When the seventh in the Mr. Chow family of high-end Beijing-style Chinese restaurants opens in Caesars Palace next month, it will do so with the kind of technology that has already attracted thousands to the dance floor of Omnia, Caesars’ newest nightlife entrant.
Kinetic architecture specialists Tait—engineers of Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience, U2’s 360, the Venetian’s Phantom of the Opera chandelier and even Deadmau5’s Hakkasan residency look—outdid themselves with Omnia’s eye-catching 13,000-pound kinetic centerpiece. But guests entering Mr. Chow’s main dining room will be treated to a far subtler performance by the “Moon,” a 3,800-pound kinetic sculpture designed by Mr. Chow himself and realized by Tait in fiberglass over an aluminum frame secured and in put into constant motion by yacht cables. The polished white circular sculpture splits into three parts that rotate and wave before coming back together, and can be bathed in colors—red, green, blue—for a “show.” Diners will no doubt crane their necks, spending as much time looking up as they do across the table at their dining partners.
Restaurateur, designer and art collector Michael Chow opened the first Mr. Chow on Valentine’s Day 1968 in London. Now a worldwide institution, the brand will bring its next two restaurants in Las Vegas and Mexico City, respectively. On December 15, Mr. Chow Las Vegas (702-731-7110) will take over the former Empress Court restaurant, which few passersby ever even knew could be accessed across from Payard Patisserie next to the convention hall escalators.
There is little chance of missing the restaurant now: A glass-enclosed Champagne lounge is the new and highly visible entry point, which leads to elevators whisking guests to the second floor. Ahead, a sea of white—floors, ceiling, walls, tablecloths—supports a horizon of windows and four dining patios overlooking the Garden of the Gods pool complex. To the left are a waiting area and two private dining rooms. To the right is the wine collection, representing the Old and New World, though admittedly leaning in the direction of general manager Patrice Rozat’s homeland of France.
Combined with a semicircular bar and another, smaller private dining room (presently being held for the January 20 grand opening in case diehard Mr. Chow fan J.Lo decides to make an appearance), the 6,500-square-foot restaurant seats 298. In addition to the Moon dancing overhead, performance plays a huge role in the dining experience. As with other locations, carts—Champagne, decanting, carving and a dessert cart rumored to have cost upward of $100,000—make de rigueur appearances at tables.
Diners have the option of selecting a la carte items, sampling small bites at the bar or going all-in on the 10-dish Mr. Chow’s experience that includes the brand’s famous Beijing Duck or whole steamed branzino, both carved table-side and served family style. To start, the menu, right down to the cocktails and even the prices, will be exactly what you would find at the other locations, which include the celebrity-friendly Beverly Hills and Manhattan institutions, as well as the largest Mr. Chow, which opened in 2009 in Miami. In the kitchen, executive chef Kwan Kam Chee takes the helm after being brought over from China to Mr. Chow Miami for training.
While the Beijing Duck experience will set you back a mere $75 per person for four appetizers, four mains and two sides plus the duck, Rozat says that New Year’s Eve might just be the best time to experience Mr. Chow with captain service and table-side attention: a $222 first seating includes dessert and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot per couple, and $333 second seating subs in Dom Pérignon for the Veuve. Still, “The food is the star,” Rozat says. “We’re just the supporting cast.” Reserve soon for your place under the Moon with the stars.
Photos by Erik Kabik