Thursday, March 7, 2013 | 11:54 p.m.
Hot off the grill! Chef Gordon Ramsay fires up Season 11 of “Hell’s Kitchen” on Tuesday, and most of the action was filmed at Caesars Palace. Gordon is offering 20 competitors a shot at stardom with the life-changing prize as head chef at his Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill there.
For the first time in “Hell’s Kitchen” history, the cast of 20 out-of-town aspiring restaurateurs will head here to present their signature dishes to a live audience. The contestants will split into two teams -- red team (women) and blue team (men) -- to show Gordon that they have what it takes.
The winning team earns a VIP night on the town here and attends a concert, while the losing team takes a long, sweltering journey to L.A. on a school bus.
Another obstacle course involves lobsters prepared for runners and other athletes. Winners receive a spa day on a yacht and a trip to Napa on a private jet. The losing team scales hundreds of pounds of fish and scrubs down “Hell’s Kitchen” for dinner service. By show’s end, two chefs compete for the top prize.
NIGHTCLUB & BAR WINNERS: Ahead of the March 19 opening of the Nightclub and Bar Convention and Trade Show, winners of the Las Vegas category have been revealed. More than 450 entries were submitted in 26 categories -- 9 Bars, 8 Nightclubs and 9 Las Vegas Nightclubs -- and reviewed by judges including the nation’s top professionals -- and even yours truly. The winners of the Nightclub Awards will walk the red carpet at the convention:
Dayclub of the Year: Marquee, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Mega-Club of the Year: XS at Steve Wynn’s Encore.
New Club of the Year: Hyde at Bellagio.
Nightclub of the Year: 1OAK at The Mirage.
Ongoing Promotion/Party/Event of the Year: XIV Vegas Sessions at Hyde.
Resident DJ of the Year: Lil Jon, Tryst at Wynn.
Restaurant Bar of the Year: STK at The Cosmopolitan.
Single Promotion/Party/Event of the Year: Spirit Day at Marquee.
Small Nightclub of the Year: Rockhouse at The Venetian.
FORBES STARS: In its 55th annual listing of Five Star establishments, the gold standard Forbes Travel Guide named Tower Suites and Spas at Wynn and Encore and sister hotels in Macau to the list. Collectively, Wynn Resorts has 40 stars among the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award properties, more than any other independent hotel company in the world.
Caesars Palace was awarded Four Stars for its new luxurious accommodations in the Augustus and Octavius Towers, and Restaurant Guy Savoy was awarded Five Stars. The awards follow CNN.com just naming Nobu Hotel at Caesars the hottest new hotel of 2013.
Sky Suites at Aria also won Five Stars. There are only 76 Five Star hotels in the world. Steve Wynn’s four restaurants Sinatra, Bartolotta, Country Club and Wing Lei won Four Stars, and SW Steakhouse was added to the Recommended List.
NEW CHEF: Seafood czar Rick Moonen has appointed John Church his new executive chef at RM Seafood in Mandalay Bay. John’s background includes Michael Mina, Bradley Ogden and Charlie Palmer.
Rick and John plan to transform the upper level of the two-tier restaurant with a new concept this spring. Next Thursday, Rick has invited chef Matthew Accarrino from SPQR in San Francisco for a five-course shellfish lovers paradise dinner, which includes a signed SPQR cookbook with proceeds benefiting Three Square.
SELLOUT: Nine events for the seventh Vegas Uncork’d are already sold out in the six weeks they’ve been on sale. It’s the fastest ticket sale to date for the unrivaled lineup of world-renowned chefs. Rao’s Italian Brunch, Joel Robuchon and Francois Payard cooking demos are all sold out in addition to the master dinners hosted by Francois, Gordon, Nobu Matsuhisa, Bobby Flay, Guy Savoy and the Pellegrino Family.
NEW RESTAURANTS: Chef Vic Vegas, who won notoriety on “The Next Food Network Star,” has opened a 180-seat hilltop restaurant in Anthem overlooking the Strip. Vic’s will give guests an almost 360-degree view. He calls it country club cool meets rock ‘n’ roll with his personality and imagination integrated into every course and Grandma’s recipes. Vic plans to post sunset times on the restaurant’s Facebook page so that guests catch it over Red Rock.
Frank Pellegrino Jr., co-owner and managing partner of Rao’s at Caesars and in Harlem, is opening a Rao’s in Hollywood this year. Frank says the Italian restaurant will have indoor and outdoor seating for 95 guests.
RUMOR MILL: Even though The Venetian and Palazzo’s Rattlecan and First Food & Bar shuttered this week and Valentino will relocate in July, no contracts have been signed with new chefs yet. Rumors are racing Daniel Boulud will open an outpost of his Manhattan restaurants there and that Mario Batali wants to open a scaled-down Eataly from Manhattan.
COGNAC WISHES: The new Cognac Room at Restaurant Guy Savoy in Caesars features $700 pours of Hine Talent. The bar takes over Bubbles Lounge, and champagnes are now nestled next to 33 cognacs. Sips include a 2-ounce pour of Martell L’Or de Jean Martell for $700, 1 ounce of the 140-year-old Hardy Perfection for $600, Remy Martin Louis XIII for $500 and Hennessy Ellipse at $450 for a 1-ounce pour.
BURGER BATTLES: All the headlines in recent days have been about 2011 Playboy Playmate of the Year beauty Claire Sinclair starring in the new “Pin Up” at Stratosphere. Now Claire has her own Sin City burger at Roxy’s Diner there. Priced at $12.99, it weighs in with a half-pound of burger, plus, a fried egg, pepper jack cheese, mushrooms and caramelized onions.
Meanwhile, Boom Magazine’s burger survey on and off the Strip named Fat Bar as having “the best burger in Las Vegas.” Fat Bar is opposite Monte Carlo, and the newest Zagat awarded it 23/30.
NO RESPECT! Only four Las Vegas restaurants made the James Beard Foundation list of semifinalists. The list was culled from 44,000 online nominations in 20 categories over 10 regions. Results will be revealed March 18. Contenders are Julian Serrano from Picasso at Bellagio for Outstanding Chef, Nicole Grimes from Rao’s at Caesars for Rising Star Chef of the Year and Mitsuo Endo from Raku for Best Chef in the West. Picasso also picked up a nod for Outstanding Wine Service.
RESTAURANT WEEK: The sixth year of Three Square’s Restaurant Week begins Friday with more than 75 restaurants. Go to HelpOutDineOutLV.org for the full list. Honey Salt has lunch and dinner menus from Elizabeth Blau and chef Kim Canteenwalla for $30.13 and $50.13. Since 2006, more than 1.5 million meals have been provided for those in need through Restaurant Week.
Today, Three Square feeds nearly 100,000 men, women, children and seniors each month. With Restaurant Week, Three Square gets closer to its goal of feeding the 300,000 people in need in Southern Nevada.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Transport yourself to the opulent and excessive Roman Empire at Caesars Palace. But the ever-changing Caesars Palace is far from ancient. The hotel and casino is constantly raising the bar for what visitors can expect in a Vegas resort experience.
Caesars Palace features 3,348 rooms and suites in five towers, including the new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which opened Feb. 4, 2013, in the totally remodeled Centurian Tower. Caesars features 129,000 square feet of gaming space, including the Strip’s largest poker room and a 250-seat sports book. Other amenities include about two dozen restaurants, a four-level shopping mall, four pools, a spa, Pure and Poetry nightclubs and Pussycat Dolls.
Dining options include restaurants from world-renown chefs Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and, on Feb. 4, 2013, Nobu Matsuhisa.
You never know what characters you’ll run into at Caesars with regular performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, Elton John and maybe even the emperor himself.
Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.