Monthly Archives: August 2018

AquaKnox and Public House to Close at Venetian

Two well-regarded restaurants at Venetian Las Vegas are slated to close, AquaKnox and Public House.

The closures haven’t been officially announced yet, but we have no interest in waiting for news releases.

AquaKnox

Fun fact: AquaNox is a series of submarine-based first-person shooter video games. And, yes, we’re using the term “fun” very loosely.

An employee confirmed via phone AquaKnox will close in January following a large convention. We can’t remember which one because, honestly, we drink heavily.

AquaKnox is a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Award recipient located in restaurant row at Venetian.

The AquaKnox staffer also confirmed Public House will close.

A rep of Public House said the restaurant isn’t allowed to provide any information at this time, but did mention the restaurant’s contract is expiring “soon.”

Public House AquaKnox

Here’s where everything sits.

Public House, a gastropub, opened in early 2012.

Public House comes from Billy Richardson, a well-known restaurateur whose company also operates Holsteins at Cosmo, Flour & Barley and Haute Doggery at Linq Promenade, The Barrymore at Royal Resort and recently-closed Pink’s Hot Dogs at Planet Hollywood.

Public House Venetian

Public House at Venetian should not be confused with Public House at Luxor. Or, for that matter, Public House at Tropicana. Because naming things is hard.

It’s apparent Venetian and Palazzo are shaking up their restaurant line-up.

Three Mario Batali restaurants were closed at Venetian and Palazzo in July 2018, Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria.

There’s no official word on what might replace AquaKnox and Public House, or if employees have even been notified of the closures, but Las Vegas always has something new up its little black dress.

Unless that’s offensive in some way, then nevermind.

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Cafe Bellagio Closes to Make Way for Sadelle’s

Cafe Bellagio has closed after 20 years at Bellagio Las Vegas.

The beloved restaurant closed at 9:00 p.m. on Aug. 19, 2018, and will be replaced by Sadelle’s, a restaurant and bakery touted as “a New York brunch institution located in the heart of SoHo.” That’s in New York City. You really need to get out more.

Cafe Bellagio

If you thought we wouldn’t go to Bellagio to take two photos because we have a life, you would be wrong.

Cafe Bellagio has been around since Bellagio opened in Oct. 1998.

Staffers at the restaurant say they’ve been overwhelmed with an outpouring of appreciationĀ from longtime customers. Some, they say, have cried and written letters to MGM Resorts brass to ask that the restaurant be spared, but to no avail.

Business has slowed at Cafe Bellagio in recent years. We know this because, in Las Vegas, successful restaurants don’t close. It’s not rocket science.

A good number of Cafe Bellagio employees will take positions at another Bellagio restaurant, Harvest by Roy Ellamar. Harvest recently started serving breakfast and will do so until Sadelle’s opens in Dec. 2018.

Other displaced Cafe Bellagio employees will have to apply for positions at Sadelle’s.

Sadelle’s comes from Major Food Group, the folks behind Carbone restaurant at Aria.

Cafe Bellagio

So long, old girl. Yes, “girl.” Because referring to a restaurant as an “old guy” is awkward.

Of Sadelle’s, the Bellagio Web site says, “Serving the best bagels in New York City, Sadelle’s offers quintessential classics like sliced-to-order salmon and sturgeon, chopped salads, and other New York classics in an updated, fun-yet-refined fashion.”

The site also states, “Sadelle’s was voted 23 Best Restaurants for Brunch in New York City by Harper’s Bazaar, 2017 Best Brunch Spots in NYC by Cosmopolitan, and our sticky buns were named as one of the Best Dishes in 2015 by The New York Times, among other accolades.”

While Cafe Bellagio was popular for many years, some Vegas regulars report the appeal and quality of the restaurant declined recently, so something new was in order.

It’s bittersweet to see a treasured Vegas classic go away, but given the venue’s view of the Bellagio Conservatory, we’re confident Sadelle’s will beget legions of loyal new fans.

Bellagio Conservatory

We may have taken a third photo. It happens.

That’s right, we said “beget.” It’s Bellagio, so one has to up one’s fancy game.

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Lego Reveals Tweaked Las Vegas Set

Lego has unveiled its revamped Las Vegas set, including the replacement of Mandalay Bay following the shooting of Oct. 1, 2017.

A previous version of the Las Vegas Skyline Lego set (referred to as “Lego Architecture 21047 Las Vegas” by Lego aficionados) featured the Mandalay Bay as part of the skyline, but the set was redesigned to avoid sensitivities around the shooting.

Mandalay Bay has been replaced by Bellagio.

Lego Las Vegas set

If you thought stepping on a Lego was painful before, try stepping on the Stratosphere.

It’s worth noting the Bellagio is assembled using something Lego nerds call the SNOT technique. You might think that’s something we made up, but it’s SNOT.

We’ll wait.

SNOT stands for “Studs Not On Top.” And we are, apparently, 12.

The Las Vegas Lego set is expected to sell for about $40, with nearly 500 pieces.

The Las Vegas Lego set features the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, Luxor, Wynn, Stratosphere and Fremont Street Experience.

Lego Architecture Las Vegas

In our day job, we work at Fremont Street Experience, and we personally helped write a portion of the booklet that accompanies the set. Please, no autographs.

Images of the new Las Vegas Lego were shared by Brothers-Brick.com. Find a review of the new set at BrickArchitect.com. It got a “good” rating (three out of five). Ouch.

The set definitely would be better received if it included a miniature strip club. Just saying.

Here’s a look at the initial version of the set.

Lego Las Vegas architecture

Mandalay Bay and Bellagio are owned by the same company, MGM Resorts, so it’s a wash.

The replacement of Mandalay Bay for Bellagio is understandable, but the set feels out of whack. Presumably, rejiggering the design to put the hotels in their real-life order would’ve been too troublesome or expensive.

You can bet there was a heated debate at Lego about whether to replace Wynn Las Vegas following revelations about its former CEO, Steve Wynn. Making toys is a lot more complicated than you’d think.

The Las Vegas Skyline Lego set will be available in the U.S. on Sep. 1, 2018, and we’ll probably be among the first to buy it.

Because Las Vegas.

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Shinya Maru Ramen & Izakaya Opens on Fremont East

A new Asian restaurant has opened on Fremont East, Shinya Maru Ramen & Izakaya, and we fully know what one of those words means.

Ramen.

Because we went to college. Not that you’d know it from our writing, of course.

Shinya Las Vegas

Hard seats, one demerit. Bar seating for solo diners, bonus points.

Shinya is located in the Emergency Arts Building, just around the corner from another new dining option, Eureka.

Shinya is just off Fremont Street, facing El Cortez.

Shinya Las Vegas

This location is easy to miss. The murals, not so much.

“Shinya,” it seems, can mean either “truthful one” or “late at night.”

We would’ve asked the owners which definition applies, but we were too busy stuffing our face with the amazing potstickers.

Shinya Las Vegas

It’s possible these are named “I’ve Been Waiting for a Gyoza Like You.” We were drinking.

Yes, we know potstickers are Chinese and gyoza are Japanese. We were not born yesterday. We also have the Internet.

Shinya’s menu is teeming with cleverly-named appetizers (“Izakaya”) inspired by song titles and bands, from “I Slaw Her Standing There” and “Sgt. Shishito Peppers” to “Belly Jean Slider” and “Poutine on a Show.”

There’s also a Yakitori menu if you like your food simple and served on sticks.

Shinya menu

While we strive to avoid learning things, we now know what Izakaya means.

While ramen is a bit of a tough sell on a 110-degree day, we weren’t going to visit a ramen restaurant without trying it, despite the fact we aren’t particularly a hot liquid person.

We’re pleased to report that the ramen is top-notch, and the fried chicken in our “Let’s Get Physical” fried chicken ramen could could go toe-to-toe with some of the best fried chicken in town.

Shinya Las Vegas ramen

One test of a good restaurant is whether they make you like things you don’t usually eat. Shinya qualifies.

Here’s the rest of the Shinya ramen menu.

Shinya Las Vegas ramen menu

“Ramen” is a Japanese word that comes from two Chinese words meaning “to pull” and “noodles.” Which reminds us to make an appointment for a massage.

Shinya has a full bar, of course, because in Las Vegas it’s the law.

Shinya Las Vegas bar

“Maru” means “circle” in Japanese. Which is what we do when we enter a restaurant with a bar.

The signature cocktail menu only has five options, but they cover a lot of ground. Cocktails include berry sangria, Caribbean sangria, mojito (strawberry, peach and mango), Mai Tai and
margarita.

Shinya cocktail menu

Bonus: All the signature cocktails are less than six bucks.

There are also non-alcoholic beverages, although if you order something on this side of the menu, you’re doing Vegas wrong.

Shinya cocktail menu

You’re not boring, you’re just alternatively interesting.

Desserts come in the form of macaron ice cream. They’re kept in a freezer just inside the entrance so they’ll be on your mind the whole time you’re dining. At just $3.50 a pop, we’ll be back to try all five flavors.

Shinya macaron ice cream

This may require some late night raiding.

The hours at Shinya are all over the place, so keep this blog post handy at all times if you expect to crave Ramen for some reason.

Shinya is open from 11:00 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Wednesday, and open until 2:00 a.m. Thursday and Friday. Saturdays, it’s 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. There will be a quiz.

Shinya Fremont Street

Just to keep you on your toes.

We love new things, and Shinya Maru Ramen & Izakaya is a new downtown Las Vegas dining option well worth a “maru.”

If you hadn’t skimmed, you’d know what “maru” means. It wouldn’t make sense in that sentence, but you’d know what it means. Let that be a lesson to you.

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Venetian Installs Crane for Pool Renovation

A massive crane has been installed at the Venetian resort, and we’ve got the skinny on what’s up.

Venetian crane

The crane isn’t exactly at Venetian, but it’s not at Palazzo, either. It’s sort of in between. Let’s not get bogged down in details.

The crane will be used for the Venetian’s upcoming pool renovation.

Work on the pool deck will begin in September 2018, according to the Venetian.

Venetian crane

Coincidentally, this is the same type of crane we tend to need after visiting a Las Vegas buffet. Don’t judge.

From what we understand, Venetian guests will be able to use Palazzo’s pool during the overhaul.

When we saw the crane going up, we thought for a moment it might be a sign the Venetian would finish building its stalled St. Regis Residences tower.

That’s the one with the million-dollar wrap most Vegas visitors don’t even realize is a wrap.

You can see it in this photo of the crane.

Venetian crane

The St. Regis tower wrap is one of the best magic tricks in Las Vegas.

Read more about the St. Regis tower at Venetian.

No such luck, though.

While Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson has said the company will complete the St. Regis tower at some point, no timeline has been shared.

In the meantime, guests of Venetian will get a revamped pool complex with the help of a giant stuff lifter thingy.

Look, we’re a blog, not a lattice sectionalized tower crane expert. Although, ask us about luffing jibs sometime. We’re all over those.

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Rumor: Jimmy Kimmel Comedy Club in the Works for Linq

We live to scoop, and this is a juicy one if it comes to fruition.

Word is Caesars Entertainment is working on a deal to bring a Jimmy Kimmel comedy club to the Las Vegas Strip.

A reliable source says the deal hasn’t been finalized yet, but the comedy club would be at the Linq resort.

Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel is narcoleptic, an excuse he’s sure to use when he attends meetings with Caesars Entertainment executives.

Jimmy Kimmel, of course, is the affable host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Kimmel is a Las Vegas native who got his start in the entertainment business during high school by hosting a show on UNLV’s college station, KUNV.

The Linq has a vacancy in its showroom due to the recent, and abrupt, departure of its “Divas Las Vegas” show amidst some glorious drama. Mat Franco’s magic show is currently the only show in the Linq’s theater.

We’ll keep an eye on this one, but don’t be surprised if there’s some comedy in the future of the Linq resort, along with its new zipline and the upcoming Kind Heaven attraction.

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