Central coming in, Puck and Tila out, and one tasty week on the way

Much of the action these days is taking place at Caesars Palace, because the casino-resort is doing a major food service overhaul. Nobu Matsuhisa is building a restaurant and lounge to open—along with Caesars’ Nobu Hotel tower—next summer, and Central, from Washington, D.C.’s superstar French chef Michel Richard, will be opening within the next month.

I am looking forward to Central, which is replacing the moribund Augustus Café in the Augustus Tower. It will offer a combination of American comfort foods with one or three French twists, and will feature the chef’s celebrated fried chicken—and believe me, you’ll never taste anything better.

A 75-foot backlit onyx bar will be one of the more striking design features, as well as a giant rotisserie built to twirl 40 (count ’em) birds simultaneously. Along with Restaurant Guy Savoy, this section of the hotel alone will be able to boast two iconic French chefs.

In case your mouth is already watering for that fried chicken, here are my favorite five places to eat the delicacy while waiting for Central: Albertsons, the best fried chicken in any of the supermarkets; Popeyes, the best chain fried chicken (try the spicy); Soyo, a Korean restaurant that serves killer fried chicken; Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill at the Cosmopolitan (bone-on, with their trademark, amazing honey sauce); and last but not least, Kyara Japanese Tapas, in small, bite-size chunks.

Here’s a news flash: Jet Tila, the terrific pan-Asian chef who has been manning the stoves at Wynn’s Wazuzu since Encore opened, is leaving us to return to his native Los Angeles, where he will open a pop-up restaurant, and pursue other projects. He will be sorely missed, and our food scene will be diminished in his absence.

Perhaps you have also heard the somewhat glum news that Wolfgang Puck and his group have relinquished control of the café at the Springs Preserve. This was a good effort by the Puck Group, which did a lot for the overall draw. Sorry, but it can’t bode well for the Preserve.

Finally, Las Vegas Restaurant Week will be rolling into its fifth year, Aug. 29-Sept. 11, with more than 80 restaurants participating. It’s an event held to combat hunger in Southern Nevada, with some of the proceeds from the take going to the Three Square food bank.

For the event, restaurants create special menus priced at $20.11, $30.11 and $50.11. Just a few of the restaurants involved include Capital Grille at Fashion Show, RM Seafood in Mandalay Bay, Comme Ça in the Cosmopolitan and Tao Restaurant in the Venetian. View the entire list of participants by going online at HelpOutDineOutLV.org.

Hungry, yet?

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Seven reasons to raise up a glass

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Seven reasons to raise up a glass

By Xania V. Woodman

1. It’s official: It is now safe to drink in Utah. Memberships to private clubs? Gone. Bottle service? Happening! Liquor sales on Sundays? YES! “Following modifications to Utah’s alcohol regulations, distilleries and breweries can now legally sell their own bottled products for retail purchase on Sundays and holidays,” the missive from Park City’s High West Distillery reads. High West’s first Sunday sale went down on July 24. It’s said that Park City’s mayor purchased it as a gift for the visiting First Lady, Michelle Obama.