The dining room is a stunner, elegant and upbeat with beautiful glowing baubles and faux skylights drawing eyes upward. There’s a cool, contemporary metal-and-glass bar with inviting green leather stools. If it’s possible for a restaurant to feel busy and bustling with almost no people inside, this is the place.
But the food is why we’re excited to check out DB Brasserie, Daniel Boulud’s return to Las Vegas, opening on April 24 at the Venetian. One of the most revered chefs in America, Boulud—author of eight cookbooks, recipient of multiple James Beard Foundation awards and chef-owner of a variety of refined, acclaimed restaurants in New York City—first appeared on the Strip with an eponymous brasserie at Wynn, from 2005 to 2010.
“Coming back to Vegas is a big deal for him and for me, and for the Strip. He’s like a little kid, how happy and excited he is, and it’s very, very inspiring,” says the new restaurant’s executive chef, David Middleton, who’s fulfilling a comeback of his own. He returns to the Strip, where he served under Alex Stratta, David Burke and Scott Conant, after a successful stint as chef at Marche Bacchus. “It’s a good fit for both Daniel and I, because I already have an idea of what he’s looking for, because I was trained by the guy he trained.”
Middleton is now working with his mentor’s mentor. Stratta cut his teeth with Boulud at Le Cirque in New York two decades ago.
Despite Boulud’s dedication to the classics, Middleton says DB Brasserie at Venetian will be more contemporary. As evidence, he served a sneak peek taste of a duo of lamb: Tunisian-spiced sausage and an Australian lamb chop with Tunisian couscous, peppers tagine, lemon-braised spinach with chickpeas and minted yogurt. The flavors were bright and bold, and certainly nothing you’re used to eating at a predominantly French restaurant. “You’re going to find some nice surprises you’re not going to get at most traditional brasseries,” Middleton says.
You’ll also find a duo of smoked fish rilletes, salmon and sable, with crème fraîche-filled, smoked caviar-topped pommes dauphine; hamachi crudo with harissa oil and eggplant chips; and Middleton’s favorite dish on the opening menu, lemon-saffron linguine with clams, shrimp and shaved bottarga. DB Brasserie will also pull some beloved dishes from other Boulud restaurants, like the lamb flatbread from the Mediterranean-focused Boulud Sud and the Frenchie burger (with confit pork belly, tomato-onion compote and morbier cheese) from DBGB Kitchen & Bar.
DB Brasserie will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.