Hold onto your cloth napkins. The New Year (and the remaining weeks of '09) is bringing a handful of new restaurants to Las Vegas. From an Italian wine bar with more than 10,000 bottles in stock to a cantina straight out of Mexico, here are a few new places to check out in 2010:
Executive Chef Mimmo Ferraro of Ferraro's restaurant will shut the doors on Flamingo and fire up Ferraro's Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar in late December. Say that five times fast. Tongue twisters aside, the Vegas staple's new location on Paradise Road across from the Hard Rock Hotel will take the same classic Italian cuisine the current restaurant has been known for since 1985 and add to it a wine bar boasting a 36-foot cellar packed with 10,000 Italian and California wines. Along with the extensive selection, Ferraro's will offer late-night and outdoor dining, as well as with daily live music and wine lockers for patrons who want to pack away select bottles for a rainy, or rather, a thirsty day.
Starting in January, you won't need a passport to visit Mexico. Occupying a 3,700-square-foot space in Mandalay Place, Hussong's Cantina will bring Baja to Vegas with casual dining, signature cocktails and plenty of tequila. Hussong's original location in Ensenada, Mexico, has been a landmark since 1892 (which makes it older than Las Vegas!) and served everyone from Marilyn Monroe to ambassadors to surf bums. How will it take to serving gamblers and tourists on the Las Vegas Strip? With a tequila shot, we presume.
When it comes to destination dining, Mandarin Oriental's Twist is sure to be at the top of plenty of foodies' to-eat lists. The new restaurant from Pierre Gagnaire is his first on American soil and showcases the Michelin three-star chef's signature fusion style, which marries classic French cooking with modern flavors, paired in surprising ways. Designed by Adam D. Tihany, the name behind restaurants like Per Se and Le Cirque 2000 in New York, the space itself is worthy of a visit with 300 illuminated globes mirroring the lights of the Las Vegas Strip below.
Don't call it a tapas bar. New Town Square addition Caña is a bocadillo restaurant, which means it serves "small bites" inspired by the cooking of Central and South America with drinks to match. "It literally translates to mean sugar cane," says owner Cory Harwell of the restaurant's name, "and it stems from my love of sugar-cane-based spirits." Cocktails employing Brazilian cachaca or Colombian aguardiente (both sugar-cane-based spirits) will play against a menu that explores the region's fusion cuisine and centers around a selection of nearly a dozen ceviches. Expect the citrus-cooked seafood varieties to include hamachi, bigeye tuna, scallops, crab, salmon and whatever else is fresh and available. Typically Asian ingredients like yuzu will be featured in the ceviches as well and celebrate what Harwell calls "the natural marriage" of Japanese and South American cuisine. Sounds like a delicious relationship.
One of more than a dozen eateries coming to Las Vegas with the December 16 opening of Aria at CityCenter, Sage introduces Chicago-based chef Shawn McClain to the Strip. McClain's three Chicago-area restaurants — Custom House, Green Zebra and Spring — specialize in artisanal meats, seasonal produce and fresh seafood, respectively, but at Sage the James Beard-winner will unleash all of his weapons at once. Take a tour of some of McClain's strengths at the new eatery with an emphasis on modern American flavor combinations and a hint of the Mediterranean.
Another chef making his Las Vegas debut is Masayoshi Takayama, known for his restaurant, Masa, in New York. While the 26-seat Masa is considered one of the world's most expensive restaurants — chef-selected dinners run $400-$600 per person — CityCenter's Bar Masa will feature the Japanese chef's much-lauded creations at a much lower price point. The Aria location includes two concepts by Takayama, a more casual space serving modern Japanese dishes and an upscale, intimate restaurant with a changing menu based on seasonal availability.