I had some of my best Las Vegas meals at Bradley Ogden in Caesars Palace, some of which occurred during what may have been the longest deathwatch ever on the Strip. But Ogden’s brilliant nearly 10-year run is over. Caesars Palace has definitively announced the closing of the seminal American bistro following service Aug. 5. The casino has not announced what will replace it, but the smart money is on Gordon Ramsay to do a gastropub. Meanwhile, Ogden fans can still enjoy his food at Root 246 in Solvang, Calif. I have eaten there, and it’s as terrific as his restaurant here.
I’m excited that Bank Atcharawan, formerly the wine guru and server extraordinaire at Lotus of Siam, will open his own place, Chada Thai, in the Chinatown mall on Spring Mountain Road and Jones Boulevard, already home to the best dumpling house in town, China MaMa. The restaurant will serve a mixed bag of regional Thai dishes, mostly southern- and Bangkok-style specialties. Look for a late August opening.
Asian food had perhaps its most impressive Las Vegas showcase to date at Lucky Rice Night Market on June 23 at the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool. The event was well attended, the dishes were interesting and the crowd was lively. In fact, it had everything a new event could ask for, short one thing—there was no rice.
But no matter. The event featured Asian chefs from New York, L.A., San Francisco and Las Vegas, and an amazing array of flavors. Many celebrity chefs—including Toronto’s Susur Lee, L.A.’s Sang Yoon, Jet Tila (formerly of Wynn’s Wazuzu) and Lotus of Siam’s Saipin Chutima—were just a few of the bright lights. Char siu pork bao with several types of Asian pickles from Eddie Huang of New York City’s Baohaus, and the fluke sashimi with bone marrow from Top Chef winner Angelo Sosa, were incredible. The “Modern Mixologist,” Tony Abou-Ganim, among others, was on hand, providing exotic drinks.
All in all, this was one of the best run, most colorful and most original food events I’ve attended in my 13 years here. Maybe next time, there will even be room for chefs from Asia itself.
Leave it to a chain like Burger King to take a perfectly good thing and make it unpalatable. The bacon sundae—soft vanilla ice cream, caramel and chocolate sauces—comes crowned with pieces of bacon, which makes me think that perhaps the bacon thing is truly over. The good news is that the sundae isn’t as sweet as the new Memphis pulled-pork barbecue sandwich, which is so cloying it made my teeth hurt.
So much for parent company PepsiCo’s forward-thinking CEO, Indra Nooyi, who has gone on record as espousing healthier eating. This is backward thinking, Ms. Nooyi.