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Molecular gastronomy in Vegas?


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I know Graham Elliot Bowles has said he'd love to open more restaurants someday, when I was at Avenues last summer I commented that I thought far lesser restaurants than his do amazing volume in Vegas. I'm wondering when someone like him, Grant Achatz, Homaru Cantu, Wiley Dufresne(sp) will try the Vegas market. Imho, whoever is first will be very big. I think it's the one thing lacking from the Vegas scene, and it would certainly be welcome. Anyone have any thoughts on this? I for one would love to go to a place like Moto, Alinea, or Avenues when in Sin City. Lord knows people would pay for it.

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There are already some techniques associated with "molecular gastronomy" being used at Robuchon  and Guy Savoy right now. However, Vegas is actually a very conservative market in general, so I don't see it getting big play soon.

Neil,

I think that with the right players that it would work.

Molto E

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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There are already some techniques associated with "molecular gastronomy" being used at Robuchon  and Guy Savoy right now. However, Vegas is actually a very conservative market in general, so I don't see it getting big play soon.

I really don't think it's a conservative market. People love to have fun in Vegas, and molecular gastronomy is fun, imho. Like you said, people are gobbling it up at Robuchon and Savoy at absurd prices. People certainly are willing to pay and willing to try something new. People travel to Chicago just to go to Alinea and Moto, I could see people doing that if those places were in Vegas, but even moreso.

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There are already some techniques associated with "molecular gastronomy" being used at Robuchon  and Guy Savoy right now. However, Vegas is actually a very conservative market in general, so I don't see it getting big play soon.

Neil,

I think that with the right players that it would work.

Molto E

I think whoever does it first will be nationally famous. People will want to try something fun and new. Might not be so new to people in Chicago, but in Vegas it would be.

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Opening a restaurant by itself is a huge risk, making it a post modern restaurant is an even bigger one! To pull it off you have to have a market for it, and you have to have investors....this type of restaurant is expensive. The equipment alone will leave a hefty hole in your pocket!

chefs like Savoy and Robuchon have clout and can afford to open a place like that so the risk is not as high.

All that being said...Vegas would be a cool location for one, I think If it is marketed right and the food is tasty....no matter how crazy it may appear, it will be succesful. And a resume full of reputable restaurants and or chefs will always help!!

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Elrushbo, I agree with nightscotsman and chefAZ on this one.

The locals in Las Vegas are pretty conservative. Most people's idea of a fancy meal is the shrimp cocktail, steak & lobster. Either that or a French dinner a la Paris Las Vegas or a huge Italian restaurant with Frank singing in the background.

Out of the over 40 million visitors, how many are foodies/gourmands? 1 out of 1000? That's 40,000 a year who come, mainly for the food (count me as one).

Chefs like Savoy and Robuchon may be using m.g. techniques, but they're not known for m.g., like Alinea or wd-50. BTW, Savoy and Robuchon came to Las Vegas because the casino owners CAME TO THEM FIRST, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!! The owners approached them and told them they can have everything they need. Talk about a sugar daddy ...

Mind you, it would be a pleasant surprise and/or total shock if a casino owner would commit himself to a chef who's committed to "molecular gastronomy" (How about calling it extreme cuisine, ehh?). I can think of only one chef that could fit the bill.

Elrushbo, if you can correctly name the chef I'm thinking of, you might get a free meal from me in Las Vegas. Back to your topic, yes, people want to have fun, within their own comfort zone, mind you!! People want things to be very accessible, not overly cerebral or intellectual. And the food must taste delicious. If it isn't, then forgetaboutit!!

Swicks, if Chicago was so forward-thinking in having an m.g. restaurant, Chicago wouldn't have banned foie gras, ehh?? And yes, I'm not happy about the foie gras ban in California coming in 2012.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Elrushbo, I agree with nightscotsman and chefAZ on this one.

The locals in Las Vegas are pretty conservative. Most people's idea of a fancy meal is the shrimp cocktail, steak & lobster. Either that or a French dinner a la Paris Las Vegas or a huge Italian restaurant with Frank singing in the background.

Out of the over 40 million visitors, how many are foodies/gourmands? 1 out of 1000? That's 40,000 a year who come, mainly for the food (count me as one).

Chefs like Savoy and Robuchon may be using m.g. techniques, but they're not known for m.g., like Alinea or wd-50. BTW, Savoy and Robuchon came to Las Vegas because the casino owners CAME TO THEM FIRST, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!! The owners approached them and told them they can have everything they need. Talk about a sugar daddy ...

Mind you, it would be a pleasant surprise and/or total shock if a casino owner would commit himself to a chef who's committed to "molecular gastronomy" (How about calling it extreme cuisine, ehh?). I can think of only one chef that could fit the bill.

Elrushbo, if you can correctly name the chef I'm thinking of, you might get a free meal from me in Las Vegas. Back to your topic, yes, people want to have fun, within their own comfort zone, mind you!! People want things to be very accessible, not overly cerebral or intellectual. And the food must taste delicious. If it isn't, then forgetaboutit!!

Swicks, if Chicago was so forward-thinking in having an m.g. restaurant, Chicago wouldn't have banned foie gras, ehh?? And yes, I'm not happy about the foie gras ban in California coming in 2012.

Gotta respectfully disagree...look at all the gourmet restaurants on the Strip, all doing major volume. People travel to Vegas to have fun, go to shows, and go to restaurants. People have proven that they will pay for gourmet food, and I think the 'fun' aspect of an Alinea would be a major hit. If people will fill up places like Mesa Grill or Spago, that aren't in that league, they'll go for Alinea, Avenues or Moto. Your take on the locals could easily apply to Chicago-Chicago style pizza and Italian beef are more of what Chicago is known for nationwide than gourmet food. I think people would want to try something different and new in Vegas. If they'll pay $350pp for the tasting menu at Robuchon, they'll pay $200 for Avenues, Alinea or Moto or something like it and as good.

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Swicks, if Chicago was so forward-thinking in having an m.g. restaurant, Chicago wouldn't have banned foie gras, ehh?? And yes, I'm not happy about the foie gras ban in California coming in 2012.

I was actually implying that Chicago is more on the conservative side, lots of steak and potatoes joints, where as Vegs is much more out there. Kind of what elrushbo said.

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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Swicks, if Chicago was so forward-thinking in having an m.g. restaurant, Chicago wouldn't have banned foie gras, ehh?? And yes, I'm not happy about the foie gras ban in California coming in 2012.

I was actually implying that Chicago is more on the conservative side, lots of steak and potatoes joints, where as Vegs is much more out there. Kind of what elrushbo said.

Well, first, I wouldn't use the foie gras ban to pass any sort of judgment on the City. It is rarely if ever enforced and it is in the process of being repealed. In terms of Chicago being conservative because there are lots of "steak and potatoes" joints, there probably aren't any more steakhouses here than any other major city. Don't forget, Alinea and Moto are here, along with a few other restaurants driving a style of cuisine that you don't see as much of on either coast.

As for Vegas supporting molecular gastronomy, I'm sort of on the fence about whether it would fly. Sure there is money out there to be spent, and certainly the wow factor means everything to those visiting the Strip, but I feel like to appreciate a restaurant like Alinea or Moto you need to have a certain level of knowledge of food and dining. I'm not sure if the whales that will be dropping the large sums of cash will be able to appreciate what they're getting.

-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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I think Jose Andres would be a huge success with a MiniBar in Las Vegas. What kind of splash would it be to convince Adria to open an outpost in Sin City. The right players would make a restaurant based on "Modern Technical Cooking" a success in Vegas.

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Just like anywhere else, this cuisine will work in LV based on whether or not it is done well and the end product is good food. The problem is that like with any other cuisine just because it is showy it isn't necessarily good. Though the techniques used may not be difficult the emphasis placed on creativity is such that only a few chefs are consistently able to come up with winner combinations that are new, visually interesting (a hallmark of the cuisine) and delicious. It is therefore no surprise that a self-consciously creative vanguard chef has not set up shop there yet. I see no reason why it would not necessarily work if it fills a niche. It doesn't even have to be the font of a chef's creativity either. The Benazuza in Sevilla appears to be quite good and successful with "best of" elBulli format. I could see that or a similar approach from Grant Achatz or a few others working there. What that style restaurant has in its favor is that the vast majority of diners at high end Vegas restaurants are tourists. It doesn't matter to them whether the menu changes on a weekly, monthly or any basis. Most would just as soon go for "the highlights" that they may have heard about.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Just like anywhere else, this cuisine will work in LV based on whether or not it is done well and the end product is good food. The problem is that like with any other cuisine just because it is showy it isn't necessarily good. Though the techniques used may not be difficult the emphasis placed on creativity is such that only a few chefs are consistently able to come up with winner combinations that are new, visually interesting (a hallmark of the cuisine)  and delicious. It is therefore no surprise that a self-consciously creative vanguard chef has not set up shop there yet. I see no reason why it would not necessarily work if it fills a niche. It doesn't even have to be the font of a chef's creativity either. The Benazuza in Sevilla appears to be quite good and successful with "best of" elBulli format. I could see that or a similar approach from Grant Achatz or a few others working there. What that style restaurant has in its favor is that the vast majority of diners at high end Vegas restaurants are tourists. It doesn't matter to them whether the menu changes on a weekly, monthly or any basis. Most would just as soon go for "the highlights" that they may have heard about.

I'm hoping Chef GEB opens a place in Vegas someday...

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one thing i am thinking that makes some of these MG places is the size of the place...they are small 40-60 seat rest...if this were to happen in Vegas, i feel that the new spots would have to be larger then that, thus taking away something from the actual experience (which is was MG is all about IMO).

also, there is no way i could see Adria coming to America, let alone to Vegas, IMO...i doubt that Grant Achatz wants to brand himself so soon with a Vegas outpost. i think this is something will happen in a handful of years down the road, once new playhers arise in this field out of Spain, or from under Cantu, Achatz, Dufrense, Andres, etc. it will happen one day, but not for awhile. even though Vegas is a hotspot, someone else said it earlier, Casinos came to these chefs, not vice versea. it will take time

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one thing i am thinking that makes some of these MG places is the size of the place...they are small 40-60 seat rest...if this were to happen in Vegas, i feel that the new spots would have to be larger then that, thus taking away something from the actual experience (which is was MG is all about IMO). 

also, there is no way i could see Adria coming to America, let alone to Vegas, IMO...i doubt that Grant Achatz wants to brand himself so soon with a Vegas outpost.  i think this is something will happen in a handful of years down the road, once new playhers arise in this field out of Spain, or from under Cantu, Achatz, Dufrense, Andres, etc.  it will happen one day, but not for awhile.  even though Vegas is a hotspot, someone else said it earlier, Casinos came to these chefs, not vice versea.  it will take time

I don't think they would have to be larger...Le Atelier is from what I have heard tiny-the counter seats 27 and there's a few tables.

The thing I'd like about seeing something like Alinea or Avenues in Vegas is...with a truly captivating enviroment, you really do 'escape.' But walk out the door, and you're in downtown Chicago. In Vegas, you could walk out the door, and there's the canals of Venice!

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