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Restaurant Week Kicks Off With T & A As Major Sponsors

Wait staff in barely there bikinis, mermaids swimming in the pool, dancers shaking what their mama (with a little help from their surgeon) gave them, Restaurant Week may be benefiting Three Square, but the Wet Your Appetite At Wet Republic kickoff event last night benefited my Spank Bank.  Yowza!

Buy a Key. For Charity.

Buy a Key. For Charity.

If nothing else, it made me happy.  Not in the “Ooh look at that ass shake with each step” kind of happy, but in the sense that I see it as another step in the merciful dying of fine dining as we know it.  In case you were wondering, fine dining is dead.  It died a few years ago, but a couple places keep it on life support to appease the few remaining gourmands out there.  Finally food is getting down to the most important part of eating; the food.  The ivory tower holding the pomp and circumstance of which fine dining sits upon is finally being dismantled and instead of having a different glass for every year and every shade of wine, you can finally relax and enjoy your meal.  Eating food is so much more pleasurable when you don’t have a stick up your ass.

But notice I said the “dying of fine dining as we know it.”  There will always be “fine dining,” it will just be done in a more casual atmosphere.  The food will always be “fine.”  That concept will probably never be accepted by the old stodgy gourmands out there, as they’ll yearn for the days of tableside preparation, white tablecloths and a different sized fork for every bite, but who gives a shit.  The casualization of fine dining makes good business sense and it makes good cultural sense.  We are a people that are rapidly getting the ceremonious bullshit out of our lives, so why should restaurants go against the stream?

Ok…I’ll get off my soapbox now and get on with the event.

It's a party, so dance! For charity.

It's a party, so dance! For charity.

The Wife With A Tasty Watermelon Mojito. Think Watermelon Jolly Rancher That Makes You Drunk.

The Wife With A Tasty Watermelon Mojito. Think Watermelon Jolly Rancher That Makes You Drunk.

The Wet Your Appetite At Wet Republic event was a true celebration.  Think of it as a miniature version of the Vegas Uncork’d Grand Tasting with a whole lot more boobs.  It was great to see such a big turnout to enjoy the good times and to raise some dough for Three Square.  The restaurants represented at this event were a bunch of Restaurant Week participating restaurants that are housed in MGM properties; Olives, Sensi, Circo, Fleur de Lys, Burger Bar, Sage, Jean Georges Steakhouse, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, Fiamma, Joël Robuchon and Craftsteak.

Sensi: Makers of Tasty Foods

Sensi: Makers of Tasty Foods

Pork Belly Steamed Buns from Sensi. Amazing.

Pork Belly Steamed Buns from Sensi. Amazing.

Not even I am that much of an asshole to rag on any of the dishes presented.  It’s an outdoor catering event and it’s for charity for shit’s sake.  Mostly everything there was quite good, but the Pork Belly Steamed Buns offered from Sensi moved all of the aforementioned chicks down a spot in the Spank Bank and took over as CEO.  I’ve professed my love for Chef Martin Heierling and his crew’s food many times, and I will continue to do so many times.  A perfect choice for the event.

I make a motion to have these as the new uniforms in Burger Bar. Made a motion. Get it?

I make a motion to have these as the new uniforms in Burger Bar. Made a motion. Get it?

The Wife’s pick of the evening came via Burger Bar in the Mandalay Bay resort.  It was a mini-dessert burger with a donut bun, some kind of chocolatey / Nutella-y thing for a patty, I think passion fruit to look like cheese, maybe kiwi to look like lettuce and a strawberry to look like a tomato.  I could be completely wrong about all of that, but that’s what I remember tasting.  It was served with a Strawberry Beer which The Wife enjoyed quite a bit.  Obviously, I have failed as both a food writer and a husband in my attempts to make her understand that you don’t fruit the beer.

From Sage: Tasty Beer in the Foreground, Delicious Chilled Corn Soup in the Background

From Sage: Tasty Beer in the Foreground, Delicious Chilled Corn Soup in the Background

Another top choice for me was a Chilled Corn and Saffron Soup with Dungeness Crab from the fine folks at Sage in the Aria resort.  You can’t go wrong with good corn and crab, and doing a chilled soup in a plastic shot glass is a smart move for an outdoor mingling event such as this.

And yes, why I’d like to paint this event as nothing more than eating good food amongst the backdrop of finely tanned titties, there was, of course, something much more important going on, and that was raising money for a great cause, Three Square.

Chef Matt Seeber (2nd from Right) with the Craftsteak Crew

Chef Matt Seeber (2nd from Right) with the Craftsteak Crew

I got to chat a bit with Matt Seeber, Executive Chef of Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak at the MGM Grand. I asked him about Craftsteak’s relationship with Three Square outside of Restaurant Week and he said, “we work quite a bit with Three Square both in-house and with the hotel.”  He went on talking about different seminars the hotel puts on getting the employees involved with the Las Vegas community.  Seeber added about Three Square, “they do great work here in Las Vegas.”

Chef Robert Moore of Jean Georges Steakhouse

Chef Robert Moore of Jean Georges Steakhouse

Also at the event was Executive Chef of Jean Georges Steakhouse at the Aria resort, Robert Moore.  While Jean Georges Steakhouse is a relatively new joint on the scene, Robert recently celebrated his sixth year in Vegas, three of which was spent at Prime in the Bellagio before he got tapped for his current position.  Through the time he’s been here he has also developed a good relationship with the charity of the evening.  Moore told me,  ”Three Square is an amazing charity, everything they do is to help people. How can you not want to help these people out?”

From the Pages of GQ to the Floor of Fleur de Lys, Owen Deignan

From the Pages of GQ to the Floor of Fleur de Lys, Owen Deignan

While his boss, Chef Hubert Keller, was spinning discs up in the DJ booth, General Manager of Fleur de Lys at the Mandalay Bay resort, Owen Deignan, was on hand looking his GQ self and handing out some lovely Sashimi of Hiramasa with tasty foam. Owen told me that, “Restaurant Week is a great way to celebrate, getting together with other restaurateurs in the valley, but most importantly to help out the community in the passionate way that we find ourselves working in the day-to-day.  It’s a nice way to give back.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Restaurant Week is indeed a great way to celebrate.  Our restaurants in this valley should be a source of pride for our community.  These people, our neighbors, work their asses off day in and day out and present some of the best food that’s found on this planet.  How lucky are we to live among such talent and be able to sample the things they do?  Most importantly, how great is it that we have an organization like Three Square to get behind?  Their dedication to helping the less fortunate is inspiring. To be able to help out in some small way makes you feel good inside.

I’d like to thank the good folks at MGM for inviting me and The Wife to come to this event.  I’m sure there will be something of this nature every year for Restaurant Week, so if you missed it this year, make sure you go next year.  You can’t beat a night out like this for the price of admission.  And it’s for charity.

For more information about Restaurant Week, check out my recent post; Restaurant Week In Las Vegas Approaches, Happy Dance Ensues.

—–
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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If Not For Me, Vote For The Hang That Will Be Thrown Should I Win! You Can Vote Once Per Day From Now Through 09/30/10! Thanks!

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