruise ship, with a nautical theme complete with portholes throughout (even in the restroom) displaying a video of the ocean like the view from an ocean liner. Other suggestions of elegance include glossy lacquered wood pillars, classy terrazzo tile flooring, chrome accents, plush seating and floor-to-ceiling windows dressed with graceful white curtains.

The Cipriani private label house wine, made in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region in northern Italy, comes in options of Cipriani Prosecco Brut, Cancello Del Sole (meaning gate to the sun) Cabernet Sauvignon and Cancello Della Luna (gate to the moon) Chardonnay. But you should not leave without trying their version of the Bellini, a drink invented in 1948 by Giuseppe Cipriani Sr. This original version of the classic drink is made with white peach puree and the aforementioned Cipriani Prosecco.

Standout dishes to our palates included baby artichokes Romana, grown and prepared in Venice and vacuum sealed; carpaccio “alla Cipriani” made from sirloin using a recipe created by Mr. Cipriani in the 1950s; eggplant Parmigiana, fried and baked and covered with tomato sauce and mozzarella and Parmigiana cheese; homemade potato gnocchi with cream and tomato sauce that seemed to melt in our mouth; and slow roasted chicken “alla cacciatora” cooked with onion, carrot, celery, mushroom, tomato and white wine. We finished with their #1 selling dessert, the classic vanilla crème meringue, which uses a lighter and fluffier version of meringue than I am used to, which made it easy to enjoy after a big meal. 

Cipriani is open for lunch daily from
11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., dinner Mon.-Thu. from
4-11 p.m. and until 12 a.m. on Fri.-Sat. The restaurant is conveniently located just steps from the self-parking garage and your parking ticket will be validated for free parking if you spend at least $50.

www.wynnlasvegas.com/Dining/FineDining/Cipriani 

The CATCH of the Day

photos courtesy CATCH

Known for attracting A-listers at its locations in L.A., NYC and Playa Del Carmen, now celebrities and anyone who loves seafood done well have a place to congregate in Las Vegas, as CATCH is now open at ARIA. 

Situated off the casino near the lobby in the former barMASA and Tetsu space, as you enter through a dramatic 80-foot-long arched pergola lined with twinkling foliage overhead and vibrant, bloom-infused flower walls, you’ll likely want to have your picture taken in one of the photo nooks (but may have to wait your turn as it seems to be THE thing to do). Inside you’ll find an olive tree standing at the middle of the room, tones of teal and azure blue and wood flooring that is made of red and white oak reclaimed from abandoned farms and warehouses in the eastern US.

The global Asian-inspired menu of sushi, seafood and steak includes a raw bar; sushi; nigiri/sashimi; vegan dishes; branzino, swordfish, Cantonese lobster, tuna, scallop, octopus, mahi-mahi and snapper; and for the meat lovers: Prime porterhouse, NY strip, American wagyu and New Zealand rack of lamb. 

Our favorites were the CATCH ceviche with Alaskan king crab, ME lobster, shrimp, scallop, mango and blood orange ponzu; roasted beets with tri-colored beets, goat cheese foam, candied walnuts and shaved radish; king crab tempura with heirloom tomato and Amazu Ponzu; and the buttery, rich thinly sliced A5 Japanese Miyazaki wagyu with yuzu soy, garlic oil, Maldon sea salt and sesame, which arrives with a sizzling hot stone on which you cook it to your liking. 

There appears to be something for everyone, and several items on the menu are coded GF (gluten free), DF (dairy free) and V (vegan) to help diners with specific dietary restrictions or preferences. Exclusive to the Las Vegas CATCH is the vegan veggie king roll comprised of king oyster mushrooms, cashew and spicy miso; and additional vegan variations can be made upon request. 

An over-the-top dessert you will be wise not to miss is the “Hit Me” Chocolate Cake that you smash to release the decadent liquid “Klondike” bar perched atop a brownie, devil’s food cake and roasted white chocolate ice cream. (For a video of this dessert’s dramatic presentation visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMXz1ohfJ-8.) 

The beverage program includes around 250 wines (modeled after the L.A. CATCH’s list, with wines mainly from Argentina, California and Italy); an extensive sake, tequila, bourbon, cognac, whiskey and Scotch selection; and cocktails like the “One Too Many” with strawberry-infused Absolut Elyx, Lillet Rose, coconut, avocado and lime. It’s a bit surprising that while such care was taken to curate these aforementioned lists, a disappointment is the beer list, which only offers five options, none of which are locally brewed. 

General Manager Jason Archuleta previously managed at Zuma, so comes well prepared for overseeing a restaurant that specializes in Asian-influenced seafood. He relates that the aforementioned flowered pergola entrance, which made the CATCH L.A. famous, is three times longer in Vegas (which I find no surprise as Vegas likes to do things bigger and better!). And, with the restaurant doing hundreds of covers a night, seafood is guaranteed to be fresh, as it is flown in daily.

CATCH is open daily for dinner from
5:30-11 p.m. and the lounge is open Thu.-Sat. from 10 p.m.-3 a.m.

www.aria.com/en/restaurants/catch.html

NoMad Restaurant Brings the Wow Factor to Park MGM

photos by Dylan + Jeni

The much-anticipated opening of NoMad Restaurant at Park MGM came to pass in November. The acclaimed restaurant led by James Beard Award-winning Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur Will Guidara already has two very popular locations in Los Angeles and NYC, with both situated in historic buildings. As Las Vegas doesn’t have too many of those, the history was brought in via 25,000 vintage books, many from the David Rockefeller private estate, which fill bookcases lining the walls on two levels in the dining room. Adding to the room’s opulent, majestic ambience are 3-tiered chandeliers, plush red leather booths and classy dark wood tables.

The kitchen is helmed by Chef de Cuisine Michael Rellergert, whose artistry is evident in the beautiful presentation of each dish, which is especially noticeable in the fruits de mer le grand plateau. Unlike most seafood towers that are simply an arrangement of crustaceans on ice, this one consists of six composed dishes featuring oyster, scallop, hamachi, lobster, uni and crab (such as king crab bavarois with cream, gelatin and crab mousse). 

The wow factor mentioned in the title refers to the presentation and exceptional flawless flavors of each dish, but also to tableside preparation, such as steak tartare (a dish I’d never before seen made before my eyes), which our server made by combining filet mignon with horseradish, raw shallot, baby pickles, capers, chives, egg yolk, fried shallot and miso sauce. While not made tableside, another first for me was enjoying something containing carrot, which is the one vegetable I avoid whenever possible. But the carrot tartare, which included quail egg, horseradish, apple, mustard and sunflower seed, was so delectable I have decided to give carrots another chance. 

A dish that could serve as your meal due to its richness and excellence is the soupe aux truffe Bocuse (inspired by the French master of the same name) with chicken consommé, mirepoix and foie gras topped with golden puff pastry. If I could only choose one dish to enjoy the rest of my life and nothing else, this one would certainly be in the running.

The signature dish NoMad is known for is the roast chicken for two stuffed with foie gras, black truffle & brioche with dark meat fricassee & sauce supreme. The whole bird arrives at your table and is a sight to behold, and after it poses for its picture is returned to the kitchen for carving. Also picture-worthy is the baked Alaska dessert, a mixture of spice cake, ice cream and pear & mulled wine, which is lit by your server as rum is poured onto it.

Those that have visited the other NoMads will want to check out the Vegas version. While several menu items are NoMad signature dishes, those available only in Las Vegas include pan-seared duck breast and confit leg with endive and shallot crumble; lobster thermidor in mustard, cream & brandy sauce; cavatelli pasta with black truffle, sausage, ricotta and parmesan; and baked potato Dumont topped with black truffles. 

The thick 67-page wine book lists 850 wines from around the globe. Wine Director Kester Masias related that he is aiming for at least 1,800 wines, but there is plenty of room for growth, with available capacity for 19,000. As is done at the other two NoMad restaurants, a local brewery is selected to brew a beer made exclusively for the restaurant to pair with its roast chicken. After Kester initially tasted brews from eight Nevada breweries and narrowed it down to three, he selected CraftHaus as the winning local brewery. The beer designed especially for the restaurant is fittingly named ¡A Ganar, A Ganar! (Spanish for winner, winner…as in chicken dinner), and is a Belgian-style brown ale with fig, pleasant vinous qualities and notes of toffee that I found so delicious I would enjoy it with or without the chicken dinner. If you are not into wine or beer, you should be happy with the cocktail and spirits list, which includes several pages listing a large variety of creations like the Hot Lips (jalapeño-infused tequila, mezcal, pineapple, lemon, and vanilla) and spirits from around
the world. 

Don’t confuse NoMad Restaurant with NoMad Bar, which is located just across the way and has its own menu. A bonus is self-parking and valet parking are free to locals who validate their ticket at the restaurant. Hours are 5:30-10:30 p.m. Tue.-Sat.

www.nomadlasvegas.com/en/restaurants/the-nomad-restaurant.html

Correction: My apologies to Estiatorio Milos. In this column last month, in reporting on the Greek/Mediterranean/seafood restaurant’s winemaker’s table dinners, I misstated which day the monthly wine dinners take place on. The dinners, which began in January of 2018, occur the first Thursday of each month.