The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2017

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26  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2017 SIN CITY SIPS O n an oven-like first-Friday eve- ning in Las Vegas, unrelenting winds sweep in from the desert in a way that bake one's eyeballs and elicit cravings for tasty cuisine (prefer- ably small plates) and tasty beverages (preferably from a blender). I can scratch both itches from the bar at the city's buzziest new restaurant, Sparrow + Wolf, a long-awaited next chapter from former Comme Ça corporate executive chef Brian Howard. Here, the opening cocktail menu established by local barman Cody Fredrickson is bookended by the requisite long, tall cooler (Model T) and the boozy showpiece made with multiple kinds of bitters (Have Knives Will Travel), as well as not one, but two frozen blended drinks (Lieutenant Dangle, German Slurpee), which do the necessary heavy lifting on a night like this. However, tonight's infernal gusts and Sparrow + Wolf aren't the only hot new things to blow into town. Locals joke wearily that Nevada's state flower is the traffic cone, but that's because ours is a city in constant flux. For evidence—and refreshment—just look at this year's crop of new watering holes. On the Strip, three shiny new baubles are attracting attention. Chef Mike Minor—formerly of Border Grill and his own TruckU BBQ food truck— is positively slaying it at Venezuelan celebrity chef Lorena Garcia's first Vegas venture, Chica in the Venetian, and his weekend brunch with sweet corn pancakes and tamarind guava coladas is a welcome addition. At Caesars Palace, The Otheroom is a smart brick-and-steel replacement for a tired La Salsa, and is located just steps from the Forum Shops valet. And if spectacle appeals, pony up $14 to watch a pair of dancing robots sorta, kinda, maybe, prepare very simple drinks at Tipsy Robot in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. (A word to the wise: Select a recipe that requires shaking, or your "show" will be brief and uneventful.) Just east of The Strip, MB Steak in Hard Rock Hotel is a two-story meatopia from the brothers Morton (Michael and David, scions of father Arnie Morton's eponymous empire) and all that is right about the modern steakhouse, with peek-a-boo wall slats, a classy bar and lounge and a beverage program overseen by veteran barman-cum-business partner Johnny O'Donnell. One block north, Bandito Latin Kitchen & Cantina is a bright, soaring, modern space with an agave-leaning menu by former Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits of Nevada mixologist and spirits educator Jair Bustillos, who spreads his wings as lead barman, bar manager and "Tequila Maestro." Meanwhile, in Downtown Las Vegas, industry members have established a proper rotation, add- ing beer-worshiping The Kitchen at Atomic and the 24-hour rum haven Starboard Tack to a growing list that already includes such stalwarts as The Sand Dollar Lounge, Herbs & Rye, Velveteen Rabbit, Downtown Cocktail Room, Mike Morey's Sip 'N' Tip and Oak & Ivy. In fact, by the time this issue drops, we should be adding another highly anticipated watering hole, Jammyland—a Jamaican-influenced rum bar by Allan Katz and Danielle Crouch of Temple Beverage Co. and Art Beyond the Glass—to this swanky Vegas cocktail party. Because here as much as every- where, change is the only constant. Mission Impossible The bar program at Bandito Latin Kitchen & Cantina is overseen by former Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits of Nevada mixologist and spirits educator Jair Bustillos. by Xania V. Woodman PH OT O B Y S AB I N O RR The Lieutenant Dangle from newly opened Sparrow + Wolf. DON YOUR DRINKING PANTS TO VISIT ALL OF LAS VEGAS' NEW HOT SPOTS PHOTO BY AMELINDA

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