I’m just going to put this out there: Rose. Rabbit. Lie. is a game changer. In a town where successful restaurant ideas tend to multiply incessantly—gourmet burger joints, anyone?—it’s nice to imagine our future will hold more bold venues like RRL.
But it’s hard to imagine what that future would look like; RRL is deceptively indescribable. It’s certainly an experience, one where food and drink are intertwined with both the Vegas Nocturne show and the venue itself. And that leads to one of the more interesting aspects of RRL: The when is as important as the where.
Your experience changes based on time and place; no two visits are ever the same, and random encounters with entertainment are plentiful. Here’s a hint: Try to get a reservation for dinner either in the study prior to the first canto—say 7:15 p.m., so you can catch the processional—or in the swimming pool for around 8:15 after drinks in the music room. Trust me on this.
Since drinking and dining spaces make up a majority of the labyrinth of rooms, neither is an afterthought. The best compliment I can give RRL is that even without the show as a backdrop, it’s worth a visit. But let’s be honest, dinner is so much better with an armonica (Google it), tap dancers and reverse stripteases. Maybe not all at once.
Libations are a must, the most impressive of which can be found in the study. I’m particularly fond of the smoky Salt of the Earth, a mezcal and tequila-based cocktail served in a tiki mug and interweaving cucumber and chipotle flavors, and the practically indescribable Goa Way. But stay on alert: These painstakingly crafted drinks come with an equally impressive price tag ($18). If you consider it part of admission to a show with Leroy and Lafayette Lewis-Mead, tap-dancing brothers with an act as mesmerizing as any on the Strip, or the comedic duo of Piff the Magic Dragon and his chihuahua Mr. Piffles, it’s infinitely more tolerable.
You can navigate the menu without going overboard if you can just steer clear of ordering a kilo of caviar. ($5,054. Seriously.) Instead, go for some piping hot gougères ($6), cheese-stuffed baked pastry dough balls. These truffle-laden gems are awesomely addictive.
I applaud RRL for reviving my childhood favorite Waldorf salad ($9), but this bland rendition is best forgotten. I never ate seafood growing up, so oysters Rockefeller ($4.50 each) hold no nostalgic value; instead, they’re a great hint at what would’ve been a fabulously misspent New England youth. Just be careful not to eat the decorative rock salt. I’ve seen it happen.
Surprisingly, RRL’s most overwhelming success is its pasta. If it were solely an Italian restaurant, it would deserve discussion among the Strip’s elite. The duck confit pasta ($14) is an ode to satisfying richness with Parmesan cream sauce, while the tubular uni perciatelli ($34) is unreal. Bathed in “umami butter” and rife with king crab, it’s as over-the-top as RRL itself. Piff wouldn’t want it any other way.
Rose. Rabbit. Lie. Cosmopolitan, 698-7441. Wednesday-Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-midnight or close.