Las Vegas is on the cusp of an invasion of epic proportions. The coming onslaught isn’t from space aliens or even cicadas, but rather prominent New York City eating and drinking establishments. I had the chance earlier this summer to visit the Big Apple for a sneak preview of what’s to come to the Strip—and it’s delicious.
EATALY The Brobdingnagian, Mario Batali-backed supermarket and food court will be an interesting addition to the Strip, as its other domestic locations generally cater to locals. Arriving as a part of the Monte Carlo rebranding, Vegas Eataly will hopefully offer something akin to Sabbia, the Flatiron location’s seaside-inspired Italian rooftop restaurant and birrieria. If not, we should be able to count on a vegetable butcher—there is such a thing—and a variety of restaurants with dishes comprised of ingredients available from the market itself. That’s something to look forward to.
NOMAD RESTAURANT Simply put, NoMad should be an epic success—“should” only because tourists can be fickle. But it’s got everything going for it. Also set for the new Monte Carlo property, it’s helmed and co-owned by Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park and proudly possesses a Michelin star. The menu might not read exciting, but it couldn’t possibly prepare you for NoMad’s elevated shellfish platter offerings or what could be the best bird ever, an $89 roast chicken for two that will be perched atop top 10 lists. If any chicken is worth nearly $100, it’ll be this Peking duck-esque preparation with black truffles and foie gras piped beneath the skin. And the Coq-Tail, a duo of flowery but boozy concoctions sipped from metal straws protruding from large metal roosters, is ridiculously fun.
ZUMA While the third-floor space at the Cosmopolitan won’t be able to replicate the towering, multistory location in downtown Manhattan, this sushi-centric venue should also be a hit with the resort’s demographic in a space strewn with hard woods and stone. The see-and-be-seen crowd should love the shishito togarashi with an addictive sesame tofu dip and ebi no sumibiyaki (robata-grilled jumbo tiger shrimp) with yuzu pepper. In fact, the showcase robata will undoubtedly be an entertaining focal point of the Zuma experience, while sushi and sashimi presentations—some with freshly grated wasabi—will ease the loss of Blue Ribbon.
MOMOFUKU & MILK BAR Arguably the most anticipated NYC import is the David Chang and Christina Tosi concept opening downstairs from Zuma at Cosmo. In New York, a visit to Momofuku Ssäm Bar supplemented by dessert from Milk Bar only further stoked my interest through a meal rife with umami. A sampling of country ham, accompanied by Chang’s famous red-eye mayo made with instant coffee, is his ode to the Southern institution of cured meat, while a dish as simple as sardines on toast highlights the chef’s subtle hand with a potentially off-putting ingredient. Grilled asparagus with trout roe charmed, while a whole boneless porgy showcased the restaurant’s Asian side. And Milk Bar’s Crack Pie was as addictive as the name suggests, a salty-sweet ending to a great meal and even greater weekend.