Category Archives: Las Vegas Restaurants

Four Multimillion-Dollar Las Vegas Restaurants in the Works

Pandemic, schmandemic. Despite the ongoing financial challenges faced by restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis, Las Vegas is still doing what it does best: Spending a metric ass-ton of money on new restaurants.

At least four high-profile restaurant projects have been announced, and these big dollar offerings are giving us a lot to look forward to in 2021 and beyond.

Each of these restaurants is budgeted in the neighborhood of $4 million. Let’s take a look at what’s in store.

1. Amalfi at Caesars Palace: $4 Million

Mesa Grill was a beloved fixture at Caesars Palace (it closed Nov. 14, 2020), but every Las Vegas restaurant has its season.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is bringing an all-new Italian seafood concept, Amalfi, to Caesars Palace in spring 2021.

Construction is estimated to cost $4 million. The only way we can see making that investment back is if there’s a chicken parm dish and we dine at Amalfi three times a week.

Don’t let us down, Bobby.

Amalfi Caesars Palace

While we are not a seafood person, we are definitely a pasta person, and we can’t wait to fill up on bread.

2. Umi Uma Japanese at Resorts World: $4.2 Million

Resorts World is spending money like it’s the 1980s, and they’re sparing no expense for Umi Uma, a Japanese concept.

“Umi Uma” means “seahorse” in Japanese. We trust those will not be on the menu.

While Resorts World has shared details about a number of its venues, Umi Uma hasn’t been officially announced yet.

With that price tag, we trust it’s going to make a splash. Resorts World opens in summer 2021.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Resorts World is one of the biggest gambles in the history of Las Vegas. No risk, no reward.

3. Strip Olive Garden: $3.8 Million

We are not making this up.

There’s an Olive Garden planned for the Las Vegas Strip and it’s expected to cost nearly $4 million.

Make fun, but we’re ready to contribute a good portion of that in breadstick purchases alone.

The new Olive Garden will take up residence above a Target at Showcase Mall across from Park MGM (formerly Monte Carlo).

While Olive Garden may take some hits from Italian cuisine purists, there’s no denying it’s a crowd-pleaser, and much less a gamble than some of these other pricey restaurants.

Olive Garden

Don’t tell people what they should enjoy. Unless you have a blog, of course.

4. Nusr-Et Steakhouse: $4.5 Million

Easily the oddest entry on this list, it seems restaurateur Nusret Gokce, better known as Salt Bae, is bringing a two-story steakhouse to Las Vegas.

The steakhouse will have a hefty $4.5 million price tag, but that shouldn’t be too big a nut given Gokce is known for selling $1,000 steaks wrapped in gold foil.

The new restaurant will presumably move into a vacant spot at The Park, a sort of restaurant row near T-Mobile Arena at Park MGM.

“Salt Bae” opened a Boston outpost in Sep. 2020, but it got off to a rocky start. Still, Vegas loves colorful characters, so Gokce should fit right in.

We have no idea how this restaurant’s name is pronounced, but if you’re a fan of someone salting your meat off their hairy forearm, Nusr-Et is one to watch.

Nusr-Et Las Vegas

We’ll take a new steakhouse over an empty space all bae long.

Las Vegas has never been known for self-restraint, but it’s amazing these big budget restaurants are in the works despite recent events.

Thanks to our friends at Eater Vegas for keeping everyone abreast on all things restaurant in Las Vegas and for digging up all the scoop related to these construction budgets.

There’s apparently a lot of optimism about a post-pandemic Las Vegas recovery, and nobody wants to miss out on a potential windfall.

Whether half-baked wishful thinking or prescience, we love new, shiny Las Vegas things, so we can’t wait to see these new restaurants spring to life.

Pod Dining at Esther’s Kitchen Is Surprisingly Satisfying

Given the latest COVID-related directives, Las Vegas restaurants have had to get creative to stay afloat.

One of the best restaurants in town, Esther’s Kitchen, has pitched some tents, adding a playful twist to an already great dining experience.

Esther's Kitchen

If you thought we were going to pass up a tent-pitching joke, you do not know this blog at all.

Las Vegas restaurants are currently limited to 25% capacity, making profitability nearly impossible.

Esther’s Kitchen’s eight outdoor tents, dubbed “Greenhouse Village,” expands the restaurant’s capacity while providing guests the required amount of distance from their fellow diners.

Esther's Kitchen dining pods

Dibs on this fire pit thingy after the pandemic.

The portable greenhouses are cozy and romantic. Each seats four people (restaurants aren’t currently allowed to seat more than four at a table), and is equipped with carpeting, heat and music.

Esther's Kitchen dining pods

It’s like “glamping,” but dining. It’s “damping.” Which should be a thing.

Guests need to call ahead to reserve the dining pods. Find out more at the official Web site.

While the tents have been put up due to restrictions, we actually like them more than the dining room! Esther’s Kitchen is very popular, and is always busy, so the noise can be deafening. We like the quiet and the outdoor seating is glorious.

The food is still fast and fresh, and Esther’s remains home to some truly life-altering bread.

Esther's Kitchen bread

The bread at Esther’s Kitchen is life-altering.

Esther’s makes its pasta in-house, and their pizza is consistently amazing, but during our pod visit, we opted for the Pan Roasted Mary’s Chicken.

Esther's Kitchen chicken

We totally knew that was farrotto and agrodolce squash and sherry jus. Um, hello, we are not a rube.

We love that at Esther’s Kitchen, they include this item on the menu: “Buy the kitchen a round of beers. A little love for the hardworking cooks, $6.”

Read more about Esther’s Kitchen in the Arts District, downtown.

Esther's Kitchen

Insider tip: On the way to the pods, check out the walk-in cooler. Sorry, “Walken cooler.”

We realize Esther’s created its outdoor pod seating to address some business challenges related to COVID-19, but we’d love to see it stick around. The fresh air. The quiet. The privacy.

There’s always something new to love at Esther’s Kitchen.

Which they should totally steal for their advertising. You’re welcome, Chef Trees.

M Resort Shares Raiders Bar & Grill Renderings

M Resort has shared some renderings of its upcoming, first-ever Raiders-themed restaurant.

The new restaurant was announced back in November 2019, but we’re pretty sure the renderings are new, so take a gander. If people still take ganders.

Raiders Bar & Grill

There’s simply nothing like a burger grilled on a wood-fired gridiron.

M Resort’s new Raiders restaurant is expected to be a 24/7 offering, with multiple bars, lots of team memorabilia and a gift shop.

The new restaurant is expected to open by the end of the first quarter of 2021. In human English, that means “probably before March or whatever.”

Raiders M Resort

We expect to win a Heisman for downing Captains and diet.

The new offering will take over the former Jayde Fuzion restaurant space.

M Resort is one of our favorite places to drink, gamble and dine (in that order) in Las Vegas, and
although we aren’t exactly a sports person, a Raiders theme will not keep us from being excited about this new restaurant and bar.

Did we fail to mention it will have a bar and possibly bars?

M Resort is about 10 minutes south of the Las Vegas Strip, and in close proximity to the
Raiders’ practice facility.

The practice facility’s official name is the “Raiders Performance Center,” which to us sounds more like a community theater space than an NFL practice venue, but we try not to judge.

Raiders restaurant M Resort

Dude, never tell a woman she’s like her mother. Consider yourself sidelined.

The Raiders restaurant is part of a larger partnership with M Resort which includes a number of things we care a good deal less about than eating and drinking.

M Resorts’ partnership with the Raiders is quite the coup, so we predict the resort will try and make the most of the exposure.

We also predict the Human Resources department at M Resorts is going to have an increased workload due to a much greater turnover of cocktail waitresses in the months and years to come. Because pro football players. And have you seen the cocktail waitresses at M Resort? Just saying.

Bang Bar to Replace Pok Pok Wing at Cosmo’s Food Court

Pok Pok Wing restaurant at Cosmopolitan has announced it will close on Dec. 6, 2020.

You remember 2020, right? The worst year for restaurants and pretty much everything, ever.

Pok Pok Tweeted: “It was a very fun ride, with great partners but it was a licensed deal that had an end date. Thanks for all your support and be sure to stop by before Sunday to get all the wings you can.”

Pok Pok

Goodbye, delicious and underrated wings.

We were hoping for a little more juicy drama around the closure of Pok Pok, but it seems COVID is the likely culprit in the closure of Pok Pok, as the chain’s other outlets have struggled.

If there is any drama, we look forward to you sharing it with us. Ahem.

A day after the announced closure of Pok Pok in its Block 16 food court (sorry, “urban food hall”), Cosmo announced its replacement, Bang Bar.

The news release for Bang Bar says it is a new concept from chef David Chang. The same news release references there’s a Bang Bar that opened in New York in 2018. So, upon further reflection, let’s go with “new-ish.”

Bang Bar

How did a restaurant get this name before a brothel nabbed it?

Chef David Chang, of course, is also the force behind Cosmo’s Momofuku restaurant and has consistently been voted one of the least pleasant chefs to work with, divawise.

Oh, wait, “It’s perfectionism!” Just have to stay one step ahead of the folks in public relations. We trust “bad boy” also works, as it has a romantic ring to it.

Chang is also the guy who donated a million dollars he won on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” to hospitality workers. His Netflix series, “Ugly Delicious,” is worth a look. Fun fact: Chang’s father originally wanted him to be a pro golfer, because it was seen as more stable than being a restaurateur.

Thankfully, “celebrity” chefs are rarely in their restaurants, so we can focus on the food.

Bang Bar will feature “spit-roasted meats wrapped in freshly griddled bang bread.” Which sounds delicious.

“Bang” means “bread” in Korean, so we’d better damn well get some great bread at Bang Bar.

Bang Bar bread

With bread this pretty, we don’t actually care that much about David Chang’s personality quirks.

The news release says, “In New York, menu favorites include The U Wrap, featuring bang bread filled and rolled with a choice of spicy pork, chicken or spicy eggplant and the Rice Bowl, made with rice, pickles, cabbage and a choice of spicy pork, chicken or spicy eggplant.”

We are not an eggplant person (nor should anyone be), but again, this sounds really good and we can’t wait to try it.

Bang Bar is expected to open in spring 2021.

Rio Las Vegas to Reopen Dec. 22, Mostly

There are just a handful of Las Vegas casinos that haven’t reopened since the shutdown on March 18, 2020 due to the pandemic.

A glaring omission from the Caesars Entertainment roster of Vegas casinos has been Rio, but now the off-Strip casino has announced it will be back online as of Dec. 22, 2020.

That’s right. It took a pandemic to make people miss the Rio, and now she’s coming back. Well, most of her, anyway. But let’s not get bogged down in details.


Let’s Rio again, already.

As with a number of Las Vegas casinos, Rio’s reopening will have some caveats.

The hotel part of Rio will only operate stays Thursday through Monday.

On the bright side, the casino will be open seven days a week. It’s worth noting Caesars was careful not to say its table games would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Places like
Circus Circus have dramatically cut back their table games hours due to soft demand.

Rio view

One of the best things about the Rio is the view from the Rio.

A very bright side to the Rio reopening is one of our favorite Vegas shows, Penn & Teller, will relaunch as well.

Penn & Teller

Welcome back, miscreants.

Chippendales, not so much. We trust it’s because the show is a little too interactive.

Poor Chippendales guys. With their show closed, how are they going to meet women now? The struggle is real.


Here, a Chippendales dancer socially distances himself from his clothing.

“Wow” and the Comedy Cellar will not reopen when Rio does.

Restaurant options will be limited to: All-American Bar & Grille, Hash House A Go Go, VooDoo Steak and the Sports Deli.

Off the table for now are the Carnival World Buffet, Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho, Pho Da Nang Vietnamese Kitchen, KJ Dim Sum & Seafood and Royal India Bistro.

Royal India Bistro

One of the most underrated restaurants in Vegas is going to be a minute.

Many of the Rio’s bars will reopen, including Shutters, iBar, Purple Zebra, Masquerade and the Race & Sports Book Bar.

Self-parking will remain free, valet will remain closed.

Rio Kiss Minigolf

Sorry, tongue fans. No mention of Kiss minigolf reopening.

It’s worth noting that while Caesars Entertainment continues to operate Rio, the company no longer owns it. Rio is owned by Dreamscape Companies, from the folks at Imperial Companies, a real estate investment company.

For that matter, Caesars Entertainment isn’t even really owned by Caesars Entertainment anymore. The company recently merged with Eldorado Resorts.

Mental gymnastics aside, and despite the limited dining options at Rio, it will be great to have her back.

Given the closure of Palms (it still hasn’t reopened, and no date has been set to do so), it’s been a little dreary on that part of Flamingo Road.

The return of Rio and Penn & Teller means Las Vegas is slowly getting its VooDoo back.

Resorts World Drops New Renderings of Pool, Nightclub and Restaurants

Resorts World continues to titillate with sweet renderings of the Las Vegas casino resort opening in summer 2021.

This time, we get a glimpse of the $4.3 billion resort’s dayclub, Ayu.

Resorts World dayclub

Damn it, never should’ve sold that Ab Roller.

As you know, “Ayu” means “beautiful” in Javanesse.

And as you also know, Javanesse is the language spoken by people at Starbucks.

Next up is the entrance to Zouk Las Vegas nightclub.

Zouk is a well-known nightlife brand in Asia, with high profile venues in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia, none of which we would be able to locate on a map.

Thanks a lot, public education.

Resorts World nightclub

Behold the newest place in Vegas to get your recommended allowance of oontz.

To the credit of Resorts World, they went outside the usual suspects to manage their nightclub.

The state of nightclubs in Vegas has been in flux for some time, with the closure of several Vegas fixtures, including Intrigue at Wynn, 1 Oak at Mirage, Hyde at Bellagio and others. The most recent implosion was Kaos at Palms.

New blood may be just what’s needed to shake up the town’s nightclub formula.

Here’s a shot from inside Zouk.

Resorts World nightclub

Zouk is a kind of dance music from the Caribbean. It’s also the sound your withdrawal slip makes when it goes up the vacuum tube at your bank.

There’s also Fuhu restaurant. According to the official Web site, “Fuhu is a vibe dining restaurant, conceptualized by the team behind the world famous number three nightclub in the world, Zouk Singapore.”

Nightclubs and restaurants? Echoes of Hakkasan and Tao up in here.

Resorts World Fuhu

Fuhu means “lucky tiger” in Mandarin. We like it, despite the whole “vibe dining” thing.

Among the new renderings is RedTail, which we’re pretty sure needs a space in it, but we’re going to play along.

Speaking of play, RedTail is a “social gaming bar,” where guests can mingle and playing games like beer pong, darts and pool.

Oh, stop judging, that idea has got to succeed at some point. Somewhere. Maybe even in Las Vegas. At some point. Have you seen the numbers at Dave & Buster’s? Neither have we, but you see our point.

RedTail will have hooch, which is really the important part, so there’s that.

Resorts World RedTail

We’re ready to get some consensual RedTail.

The renderings are sexy, and the rooms we saw in the sales center at Resorts World were appealing as well.

Bringing 3,500 rooms to The Strip when visitation was already on the wane in Las Vegas prior to the pandemic means Resorts World will face some challenges.

The resort will also rely heavily on conventions (near zero in Las Vegas right now), nightlife (nightclubs and dayclubs are closed) and entertainment (no headliners are currently performing on the Las Vegas Strip).

Resorts World seems to be using a tried-and-true playbook for Las Vegas megaresorts. The question is whether that playbook actually works anymore, especially in light of recent world
events and the proliferation of legal gambling across the country.

Resorts World Las Vegas

The size and scope of Resorts World has been fluid since it was first announced in March 2013. This is about what it will look like on opening day in summer 2021.

Resorts World is hoping pent-up demand will draw visitors to its shiny new destination on The Strip.

We’re rooting hard for Resorts World. Let’s hope science, visitor confidence and good luck align to help make this new Las Vegas casino resort a success.