LAS VEGAS — Sin City is not just about overwrought, oversized and overpriced restaurants anymore. Simon Kitchen and Bar, a low-key eatery tucked into the Hard Rock Hotel, does boast an imported celebrity chef — Kerry Simon — but, thankfully, it lacks the hype and hoopla that often follow cuisine celebrities. Simon, who opened New York’s Mercer Kitchen and Vong, has lived in Las Vegas since opening Prime in the Bellagio four years ago.

“There are so many big names that fly in and out, but I’m here all the time,” Simon, 47, said. “This is my home, so I’m looking for it to be fun, personal and all those things that are missing here in Las Vegas.” The 180-seat space features earth-toned banquettes, glass walls, hardwood floors and Japanese-style panels that separate three private dining areas. The open kitchen features a wood-burning oven, rotisserie and oak grill, and the menu offers Simon’s American-style cuisine.

This story first appeared in the October 22, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

As in his other restaurants, there is a chef’s table, and a late-night menu is served from midnight to 3 a.m. “There’s a lounge thing going on from 11:30 p.m. on, but it’s not going to be loud and overbearing. This is supposed to be a hideaway for those looking to get out of the spotlight and have a drink,” he said.

Low-key? Perhaps. Still, that didn’t stop the Rolling Stones from booking Simon’s for their post-concert bash next month.

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