Posted by Patrick Maness
People have a lot of different opinions about Las Vegas. For some, it’s all glitz and glamor, for others it’s a citadel of sin. But if you’re in the restaurant industry, one thing is for certain, you need to keep tabs on Las Vegas restaurants.
Las Vegas is a city of invention and reinvention. Once it was known primarily for gambling, then for entertainment and an unsurpassed nightlife, now Las Vegas has emerged as a culinary epicenter. So what does that mean for you? Well, for starters, it looks like there will be a few trends that happen in Vegas that won’t stay in Vegas.
Back to the basics
If you ever feel like culinary trends have become a dime a dozen and the entire industry has gone a little overboard on cutting edge techniques and novel ingredients, you’re not alone.
Restaurants on the Las Vegas strip are going back to the staples of both international and American cuisines. Say good bye to paleo-molecular-fusion, the two words that define the style in a number of great Vegas restaurants is "classic" and "comfort."
Now, before you dismiss this as sounding boring or bland, the reality is, these dishes are exciting and bold. Great ingredients, fresh spices — it's a kind of cooking that cuts out all the hoopla to focus on the food, not the gimmicks.
Status and Celebrity
Even though they might be going back to the basics on the food side of things, Las Vegas is still a city to be seen and to stand out. The way to do this in the restaurant world is with celebrity chefs.
Ever since Wolfgang Puck opened the first high-end celebrity restaurant on the strip more than 20 years ago, Las Vegas has been a premier destination for food tourists. Here they can sample offerings from such luminaries as Gordon Ramsay, Tom Colicchio and Emeril Lagasse.
By the end of this year, James Beard Foundation Award winning chef and current culinary rock star David Chang will open a branch of his Momofuku concept restaurants at the Cosmopolitan.
As televised food shows grow in popularity, more people will be drawn to restaurants featuring celebrity chefs and it's likely Vegas will turn into a hot destination for food tourists.
Nationwide, we've already seen this demand for high-profile chefs spread throughout major cities. For restaurant owners who can't afford to bring in a celebrity chef, the second best thing they can do is to pay attention to what these chefs are doing.
Trends come and go and fashions tend to go in cycles. Right now it seems the focus has returned to food, in all its delicious simplicity. America is still a celebrity-crazed nation, and as kitchens produce more stars, many will be looking to them to determine what's next in the food industry.
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