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November 12, 2018

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Q+A: Searsucker star chef Brian Malarkey to open Herringbone at Aria

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A rendering of the outdoor patio at Herringbone in Aria by chef Brian Malarkey.

Herringbone at Aria

The seafood tower from the Salt & Brine Bar at Herringbone in Aria by chef Brian Malarkey. Launch slideshow »
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Chef Brian Malarkey.

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Star chefs Gordon Ramsay and Brian Malarkey arrive at the grand-opening celebration of Omnia on Friday, April 24, 2015, in Caesars Palace.

Chef Brian Malarkey

Chef Brian Malarkey at his restaurant Searsucker in the Gaslamp District in downtown San Diego. Launch slideshow »

Celebrity chef and “Top Chef” alumnus Brian Malarkey’s California-inspired, ocean-to-table restaurant Herringbone is set to open at Aria this winter, and executive chef Geno Bernardo, who Las Vegas knows well from his years at Nove Italiano in the Palms, has been hired to lead the kitchen.

Like its flagship in La Jolla, Calif., and recently opened location northward in Santa Monica, Herringbone Las Vegas will stay true to its fresh, beach-chic roots with a market-driven menu, relaxed-refined decor with indoor and outdoor seating and live music.

“I’ve loved getting to know Las Vegas and am thrilled to work with Geno to introduce Herringbone, one of my favorite restaurant children, to Aria,” Malarkey, who opened Searsucker in Caesars Palace in March, said in a news release.

“Our goal is simple: Combine the freshest possible resources available with beautiful surroundings to provide the community with a unique and unforgettable dining experience.”

Herringbone pairs seafood and responsibly sourced meat with farmer’s market produce. Dishes that evoke the restaurant’s “Fish Meats Field” philosophy include a skate wing schnitzel with spatzle, sea beans and Hen of the Woods mushrooms and roasted Colorado lamb rack with squash, corn, basil, piquillos, padrons and harissa aioli.

Conceptualized by designer Munge Leung, Herringbone Las Vegas will have a coastal aesthetic with modern sensibility. Inspired by trips to the shore, the space will use light woods and warm, layered textiles accented with rustic touches.

Outside, a patio surrounded by lush garden landscape brings Herringbone’s locally sourced ethos to life and provides a perfect backdrop for al fresco meals.

Herringbone will be open for lunch and dinner, with weekday Oyster Hour and weekend brunch to follow.

Malarkey answered questions over the phone Tuesday afternoon ahead of this morning’s official announcement of Herringbone:

So your second restaurant in Las Vegas in less than one year, chef. Are you taking over the Strip?

(Laughs) far from it! I’m just thankful for another opportunity in Las Vegas.

Why Herringbone at Aria — that location specifically? And why now?

Some executives from MGM Resorts dined at Herringbone in La Jolla and really liked it and suggested that it come to the Strip and Aria. It was a case of being at the right place at the right time.

I’ve dined at Herringbone in La Jolla. It’s such a beautiful restaurant with the trees and lights, and I really enjoyed the fish fry on Sundays. How will you replicate Herringbone’s look and menu in Las Vegas?

Where we’re going in at Aria is the only indoor-outdoor facility, so we are able to bring the indoor-outdoor atmosphere of Herringbone to the Las Vegas Strip.

We just opened a Herringbone in Santa Monica, and it’s just as good or ever better than the one in La Jolla.

How did your path cross with Geno Bernardo, who Las Vegas knows for Nove Italiano at the Palms?

I know him from San Diego. We have mutual friends, and we finally met about a half a month ago. He’s worked for a lot of chefs that I know. He has a lot of experience in San Diego, and he’s going to be a great fit at Herringbone.

Please talk more about Herringbone for the uninitiated — it’s described as California-inspired coastal cuisine and ocean-to-table.

Herringbone offers great local seafood as well as from around the world. We keep it simple with olive oil and citrus and herbs so as to not overpower the seafood, but rather enhance it.

How is Herringbone La Jolla different than your new Herringbone in Santa Monica?

The Herringbone in Santa Monica is in a vastly different building. Who knew Herringbone could fit in a modern building? It feels so good and right in the modern building. It’s a wonderful escape for the customers.

How are you feeling about your first four months of Searsucker at Caesars Palace?

It’s been great! It’s a wonderful work force, very professional cooks, service staff and managers. I get to meet people from around the world who enjoy the food.

Las Vegas is our crowd. Searsucker is doing really well.

I think Herringbone will fit in well at Aria. It will be a little higher priced and more refined.

Are there plans for a third Brian Malarkey restaurant in Las Vegas?

(Laughs) I take it as they come! But I keep my focus on what’s in front me.

Don Chareunsy is the Las Vegas Sun’s entertainment and luxury senior editor and has been a journalist for nearly two decades.

Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous fame” has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

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