Michael Mina’s homage to the tavern takes its final bow on March 30, ending a nearly 12-year run. But instead of going gently into that good night, Nobhill Tavern, which made some of the best Cable Cars in town, is ending it by going back to the beginning.
“It’s very emotional,” chef Michael Mina admits. “I got emotional when I looked back at the first menus because it was something special we did.”
In the early ‘00s, Las Vegas saw the trend of restaurant brands from other cities coming and setting up shop on the Strip—Mina’s own Aqua, and Le Cirque, for example. Nobhill was one of the earliest concepts specifically created for Las Vegas. “At the time, it was about awareness of product and bringing the Bay Area here,” Mina says. “It was very much about the great products and great dishes that San Francisco is known for—it was about neighbor, hospitality and warmth. We had an amazing run.”
If you’d like a taste of Nobhill circa 2001—or a final taste of Nobhill at all—from March 26 to 30, the MGM Grand restaurant will serve classic and traditional dishes from the original menu. It’s always interesting to see where a restaurant began, especially one that’s been open for more than a decade. Although we’re bummed about the closure, we’re excited to check out the likes of Gilroy garlic soup and Liberty Farm duck ravioli. And who knew they opened with cheese fondue? Or complimentary tableside whipped-potato service?
Not to worry, Mina’s signature San Francisco cioppino can still be had at American Fish in Aria, and he’s still got Strip Steak at Mandalay Bay and his eponymous restaurants in Bellagio. And the prolific restaurateur already has his next move in play: Mina plans to open his new Pub 1842 this summer in the former Seablue space at MGM Grand.
Chef Mina assures us that some Nobhill dishes, such as the roasted chicken with truffle mac and cheese, will “absolutely” make the transition to the new Pub. “It made sense to have only one restaurant in MGM, and focus on that.”
Tell us your Nobhill Tavern stories in the comments section below.