Of all the Strip casino resorts with tenure of a decade or more under their belt, Mandalay Bay (opened in 1999) is probably most in need of some food change (though New York-New York also jumps to mind). Mandalay's restaurant lineup—still very strong with Aureole, Fleur, Mix, RM Seafood, Border Grill and others—could use some new energy. It’s coming in December.
The Light Group is planning to redefine Mandalay Bay’s culinary scene by revamping three restaurant spaces. These are the first of many changes coming up at the huge south Strip resort; TheHotel at Mandalay Bay will transition into the Delano in 2014, and next year, Cirque du Soleil will launch its new Michael Jackson-themed show and operate a nightclub where Rumjungle once ruled.
Red Square, Red White and Blue, and China Grill, all located near each other at the southwestern edge of Mandalay’s casino, will all close soon and get handed over to Light. Red Square will keep its name and ambiguously Russian theme and relaunch in December focusing on dinner and cocktails. Light’s corporate executive chef Brian Massie is planning contemporary American dishes infused with Russian influence, such as a twist on Chicken Kiev with bacon Brussels sprouts. They’ll be keeping the caviar, vodka vault, and famous frozen Ice Bar.
In January, Red White and Blue will become Citizens Kitchen & Bar, a 24-hour casual American bistro specializing in comfort food. The space will be remodeled by Munge Leung—the design firm that turned Mirage’s Jet nightclub into 1 OAK—and the menu renovation will include a full service bar and vast beer selection, favorite breakfasts, and home-style fare like fried chicken and bacon-wrapped meatloaf. Live music is also part of the plan at Citizens.
Official details for the China Grill space have yet to be announced, but it is widely rumored that a new Asian concept under chef Akira Back will debut there next year. Light’s current Vegas portfolio includes Back’s Japanese restaurant Yellowtail at Bellagio, as well as restaurants Fix, Brand, Stack and Diablo’s Cantina, and night and daylife venues Liquid, Bare, 1 OAK, Haze, the Bank, Lily Bar & Lounge, Gold Lounge, the Deuce Lounge and Revolution Lounge.