Veteran rock star Sammy Hagar blew into town for a tiki party/concert at the Venetian pool, aided and abetted by the irrepressible chef Emeril Lagasse, who cooked a whole roast suckling pig for a brave crowd out despite the 110-degree temperature. This has to be why we love Las Vegas. Both the music and the food were terrific.
Emeril, who has gone paleo and shed nearly 20 pounds, is looking great these days. Chef Sean Roe from Table 10, one of Emeril’s Venetian restaurants, did a terrific octopus salad served in a Chinese takeout box. There were also shrimp buns, corn, spare ribs, Korean grilled short ribs and refreshing mai tais to go with the roast pork. Hagar played many of his great songs, including “I Can’t Drive 55,” and at 65, he looks good, too.
Across the street the following morning, I stopped in at Bare Pool Lounge at The Mirage to taste Light Group chef Brian Massie’s new Sunday Brunch (available 11 a.m.-5 p.m., lunch for two, $39-$75), and to take in the, er, sights. It’s a great space here, just beyond The Mirage’s Secret Garden, but you must remember to bring your ID, or no admission.
The best tables are shaded on a mezzanine at the far end of the pool, but you can grab some shade if you sit under one of the venue’s orange umbrellas. Standout dishes such as the breakfast burrito with pork chorizo, pickled jalapenos, eggs and Alejandro cheese ($14); and a decadent waffle with applewood-smoked bacon, Fuji apples and whipped cinnamon butter ($14) go nicely with libations perfect for the summer. Raspberry lemonade, with lots of muddled berries at the bottom, is a particular treat.
Poppy Den at Tivoli Village (802-2480) has unfurled a new summer menu as well. “We’ve added salads, herbs and light dressings to balance dishes,” says chef Angelo Sosa, who has created several small plates, among them Asian-style lobster roll, fresh crab cake with Russian wasabi dressing and beef lettuce cup with herbs.
The list of entrées has also grown. Look for a grilled tuna steak with red pepper and basil, roasted orange chicken with watercress and ginger, and grilled New York strip steak with corn pudding and asparagus salad, among others. For dessert, try a frothy root beer float.
Finally, iconic chef Daniel Boulud of Daniel in New York City and the admired (and missed) DB Brasserie in Wynn (now Lakeside Grill) is coming back, this time to the Venetian, at DBGB Kitchen & Bar, a casual-but-upscale venue.
The concept is French brasserie-meets-American tavern, with a menu that will feature house-made sausage, creative burgers and sumptuous shellfish platters, in addition to seasonal Lyonnaise-inspired bistro cooking. Boulud is planning to offer 75 beers on tap, as well as a full wine list. For dessert, there will be soufflés, baked Alaska and similar treats. A late-fall opening is planned.
Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at VegasSeven.com/Blogs.