Fun, Food & Frolic …
If you can’t have fun at Uncork’d in Las Vegas, then you must be dead. Had a bunch of kicks at the recent Uncork’d event which started at its opening afternoon cocktail party on the Cosmopolitan’s pool deck, where the top chefs of the event gathered to cheer on chef Bruce Bromberg to sabre open a bottle of champagne.
It was a thrill for me to meet legendary chef Guy Savoy. He was a little shy, that I think was due to a little self-consciousness of his English, which was perfectly fine, but I switched to my bad French which he really appreciated. He was tickled pink when I told him that I thought it was cool watching Anthony Bourdain and his buddy Ruhlman dine in his eponymous restaurant at the private dining room’s 25 foot long table. And later, I was tickled pink when two gorgeous gals from Montreal said my accent was perfectly fine. Maybe they were just being nice, but it was good to hear I wasn’t mangling their language that bad.
Next night it was the Grand Tasting where an incredible array of food and drinks booths ringed Caesar’s pools, plus a cool VIP section up above where one could feel like Caesar looking down on the crowd. SushiSamba’s Robata Baby Lamb Chops were great that even my webgal who is not a fan of lamb wanted seconds. There were many chefs attending including SuishiSamba’s chef Joel Versola, Chica’s chef Lorena Garcia and STK’s chef Stephen Hopcroft were working and meeting the happy and excited attendees.
One of the cool things about Vegas is that things are always changing and one very positive change I found on the Strip from last year was the establishment of a new Eataly. Obviously it wasn’t the three floor monstrosity of the original in New York, but it was still really good for excellent Italian food and cooking. My web gal and I found a beautiful rotisserie chicken with roasted potatoes and crisp, fresh crusty bread at La Rosticceria. I can hear some people saying, come on, it’s just a chicken, how good can it be?? Ah grasshopper, it can be sooo good. Those dried out, burnt chickens in most restaurants or from your grocery store… that is not good chicken. But rich, flavorful and juicy chicken that is brined and seasoned with sea salt & pepper and so delicious can be experienced at La Rosticceria.
And while it’s cool that things are always changing in Vegas, it was cool to see my buddy chef Gustav Mueller still working the grill at the Marriott’s Spiedini restaurant. Oh, the Chicken Involtini, chicken breast filled with spinach, mushrooms & fontina cheese and rare steak he grilled up for us, was just fantastic. And he had a great insight when he did the NSI quiz. Most chefs when asked what makes a great restaurant they say the food first. But Gustav had a fine insight, if you don’t get good service and atmosphere that great food will drop down to good or worse. Hire and train your staff well.
If you don’t need the constant buzz of the Strip, the Marriott at 221 Rampart Blvd, a 20 mile drive off the strip is a great place to stay and unwind in Vegas. Besides the culinary delights of Spiedini, it’s got beautiful grounds, pools, spa, golf, casino and a soothing lobby where you can actually sit down and chill. See you there in 2020!