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‘Eye candy everywhere’: 1st look inside new $20M steakhouse above the Strip

Updated June 14, 2023 - 11:29 am

Champagne won’t flow in the ladies’ loo at Ocean Prime after all.

The plan had been to serve bathroom bubbles at the $20 million steakhouse opening June 21 four floors above the Strip, but the health department played party pooper and put a cork in that idea.

Although flutes of Krug won’t fizz in the women’s restroom, the plan did make sense for a big-bucks restaurant atop the 63 development, at Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, where the Formula One track heads east, and where 17,000 square feet encompasses outer and inner host stands, a lounge, a curving main bar, three private dining rooms, DIY seafood towers in the main dining room, a 2,500-square-foot terrace, and striking interior design that celebrates land and sea.

“There’s a lot of great restaurants in Vegas,” said Cameron Mitchell, whose eponymous restaurant company is opening its flagship Ocean Prime here, the 18th in the U.S. “We have to be at the top of our game every single night. I like to say, ‘Every night is opening night.’ ”

And if opening night can’t include Champagne pours in the powder room, it can include a stiff G&T assembled tableside from the gin and tonic cart.

Triple vanity, exotic fixtures

You enter the lounge first at Ocean Prime (ocean-prime.com). Swiveling club seats upholstered in sage and terra cotta populate the lounge. Populating the walls: framed photographs of the Rat Pack, Marlene Dietrich, Vegas showgirls, Katharine Hepburn and, for some ocean zig to the Hollywood zag, stylized images of nautilus shells.

The lounge features textured Venetian plaster walls that extend throughout the restaurant. Their surface offers a muted shimmer, depending on the light, and color ranging from deep celadon to Aegean blue.

A triple vanity with perpendicular oval mirrors, for primping and then some, furnishes the women’s restroom. Above, hollow aluminum tubes meant to emulate the color and shape of wood reeds are shaped into a shaggy chandelier. The fixture, chaotic but composed, resembles an exotic nest crossed with an oversize ostrich feather handbag (á la Givenchy).

Tones of earth and water

A larger rectangular version of the fixture, like a long section of thatched roof, commands the dining room; lights glow through the reeds. In all, about 43 miles of tubing compose the reed fixtures, according to Randy Roberty, director of design and architecture for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants.

Ocean Prime accommodates more than 400 people, with about 120 able to be seated in the dining room — at tables, in alcoves and at sinuous clusters of sandstone-upholstered banquettes. Tables unite wood and high-end stone.

Dining room walls and columns clad in white oak stained in warm tones add to the earth palette and complement the ocean hues of the Venetian plaster.

“The dining room opens up like a flower, and then — boom! — it hits you,” Mitchell said. “There’s eye candy everywhere. There’s a lot of pizzazz.”

Up in smoke

A $20 million steakhouse is not the occasion for eating, say, weird foraged things on shovels, and so executive chef Eugenio N. Reyes cossets diners in familiar luxury: chilled seafoods, caviar and vodka pairings, nigiri with gold leaf and caviar, a tangle of lobster linguine, dry-aged wagyu strip steak, a Brobdingnagian bone-in ribeye coming in at 2 pounds.

But there are less familiar moments, too, like that DIY seafood tower “smoking” with billows of dry ice, or an olive oil-infused vodka martini spiked with Calabrian chilis, or that cart with several different gin and tonics circulating throughout the room on its mission of mercy.

Paying F1

The arc of the main bar fills the east end of the dining room and looks onto the terrace, which seats about 105. The terrace affords a prime perch to watch the F1 race, and as previously reported by the Review-Journal, the restaurant has been sold out for F1 weekend for an unidentified amount in the millions.

What has not been reported before is the F1 organization required Mitchell to pay it an undisclosed fee for the privilege of renting out his own restaurant for the event, he said.

“On the one hand, you say, ‘This is our space, our view.’ On the other hand, their point is, ‘If we weren’t here, you wouldn’t have that buyout.’ We want to get through this year and be amicable and see how that goes.”

Lights, music, action!

During its regular programming, the terrace at Ocean Prime allows folks to experience the life of the Strip, at a comfortable remove, for the price of a meal or drink.

“You get out there with the lights, and it’s stimulating and very energetic,” Mitchell said. “You get all the lights and the sounds of the Strip and the street performers and the music on the terrace.”

The other afternoon, a giant screen atop the Miracle Mile Shops, across the boulevard from the terrace, colorfully touts “Instant Hydration” with Electrolit. Nah. No need for Electrolit. Ocean Prime offers instant hydration. The gin and tonic cart is right inside. And so is the Champagne. Just not in the bathroom.

Contact Johnathan L. Wright at jwright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @JLWTaste on Instagram and @ItsJLW on Twitter.

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