[Chef Talk]

Quality is the key to longevity for chef Wes Kendrick

Table 34 chef and owner Wes Kendrick focuses on pleasing regulars and impressing first-time diners.
Photo: Steve Marcus

On the evolution of his restaurant, Table 34, now more than 10 years old: “When I first came to Las Vegas to open Wild Sage Cafe in 1999, we had to skew the menu to what the clientele wanted then. I came out of Southern California, where in the late ’80s and ’90s it was all about small portions and tight plates, and got here and people still wanted prime rib and baked potatoes and shrimp cocktail. We actually had that on the menu. But as time has gone by, it has come back to what I was accustomed to ... but I still do some large-scale entrées, like a rack of lamb for two. I never want someone to come in and feel like they didn’t get enough, or didn’t get what they paid for.”

On keeping favorites on the menu: “We do a roasted half duckling with a cherry-port reduction, and I’ve had people tell me, ‘If you ever stop doing this duck, I’m gonna hunt you down.’ Also, the free-range chicken with apple-sage stuffing, I used to change that dish or lose it altogether in the summer because those are such fall flavors. But I have customers that would freak out without it, so it’s a permanent fixture.”

On longevity: “We’ve always been a family-friendly, comfortable place to dine, and now we’ve been around long enough that the kids in those families are coming back, grown up, bringing in their dates. That’s special. It’s pretty cool to see that kind of evolution going on around here.”

On another 10 years of Table 34: “Wow. That’s a long way away. There’s no telling. But we’re not much for trying to keep up with trends or go where the wind blows. We stick to our philosophy of sourcing the best ingredients we can, and quality, quality, quality—don’t cut corners.”

Table 34 600 E. Warm Springs Road #180, 702-263-0034. Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday, 5-9:30 p.m.

Tags: Dining, Food
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