Au Revoir, Alex

French dining establishment goes dark

Wynn Las Vegas shocked the world recently with news that their signature gourmet restaurant, Alex, will be closing Jan. 15.

What made Alex significant is not just the two-Michelin-star designation, or the Grand Award for its wine list from Wine Spectator. For aficionados of fine dining, the landmark service, décor and artistry of chef Alex Stratta set the bar almost impossibly high in this city of fine dining establishments.

Wynn representatives were unavailable for comment, beyond the fact that the chef will still be at the helm of Stratta, their elegant, casual Italian restaurant located across from the Wynn poker room.

Stratta is a personal favorite of Steve Wynn; in 1999 he hired him to open Renoir, the gourmet restaurant at The Mirage, and brought him to his new hotel when it opened almost six years ago. Alex, one of the Strip’s most posh eateries, is slated to become a party and special events venue, probably for high-rollers.

What this means to fine dining cannot be dismissed. Do people anywhere these days want to spend hours at the table in formal settings, eating dishes that require consummate skill to conceive and plate? Maybe not. Hubert Keller recently converted his formal French restaurant, Fleur de Lys, into Fleur, a 21st-century small-plates and cocktail restaurant. And other top French chefs, like Daniel Boulud and Laurent Tourondel, are concentrating their energy on burgers.

Whichever path you decide to tread, Mr. Stratta, we wish you well and we’ll miss the foie gras.

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