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[Chef Talk]

Chef Jim Oppat is building Las Vegas food foundations at the D

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Chef Jim Oppat with the Joe Vicari restaurant group has established both the Andiamo Steakhouse and the D Grill at the D in Downtown Las Vegas.

Corporate executive chef Jim Oppat has been with the Joe Vicari restaurant group for seven years, and the company has doubled in size during that time. That expansion has included the opening of Andiamo Steakhouse at the D, where the Detroit-based company also operates D Grill, a 24-hour restaurant.

“For the first three weeks, we didn’t breathe fresh air,” Oppat says of opening the restaurants in Las Vegas. “We never left the casino. It was work from 8 a.m. until three in the morning.” The Andiamo operation includes butchering all meat in house and working with some very specific vendors. “Detroit and Vegas are not the same, but we are dedicated to making sure the food and service is on par with the level of excellence we’ve already established. We operate our business kind of like an old-world restaurant, preparing everything fresh from scratch every day, hand-trimming every steak. We believe in that.”

One of the little details that stands out at Andiamo is the signature “zip” steak sauce. “It’s a home run, very intensely flavored,” Oppat says of the reduced veal stock and whipped whole butter concoction. “It may be new to Vegas, but it’s really popular in Detroit. Everybody knows what zip sauce is there, and others have tried to copy it. But nothing beats the real deal.”

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Brock Radke is editor at Industry Weekly and associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly. His focus at both publications is ...

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