Chef David Middleton spent years in high-end Strip kitchens including Scarpetta, Alex and David Burke before taking the executive chef position at Marche Bacchus in late 2011 and elevating one of the city’s top neighborhood restaurants into something even greater. Now Middleton is on his way back to Las Vegas Boulevard to cook at Daniel Boulud’s upcoming restaurant at the Venetian. Marche Bacchus co-owner Rhonda Wyatt confirmed Middleton’s last day at the charming Desert Shores bistro is January 18. Until a replacement is hired, consulting chef Alex Stratta—the local legend who just moved back to Las Vegas after working at Scarpetta in Los Angeles—is running the show. Stratta has been consulting with Marche Bacchus for three years and will continue to collaborate with the restaurant after a new chef is hired, Wyatt said.
Big changes at the recently opened Downtown Grand: The casino and hotel has stolen Todd Harrington away from Michel Richard’s Central at Caesars Palace to serve as assistant executive chef. Harrington will oversee a food and beverage program still in its infancy. The Grand also opened another dining venue: The Commissary, a food court-ish concept located across Third Street from the Mob Bar, is dishing up casual cuisine with Latin flair created by the Richard Sandoval Group. Sandoval is the chef and restaurateur who helped create Tacos & Tequila at Luxor and the late, great Isla at Treasure Island.
Todd English’s Olives at Bellagio isn’t going anywhere after all. After an October announcement that Olives, one of the original restaurants at the iconic 15-year-old Strip resort, would be converted into a new concept not associated with English, MGM Resorts and English have reconsidered and decided to renew their partnership. “Olives at Bellagio is one of my first restaurants,” English said in a statement. “The restaurant and its staff have a special place in my heart, but we could not have reached this level of success and longevity had it not been for the support of Bellagio’s food and beverage team and MGM’s management.”
Two new ethnic restaurants have opened within two big casinos. Hecho En Vegas, specializing in Sonoran cuisine, is open for business at MGM Grand in the space formerly occupied by Diego. The remodeled 350-seat cantina is a partnership with the Flores family, restaurateurs known for Arizona’s El Charro Café. The menu includes hand-made tamales, street tacos, enchiladas banderas with beef, chicken and shrimp, and the half-pound Angus beef Sonoran dog. Off the Strip at the M Resort, the contemporary Asian restaurant Jayde Fuzion is now open, helmed by Food Network show Restaurant Express winner Seonkyoung Longest. Located in the space previously occupied by Marinelli’s, Jayde Fuzion includes a sushi bar and a private dining room overlooking the resort’s pool and serves a selection of dim sum, tempura, noodles, sashimi and nigiri. The chef’s signature dishes include grilled pork belly lettuce wraps, five-spice duck sliders and Korean street tacos.