Friday, Aug. 17, 2001 | 9:38 a.m.
Muriel Stevens' dining column appears Fridays. Her shopping and travel columns appear Friday. Reach her at 259-4080 or [email protected]
The Stirling Club at Turnberry Place won't open until October, but I never can resist an invitation to learn about new restaurants and to meet with the chefs. The Stirling Club is a private, limited-membership club that will, similar to most private clubs, offer wedding and special party event opportunities to some nonmembers, charity fund-raisers included.
Stirling Club Vice President and General Manager Assad Farag assured me that the Florida developers who are building the luxury high-rise complex are committed to becoming part of our community.
A step toward that direction has been the hiring of longtime Las Vegan Sharon Bader as director of marketing and special events. Sharon, who has been an active participant in many local fund-raising efforts, is a member of a number of boards.
Amid all the construction activity are the Stirling Club's temporary offices, a cleverly disguised group of (dare I call such grandeur) trailers being used as headquarters for management and the chefs.
The reception area of the club is smashing. Central to the entrance is a complete model of the residential towers and the Stirling Club. I met with the chefs in the elegant dining room. They had thoughtfully provided a number of breakfast items (it was very early when we met), all artfully arranged on trays. It was a welcome sight.
Chef de Cuisines Mark Reed and Stefan Kauth met at the Stirling Club. Mark is an all-American kind of guy who has worked as executive sous chef at the London Club at the Aladdin, the Villa Franco and Cafe Milano in Washington, D.C., and was the Chef de Cuisine for Trevisi and La Scala at MGM Grand. And he has prepared dinners for the Italian embassy in D.C., and for the Sultan of Brunei.
Stefan is a graduate of Meisterschule College in Heidelberg, Germany, and has trained with some of the finest German chefs in the world. He has worked at restaurants and resorts in Europe and the United States, including the Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach, Fla. The two chefs immediately developed a friendship and working relationship that belies the short time they've worked together.
Both are personable, dedicated chefs who reaffirmed what I had already been told, "We want to be part of the community."
Stefan supplies the international flair; Mark is the American counterpoint. They will oversee all Stirling Club food operations, the Stirling Room gourmet restaurant and the club's Verandah Cafe.
A few days ago a third chef de cuisine joined the Stirling Club culinary Team, Peter Sherlock. Peter comes to the club from San Francisco's venerable Fairmont Hotel. He has a culinary arts degree from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I., and has worked at the Waldorf Astoria and Plaza hotels in New York. Quite a team.
For more information about special events at the Stirling Club call Bader at 732-9700.
St. James restaurant at London Club: London Club's St. James restaurant and lounge at the Aladdin recently debuted its new name and menu at a private party. St. James Executive Chef Jacques van Staden and General Manager Dennis Hupp greeted guests, conducted tours for those who had not before seen the elegant, high-end London Club, and were tireless in their efforts to assure that everyone had a grand time.
Tours included a visit to St. James' private chef's table. It is a beautifully appointed dining room that can seat six or more foodies, and offers a broad view of the handsome kitchen. What a wonderful place to dine and observe the kitchen action.
St. James' menu is more extensive than the previous one, but still includes a variety of cuisines: European and Mediterranean, Thai and Asian and Middle Eastern and Indian.
Among the Middle Eastern savories served during the reception were kibbeh, falafel, hummus, kabobs, lamb pies, spinach pies and soujouk. This was a good way to taste many of the exotic mezze (hors d'oeuvre or appetizer).
Dinner courses followed the international style of the menu: Thai vegetable spring roll atop a pool of exquisitely balanced sweet and sour curry sauce; warm lobster salad with baby endive leaves, pickled beets and almond vinaigrette -- the beets were sliced paper thin and folded to resemble rose petals; roasted veal loin on a bed of spinach with roasted potatoes and pearl onions, sauced with a lemon and thyme veal jus.
Dessert was a sampler plate dubbed "Sweet Dreams," but it was not yet time to go. Brandy and cigars topped the evening for aficionados.
St. James is a lovely, pricey restaurant (a la carte fine dining always is), yet diners can find some moderately priced selections among the Thai and Asian selections. Entrees, almost across the board, are expensive to very expensive, ranging from $29 for roast Guinea hen to $55 for abalone with black mushrooms. Portions are generous, so diners could share an entree.
Dinner is served nightly 6 p.m-midnight. For reservations call 785-9000.
Brown Derby Sunday brunch to close: MGM Grand will close the Sunday champagne brunch at the Brown Derby on Aug. 31. The Brown Derby features a steakhouse menu with generous portions. Dinner nightly, 5:30-11 p.m. Lounge hours are 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Call 891-3110 for reservations.
Courtyard Buffet at Stratosphere: The Stratosphere Buffet has been upgraded and expanded and has a new name, Courtyard Buffet. Additional display cooking stations have been added and there is seating for 417 diners. Breakfast ($5.99) is served daily, 7-11 a.m.; lunch ($6.99), 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; dinner ($9.99), 4-10 p.m. A seafood buffet ($14.99) is featured Fridays; a Sunday champagne brunch ($14.99) is offered 11 p.m.-4 p.m.
August specials at Arizona Charlie's: The Sour Dough Cafe at Arizona Charlie's East at 4575 Boulder Highway is featuring spaghetti and meatballs served with garlic bread for $4.19. The $2.49 breakfast includes eggs with a choice of sirloin steak or ham steak. Yukon Grille's August special ($17.95) is Maryland crab cakes served with cole slaw and choice of potato, soup or salad. Early bird specials are offered Monday-Friday, 5-6:30 p.m. Prices start at $7.95.
Summer dipping at Ethel M: What could taste better for a summer treat than Ethel M's plump chocolate-dipped strawberries? White or milk chocolate covered. Or choose a selection of Granny Smith caramel dipped apples -- classic caramel, milk and white chocolate and peanut or pecan. The dipped fruit is available at four Ethel M locations -- Galleria mall, Forum Shops, McCarran International Airport and Showcase mall. The lucious chocolate dipped fruits can be shipped.
See's Little Pops: See's Candies has introduced Little Pops, a small, version of the ever-popular See's lollypops (without the sticks). The lollypop drops come in seven flavors, two size boxes -- 4-ounce ($3.50) or 8-ounce ($7), and are individually wrapped in gold foil. Available at all See's stores. For the first time the lollypops and the Little Pops will also be available at select boutique and specialty food stores.