Menu Envy

A seat at Light Group’s dinner series is covetable; collect them all!

Not that anyone in Vegas ever really needs a reason to drop a few hundred on a killer meal and a standout bottle, but that elusive sense of occasion can be the difference between taking on the town and getting takeout.

Each quarter—and on holidays and special events—Light Group executive chef Brian Massie and director of restaurant marketing Mickey Ward team up with beverage sponsors to create unique pairing experiences. Sometimes the inspiration begins with the food; other times the genesis is in the bottle. Dog Fish Head beer, Robert Mondavi Winery, Jack Daniels, Plymouth Gin and even Red Bull have all been featured since the series began in the fall of 2009 with a tequila pairing at Brand.

“With our pairing dinners, guests get a remarkable culinary experience from beginning to end. Chef Brian creates a one-of-a-kind menu for each event to go with the theme using his signature style of bold-yet-playful dishes,” Ward says. “Some of our pairing dinners have been themed around a type of beverage rather than focusing on one specific brand, such as the Summer Beer Fest dinner at Fix, Oktoberfest beer dinner at Stack and pinot noir dinner at Fix.”

Encouraging for the New Year, the upcoming lineup for Light Group’s pairing dinner series ( should solve your all-dressed-up-with-nowhere-to-indulge blues. Valentine’s Day will be celebrated early with themed prix fix menus available starting Feb. 11: Dinner at Brand will center on strawberries, at Union on cherries, champagne at Stack, caviar at Fix and with champagne pairings all around. This will be followed by a martini pairing dinner on March 2 at Stack.

And without a doubt you’ll want to mark down March 16 for “A Tribute to Bacon,” a pork-centric pairing dinner at Brand that needs little explanation except to say that seating will go fast in celebration of the new “it” superfood.

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John Schenk

John Schenk

By Marvin Lucas

Chef John Schenk is master of two things: steak and spinach. As executive chef of Strip House, he oversees six steak houses and holds the recipe for the most sensuous creamed spinach in the city. “It’s kind of my job to taste creamed spinach everywhere I go, and I find very few that even come close to ours,” Schenk says. “I’m a very modest person, but our creamed spinach is the best out there.”