Although there are plenty of ways to be drawn in to the Las Vegas vortex without standing at a craps table or sitting in front of a slot machine, none will suck you in like these new arrivals. The latest must-dos inhabiting the Vegas landscape will entertain everyone from space geeks and foodies to newbies and fantasy seekers.
Food for Thought
Vegas’ newest hot spots marinate
Smack in the middle of downtown Las Vegas’ Arts District, JammyLand Cocktail Bar and Reggae Kitchen brings a taste of the islands to Sin City with chicken curry, 24-hour jerk wings, smoke-braised oxtail, batata and black pepper shrimp porridge. As unique as finding Jamaican cuisine in the middle of the Mojave is the bar’s drink menu. Dubbed First Mix Tape, the summer cocktail list matches each of its 12 cocktails with a song that shares its country of origin and spirit.
One cuisine that has never found a home on the Strip has finally nestled in at The Palazzo’s Grand Canal Shoppes. In true Las Vegas fashion, the debut of Peruvian cuisine from chef Richard Zarate will delight diners with its artful take. With the opening of his restaurant Once (pronounced ohn-seh), Zarate fuses the rustic staples of Peruvian food with Japanese influences, calling it Peruvian Nikkei. Served from the grill and as small and shared plates, delicacies of big-eye tuna sashimi with black truffle and sautéed lobster with orecchiette and aji ginger are notable dishes.
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Mordeo Boutique Wine Bar is introducing a new flavor to Chinatown. Known for his Vietnamese eateries District One and Le Pho, chef Khai Vu is venturing out of his comfort zone to serve Spanish dishes with a Japanese flair at Mordeo, which is Latin for “bite.” Not only is the standard Latin fare of charcuterie and cheese boards and ceviche here, but there
is also a selection of 80 wines.
A dearth of Italian food has been plaguing Downtown Las Vegas’ Arts District. Surprisingly, an Italian restaurant — a staple of most neighborhoods — has only just landed in this one. Enter Esther’s Kitchen, brought by chef James Trees, who has no shortage of food cred, having worked in the kitchens of Gordon Ramsay, Michael Mina and Eric Ripert. Named for Trees’ great aunt, Esther’s Kitchen is the kind of spot where foodies can gather and break the house-made sourdough levain bread, which can be ordered with anchovy garlic butter, before noshing on menu choices of antipasti, pizza and freshly made pasta.
Although the creators of Apex Social Club describe it as an open-air boutique nightclub, a more apt description is a room with a view.
Located on the 55th floor of the Palms Casino & Resort, Apex offers not only panoramic views of the city in a sweeping visual but also four one-of-a-kind 3-D sculptures from artist Dustin Yellin’s “Psychogeographies” series. The 8,000-square-foot space also moves seamlessly from indoor to outdoor for a movable party of either crafted cocktails or bottle service to help satisfy your thirst.
MGM has added the sumptuous glamour of the Tang Dynasty to its portfolio of cuisine hot spots at The District. It’s quite a coup for MGM to bring China Tang Las Vegas into its fold because it marks the entry of the only one in the Western hemisphere. The restaurant, internationally renowned for its dim sum and authentic Chinese cuisine, offers signature dishes like Australian wagyu beef with black truffle and wild mushrooms served in a clay pot and Beijing roasted duck carved tableside. But consider the China Tang experience as one of a dinner and a show, with performances by both a noodle puller and a Chinese singer. (Mgmgrand.com/en/restaurants/china-tang.html)
Vegas residencies expand to include some of the world’s most renowned acts.
The butterfly herself has fluttered back to the
desert for her newest residency, “The Butterfly Returns.” As diva Mariah Carey begins her fourth stint in Las Vegas, it’s clear she can’t get enough of the town and it can’t get enough of her. Starting last month and continuing into September, Carey’s show will be performed at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Kicking off the hits extravaganza, Carey begins her show appropriately enough with “Fly Away” and works her way through a megahit parade of her No. 1 chart toppers, including “Vision of Love,” “Emotions,” “Hero” and “We Belong Together.”
It’s a “Hella Good” concert. Not only does Gwen Stefani bring a songbook of smash hits to her headlining residency, “Gwen Stefani — Just a Girl,” at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino but also fashion changes worthy of a “Rich Girl.” Stefani takes fans through her compendium of chart busters from both her No Doubt tenure and her solo career, including everything from “Simple Kind of Life” to “Make Me Like You.” Her 25-show residency, with select dates in December, February and March, also includes a nod to Blondie’s “The Tide Is High” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella.”
Queen is spreading its epic brand of bohemian rhapsody via “the Crown Jewels” limited engagement at Park Theater at Park MGM (formerly Monte Carlo Casino & Hotel) this September. Queen and Adam Lambert started a new era of the band in 2012 and have since toured the world. No longer “Under Pressure,” Queen’s catalogue of classic songs will rock you, from “I Want It All” to “Another One Bites the Dust.” You can count on glitter galore, big power chords, drum solos and the flamboyance of rock ’n’ roll royalty.
Pop-punk band Blink-182 started its first-ever residency, “Kings of the Weekend,” at Pearl Concert Theatre at the Palms Casino Hotel on Memorial Day weekend. Named for a song from the band’s most recent album, “California,” the Vegas residency of Travis Barker, Mark Hoppus and Matt Skiba will continue with more dates in October and November. The trio’s late ’90s hits of “All the Small Things,” “What’s My Age Again?” and “Adam’s Song” from the group’s third album, “Enema of the State,” catapulted the band to stardom and make the most popular sing-alongs of the show.
Interactive events and attractions hit the City of Sin.
The forces from a galaxy far, far away have landed at the Venetian|Palazzo’s Grand Canal Shoppes, and the rebellion needs your help. Using the most cutting-edge virtual reality technology, “Star wars: secrets of the empire” will transport teams of four into the “Star Wars” universe, where they will take in an all-sensory experience. Attendees are charged with a mission to recover Imperial intelligence and discover secrets of the Empire along the way, and there will be Stormtrooper battles and help from familiar “Star Wars” characters to fight for escape — the world’s survival depends on it.
Some would describe summertime in Las Vegas as being immersed in Hell’s Kitchen, but the real deal has recently arrived in the form of chef Gordon Ramsay’s newest restaurant, located at Caesars Palace. Almost as if it were plucked from the back lot of a Hollywood studio, Gordon Ramsay’s first-ever Hell’s Kitchen restaurant is a replica of the television show’s studio set, with its iconic pitchforks on display as well as signature menu items of Beef Wellington and Sticky Toffee Pudding. To the delight of “Hell’s Kitchen” fans, season 17 winner Michelle Tribble is the new head chef and available for those must-have selfies. And Tribble is happy to give fans a head start to their final destination with a plate of chef Ramsay’s signature Eggs in Purgatory.
By 2019, ESPN estimates that 427 million people worldwide will be watching e-sports. With that kind of action, it makes sense that the burgeoning sport of watching other people play video games would land squarely in the gaming capital of the world. E-sports fanatics have been flocking to the Luxor Hotel & Casino to hang out in the casino’s newly opened 30,000-square-foot multilevel Esports Arena to take in online games, along with first-person shooter and strategy card games via a 50-foot LED video wall or PC console stations. From the arena’s classic video game bar, with retro arcade-style games to a menu created by chef José Andrés specifically for gamers, there’s something for everyone.
Hurtling to a new frontier where no one has gone before could best describe The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ new cabaret show, “Opium.” Set aboard a spaceship, all the wackiness of a Spiegelworld production (think “Absinthe” and “Vegas Noturne”) is in full throttle as showgoers find themselves whizzing through space on the Orbital People Mover 4.2, comically being transported from Uranus to Vegas. With the zany trip overseen by the ever-so-cleverly named crew of Captain Ann Tennille and Lieutenant Lou Tenant, spoofiness ensues with a show full of jugglers, acrobats, a sword swallower, a hula hoop extraordinaire, raunchy comedy and an Abba-esque celebrity passenger aptly called Dusty Moonboots. There’s also space-appropriate music befitting such a farce, including “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” and “Shining Star.”