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The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Ups the Ante With Hipness and Andrés

So a while back I wrote a largely unnoticed post about how the next addition to The Strip, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, showed that our little twinkle in the desert still had our training wheels on.  I still stand by most of it, but of course with new information my trademark hyperbole needs to be modified a tad.  You see, when I wrote that post some 4 months ago no one yet knew of two key pieces of information; how fucking awesome the interiors look and that a chef named José Andrés was going to join the party.

Cosmopolitan Wraparound Suite (photo: cosmopolitanlasvegas.com)

Cosmopolitan Wraparound Suite (photo: cosmopolitanlasvegas.com)

I won’t spend too much time gushing about the interiors as of course this is a restaurant blog, but even fellow curmudgeons over at Vegas Tripping and  Vegas Chatter have bestowed approval upon it.  I will say that I think it looks fabulous.  With a stunning color palette and sleek, contemporary and attractive furnishings, it’s sort of like if Roger Thomas (the legend behind Steve Wynn’s beauties) went modern industrial-ish. If The Wife and I were to do a staycation, these are the rooms that I would want to stay in, especially with the balconies facing the Bellagio fountains.  How awesome would your own private balcony overlooking the Bellagio fountains be?!?  I almost wish they were still doing the condo/hotel thing…I want to move in!

Anywho….the restaurants.

In the previous post, my desire to see local talent and original concepts finally get their day in the spotlight of a Strip resort may have slighted the quality of which the fine folks at the Cosmo assembled.  In addition to the original five that were released, (Blue Ribbon, Scarpetta, Estiatorio Milos, STK Steakhouse & Comme Ca), The Cosmopolitan’s website has also added the obligatory buffet, a restaurant called The Henry which I assume will be their three-meal restaurant and an Italian-style coffee shop called Va Bene Caffé.  It turns out that Blue Ribbon will be a mashup of both the NYC sushi bar and grill, so there is hope for pierogis on The Strip yet! (light your candles!)

Chef Scott Conant (photo: restaurantgirl.com)

Chef Scott Conant (photo: restaurantgirl.com)

More exciting is that Scott Conant will be opening a second and original (at least to Conant) concept in addition to Scarpetta which will be a wine bar called D.O.C.G. D.O.C.G. stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita which is the highest designation for regional Italian wine production by the Italian government.  D.O.C.G. appears that it will be a traditional Italian enoteca style, featuring special wines by the glass along with light snacks to graze on.

Chef Jose Andres (photo: trisports.cr)

Chef José Andrés (photo: trisports.cr)

Most exciting is the addition of the venerable Chef José Andrés to the line up.  Andrés is easily the most celebrated Spanish chef in the country and is at the forefront of promoting the best of Spain in the United States.  Chef Andrés will be opening two concepts at the Cosmo, one is his tapas palace, Jaleo, and the other is an original concept called China Poblano which is all about Chinese-Mexican fusion.  Las Vegas – the home to an original concept by José Andrés.  Not bad, Cosmopolitan. Not bad at all.

Julian Serrano's Place of Delicious

Julian Serrano's Place of Delicious

Ok..ok…so yeah I’m actually the most excited about Jaleo as I am a well-known tapas slut.  It’s going to be interesting to see how neighbors José Andrés and Julian Serrano at Aria will play with each other.  If nothing else, a bit of a rivalry between the two Spaniards will probably raise the bar at both tapas huts.  Although, I don’t know how much bar raising is necessary at Julian Serrano…it’s pretty damn outstanding the way it is now.  Will the rivalry between Team Edward and Team Jacob take second chair to Team Julian and Team José?  Only time will tell, the Cosmopolitan, and presumably the announced restaurants, are scheduled to open on December 15.

Chef Kuldeep Singh of Origin India

Chef Kuldeep Singh of Origin India

Would I still like to see some local talent get on the big stage?  Sure I would.  I think it’s a pity that a supreme talent like Kuldeep Singh at Origin India is stuck in a strip mall sandwiched by the Hofbräuhaus, the Hard Rock and a titty bar.  Would I like to see more unique concepts from big name chefs/restauranteurs find their way in our happy little town?  Absolutely.  But, maybe what the Cosmopolitan has done with Conant’s D.O.C.G. and Andres’ China Poblano is re-kindle the thought that a well-known entity can be successful with unique ideas in Vegas, such as what Mario Batali has done with his three outposts in the Venetian and Palazzo.

While the road may be still rocky now, Las Vegas’ future is primed and ready for original restaurant concepts that will add more to our overall destination appeal.  While Scarpetta may be a very fine restaurant (and I can only imagine that it will be outstanding at the Cosmo), why not just go to the original in New York?  You can’t go to a China Poblano anywhere else on the Earth, which I find to be a major coup for both The Cosmopolitan and our city.  If Las Vegas is to be a destination you can’t find anywhere else on Earth, then our restaurants should follow suit and be concepts that you can’t find anywhere else on Earth.

Just sayin’.

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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