I get invited to various and sundry pop-up dinners, and only a few are impossible to resist. Chef Brett Uniss, an alum of José Andrés’ é Bar in the Cosmopolitan, put together one of the best pop-ups of the year recently at Eat, Natalie Young’s Downtown restaurant.
It was the first event in poker player and foodie Steven McLoughlin’s World Series of Food, dinners for high-level poker stars and anyone else who wishes to attend. Uniss’ 13-course menu included eccentric fare such as foie gras-filled Oreos, a dry-aged “Big Mac” made with steak, smoked peaches and a wonderful array of cocktails, some nonalcoholic. Uniss is a major talent, and the next World Series dinner will be announced soon. You might even get some poker tips.
Meanwhile, in Henderson, chef Nick Lorenz has opened the Rib Cage (10890 S. Eastern Ave., 331-4466), where you can eat this former Southern Wine & Spirits chef’s delicious, creative cooking. In the space that recently housed the short-lived Meat & Three, a few of the versatile chef’s must-try dishes include a rich mac ’n’ cheese, a crusty brisket and one of the best grilled chickens in the city.
Also on South Eastern Avenue, Republic Kitchen & Bar (9470 S. Eastern Ave. 463-3500) is serving a killer brunch from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The format is unusual: three options at differing price levels. Continental ($10) allows you pastries, breads, fruit, yogurt and juices. Pay $15 for hot dishes such as lemon ricotta pancakes or biscuits with red-eye gravy. For $20, you can have specialties, everything from eggs Benedict to a Monte Cristo. Just order the dishes separately, until you say “Uncle.”
There’s an interesting backstory here as well. The chef, Wai Phyo Aung, is Burmese, a member of a very small community here, and will cook his cuisine for parties on request if given a two- or three-day window. Wai, who lived in Tokyo for eight years, is adept at Japanese dishes as well. Who knew?
Put aside any rumors about the imminent demise of Bartolotta. The restaurant is alive and well, so much so that Wynn PR confirms that it will undergo a renovation, closing November 3 and reopening December 21. The hotel’s fine-dining Chinese restaurant, Wing Lei, is also getting a makeover. It will close October 8, reopening December 21 as well.
Finally, things always seem to be percolating Downtown. Venezuelan chef Felix Arellano, who owns Viva Las Arepas on Las Vegas Boulevard, has opened his own ice cream shop in the same strip mall, called Art of Flavors, at 1616 Las Vegas Boulevard South. Arellano and his partner, Desyree Alberganti, serve gelati, ice cream and other desserts here. Don’t miss flavors such as passion fruit, hazelnut pistachio or the intense dark chocolate.