Friday will mark the beginning of the Year of the Dog on the lunar calendar. In keeping with the tradition of man’s best friend — known for loyalty — a dog coming to the home is said to signify good fortune. Males born in the Year of the Dog are considered energetic and genuine, and women especially cautious.
The celebrations have already begun, and here are eight ways to join in.
At Hakkasan at MGM Grand, a special lunar new year menu is being served until Feb. 28. The menu, created by Hakkasan chefs in Asia, the United States, Great Britain and the Middle East, features ingredients believed to bring good luck and prosperity. Abalone fried rice in bean-curd wrap with Chinese sausage and shiitake mushrooms contains fai cai, or fat choy, which in Chinese means “get rich and grow wealth.” As eating fish at this season is said to bring increased prosperity, another of the featured dishes is baked Chilean sea bass with kumquat glaze. The menu of eight dishes is $118. The restaurant also will have Chinese lion dancers performing on Friday, and throughout the celebration, guests will be invited to write their wishes on red ribbons to be hung in the restaurant. Call 702-891-3838 or visit mgmgrand.com.
Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter, where festivities begin Thursday with the Yusheng Toss (in which a dish of raw fish and fresh and pickled fruits and vegetables is tossed into the air seven times for good luck), celebrations are planned in three hotel venues. At the Mandarin Bar, the Wu Xing cocktail, inspired by the Chinese philosophy of the five elements, combines Johnnie Walker Blue, lemongrass-infused baijiu (a Chinese liquor), ginger and lychee liquor, organic oolong tea and sandalwood oils. It’s $35 and will be on the bar’s menu until the beginning of the next lunar new year.
The resort’s Mozen Bistro (for “Mandarin Oriental zen”) plans a special menu from Friday through Feb. 21, with four-piece dim sum plates of char siu sou, shrimp shu mai, chicken flat dumplings, wild mushroom dumplings and Chinese sausage fried rice wonton priced at $10-12, an entree of Hainanese chicken rice bento for $28 and a dessert of mango tapioca pudding with passion-fruit sorbet for $12.
And Twist, Pierre Gagnaire’s 23rd-floor restaurant, will mark the debut of the limited-edition launch of the Johnnie Walker Blue Year of the Dog bottle with a dinner at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The four-course menu of foie gras terrine, smoked haddock and scallop souffle, saddle of Canadian venison with juniper berries and apple tatin, with Johnnie Walker pairings, is $248. Call 888-881-9578 or visit mandarinoriental.com.
Wynn Las Vegas is bringing back its Wing Lei dim sum brunch from Thursday through Feb. 21. Chef Xian Ming Yu will mix Cantonese, Shanghainese and Szechuan flavors in dozens of dishes, some of which will be served tableside, with others on buffet and carving stations. Running from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, it’s $68.88 for adults, $58.88 for children younger than 6. Call 702-770-2120 or visit wynnlasvegas.com.
The Northside Cafe and Chinese Kitchen at SLS Las Vegas is featuring two special dishes — steamed whole fish with ginger and soy, $58, and lobster served with either ginger-scallion or XO sauce, $88, from Thursday through Feb. 28.
China Poblano, Jose Andres’ Chinese-Mexican hybrid at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, is offering a six-course, $86 tasting menu from Friday through March 2, with all dishes also available a la carte. The menu starts with Happy Family Jiozi (egg, garlic chive and mung bean noodles, $10.88) and ends with The Dragon’s Pearl (coconut tapioca, white sesame ice cream, matcha meringue and lychee boba, $12.88), with such dishes as Lucky Lamb (grilled lamb skewers with silver needle oat noodles, lamb broth and yogurt, $16.88) and The Chicken or the Egg (chicken with egg tofu, black bean sauce, pickled sweet peppers and ice plant, $15.88) in between. Call 702-698-7900 or visit chinapoblano.com.
And Honey Salt will celebrate the lunar new year with a Farm Table dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The menu includes Chinese steamed buns, vegetable dumplings, lobster spring rolls, Chinese shrimp salad, Szechuan beef and broccoli and Cantonese roast duck with spicy green beans and steamed jasmine rice, and Chinese sugar doughnuts. It’s $59, with wine pairings an extra $25. The restaurant is at 1031 S. Rampart Blvd.; visit honeysalt.com.
Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.