When a star chef of Jose Andres’ stripe drops a hint that he’s working on a “surprise,” the culinary world takes note.
Fellow chefs and curious foodies, hungry for more details, reacted with emails and phone calls after my June 2013 interview with Andres.
The assumption was that it had something to do with his restaurant project at the SLS Las Vegas.
The suspense ended with the opening of SLS last weekend. In a city known for high stakes and big steaks, Andres was creating the world’s ultimate meat emporium.
He’s calling his bold new Las Vegas venture, Bazaar Meat, “my big bet.”
His long relationship with SLS gave him an opportunity “to do my take on what a meat place is,” he said.
“I didn’t want to call it a steakhouse because I think it’s going to be a little bit more than sirloins and T-bones,” Andres said during a red carpet interview on SLS’s opening night.
The idea, he said, is to meld “my background of Spanish restaurants, my heritage, my culture” into what he calls “a place where everybody is going to find what they like.”
He’s convinced that among the nearly 40 million people who visit Las Vegas there’s an appetite for old-world delicacies such as roast suckling pig and baby lamb as daily signature offerings, not just a weekly special.
The menu will feature “an amazing display of animals,” he said.
“We are not going to have meats that are aged 60 days; we are going to have meats that are 9 years old,” he said.
“I am going to show you not only what the grill can do but also what an oven can do. I have different types of cooking ovens to produce meats and vegetables, and you’re going to see this in the flavors.”
What you won’t find is barbecue, he said.
“We’re going to stop putting on weird sauces. We’re going to stop adding barbecue to everything and spices to everything. We’re going to believe in the purity of the meat.”
“So the big challenge here for me,” he said, “is are people going to enjoy the plain quality of the meat where only a little bit of sea salt and a little bit of water in the bottom to keep them moist?
“That’s my big bet, where less is more and I hope people will understand it and enjoy because I’m not going for the ketchup barbecue sauce and other stuff. I’m going for the quality and purity of a great grill meat.”
THE VEGAS BOOMERANG
The latest cases of the Vegas boomerang involve former KLAS-TV, Channel 8 weatherman Tedd Florendo and entertainment community figures LJ Harness and Mark Giovi.
Florendo, who moved to Philadelphia a year ago after nine years at Channel 8, is returning next month to replace Darren Miller, who is leaving by his own choice.
Harness, who spearheaded the formation of The Vegas Underground open mic night, is back in town after a three-month absence to care for his parents in Sarasota, Fla. He’s back at Cadillac of Las Vegas as marketing and promotions director.
Giovi, one of the founding members of the Las Vegas Tenors and the host, left Las Vegas a year ago after a 10-year stay to headline at a high-end New York City club. Florendo spent a year at a top Philadelphia station as weekend meteorologist and weekday reporter.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Former KXNT morning host Kerri Kasem has started a petition to grant her father Casey Kasem’s wish to be buried at Forest Lawn in Los Angeles. Kasem’s children have been in a legal battle since their father died June 15 and his widow, Jean Kasem, loaded the radio icon into an SUV, drove to Las Vegas and then flew to Washington state, where Casey spent his final days in the home of one of Jean’s childhood friends before dying in a hospital. She removed his body from a funeral home there and shipped his remains to Canada. Recently, she moved his body to Norway, with plans to bury him there. Kerri’s online petition at Care2.com has resulted in 18,000 signatures. …
The Mirage headliner Terry Fator will be appearing throughout tonight’s MDA Telethon on KTNV-TV, Channel 13. He will be airing some of the telethon’s most memorable past clips.
Hip hop artist and television personality Flavor Flav, partying at Beacher’s Madhouse (MGM Grand) on Friday, with an OK! camera crew. The group enjoyed the vaudeville-inspired spectacle, including performances by a mini Kanye West and mini Miley Cyrus. … Olympic swimming medalist Ryan Lochte, with fellow swimmers and Olympic medalists Cullen Jones and Ed Moses at STK (Cosmopolitan) on Friday. They later partied at Tao (The Venetian). … At SLS on Friday: celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, dining at Bazaar Meat with friends and DJ Tiesto dining at Katsuya. Hilton joined Chippendales onstage on Friday to take part in National Bow Tie Day. … Comedy legend Jerry Lewis, honored for his decades of service to the MDA of Australia during a presentation Friday at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts by Australia’s ambassador to the United States, Kim Beazley.
THE PUNCH LINE
“Over the weekend in California — a big one, a 6.0 earthquake. It was so powerful that Lindsey Lohan was driving on the right side of the road.” — David Letterman
Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.