The group who brought us Tao, Lavo and Marquee now bring a new experience to Las Vegas, one that this city has dabbled in but hasn’t quite mastered. While cities such as New York have a strong culture of brunch—an elongated meal meant to be luxuriated— and there are certainly restaurants here that offer brunch menus, Las Vegas doesn’t quite seem to grasp the socializing aspect of the repast. Lavo co-owner and co-founder Jason Strauss believes his concept will educate Las Vegans and tourists to the beauty of brunch, one glass of champagne at a time.
Starting Oct. 15, guests will get to experience brunch like it’s never been before. The first indication that this is something completely different is that this brunch is on Saturday rather than the more traditional Sunday. “We feel it’s an appropriate time,” Strauss says. “A lot of people leave Vegas early on Sunday. Saturday nights, people go out on the town, and they don’t leave a lot on the table after that. [Saturday] we are better positioned to get all the key people in Vegas to come enjoy a true champagne party.”
Lavo itself will be transformed each Saturday during the daytime hours. “When you walk in for brunch, it will feel like a different experience than the Lavo you’ve previously eaten in,” Strauss says. The club is bringing in additional intelligent lighting and the DJ booth will be moved to the middle of the dining room, pumping out sounds of a strategic playlist that involves a mix of Euro-house, mash-ups and familiar anthems to anyone who has ever stepped foot in a club.
The brunch originated at Lavo in New York City, where for the past 10 months it has been killing on Saturdays, and was even voted Best Brunch Party in Manhattan by New York Magazine. That same Italian-influenced menu will be used in Las Vegas, featuring white corn polenta pancakes with hazelnuts and wildflower honey apricot jam, and lemon ricotta waffles. Lavo’s most popular item, its Kobe meatball, makes an appearance in the spaghetti, served with fresh ricotta and Parmesan cheese. Traditional breakfast items such as eggs Benedict, a Milanese-style omelet and heartier lunch portions of steak frites with truffle sauce, and a bacon and gorgonzola-topped burger are ready to compete with copious amounts of bubbly for your attentions.
And, oh, how the bubbly will flow! More than 15 types of champagne will be available, including larger formats such as magnums and jeroboams, all the way up to Nebuchadnezzars and even 30-liter Melchizedek bottles. Free-flowing bubbly has always been an integral part of a proper brunch, a part that Strauss feels couldn’t be left out. “We want to build a daytime brunch culture that involves amazing food, amazing service, the ability to dance on tables and enjoy champagne during the day.”
“Vegas has an embedded party culture that we can build within. We are using this opportunity to educate people to get their party on during daytime hours.” The champagne brunch, it seems, is a perfect gateway to further excess in a city born for that purpose.
Lavo is one of the few brands that was born in Las Vegas and then exported elsewhere. But interestingly, Strauss admits, the Lavo brunch was never intended for the Vegas market, “and after we saw the success and how the level of experience was so unique, we finally realized we could take it to Vegas.”
Strauss loves that Lavo Las Vegas’ New York counterpart is now feeding back into Sin City. “It’s coming full circle, these two markets working in synergy.”