A pandemic slowed but didn’t halt the always-steady stream of new restaurants in Las Vegas. Several new eateries on or near the Strip came to life in 2021. Since many of us haven’t been to Vegas in a year or more, this notable short list includes a couple spots that opened doors in late 2020.
Traveling to Sin City for the the annual resumption of March Madness in Las Vegas? Or, just flying in for some still-socially-distanced food and fun? It’s 50-percent capacity as of March 15 and six-top dining is permissible.
Here’s the skinny on new restaurants in Las Vegas.
Chef Todd English
Celebrity chef Todd English left Las Vegas for a few years. He’s back.
When City Center first opened, Todd English P.U.B. was a casual chic pub down near the end of the cul-de-sac near the Aria Resort & Casino. I’ve got great memories of good seafood, laugh-filled beer pong games and the 7-Second Beer Challenge.
The Challenge was to drink a pint of beer in seven seconds. There were hourglasses affixed to the bar filled with just seven seconds of sand. Bartenders were strict on timing. Finish a beer in seven seconds and it was free. Go too slow and you fork over the cash for the brew.
English seems to be in a hurry to get his name back in play in Vegas. In September 2020, he opened the Beast Food Hall at Area 15. It’s a 200,000-square-foot entertainment venue.
Unlike a food court with a variety national fast-food chains, this hall mixes smaller artisan restaurants. Different stations focus on specific cuisines. There’s a wok station, a spot for Roman-style flatbreads, a barbecue station and a vegan stall. English plans to rotate the menu.
English once oversaw Olives at the Bellagio (and did the menu for Beso, Eva Longoria’s nightclub that closed in 2011). When Virgin Hotels opens in late March in the former Hard Rock Hotel and Casino site, English will revive Olives.
Note: When Virgin Hotels opens, it will also house a dozen food-and-beverage outlets, including Nobu and MB Steak.
Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse
Speaking of steak, Flamingo Las Vegas opened vintage-styled Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse over the summer. Highlights include a dry-aged meat cooler, a raw bar, three private dining rooms and a hidden speakeasy. Heading the kitchen is Lamar Moore, winner of the Food Network competition program “Vegas Chef Prizefight.”
The Mayfair Supper Club
The Mayfair Supper Club has taken over the one-time nightclub space that overlooks the iconic fountains at Bellagio Resort & Casino on the Strip. The restaurant is inspiration by vintage London supper clubs and features Roaring ’20s décor. Old-school presentations of Wagyu prime rib are available.
MGM Grand Hotel & Casino is the latest location to open International Smoke. The dining franchise is a collaboration between celebrity chef Michael Mina and restauranteur Ayesha Curry (wife of NBA star Stephen Curry). The barbecue-heavy menu includes smoke-infused dishes, including the eatery’s signature charcoal-grilled oysters. The restaurant was temporarily closed to start the year, but opened during the Super Bowl and may be open for March Madness. For details, call 702-891-3922.
Din Tai Fung
The Din Tai Fung dining experience arrived at ARIA Resort & Casino in 2020. The highly regarded Taiwanese dumpling and noodle house is known around the world for its xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings). The menu will include handcrafted Shanghai-style noodles and dumplings filled with Kurobuta pork and other treats.
Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, which had been open for 16 years at Caesars Palace, served its last meal in November 2020. Flay has a new seafood restaurant called Amalfi in the works for the location, billed as his first Italian restaurant. Scheduled to open in late spring, Amalfi will feature a Mediterranean theme and incorporate elements of southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast. J&J