ARIA, the resort casino at CityCenter, the dazzling vertical city set to transform the Las Vegas Strip when it opens late next year, has named the stellar chefs set to oversee its culinary offerings.
ARIA has assembled many of the best and brightest chefs and restaurateurs from around the country, uniting those who have played integral roles in the development of Las Vegas’ culinary scene with a pair of remarkable Las Vegas newcomers. Sirio Maccioni, Michael Mina, Julian Serrano, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, The Light Group and Jean-Philippe Maury, who run acclaimed eateries at Bellagio, The Mirage, MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay, will be joined by Masayoshi Takayama, the world renowned chef of the famed Masa in New York City and Shawn McClain, celebrated executive chef and partner at three of Chicago’s top restaurants.
“Over the last two decades, Las Vegas has evolved from a buffet town into the global culinary epicenter it is today,” said Bart Mahoney, vice president of food and beverage at ARIA. “When it opens late next year, ARIA will forever change the skyline and create a new Las Vegas experience for millions of visitors. With such a stunning project, it is only fitting that the chefs and restaurants follow suit.”
Making his Las Vegas debut, Chef Masa, who set the standard for greatness in Japanese cuisine, will open Bar Masa, a restaurant divided into two unique spaces offering different styles of service and cuisine. In the first, more casual space, guests will be invited to order from an a la carte menu featuring Chef Masa’s style of modern Japanese cuisine. The second space, Shaboo, is an intimate room within Bar Masa, and will provide guests with an exclusive dining experience. Once seated, guests will be surrounded by warm lighting from above, as if they are in their own private dining universe. Each table has been designed with its own induction cooking element, and adorned with special vessels for the ultimate dining experience. The space will showcase serving vessels stored in the restaurant’s private vault which is warmly embraced in cobalt blue concrete. At Shaboo, Chef Masa’s menu will change each evening and will be based on the best seasonally available products. The restaurant will be refined and sleek, yet awe-inspiring with ceilings that soar to 42 feet. Materials will be natural and understated, maintaining Chef Masa’s commitment to simple food and an inspiring environment in which to enjoy it.
Michael Mina, the James Beard Award-winner who conceived and manages NOBHILL and SEABLUE at MGM Grand, along with his Michelin one-star eponymous restaurant at Bellagio and award-winning STRIPSTEAK at Mandalay Bay, will head up AMERICAN FISH. Here, Mina will draw inspiration from the bounty of American lakes, rivers, and coasts, with a menu featuring refined American cuisine. Many products will be purchased directly from fishermen, farmers and ranchers allowing diners to enjoy regional dishes they might not otherwise experience. The menu also will feature a wide array of well-sourced meats. Chris Sheffield of SLDesign LLC, in collaboration with Mina, designed a room that resembles a traditional lodge, with masculine touches such as warm woods and leather accents.
Bellagio’s Picasso has received international critical acclaim under the guidance of Executive Chef Julian Serrano. At Julian Serrano, the chef’s eponymous restaurant at ARIA, the same extraordinary attention to detail, ingredients and service will be present. This more casual restaurant will offer various menus at different price points, providing diners with an accessible — and flexible — dining experience. The expansive seafood bar will highlight exquisitely fresh shellfish and ceviches, while the dining room and lounge will serve tapas and other dishes from Serrano’s native Spain. With this new restaurant, Chef Serrano is looking to stretch the normal boundaries of small plates featuring both traditional and innovative interpretations of Spanish fare. Julian Serrano will be the first restaurant in the United States to be designed by famed Spanish design group Gente de Valor.
World-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will challenge the definition of the traditional American Steakhouse by adding a strong dose of energy and sex appeal to Jean Georges Steakhouse at ARIA. With its high-octane lounge and extensive bar program focusing on classic cocktails, Jean Georges Steakhouse, designed by Dupoux Design, will meld beloved steakhouse touches with a decidedly contemporary experience. Chef Vongerichten’s menu will highlight the best ingredients and preparations, paying particular attention to an innovative array of side dishes and sauces. The Steakhouse is certain to be an oasis for guests seeking a stylish, contemporary experience coupled with impeccable cuisine.
Introducing a taste of Italy to ARIA is Sirio Maccioni, the globally recognized owner of Le Cirque and Circo in New York City and at Bellagio. The word ‘classic’ will reign at Sirio where the menu will feature Italian favorites such as Veal Milanese, Osso Buco and pasta dishes like grandmother used to make, while the cocktails will include the perfect Negroni as well as other Italian libations. The wine list will feature one of Las Vegas’ largest selections of Italian vintages at a wide array of price points. The restaurant, designed by longtime Maccioni collaborator Adam Tihany, will channel old time Italy with its fantastical, Fellini-esque decor.
The Light Group will unveil an addition to its growing portfolio of innovative restaurants, with an edgy American dim sum style concept at ARIA. Overseeing the restaurant’s menu, Executive Chef Brian Massie will offer unique interpretations on American favorites, serving the finest quality ingredients from the country’s best purveyors. Small, sharable plates will supplement the menu and offer diners a variety of dishes to excite the palette. Designed by world-renowned architect Adam Tihany, the restaurant will boast an impressive, sleek design and offer the stellar customer service that has become synonymous with The Light Group’s properties.
Chef Shawn McClain will open his first restaurant outside of Chicago at ARIA. The seafood-centric menu of his first restaurant, Spring, drew immediate raves after opening in 2001 earning a coveted James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant nomination as well as catapulting McClain to national recognition as “Chef of the Year” as awarded by Esquire magazine. McClain stretched his culinary muscle with the vegetable-focused Green Zebra, which opened in 2004, followed a year later by Custom House, a modern steak-focused restaurant. In 2006, McClain was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as Best Chef Midwest. When McClain opens Sage at ARIA, the influence of all three restaurants will be in evidence, as he spotlights farm-to-table produce, artisanal meats and sustainable seafood, all presented in a room designed by Jacques Garcia Decoration, which offers an informal atmosphere that aims to be at once sophisticated yet comfortable.
Guests at Bellagio know it is all but impossible to walk by the world’s largest chocolate fountain at the Jean-Philippe Patisserie without stopping to stare longingly at the 2,100 pounds of chocolate that flow continuously. Never have so many been so happy to surrender to temptation.
JP Patisserie at ARIA, designed by Norwood Oliver Design Associates, will be equally inviting. With ample seating, JP guests will be able to enjoy their just desserts right away and scope out which treats — all of which look as good as they taste — to eat next. Breakfast pastries, sandwiches, crepes, salads and paninis also will be featured. Jean-Philippe Maury’s signature chocolates will be on display and exquisitely packaged to take home as a tasty remembrance of the visit.
ARIA also will be home to Blossom, a classic Chinese restaurant designed by Studio A; Lemongrass, a modern Thai restaurant, designed by James Beard Award Winner AvroKo; Cafe Centro, designed by Bentel & Bentel, serving three meals each day; and The Buffet, a contemporary take on the standard, designed by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects.
CityCenter is an unprecedented urban metropolis that will open in late 2009 on 67 acres between Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. A joint venture between MGM MIRAGE and Dubai World, CityCenter is valued at more than $9 billion and will feature ARIA, a 61-story, 4,000-room gaming resort; three luxury non-gaming hotels including Las Vegas’ first Mandarin Oriental, The Harmon Hotel, Spa & Residences and Vdara Condo Hotel; Veer Towers, the development’s only strictly residential buildings; approximately 2,600 condominium residences; and The Crystals, a 500,000-square-foot retail and entertainment district.
For more information about CityCenter, please visit http://www.citycenter.com/.