Longoria’s eatery elicits excitement

Where’s a photographer when you need one? But I’m getting ahead of myself.

For a while Thursday night, odds of my landing a promised interview with Eva Longoria Parker were sinking faster than Tiger Woods‘ chances of being named Husband of the Year.

The star of “Desperate Housewives” was mobbed during the grand opening of her Latin steak house, Beso, at CityCenter’s Crystals retail and entertainment district. Plus she was flying back to L.A.

When she blazed by me well after her thank-you speech, I saw the handwriting on the wall.

Then a PR exec with MGM Mirage urged me to follow her into Beso’s nightclub, called Eve. I was convinced the music would drown out the tape recorded interview.

Again, a woman motioned for me to follow until I thought I was walking into a ladies room. I saw Longoria Parker inside the door and realized it was a maintenance closet. I walked in, stepping around white hard hats and safety vests.

Then I proceeded to start my first interview ever in, well, a closet.

She couldn’t have been more accommodating. After all, how many celebrities would lock themselves in a closet with the likes of a gossip columnist? (Don’t worry, Tony. We had a chaperone).

Landing a choice restaurant location at CityCenter happened by accident, she said. In fall 2008, she was courted by Cynthia Kiser Murphey, president and chief operating officer of New York-New York. The offer was a space “right under the Statue of Liberty. It was really tempting. The traffic on that corner is amazing.”

Then she got a tour of MGM Mirage’s CityCenter. It was love at first sight.

“Oh my God I wanted to be part of it,” she said.

Unfortunately, all six restaurant spaces at Crystals were leased out.

Then, out of the blue, she got a call from Bill McBeath, president and chief operating officer of CityCenter’s 4,000-room Aria resort.

“Bill said, ‘Guess what? We have your space open.’ That was eight months ago. It was a match made in heaven. Thank God, somebody fell out.”

The space offers some of the premier views of the project: the multicolored fountain in front of Aria; Henry Moore‘s “Reclining Connected Forms,” an abstract sculpture of a baby wrapped in a mother’s embrace; inside the hip restaurant, chandeliers from the Academy Awards.

The spicy menu was put together by star chef Todd English and executive chef Isaac Carter.

She’s not another celebrity restaurateur who can’t boil an egg. She loves to cook. It’s in her genes. She comes from a family that goes back nine generations in what is now Texas.

And with that, we were out of the closet, and not a photographer in sight. Arggggh.


Here’s more names of the entertainers who will be taping at Aria next week for Dick Clark‘s New Year’s Eve show. Joining Fergie & The Black Eyed Peas will be Colbie Caillat, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Timbaland with SoShy, Keri Hilson and Orianthi. …

Yale Rowe, senior vice president at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, confirmed to me Thursday that he’s no longer at the resort.


Barbara Walters list of ’10 Most Fascinating People’ has come out. This year, it’s Tiger Woods and nine women he’s sleeping with.” — Craig Ferguson

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

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