Startling Changes at the Venetian

The Venetian continues a spring cleaning of its restaurants. On the heels of breaking news that the hotel will close Piero Selvaggio Valentino in June, it announced the immediate closures of two Sam DeMarco venues, First Food & Bar and Rattlecan, the latter only just opened in late fall.

In a brief statement, a spokesperson confirmed the closures, stating that “… a mutual agreement to relocate the restaurants” had been reached, and also “the owners deeply appreciate the amazing press, reviews and customer support that the restaurants have enjoyed over the years.” (Or, in Rattlecan’s case, weeks.)

These two closures are huge losses. Everyone with better than a Styrofoam palate knows that Sammy is one of the best culinary minds in the West, and that Valentino’s Luciano Pellegrini is a James Beard award winner. Let’s hope Pellegrini, a great talent, gets to stay in town.

I spoke with Selvaggio, and he expressed disappointment, while stressing that “we’ll still be around until June.” I couldn’t get confirmation about the hot rumor that Daniel Boulud will fill the vacated Valentino space, but it’s no secret he’s been hankering to get back to the Strip since leaving Wynn.

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By Grace Bascos

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.”