In Las Vegas, a Feast of New Dining Options

Over the last decade, through a concerted effort to attract the world's top restaurateurs and to bolster its culinary offerings, Las Vegas has built itself into a true dining destination. This has only accelerated in the past year, with new celebrity-chef restaurants - and even a chef-branded hotel - opening or slated to open soon.

The Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace, a boutique property of 181 rooms including 18 luxury suites and a massive, 12,775-square-foot Nobu Restaurant on the ground floor, is inspired by the design aesthetic of sushi chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa's numerous restaurants. The entire property is ideal for incentive groups looking for all-encompassing high-end dining experiences. It will open in February.

That isn't the only Asian-themed restaurant new to Las Vegas. In May, Mizumi opened at the Wynn Las Vegas, featuring traditional Japanese cuisine from Executive Chef Devin Hashimoto. The design includes bold colors and floor-to-ceiling views of Las Vegas.

Inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel is the new street-food-inspired China Poblano restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chef Jose Andres. Fusing Mexican and Chinese cuisine, this restaurant offers dishes like the Viva China taco (with Kumamoto oysters and Sichuan peppercorn sauce) and Huitlachoche noodles (combining Mexican corn truffle with knife-shaved noodles).

Carnivore's Delight
Another high-profile celebrity chef offering in the city is the new Gordon Ramsay Steak from the Hell's Kitchen star, which opened in May 2012 at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, with 274 seats, a private dining room, and an expansive bar area. The famously ill-tempered host will also be opening Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace, and Gordon Ramsay BurGR at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, at the end of the year.

"He's one of the most recognized chefs, especially with a show on mainstream network TV beyond even just the Food Network," says Stephanie Arone, president and general manager of Las Vegas-based DMC Activity Planners. "Wolfgang Puck properties are also highly successful with groups, and now you're starting to see more of the elite chefs making their presence felt here."

And he's hardly the only celebrity chef in town to offer a take on steak. Others include Mario Batali's CarneVino and Wolfgang Puck's Cut at The Palazzo; Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Prime Steakhouse at Bellagio and Jean-Georges Steakhouse at CityCenter's Aria Resort; Michael Mina's Stripsteak at Mandalay Bay; Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico Steakhouse at The Venetian; Charlie Palmer Steak Las Vegas at the Four Season Hotel Las Vegas; and Tom Colicchio's craftsteak at MGM Grand (his new steakhouse at The Mirage, focusing on charcoal-grilled meats, opens this summer). Of course, not all great steakhouses have a celebrity chef. The Steak House at Circus Circus was cited alongside those luminaries by the Robb Report when it named Las Vegas "the best place to eat steak on Earth" last summer. Zagat named it the best steakhouse in town in 2011.

So it's no surprise that an outpost of New York's Old Homestead Steakhouse - a mainstay of the city's now-super-chic Meat Packing District since 1868 - also made its way to the Strip in May 2012, with the opening of the Old Homestead Steakhouse at Caesars Palace. And in the first quarter of this year, a Ruth's Chris Steak House will open at center-strip resort Harrah's Las Vegas. The restaurant, known for signature sizzling steaks and upscale dining experiences around the world, will be the first of its kind on the Las Vegas Strip. And last spring, the Center Cut Steakhouse opened at Flamingo Las Vegas. It can accommodate 172 in a classic Vegas atmosphere.

A Twist on Tradition
Buffets have long been associated with Las Vegas dining, and not always favorably. That has been changing dramatically in recent years, and Caesars Palace may have taken that culinary trend to a new level with its Bacchanal Buffet, in a super-prime location overlooking the hotel's Garden of the Gods pool oasis. The 25,000-square-foot space has nine open kitchens, 500 dishes served daily, and 600 seats in a space designed around three themes - glass, wood, and steel - created using recycled materials.

In September, the Italian-American restaurant Allegro opened at Wynn Las Vegas, giving old-world recipes a modern twist. Its name comes from the musical term referring to a lively tempo - an upbeat feeling that the Wynn hopes can be passed along to visiting incentive groups.

Those more inclined to crack open a beer will want to stop in at the newly opened Public House, in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, which boasts more than 200 brews, not to mention some top-notch beer floats. Its small-plates menu showcases elevated pub grub like roasted bone marrow, foie gras parfait, and spiced pork rinds. The venue's tagline, "United We Stand, Pint in Hand," just about sums it up.