Two of Las Vegas’ newest retail and multiuse developments — City Center and Town Square — offer a contrast in styles. City Center, opened in December, is about sleek, futuristic luxury, while Town Square, which bowed at the end of 2007, is a homey, open-air lifestyle center. Here are some of their enticements for after-hours fun, food and frolics.
If you have energy left after a long day of trade shows, put your party shoes on and head to Haze Nightclub at Aria Resort & Casino. In the newest venture from The Light Group, a hospitality company, Haze invites patrons in under a large red canopy and over a bridge that crosses a moat. The metallic, black, red and gold interior features slanted steel walls, two-way mirrors, projection screens and strategically placed lighting to challenge guests’ perception. The dramatic 25,000-square-foot nightclub has a main dance floor with a cutting-edge Avalon-designed sound system and three full-service bars. For guests in search of a more relaxed atmosphere, there is an intimate lounge wrapped in suede walls and plush furniture. VIP’s can retreat up the grand staircase to a members-only room, decorated with luxurious jewel-like furniture. Haze Nightclub at Aria Resort & Casino at City Center, 3730 Las Vegas Boulevard; 702-693-8310 for table reservations; lightgroup.com/nightlife/haze-nightclub-las-vegas. Open Thursday to Saturday, 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Three-star Michelin chef Pierre Gagnaire has opened his first U.S. restaurant, Twist by Pierre Gagnaire, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Las Vegas. The striking 23rd-floor restaurant includes a dramatic glass staircase, more than 300 gold globes illuminating the space and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer an extraordinary view of the Strip. The menu puts an innovative twist on classic French cuisine, showcasing Gagnaire’s renowned pairing of flavors and textures. For example, signature sea scallops and foie gras from the tasting menu ($185), combine a black olive gelée, sake-apple marmalade and pomegranate seeds; the signature filet of “Never Never” veal is roasted with a dry orange rub, flavored with morel-licorice coulis and paired with Gorgonzola polenta à la plancha ($52). The dessert menu has equally inventive offerings. The signature grand dessert includes five traditional French-inspired delicacies, fruits and homemade chocolates ($24). Twist has an extensive list of wines to complement the menu. Twist by Pierre Gagnaire at Mandarin Oriental; 3752 Las Vegas Boulevard South; 888-881-9367; mandarinoriental.com/lasvegas/dining/twist. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 6 to 10:30 p.m.
New York chef Masa Takayama has brought his fresh and simple creations to Las Vegas. His new restaurant in the Aria Resort & Casino includes the main dining space, Bar Masa, and the smaller and more exclusive Shaboo. The sleek and spacious interior of Bar Masa reflects Takayama’s clean cooking. Richard Block Architects designed the space with a focus on raw cast concrete, stainless steel, teak wood and leather. Takayama’s specialties include Dancing Shrimp ($26), Sizzling Spicy Octopus ($28), Peking duck with foie gras ($26) and Ohmi beef Tataki with white truffle ($89 to $120). A selection of handpicked sake and wines from around the world is available. The intimate, 52-seat Shaboo offers an omakase-style experience lead daily by Takayama — at a hefty $500 per person. The chef introduces the Shaboo cooking style with a demonstration, then teaches guests the techniques involved in preparing the food. Shaboo’s meat and seafood dishes are paired with rich dipping sauces like lobster bisque or citrus sauce. Takayama is also known for pairing his signature toro slices with Petrossian caviar. To cleanse the palate, Shaboo offers seasonal ice creams such as winter truffle, soba tea and icy pomegranate sorbet. Bar Masa and Shaboo at Aria Resort & Casino at City Center; 3730 Las Vegas Boulevard; 877-230-2742 for reservations. Open daily, 5:30 to 10 p.m.
The King of rock ’n’ roll has finally returned to Las Vegas — not that his spirit ever left. Cirque du Soleil recently launched its latest resident show, Viva Elvis, in the custom-built Elvis Theater at Aria Resort & Casino at City Center. The show combines dance, acrobatics and live music to highlight Elvis Presley’s legendary music career. Writer and director Vincent Paterson blends 30 of the icon’s chart-topping songs with major moments in Elvis’ life. Organized by Cirque du Soleil, Elvis Presley Enterprises and Aria Resort & Casino, Viva Elvis will make its official debut Feb. 19. Until then, guests who attend preview shows will receive a 25 percent discount. Viva Elvis at Elvis Theater, Aria Resort & Casino at City Center, 3730 Las Vegas Boulevard South; 702-531-2031; cirquedusoleil.com/vivaelvis. Shows Fri. to Tues., 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Regular price: $99 to 175 per person.
Sweet and Spicy
Sin City just got a little spicier, thanks to Caña Latin Kitchen & Bar at Town Square, opened last month, developed by restaurateur Cory Harwell and executive chef Kevin Lew, formerly of Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace, Caña features bocadillos (small plates) and signature ceviche dishes including scallop ceviche with mango, mint and pomegranate seeds ($12) and a mushroom ceviche with lemon, orange and truffle oil($10). Seafood isn’t the only thing on the menu: Caña puts a Latin twist on traditional American dishes with its habanero jack mac ’n’ cheese ($8) and chorizo corn dogs with tangerine habanero mustard ($10). To sweeten things up, try the signature dessert: a banana bread pudding drizzled with dark caramel and crème anglaise ($8). Caña, which is Spanish for “sugar cane,” also offers sugar cane-based cocktails including the Ultimate Mojito and the caipirinha ($9). If the food doesn’t transport you to South America, the rich interior design with warm cherry-wood textures and the Latin-inspired music just might have you ready to salsa. Caña Latin Kitchen & Bar at Town Square Las Vegas, 6599 Las Vegas Boulevard South; 702-722-6060; canalasvegas.com. Open nightly, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Home to the world’s largest gummy bear and 3,000 types of candy, It’s Sugar, the latest store from sweets entrepreneur Jeff Rubin, will satisfy any sweet tooth for less than $1. The store, which opened Jan. 29 at Town Square Las Vegas, is one of 14 locations for the Boca Raton, Fla.-based candy company. The shop carries a wide range of treats, from Emergency and Dechox Chocolate Bars to classic favorites like Fruit Stripe Gum, Zots, Bit-O-Honey and Vanilla Charleston Chews, all displayed in big, colorful bowls. The store also sells candy-related gifts and apparel. Rubin’s fashion connection is established, too: He partnered with Ralph Lauren’s daughter, Dylan, to develop Dylan’s Candy Bar in New York. He also created FAO Schweetz, the candy departments within the FAO Schwarz toy stores. It’s Sugar at Town Square Las Vegas, #N-15; 702-269-0640; itssugar.com. Open Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.