Michelin makes Steve Wynn's year

Steve Wynn has hit the trifecta.

A banner year just went beyond Wynn's wildest dreams: Wynn Las Vegas has landed Michelin's highest hotel rating, the five red pavilions, after recently claiming Mobil five-star distinction and AAA five-diamond award.

The only Las Vegas hotel to earn Michelin's ultimate prize, Wynn Las Vegas is one of only eight hotels in the nation to receive the award.

"We're so thrilled," Wynn said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. "If I had known (Michelin) had those ratings I would have been nervous."

Three Wynn restaurants scored Michelin stars in the 2008 guide, which comes out this week. Alex Stratta's Alex was one of three Las Vegas eateries with two stars, and two other Wynn restaurants received one star: Daniel Boulud Brasserie and Richard Chen's Wing Lei, the only Chinese restaurant in the United States to win a Michelin star.

"I built this to be a Mobil five-star hotel,'' said Wynn.

He's on an unprecedented (for Vegas) roll, and there's more to come. Wynn said he's been informed that another AAA five diamonds award is coming next year.

He feels not just pride, but a sense of vindication for sticking to his guns.

"When I was in Bellagio the story was, 'Why go for those stars and diamonds? They're so expensive; the public doesn't give a shit.' I never believed it.

"But the feeling in town was that level of quality wasn't justified costwise. I didn't believe it at Bellagio, and I got the five stars at Picasso in 2000 and Renoir with Alex at Mirage. And MGM lost 'em the next year when I sold.

"But those were the first two five-star restaurants in Las Vegas. Then they went away (after Picasso and Renoir repeated in 2001).

"That five-star really does mean a lot to the customers, because they know that is a real rating. So now Bellagio and some of the other hotels have figured it out that it matters. There's a much higher awareness of quality in town, and if that happens it's good for Las Vegas.

"And I think it's a good idea to raise the bar for everybody in town. It's better to have three five-star hotels in town instead of just one. To have 16 Michelin restaurants in town is pretty good," he said.

"No one would have thought it was possible. Michelin was always about the French and Switzerland, snotty places like that. But here we are with 16 restaurants in the Michelin Guide."


Local entertainers Clint Holmes and the former Kelly Clinton, exchanging vows Sunday in the backyard at the home of Leigh Zimmerman and Dominic Allen. The reception was held at the Bootlegger Bistro, where they met during her weekly karaoke night. ... Film star Vince Vaughn, star of the newly released comedy "Fred Clause," enjoying a mojito at Caramel Bar & Lounge at Bellagio early Monday evening. From there he went to the bar at Fix Restaurant & Bar in Bellagio. ... Illusionist Hans Klok and magician Siegfried Fischbacher, dining Monday at Corsa restaurant inside Wynn Las Vegas. They later attended "La Reve" at the Wynn. ... Hunter Tylo, appearing on CNN's Larry King on Tuesday, her first interview since the death of her son, Michael Tylo, who drowned in a pool at her Henderson home after suffering a seizure. ... Music legend Diana Ross, shopping Saturday at Cream and Nora Blue inside Mandalay Place.


"De-louser for Broadway show 'Cats.' " -- From David Letterman's Top Ten Worst Jobs in New York

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.