Restaurant Reboots: Everything Old Is New Again in Las Vegas
How some of our favorite Sin City restaurants are reinventing themselves in 2023.
When dining out in Las Vegas, it's usually a choice between a hot new restaurant or an all-time great culinary experience. Lately, however, familiar favorites have fallen somewhere in the middle. Whether it's a dramatic renovation, change of scenery, chef addition, or something else entirely, a wave of tried and true dining spots suddenly feels brand new again. Give these like new restaurants in Las Vegas another look and enjoy some great food in the process.
Echo & Rig
Sam Marvin's Echo & Rig has long been a stable presence at Tivoli Village, an outdoor plaza near Summerlin where restaurants come and go at a rapid pace. Yet the steakhouse stays busy with the allure of delicious food, fair prices, and beef stored and sliced at an on-site butcher shop. After all these years, a second version of the concept is now open in Henderson at The District in Green Valley Ranch. The new location is much more than "Echo & Rig East'' with Marvin putting in a serious effort to give the place an identity of its own. Prices are slightly higher but still a bargain compared to most big Vegas steakhouses. The cuts are organized on the menu in a graph to match the ranch they're sourced from, with a few notes about how the cattle are raised. This is great for food enthusiasts who care whether the filet is grass-fed and grass-finished. You have to give Marvin credit for respecting his audience. A few offbeat cuts–like a tender but flavorful Zabuton–are a welcome change of pace. The new version of Echo & Rig also mixes things up with a dry-aging program, barrel-aged spirits, and an ambitious cocktail menu by Vegas mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim.
Limoncello Fresh Italian Kitchen
Limoncello has only been around since 2019 but is entering a new era after recruiting Carla Pellegrino as executive chef and partner. The Vegas favorite and Top Chef alum has actually been in place since November, quietly getting her stocks, sauces, and kitchen preferences in place before unveiling a fully revised menu by the end of March. Pellegrino isn't planning to mess with the restaurant's classic Italian dishes too much but will emphasize charcoal-broiled prime beef as the restaurant rebrands its official name from "Limoncello Fresh Italian Kitchen" to "Limoncello Italian Steakhouse." Get ready to sink your teeth into racks of lamb, pork chops, and various options on the restaurant's fresh seafood display, including branzino, red snapper, and Dover sole–paid for by the pound. Pellegrino is eager to introduce new raw bar items and replace the crab cake with a jumbo lump crab meat cocktail. Looking forward, the bar area will expand to add about 80 more seats and an enclosed patio.
How to book: Make a reservation online.
Michael Mina's StripSteak closed for a few months at the end of 2022, giving the restaurant a chance to undergo a renovation and introduce some new dishes. The whole place just looks and feels better with warm amber lighting, wood tones, a touch of Mid-Century modern style, and less clutter. A secluded private dining room with its own corridor took over a space once used as a casino security room and is like a private lounge with artwork, gold drapes, and seats for up to 72 people. The food you already love is still here, including the complimentary duck fat fries and butter-poached, mesquite-grilled steaks, but you'll want to try plenty of new stuff too, including caviar jelly donuts, sweet truffle cornbread, and Wagyu Prime Rib aged for 45 days in duck fat. As always, StripSteak likes to play with Asian influences, so make a point to order the Hamachi nori tacos and a crispy Dungeness crab cake with a miso cauliflower cream.
How to book: Call 702-632-7200 or visit Seven Rooms to book a table.
Table 34 has a new chef, new owners, and a new menu with a fully remodeled dining room. The only thing that stuck around is the name and the restaurant's reputation as a power lunch spot for those working at the surrounding office buildings near Warm Spring and the 215. The space has a cozy but modern feel with the addition of wainscotting, a wine wall of wooden shelves, and a larger bar for craft cocktails. The spirits list is impressive, especially for a restaurant of modest size, with more than 80 whiskies alone. Feel free to customize your Old Fashioned. Chef Joe Valdez covers a lot of ground within the New American category, whether it's an Anchor Steam pork chop at dinner or meatloaf patty melt for lunch. The crab cakes are six ounces with five ounces of crab meat. In a rare move for an off-Strip restaurant, the fish is flown in fresh daily with sea bass, branzino, halibut, striped bass, and even walleye in rotation. The owners are already looking to open a second Table 34 on the other side of the valley and aiming to introduce Bramaré by the end of the year. The Italian cocktail lounge will be east of the Strip in The Collective next to Cleaver.
Chef Roma's Kitchen
Piero Broglia was already looking to sell his restaurant, Chef Piero's Roma Kitchen, when he passed away last year. Ricardo Romo, who just happens to have a similar name, bought the restaurant in December and is now in complete control, operating the intimate space as Chef Roma's Kitchen. If you can keep all that straight, just know you'll still get some of Henderson's best, most inspired Italian cuisine. Romo draws on his history at Strip destinations like Mastro's Ocean Club and STK, mixing perfectly pan-seared steaks with vibrant classics like chicken marsala and a hearty lasagna large enough for two to share. You absolutely get your money's worth here. The Pomodoro and bolognese sauces are so good that the restaurant sells them by the quart to take home. Romo is currently redesigning the restaurant, shifting its image from a somewhat casual Italian bistro to a more formal, modern eatery. Expect new chandeliers, black ceiling tiles, and curtains to block off the kitchen soon. Cocktails are now available too. Previously, the place was only licensed for beer and wine.
Marche Bacchus is best known for its wine selection and the waterside scenery of Lake Jaqueline. Yet the French Bistro never slacked on its food menu, with the likes of Luciano Pellegrini and Andre Rochat leading the kitchen in recent years. Now, things are only getting better with the recent announcement of Bradley Ogden as head of Culinary Operations. The James Beard Award winning chef is already spreading his influence over techniques and sourcing while tightening up the menu. Fans of the eponymous Bradley Ogden restaurant at Caesars Palace will celebrate the return of signature dishes like the twice-baked blue cheese souffle, fresh-ground steakburgers basted in red wine butter, and double-chocolate brioche bread pudding. However, Ogden isn't looking to reinvent the wheel. The menu will continue to be dominated by classic French favorites like foie gras, frog legs, and French Onion soup. You'll soon see revamped charcuterie plates with cheese carefully selected from Europe and California. Ogden is looking to expand the kitchen with new equipment in the months ahead and put together special-event dinners with pairings that take advantage of the restaurant's stellar wine collection.
How to book: Book a reservation online.
Casinos were forced to close during the early days of the pandemic, but it took the Palms quite a bit longer than most to reopen–part of which also had to do with a change of ownership. One of the property's best restaurants, Vetri Cucina, was sorely missed before finally welcoming guests again this past November. After being inactive for almost two years and eight months, just the mere presence of Marc Vetri's Italian destination makes it feel brand new again with few, if any, dramatic upgrades. Vetri Cucina still sits on the 56th floor of the Ivory Tower with a charming rustic design, just 75 seats, and sweeping panoramic views of the Strip through floor-to-ceiling windows. The menu was always subject to seasonal tweaks but hasn't changed much overall (and that's a good thing), with signature hand-made pastas like the spinach gnocchi and almond tortellini familiar to those with good memories. Even the bold and gamey smoked goat is back for another round. The wine list is exceptional, and the cocktails are better than ever. Just make sure to order something from the amari cart before biting into the apple rum baba for dessert. Overall, Marc Vetri is taking the right approach of, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," a rare and refreshing mentality in this town as we welcome the restaurant back like an old friend.
Main St. Provisions
Main St. Provisions entered a new phase late last year, losing one great chef, Justin Kingsley Hall, and picking up another in Patrick Munster, formerly of One Steakhouse. The menu has been slowly rolling over with the addition of new dishes here and there. As expected, corn-fed steaks are cooked perfectly, thanks to a new double-deck radiant broiler that locks in the juices. The New York Strip is hard to resist, topped with a port reduction that enhances the meat without distraction. Yet pay attention to the roasted chicken, pulled off the bone and served with kale topped with the drippings, or plump U-10 Hokkaido scallops on creamy Brussels sprouts and leeks with a truffle reduction. Regulars will be happy to see a few favorite cocktails still in place, especially the 67 Camaro, a spicier take on a rye Manhattan. A Saturday Prime Rib special has been a huge hit, typically selling out before the night ends. Main St. Provisions has deals on shrimp and oysters during happy hour and offers $3 shots of the latter on the front patio during the First Friday monthly art walk. Look for the restaurant to expand operations to seven days a week soon.
How to order: Call 702-457-0111 to inquire about reservations.
Scotch 80 Prime
We missed Scotch 80 Prime while the Palms was closed during the pandemic, but unlike Vetri Cucina, the steakhouse gave its menu a top-to-bottom revamp upon reopening. There's a noticeable Asian influence in the sea bass (prepared in dashi broth, tempura mushrooms, and tobiko), fried rice with lobster and Chinese sausage, and a lumpia dish that reflects the Filipino heritage of new executive chef Marty Lopez. However, the steaks remain the main attraction, grilled over mesquite and apricot wood. However, now they're given a sous-vide pre-treatment, finished with garlic herb butter and served with roasted garlic, onion jam, and cherry peppers. A new dedication to caviar and smoked mussels is presented alongside seasonal vegetables as a side dish. The dining room itself is pretty much the same, aside from some new artwork decorating the walls.
Lotus of Siam
The original Lotus of Siam at Commercial Center was one of the first non-Strip Vegas restaurants to earn national attention, thanks to the authentic Northern Thai recipes of Chef Saipin Chutima. The restaurant moved to a more contemporary space on Flamingo Road a few years back and recently expanded the brand's presence with a second location inside the Red Rock Resort. It's a gorgeous space that matches the beautifully prepared cuisine with wood and aluminum decor, shelves of pottery, and overhead light fixtures that take inspiration from traditional Thailand lantern festivals. The menu is just a tad smaller but still covers a lot of ground. If you're in doubt, go with the black pepper garlic prawns and anything from the "Mom's Highlights" section as a starting point. In a new twist, Lotus of Siam at Red Rock also sets itself apart with a weekend brunch, including a Party Brunch once a month. So get used to roti in place of pancakes. That's not all for Lotus of Siam. The family behind the concept plans to reopen a renovated version of the original Commercial Center location by the end of the year and is open to being in more casinos down the line.
Julian Serrano's Lago opened in 2015 with Italian-inspired tapas to complement show-stopping views of the Bellagio fountains, best enjoyed on the open-air patio. Eight years later, the restaurant is modifying the format by tightening up the menu and offering larger format dishes like Osso Bucco with saffron risotto, whole branzino served tableside, and ribbon-like tagliolini tossed in butter, parmesan, and lemon. The cocktail program was revamped entirely. Notably, many recipes now include Italian spirits, amaros, and liqueurs. A modified Paloma is given a bitter touch of Campari, while a Negroni uses a bright, refreshing strawberry gin. Skip dessert in favor of an espresso martini flight with cheesecake, chocolate, hazelnut, and vanilla as the featured flavors. Other changes are more subtle, like new staff uniforms and colorful custom plates.
How to book: Book online.
Oscar's Steakhouse is about to get a little bigger. The restaurant, named in honor of former mayor and mob lawyer Oscar Goodman, is building a partially covered open-air terrace to soak in the sights and sounds of Downtown and the Fremont Street Experience. It will hold up to 225 people, with a real tree in the middle as the central focal point. Expect an opening in April or May. The main dining room has already been refreshed in recent months with new booths, carpet, lighting, and chairs that have only improved the old-school charm of the restaurant. Meanwhile, Chef Ben Jenkins is doing new things with dry-aged and Wagyu steaks. The changes at Oscar's are part of an extensive renovation project at the Plaza hotel. The iconic illuminated porte cochere is being transformed into the Carousel Bar, a circular cocktail lounge with revolving Vegas-themed neon imagery. Oscar's will also be flanked by a Pinkbox Doughnuts shop and a smoke-free Instagram-friendly casino extension in collaboration with YouTuber Brian Christoper.
How to book: Book a reservation online.