Summer seems to be heating up more than just the asphalt in Las Vegas. Some of the biggest names in dining all have restaurant openings planned for the summer and fall seasons on the Strip. Think of names such as Michael Mina, Shawn McClain and Akira Back, plus, Forbes Travel Guide Tastemakers Tom Colicchio and Rick Moonen. Here’s a look at the five of the most anticipated openings this summer along with two on the distant horizon from Mario Batali and Tastemaker Joe Bastianich, and Buddy Valastro.
Recently opened on June 18, Michael Mina brings a more casual gastropub into the mix at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. You’ll find a huge list of beers and cocktails to go along with the pub fare that includes a lobster corn dog, peanut butter crunch burger and crab Louie deviled eggs. Mina named the restaurant for the year Pilsner beer was invented and as a tip of the hat to the 24 varieties on tap and 60 ales, pilsners, stouts and lagers guests can order in flights. The eatery’s stone mosaic floors, vintage print wallpapers, plaid upholstery and butcher block tables give this space a relaxed, pub feel.
Rx Boiler Room
Top Chef Masters contender Rick Moonen shut down his RM Seafood spot upstairs at Mandalay Bay back in May for a quick turnaround with Rx Boiler Room, which opened on July 5. The steampunk-influenced restaurant and Jules Verne- and H.G. Wells-inspired lounge is decked out in industrialism décor from the 19th century Victorian era, including exposed brick walls and tufted leather furniture. Expect to find an alchemist’s playground — complete with a laboratory vibe of cogs, gears and a glass display of beakers and flasks — where Moonen shows off comfort dishes such as steak-n-eggs (Wagyu beef tartare with miso marinated yolk, capers and truffles) or chicken pot pie nuggets paired with a drink menu to match.
Shawn McClain, the James Beard Award-winning chef from Chicago, opened his second restaurant at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star ARIA Resort & Casino on July 4 with FIVE50 Pizza Bar. Unlike Sage’s more contemporary American cuisine, the new kitchen will serve McClain’s own twist on East Coast and Sicilian-style pizzas (you can either make your own or choose from eight selections such as truffle or margherita) paired with craft beers. The name not only pays tribute to the temperature at which the pizza is cooked, but the time when happy hour starts, too.
Coming to Mandalay Bay at the end of July, Akira Back of the Four-Star Bellagio’s Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge will open Kumi, a Japanese-inspired restaurant with a Korean twist. Here, Back will use some of his Korean background mixed with Japanese flair for menu items such as Kobe beef tacos and Jidori chicken, while sushi chef Toshiyuki Motoyama will bring Peruvian, Latin, Thai and other Asian influences to the sushi bar. Creative touches to the 10,000-square-foot space include a bar with traditional Japanese symmetrical patterns in shades of cobalt blue and white, as well as Japanese jewelry cases to showcase beverages. Also expect unique material touches of wound rope, salvaged wood counters and authentic kimono fabric.
Top Chef star Tom Colicchio is about to bring his third restaurant to Las Vegas (in addition to Craftsteak and ‘Wichcraft) — this time a steakhouse at The Mirage. The 220-seat restaurant — with a 100-foot atrium design — plans to prepare all of the menu’s meat over an open flame, whether via wood-burning ovens or charcoal grills. Expect the establishment to incorporate natural materials such as plywood to go along with the aroma of a campfire. Heritage is looking at an August opening.
B&B Burger & Beer
Coming to Four-Star The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in September, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich will team up again (the duo’s other restaurants include Babbo Ristorante & Enoteca and Del Posto, among others) to bring their casual concept spot, B&B Burger & Beer. The 120-seat dining room will feature bright colors and more than 20 televisions for sports fans. Outside, you can expect a 2,000-square-foot outdoor, 100-seat patio facing Las Vegas Boulevard for optimal views. You’ll discover local ingredients and a brew-driven beverage menu (with beer hailing from Nevada and Southern California) along with burgers made from Carnevino’s American beef. You will be able to choose from small bites such as fried oysters and chicken wings, and sweet treats that will include shakes with flavors such as bourbon cherry and Nutella.
Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro is about to make his first restaurant foray with Buddy V’s, coming to Four-Star The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino this fall. Expect to find new takes on Italian-American classics, as well as Valastro family favorites such as Sunday gravy, steak pizzaiola and Lisa’s linguine and clams with lobster. Valastro won’t forget the desserts when he offers up zeppole (deep-fried dough balls), cannolis and his lobster tail pastry.
Photos Courtesy of Anthony Mair and La Comida