After June gloom, there’s July sunshine, but for west-siders, the restaurant scene has further darkened. We had just lost Nora’s Wine Bar, a key member of the Summerlin dining scene when word came that Rosemary’s, perhaps the seminal Vegas neighborhood restaurant, had closed its mighty doors.
Nora’s Wine Bar used Enomatics, French-designed wine presevation systems that dispense wine by the ounce, and delicious stuzzichini, small-plate appetizers created by chef Giovanni Mauro. (Now, fans of this type of wine service must high tail it to the Hostile Grape at M Resort.)
Open for more than a decade, Rosemary’s served regional American cuisine, good wines at fair prices, and the city’s best Bloody Mary. Chef Michael Jordan worked for Emeril Lagasse, and there were often Cajun flavors permeating his creations. I’m going to look high and low for Jordan’s barbecued shrimp with Maytag blue cheese slaw, and I’ll weep for those addictive potato rolls. R.I.P. to both.
But when one door closes, another opens. Now we have Pura Vida Bakery and Bystro at 1236 Western Ave. (722-0108). Chef Mayra calls her kitchen “100 percent cruelty-free.” The bakery caters to vegans, serving a variety of gluten-free pastries. None of what she bakes will contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Most soy and corn products in this country are, so this is a boon to the health-conscious.
Serendipity 3 (731-7373), the Strip-front, circus-like dining space outside Caesars Palace, has unveiled a whimsical new breakfast menu for the hot summer months. Customers already come for Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, and now the menu has a spate of new dishes to accompany it. Just a few to enjoy are Holy Huevos Rancheros, Banana Cream Waffles and Bigger Than Your Head Pancakes.
Estatorio Milos at the Cosmopolitan (698-7000), meanwhile, has been doing this incredible three-course lunch for $20 on weekdays, and now it’s also offering a three-course $49 prix-fixe pre/post-theater deal from 5:30-7 p.m. and 10-close Monday through Saturday, and 5:30 p.m.-close Sunday. This means one can eat the great grilled octopus for a starter, have a sea bass or lamb brochette as the entrée and choose Greek walnut cake or a lemon cream dessert. Wow!
Finally, Excalibur is opening two—count ’em—new concepts simultaneously this fall: American Burger Works and Lynryd Skynyrd BBQ & Beer, managed by Craig Gilbert’s and Michael Frey’s Drive This! Entertainment. The burger joint will feature a french-fry bar stocked with toppings such as peanut satay and Vietnamese pineapple mayo, and both places should be rocking by early fall. So it’s not all doom and gloom around here.