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Hotel mogul Steve Wynn knows how to throw a party, even if just two hours earlier, he had landed after an 8,000-mile flight from Macau. No jet lag for wife Andrea or him as they greeted guests for the grand-opening celebration of his restaurant Mizumi in the Wynn.
In fact, he remembered that it was the same day four years ago that they’d kissed for the first time after meeting in St. Tropez. So Andrea wore the same dress from then at the Mizumi party last Thursday, and they showed me how that first kiss began the romance and led to their wedding.
Steve told me that they slept most of the way home from Macau but woke up over Alaska and followed President Obama’s speech to UNLV students.
“I’ve got to go talk to the same group,” Steve told me. “I have to tell them what’s really happening. We have not had good economic times, new jobs or career opportunities for students under this administration. After the victory in Wisconsin, maybe that’s the signal things will get back better in the election. But I must give UNLV the other side of the story.”
As fired up as Steve was over Obama’s speech, he was just as excited about his new $4 billion casino in Macau. I asked him if it was a safe bet, or did he have the slightest worry about investing the most money to date on one new luxury hotel.
“I have no worries at all about it. It’s a safe bet. We’re doing very well in Macau, and it’s very strong. I wouldn’t have done it if there wasn’t going to be a good return on the investment. The new property will be the best thing we’ve ever done.”
Steve says it will feature 500 gaming tables, 10 restaurants, a Las Vegas-styled nightclub from either the Wynn or Encore here and 120,000 square feet of retail space. Steve also confirmed that he’s talked with Cirque du Soleil founder and billionaire Guy Laliberte for new show ideas in the theater there, but no decision has been agreed to yet.
Vegas DeLuxe has previously reported that the new resort will be the shape of an X so that guests never have to walk far from the central area to their rooms. Steve also promises that it will have the largest water fountain show in the world, exceeding what he first created here at the Bellagio and what has been subsequently developed in Dubai.
Meantime, Steve and Andrea welcomed the star-studded VIP crowd to Mizumi after they walked along a “living red carpet” attached to a glamorous model’s couture dress. Gorgeous geisha girls with thigh-high-slit dresses had champagne, wine and cocktails awaiting guests. Fifty Las Vegas models in nearly identical black mini-dresses added to the vibrant mood.
Andrea’s son Nick Hissom, a model, recording artist and student at Penn State (Steve’s alma mater), was the center of attention and mixed and mingled with Paris Hilton (who was escorted into the restaurant by Jesse Waits), Cheryl Burke, Ashley Tisdale and Daniel Negreanu.
Steve christened the new restaurant with an impressive champagne saber-off ceremony, and the party got underway with Grammy-winning DJ Afrojack at the wheels of steel as chef Devin Hashimoto proved his culinary skills with a dizzying array of taste treats, sushi and sashimi surprises.
Among the Las Vegas VIPs in attendance: Hall of Fame boxing promoter Bob Arum and his wife Lovee, Keep Memory Alive’s Larry and Camille Ruvo, longtime Wynn attorney Jim Jimmerson and gaming executive Bill Weidner and his wife Lynn, chair of the Las Vegas Miss America committee. After the grand opening Mizumi festivities, stars and guests partied at the downstairs Tryst and Surrender Nightclub’s “Splash Dance” at Steve’s adjacent Encore.
“Hellcats” and “High School Musical” actress and singer Ashley waded into her luxury bungalow’s infinity pool, posting a photograph on Twitter of her holding up her pink, sheer fabric, plunging-neckline dress to cool off in the water. She also celebrated the news that she’s set to star in “Scary Movie 5” (the last one was released six years ago).
NBA player turned TV announcer and analyst Jalen Rose had his own cabana, too, and Paris was with pal Brandon Davis listening to her close friend Afrojack’s second set of the night (yes, friends, as they’re no longer dating, she told me). Guests at Tryst kicked off the first night of Wynn Music Week with Thomas Gold in the DJ booth in front of the 90-foot cascading waterfall.
Rising star chef Devin, who was raised in Hawaii, trained in Japan and taught classical French cuisine by Alex Stratta, says Mizumi introduces a taste of Japan, drawing its inspiration from timeless Japanese design motifs to complement his reimagined and seasonally focused approach to Japanese cuisine.
“The development of Mizumi has truly been one of the most exhilarating culinary experiences of my career to date,” Devin said. “I’m very excited and hope everyone will enjoy my new menu, which features classic and traditional dishes, along with my spin on contemporary Japanese cuisine, using classical French influences and seasonal ingredients.”
I fell in love with his Okonomiyaki pancake -- I’ve nicknamed it my favorite Japanese pizza; it is seafood perfection made with shrimp and scallops. You must try it! The menu at Mizumi is a reflection of Devin’s mastery of kaiseki, traditional skills and Japanese cooking techniques learned through studies and travels to Japan. The menu features classic entrees, sushi and sashimi, robatayaki selections prepared over Japanese charcoal grills and teppanyaki.
Check out his 72-hour braised American Wagyu short rib kakuni, with creamy satsuma potatoes, fava beans and shitake ragout and red wine miso sauce, plus the seafood Inaniwa pasta with scallops, king crab, octopus, roasted tomatoes, shiso, lime and uni butter sauce. Another favorite is dobin-mushi soup, with sea bass, shrimp, shimeji mushrooms, yuzu, mitsuba and bonito-kombu dashi.
The contemporary interiors were overseen by Steve’s top designer Roger Thomas, who used traditional Noh theater masks, embroidered obi sashes, hand-painted fans and other iconic Japanese design themes to pay homage to tradition. The floor-to-ceiling windows in the main dining room have been expanded to fuse the elegance of indoor dining with the beauty of outside waterfalls and tranquil Japanese gardens.
The elaborate garden and pond with koi was meticulously designed with vegetation and rockery characteristic of Japan. Central to this scene is exclusive seating that has truly earned the title of “the best seat in the house at the Wynn,” the “Floating Pagoda Table” situated over the pond in full view of the waterfall.
Steve told me: “I am so proud of what we created here with Mizumi. It’s beautiful, as beautiful as a piece of priceless art could be.”
He should know!
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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