Six scrumptious slices of Vegas Uncork’d 2013

Beef, beer and celeb chefs galore

Francois Payard keeps it sweet during a Vegas Uncork’d Master Series Dinner at Caesars Palace.
Photo: Isaac Brekken for Bon Appetit

STEAK TO START The kitchen team at Old Homestead Steakhouse went all out for its Vegas Uncork’d Master Series Dinner Thursday night at Caesars Palace, with owner Greg Sherry entertaining his happy guests while chef Michael Gill unleashed classic menu favorites like an oversized chilled seafood cocktail and the salami and bacon-laced “kitchen sink” salad. A hearty course of seared scallops with short rib ravioli and mushroom puree could have satisfied by itself, but it was only the precursor to a titanic choice of steaks. Some embraced a full-pound bone-in filet mignon, the perfect combo of outer char and juicy, velvety texture, while others bit off more than they could chew with a 24-ounce, flavor-packed bone-in New York strip. On Uncork’s opening night, this massive meal personified the weekend fest’s indulgent side. -Brock Radke

AMUSE INDEED The French term amuse bouche translates to “entertains the mouth,” a nibble meant to welcome diners and set the tone for what’s to come. Settling in for a five-course Vegas Uncork’d Master Series Dinner at Guy Savoy on Thursday, I had no idea that my favorite bite would come in the first 10 minutes and be served on a toothpick. (An elegant silver toothpick, of course; this is Guy Savoy.) Which is not to say the rest of the meal was less than stellar. We ate lobster, crab and beets in cold seawater steam, silky turbot with a seafood sabayon, the chef’s classic artichoke and black truffle soup, and a hearty serving of roasted duck with fragrant morels and pea puree. But the flavor that stuck with me all weekend was a one-bite sandwich of cured foie gras and black truffle vinaigrette on toasted country bread that packed just the right balance of richness and punch. Chef Savoy calls it the French Club. I call it damn delicious. –Sarah Feldberg

Gordon Ramsay and Guy Savoy do the red carpet at the Vegas Uncork'd Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace.

Gordon Ramsay and Guy Savoy do the red carpet at the Vegas Uncork'd Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace.

PUB PREVIEW If Michael Mina wasn’t the star of this year’s Uncork’d, he was certainly in the spotlight. The mild-mannered chef kicked things off on Thursday with the traditional sabering of a bottle of Mionetto prosecco, and he seemed to pop up at many other events. On Friday, he was at the MGM pool providing a sneak peek of Pub 1842, a gastropub concept coming to the resort this summer. Frothy samples of beers that will be featured among the pub’s 30 taps included Innis & Gunn Canadian Cherrywood Pale Ale, Firestone Union Jack IPA, North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner and Czehvar Lager. They were all tasty options for washing down crispy fried corn dogs, crab-topped deviled eggs and a variety of sliders grilled poolside. -BR

THE MAIN EVENT Pristine weather served as a backdrop for the grandiose Grand Tasting, the Uncork’d showcase event at the Caesars Palace pool. A murderer’s row of restaurants was deluged with what seemed to be the event’s largest crowd to date. Local favorite Raku did not disappoint, its portable robata grill steadily serving serpentine lines with chef Mitsuo Endo’s infamous marinated beef tendon. Any surprises this year? If the superlative sausage and pepperoni calzone served by Block 16’s Flour and Barley booth is indicative of what’s to come, the Linq will have a star. There was also a Graham Elliott Bowles sighting, leading to speculation that the Yelp-hating Chicago maestro may grace the Valley with his presence. One can only hope. -Jim Begley

Wagyu broth ramen with crispy beef tendon at Stripsteak's Japanese beef and whiskey event.

Wagyu broth ramen with crispy beef tendon at Stripsteak's Japanese beef and whiskey event.

SUPREME JAPANESE On Saturday, Mina’s Stripsteak hosted an event of culinary carnage with three courses of Japanese wagyu beef served alongside Japanese whisky pairings. Chefs Gerald Chin and Gary FX Lamorte began the onslaught with a trio of lightly seared wagyu tataki alongside a citrusy Nikka cocktail. A wagyu ramen garnished with crispy tendon followed, paired with a cherry-forward riff on the classic Blood and Sand. Then came the killing blow—a robust serving of grilled wagyu with a charred miso crust served atop ginger fried rice. Guests hardly had any room to spare for a decadent dessert of beignets served aside a charred Japanese whisky pot de crème. Well played sirs, well played. -JB

BEER IN THE AFTERNOON Saturday afternoon, Mandalay Bay’s Mizuya—that place with the sushi bar near the casino floor better known for ’80s metal cover bands—was transformed into an Alsatian beer garden replete with sausages, terrines, a suckling pig and an overabundant amount of brews. David Walker of Firestone Walker served his impeccable Reserve from a firkin, while local brewing favorite Big Dog’s offered up the sublime Maker’s Mark barrel-aged Sled Dog Imperial Stout, the oaky richness of the latter the perfect complement to the smoky, fatty pig cheek goodness just awaiting my arrival. Thanks beer! -JB

Tags: Dining
Photo of Jim Begley

Jim Begley

Jim Begley is an avid food lover who began writing about his Las Vegas dining adventures to defray his obscene ...

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Photo of Sarah Feldberg

Sarah Feldberg

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Photo of Brock Radke

Brock is an award-winning writer and reporter who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently ...

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