Chef Gordon Ramsay continues to expand his restaurant empire and local footprint as his Hell’s Kitchen—the restaurant named for and inspired by his hit TV show of the same name—debuted in January at Caesars Palace. This marks his fifth Las Vegas restaurant and is, perhaps, his most over-the-top yet. The 8,000-square-foot themed concept located Strip-side outside of the resort in the former Serendipity 3 footprint is a replica of the set of the TV show, with the HK initials and signature pitchfork located pretty much everywhere in the décor.
Photos by Dave Burk
An emphasis on quality and class is evident in the bar, which is bedecked with a long marble countertop and shelves above lined with bottles of high-end spirits. Assistant general manager Pete Gomez was brought over from Mr Chow in Caesars Palace to create the cocktail menu, which he did with help from Caesars Palace’s director of beverage Andre Teixeira and food and beverage director Terrence O’Donnell. Says Gomez, “I was given the autonomy to create approachable, balanced cocktails using the right spirits that everyone can enjoy and bring a fun, inviting experience with plenty of energy to guests.”
Here, specialty cocktails lean toward the energy Gomez mentions and, like the fiery Chef Ramsay himself, are loaded with entertainment value. Smoke on the Boulevard is named for both the restaurant’s location and its special effect: The mixture of Woodford Reserve Rye, Aperol, Amaro Averna and sweet vermouth is placed in a glass box into which smoke from ignited cherry wood is pumped from a tube before being presented to guests. Such a stunning visual inspires many onlookers to order it.
For those who like pyrotechnics, the Rum Donkey—featuring Cruzan Single Barrel Rum, velvet falernum, brown sugar and ginger beer—is topped with a passion fruit, which is lit on fire as it’s served. But the most popular drink is the Notes from Gordon, with infuses green tea, Plymouth Gin and lemon juice, garnished with a rolled up note of harsh words Ramsay has actually said on the famed TV show (e.g., “This chicken is so raw, it can still lay an egg”).
Commenting on a cocktail he enjoys making, bartender Steve Alba shares, “My favorite is the Pitchfork [made with Bulleit Bourbon, Giffard Pamplemousse Rose pink grapefruit liqueur, Fonseca 10-Year Tawny Port, lemon and egg white]. Having watched the TV show over many years, I’ve noticed that there was always some sort of burnt, cooked, chopped, branded or melted Hell’s Kitchen logo before each commercial break, which is what we stencil in [the orange peel].”
Classic cocktails are also bumped up with the use of higher-end spirits, such as Buffalo Trace in the Old Fashioned, Knob Creek in the Manhattan and Patrón Silver in the Ancho Paloma.
Oenophiles should appreciate the wine list with more than 100 wines (22 of them by the glass) with international representatives including Gusbourne Brut Reserve sparkling wine from England; A.A. Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc from South Africa; Gaja Ca’Marcanda “Promis” Merlot/Syrah/Sangiovese blend from Tuscany; and the Australian Tahbilk Marsanne, made from a white grape variety originating in the Rhone Valley.
The beer list contains several quality craft choices, including Chef Ramsay’s favorite, Innis & Gunn Original Oak Aged Beer, along with notables such as the sour Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale, Lindemans Cassis (black currant) and Lindemans Kriek (tart cherry). On the locally-brewed side, you’ll find Tenaya Creek’s Bonanza Brown Ale, Bad Beat’s Bluffing Isn’t Weisse Hefeweizen and Big Dog’s Las Vegas Lager. Last but not least is the Hell’s Kitchen Special Brew, an IPA made exclusively for the restaurant by Stone Brewing containing a specialty hop that is rotated each quarter.
It appears this new restaurant is off to an astounding beginning, as nearly 25,000 guests had logged reservations for the new eatery by opening night. Consequently, a reservation may be hard to snag, but there may be room at the bar, where you can enjoy the aforementioned libations paired with some of the dishes oftentimes made on the TV show, such as pan-seared scallops, lobster risotto and Ramsay’s signature beef Wellington.
Inside Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun.–Thurs.; 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri. and Sat., gordonramsayrestaurants.com/hells-kitchen-caesars-palace