LOOKING FOR THE IDEAL POST-CONVENTION BITE OR BOITE? THEN PUT YOUR MONEY ON SOME OF THE SUREST BETS IN THE CITY.
Byline: Marcy Medina / Lizzy Epstein
Set behind a century-old mulberry tree, Andre’s French Restaurant, housed in a Thirties cottage in a residential pocket of downtown Las Vegas, is the last word in authentic French cuisine. Each room brims with charmingly mismatched antique china and crystal, setting the stage for top-rate dishes such as rack of lamb and Dover sole. After 20 years, Lyon native Andre Rochat’s culinary creations have earned his eponymous eatery a Zagat rating as “The Best Restaurant in Vegas.” What’s more, natives in the know always vote it “Best Place for Dinner” in The Las Vegas Review Journal’s annual poll. Don’t forget to sample one of Nevada’s largest wine collections — including an 1869 French cab, stored below in one of the city’s only basements. Andre’s French Restaurant, 401 Sixth Street, (702) 385-5016.
This old favorite is an ideal option for that preshow, early-morning meeting — and for avoiding those less-than-continental breakfast buffets. Whether it’s a buckwheat, German or chocolate chip stack you’re craving, the Original Pancake House owners Kim and Stephan Fruedenberger and their super-friendly staff will make sure that you leave loaded up with enough carbs to get through a day of convention hustle. And just in case a breakfast craving hits midday or evening, the full flapjack repertoire is available at all hours. The Original Pancake House, 3460 East Sunset Road, (702) 433-5800.
The Late Late Show
Providing a bit of Hollywood ambience in the desert, Drai’s Supper Club, the L.A. Drai’s Las Vegas cousin, offers the same Provencal cuisine as the original, but with an after-hours twist fit for the city that really never sleeps. The basement-level, leopard-skin lounge does less “supper” and more “club” from 2 a.m. until 11 a.m., when former Giants promoter Tony Verdugo bathes the place in red light and pumps up the techno. Note to hip seekers: Have attitude ready; getting in can be tricky. With dinner guests cleared out at midnight and long waits after 3 a.m., the sweet spot for entry is 2 a.m. Drai’s Supper Club, Barbary Coast Hotel and Casino, 35955 Las Vegas Boulevard, (702) 737-0555.
Got a hankering for some authentic barbecue? Coyote Cafe, chef-owner Mark Miller’s Southwestern-style eatery, serves up the tastiest grub in town. His baby back ribs, chili and portobello mushroom pancakes won him the prestigious James Beard Award as “Best Chef of the Southwest.” Added bonus: There’s a good chance you may catch an impromptu performance of “Margaritaville.” Jimmy Buffett likes to take over the joint during his frequent Sin City shows at MGM’s Grand Garden Arena. Coyote Cafe, MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (702) 891-7349.
Chef-owners Michael and Wendy Jordan founded 4,800-square-foot, off-the-Strip Rosemary’s Restaurant with the local community in mind, but word has spread to visitors as well. The hearty, nouvelle American menu (highlights include rosemary roasted lamb and green vegetable lasagna) satisfies hungry locals and tourists alike — which is why they’re willing to drive 15 minutes away from the Strip to indulge in the super-fresh fare. In fact, the Jordans’ passion for just-picked ingredients means they bypass vendors and go directly to regional farmers for their fruits and vegetables. Rosemary’s Restaurant, 8125 West Sahara Avenue, (702) 859-2251.
Magic, After Hours
After a hard day’s work, who doesn’t want to let loose with a cocktail or two? Unwind at the following parties during MAGIC Marketplace.
Tuesday, Feb. 13
MAGIC Opening Night Party Kick off your Marketplace week at the MAGIC-sponsored fete boasting the phenomenal musical stylings of B.B. King, Johnny Lang and Shannon Curfman. Eat, drink and be merry. Tickets required. Doors open at 7 p.m; MGM Grand Garden Casino, 3799 South Las Vegas Boulevard.
GQ Celebrates MAGIC
300 lucky guests will sip delicate aperitifs and sample applewood-smoked cod canapes before savoring a sinful dinner featuring Lutece’s signature dishes, such as halibut with caramelized onions and coq au vin. Invitees will also be treated to lush beats created by guest deejay Michael Fuller, on loan from the uber-hip V Bar. By invitation only. From 7 p.m.-10 p.m. at Lutece, the Venetian Hotel, 3355 South Las Vegas Boulevard.
Wednesday, Feb. 14
The Edge Party
Presented by URB magazine, De La Guarda, the high-flying trapeze team, gives an exclusive performance that wraps the audience in a combination of pure joy and ecstatic energy. By invitation only. The show begins at 9 p.m. at the Rio Hotel and Grand Casino.
The Edge After Party
The Edge and URB magazine present “Future: Music: Culture,” a hip-hop deejay collective. Sandra Collins, Tranceport 3, Latryx and Gift of Gab, *Z-Trip, Foust, Shortee, Doc and Zephry, and Dominique are among those wielding beats. The festivities are open to all MAGIC Marketplace badge holders. Doors open at 10:30 p.m.; The Rio Hotel and Casino, 3700 West Flamingo Road.
Lucky Brand MAGIC Party, featuring the Black Crowes
After 10 years of bringing such legendary artists as Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers and Chuck Berry to MAGIC, Lucky Brand manages to outdo themselves again. This year, they’ve brought the Black Crowes to their annual soiree, a band so hot it might be “Hard to Handle.” And the reason for their altruistic party spirit? Founders Gene Montesano and Barry Perlman simply say, “[We] love good music and we enjoy sharing it with those around us.” All MAGIC Marketplace badge holders are invited. At 8:00 p.m.; The Rio Hotel and Casino, 3700 West Flamingo Road.
Las Vegas continues its grand tradition of producing the most spectacular shows west of the Mississippi. From iconic showgirl revues to avant-garde performance art, here’s a rundown of the hottest tickets in town.
The House of Blues
The Blue Man Group, The Luxor, 3900 South Las Vegas Boulevard, (702) 262-4900.
Blue Man Group, the dynamic, cobalt-complexioned, three-man ensemble, traveled west with the goal of expanding its explosive neon show. The trio succeeded admirably. The innovative performance combines the theatrical antics of vaudeville and the elements of primitive-sounding electronic music, with a recently enlarged band and newly created musical instruments — most notably, the towering three-story drum wall.
Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystere,” Treasure Island, 3300 South Las Vegas Boulevard, (702) 894-7722.
Cirque du Soleil’s international band of gymnasts, tumblers and contortionists take the audience on a mystical excursion through time and space. Its specialty performance artists include Benny Le Grand, a boisterously entertaining clown, and the Bungee Collective, an aerial ballet retinue.
Eau de “O”
Cirque du Soleil’s “O,” The Bellagio, 3600 South Las Vegas Boulevard, (702) 693-7722.
The dynamic troupe presents yet another fantastic ceremony of acrobatic feats, this time in a 1.5 million gallon tank of water. You’ll be holding your breath as performers appear to “levitate” above the tank — which actually sits on a platform that rises and falls beneath the stage — before plunging back into the depths.
De La Guarda, The Rio, 3700 West Flamingo Road, (702) 252-7776.
The De La Guarda troupe offers entertainment that is at the same time a concert, rave, carnival and spectacle. Originating in Argentina, this party engages the entire audience to join the cast members in its tribal dancing and high-flying hijinks. Dress with an eye toward dampish conditions — the show uses liberal amounts of water, mist and fog.
“The Best of the Folies Bergere+Sexier Than Ever,” The Tropicana, 3801 South Las Vegas Boulevard, (702) 739-2411.
The world-renowned Folies Bergere’s main claim to fame is being the longest-running Las Vegas show in history. Forty years later, the 80-member cast still dazzles audiences with music, comedy, magic and an awe-inspiring Can-Can finale.
“Forever Plaid,” The Flamingo Hilton, 3555 South Las Vegas Boulevard, (702) 733-3333.
Experience the mellow sounds of the Fifties and Sixties with “Forever Plaid,” an On- and Off-Broadway musical that’s been around since 1990. It relates the sad story of a young male singing group that meets an untimely demise when its members are struck by a busload of school girls en route to see the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Siegfried & Roy, The Mirage, 3400 South Las Vegas Boulevard, (702) 792-7777.
Often as much a source of wonder as the royal white tigers they command, the team of Sigfried & Roy astonishes audiences with a skillful mix of illusion and artful animal wrangling. Over three million people have been dazzled by this seemingly eternal production, directed by Tony Award-winning John Napier, who helmed productions of “Cats,” “Les Mis,” and “Phantom of the Opera.”
Splash, the Riviera, 2901 Las Vegas Boulevard, (800) 634-3420 ext. 9433. Splash is a powerful water-themed rock ‘n’ roll extravaganza with “mermaids,” synchronized swimmers and curtains of rain that regularly sweep through the audience. Their premiere variety act is the “Globe of Death,” a 14-foot steel mesh sphere containing four motorcyclists maneuvering over, under and around one another at highly inadvisible speeds.