What an incredible time of year it is to explore the Las Vegas Strip. Well, to be clear, if you’re into world class food and drink, there isn’t really a bad time to be here. But the winter months are particularly pleasant, since the weather is more manageable and the crowds aren’t as overwhelming.
To do justice to all its exciting new dining options these days would take multiple articles. So we’re going to zoom in on just one small section of the strip, starting with Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.
Earlier this year the property opened the doors to Vanderpump à Paris—an opulent French-themed bistro and bar conceived in conjunction with reality TV legend Lisa Vanderpump. The space is designed to evoke a Parisian courtyard, and that sense of place carries over into the cocktails. Highlights include the Louvre at First Sight, a mezcal-based cocktail served in a glass pyramid which mimics the famed entryway to the eponymous art museum in Paris. The cranberry-colored creation also contains prickly pear and arrives at the table under a plume of hickory smoke.
In fact, the oversized menu reserves an entire section to over-the-top tipples. But if you’re seeking something more understated, stick with the Riviera Rules—an accessible gin mixer that weaves vegetal and floral threads in a beautiful balance.
Next door, Martha Stewart has just debuted her very first restaurant concept. The Bedford is named after her hometown in Westchester County, New York and the decor is meant to echo the stylings of the 156-acre farmhouse estate she maintains there. Among the edible standouts is the potato and scallion-filled pierogi, bathed in a brown butter sauce; inspired by her mom’s recipe.
On the drinks side, items are more directly related to Martha herself. A martini shaken and served table side, with bison-grass vodka, is known here as the Martha-tini. It pairs naturally against an extravagant, caviar-topped baked potato. A Martha-rita is served frozen with pomegranate juice. It actually works surprisingly well with a semi-sweet steak tartare.
But if you prefer sipping on something dryer, head across the hall to the newest Nobu outpost, where the famed chef’s noteworthy sake collection runs the gamut of price points and provenance. The light and crisp Honjozo from Michinoku Onikoroshi (in Miyagi prefecture) is super versatile and reasonable at $16 a pour. If you—and a bunch of your friends—are not interested in reason, however, you’ll want to order a 60 oz. bottle of YK35 Shizuku for the table. It’s a 3-year-old Daiginjo that sings with the alluring subtleties of rain-soaked rose petals. That sort of elegance will set you back $3000. And that’s before you’ve even looked at the supreme assortment of sushi showcased here.
Fans of a more traditional cocktail experience will prefer to explore the new speakeasy inside the Flamingo—Paris’s sister property directly north along The Strip. The Count Room is a hidden bar accessed through a nondescript door adjacent to Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse. The Art Deco-inspired backbar holds an impressive collection of vintage rums, including some funky standouts from Samaroli, the revered independent bottler. But like I say, this is a place in which to indulge in the classics. They shake a terrific Bramble and stir up a sensational barrel-aged Negroni, using Nolet’s Dry Gin as a base.
You can also build your own Old Fashioneds, pulling from a range of whiskies spanning the globe. The components move about the room on their own dedicated trolley and if you come on Friday or Saturday evenings it’s all backdropped by live music re-creating a Roaring ‘20s vibe.
That’s enough new food and drink to easily fill up a weekend excursion. And we’ve only delved into one small section of The Strip. But that’s just the way things work in Vegas these days: if you’ve been away for more than a few months, you have a whole new world of flavor waiting to be discovered. You can bet on that.