Thursday, September 18, 2008

Aria sings "Food, Glorious Food!"

It is not a surprise that MGM Mirage would populate the various CityCenter properties with a new lineup of great chefs. What's interesting is that a lot of those in the lineup being announced later today include many who already have restaurants within the MGM Mirage universe.

To wit, here are the name chefs expanding their Vegas offerings:

* Michael Mina (Michael Mina, Seablue, StripSteak, Nobhill) will open American Fish. At five, Mina is closing in on Puck territory for Vegas.

* Julian Serrano (Picasso) gets a place called...Julian Serrano. Which is great because that way even people unaware of the chef's name at Picasso will be able to say it wrong all the time! (It's Hoolian, not Julie-an.) From what it sounds like, this is Serrano's answer to Joel Robuchon's L'Atelier, a spot that offers more casual, "less expensive" (I put it in quotes because I suspect nothing will be truly inexpensive at Aria) fare. Serrano is apparently going to offer a seafood bar and a lounge offering Spanish tapas, which may be the first example of gourmet tapas on the Strip.

* Jean-Georges Vongerichten (Prime) gets the...Jean Georges Steakhouse. The release says "Vongerichten will challenge the definition of the traditional American Steakhouse by adding a strong dose of energy and sex appeal" which means absolutely nothing until we actually get to see it. In fact, I pity the poor soul who had to come up with a dozen different ways to say "this restaurant is great, unique, delicious, etc" for this. Not an easy task when you're dealing with so many great chefs.

* Sirio Maccioni (Le Cirque, Circo) gets .. holy cow!... Sirio. It's Italian, which means "pasta dishes like grandmother used to make." No telling whose grandmother, but more than likely Sirio's. Also, there'll be lots of wine. And design by Adam Tihany, who is one of those guys who designs everything these days ever since conjuring up Charlie Palmer's Aureole.

* The Light Group (Diablo's Cantina, Fix, Yellowtail, Stack, Brand) brings us a "American dim sum" which, again, I am clueless as a veteran of China. But I will say that while I'm usually dubious of restaurants opened by chains, so far Light hasn't had a misstep.

* Jean-Phillippe Maury, fresh off earning a Guiness record for the largest chocolate fountain at his shop in Bellagio, gets ... JP Pâtisserie. Can't ANYONE come up with a creative name over there, or are they all so exhausted from conjuring up -- and then securing -- "Aria"?!? This place sounds much like his original in Bellagio, actually -- yummy desserts, light food, etc.

Holy cow, though, they're letting a couple of newbies into big time. They include:

* Shawn McClain, opening his first restaurant outside Chicago, to be called Sage. He won "Chef of the Year” from Esquire in 2001 and has seafood, steak and "vegetable-focused" restaurants in Chicago and the release makes it sound like Sage will be a greatest-hits medley similar, perhaps, to what Alain Ducasse does at Mix.

* Masayoshi Takayama, who has the acclaimed Japanese restaurant Masa in New York, will have Bar Masa (surprise!), a restaurant "divided into two unique spaces offering different styles of service and cuisine." There'll be a dining rom called Shaboo.

Oh yeah, there'll also be Blossom, a Chinese place, Lemongrass, a "modern Thai" restaurant (are there any other Thai places of note on the Strip?), and, of course, The Buffet and the coffeeshop Café Centro.

It's unclear whether any of the name chefs involved will actually lay down their knifes elsewhere and come oversee and cook at their CityCenter space full time as Wynn generally requires of them. But it sounds like a busy late 2009 for my gut.

More later, maybe. I gotta get over to Wynn now. See Twitter to see why.


Jinx said...

Interesting, I thought I had read there was going to be a Mr. Chow's vegas version, perhaps in one of the hotels outside of Aria.

Term Papers said...

Jean-Phillippe Maury, fresh off earning a Guiness record for the largest chocolate fountain at his shop in Bellagio, gets ... JP Pâtisserie.