The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2018

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Page 58 of 124

WHERE WE'RE 58  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2018 HOTO COURTESY OF EST PRIME STEAKHOUSE The Rise of Fine Hotel Dining PHOTO COURTESY OF NOMAD At NoMad in New York and Los Angeles, a classic dish of roasted chicken with foie gras is basted in butter and served two different ways. The Ultimate Seafood Tower at EST. Prime Steakhouse at the Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel Hotel features caviar, oysters, lobster, crab legs, uni, and prawns. by Merrill Shindler S ooner or later, even adventurous diners have to eat at hotels. In Europe, there's a grand tradition of hotel dining; some of the world's most iconic restaurants are found in venerable hostelries from London, Paris, Venice, Barcelona, and Berlin to Edinburgh, where Number One at the Balmoral Castle has had a Michelin star for the past 15 years. With 400 selections of single-malt Scotch, it can get you through even the coldest Scottish days. By contrast, hotel dining in the U.S. has often meant generic buffet break- fasts where quantity far outweighs quality or room-service meals that taste of sadness and desperation (no wonder the windows don't open). But there are exceptions: Take Las Vegas, where world-class chefs offer their names as clickbait for tourists in need of a break from gambling losses. Thus, we have Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand, and é by José Andrés at The Cosmopolitan, where Andrés' wondrous tapas- and-paella palace, Jaleo, also awaits. Nobu Matsuhisa has a restaurant both at the Hard Rock and in his own hotel attached to Caesars. Wolfgang Puck is here too, along with Tom Colicchio, Emeril Lagasse, Gordon Ramsay, Bobby Flay, and Guy Fieri, whose overwrought cooking style may reflect the Vegas vibe best: It might kill you, but you'd die happy. This push to keep diners in-house has spread to hotels nationwide as well. Daniel Humm of New York's three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park has NoMad in New York and a new location in Los Angeles. James Beard Award winner Eric Ziebold runs CityZen at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C. The "founding father of New World cuisine," Norman Van Aken, over- sees Norman's at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, in Florida. Andrés also has Bazaar at the SLS Beverly Hills. These big-name chefs are inspiring others to up their game. The newly- opened Sea Level at Shade hotel in Redondo Beach, California, offers opal basil– and tamarind-glazed barramundi or pan-roasted tai snapper with roasted sunchokes to diners watching beachgoers roll by on their skate- boards. Even more unexpected is the sumptuous EST. Prime Steakhouse in the Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel Hotel—an unwieldy name for an upscale property in the heart of an Asian enclave filled with dim sum and seafood palaces. Here, businesspeople gather in groups at the large chef's table to partake in the $123 Ultimate Seafood Tower for four (or $68 for two) and 34-ounce wagyu tomahawk rib eyes that look like weapons of war. Served on a large wooden board and sliced tableside with exceptional skill, they can be "enhanced" with add-ons ranging from lobster tail to hand-shaved black truffles. Robots may serve as bellboys in the hotel lobby, but at EST., real people cook real food—for the really well-heeled.

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