Glenn Pinkerton / Las Vegas News Bureau
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 | 7:55 p.m.
Hot off the grill!
The statistics behind celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s Oyster Festival at his New Orleans Fish House in MGM Grand are staggering. Each day, the TV chef’s restaurant sells an average of 30 to 35 dozen oysters fresh on the half shell.
Number crunching, it adds up to as many as 420 per day, 2,900 per week and more than 130,000 a year. The kitchen’s best shucker, Carlos, hums along at a top speed of a dozen oysters every three minutes.
Emeril is probably the only restaurant in Las Vegas that uses six purveyors offering at least one type of all five species from the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf. I tasted my way through Louisiana grilled oysters, cornmeal fried Hama Hama oysters, classic oysters Rockefeller and absinthe-poached Gulf oysters.
The champagne and caviar oysters I enjoyed there this week during the Oyster Festival that runs through Sunday are beyond superb.
* As Vegas DeLuxe has previously reported, Clique Hospitality Group, with partners Andy Masi, Brian Massie and Shane Monaco, are set to open their lounge Clique in the Cosmopolitan this winter. Last week, the three partners celebrated the opening of Salute Trattoria Italiana with executive chef Luciano Sautto near their Hearthstone at Red Rock Resort.
Brian and Luciano told me they spent two weeks in Capri and on the Amalfi Coast this year so we’d have a true taste of light Italian fare. Since I’ve dined on the Amalfi regularly each summer, I can vouch that they’ve successfully brought the real thing to Red Rock with their 5,362-square-feet venue that seats 94 in the main dining room and 64 on the patio, with standing for 250.
The southern Italian fare includes osso bucco ravioli and truffle tagliatelle. Luciano recommends his chicken piccata, which wonderfully impressed me. I felt like I was right back in my July vacation zone! He’s a third-generation Italian chef and worked in Naples at his family’s famous pizzaiola Da Michelle before moving to Miami celebrity restaurants. An antipasto bar showcases menu items, including pastas, plus gelato and waffle cones made in front of guests.
* The rarest of cognacs — there are only 29 bottles of Thoroughbred by Hardy USA in the world — will be served by star chef Michael Mina at his Bardot Brasserie in Aria on Thursday.
Aria has partnered with Hardy USA to produce the one-of-a-kind drink aged in the most exclusive and protected cave in the French champagne region of Paradis. Twenty of the cognacs were crafted and distilled right after World War II to produce Thoroughbred, to be poured with Michael’s five-course feast.
* Ten illustrious Master Chefs of France will prepare culinary specialties to go with seven sets of wines and spirits at the fifth-annual Festivino food-and-wine festival Friday, Oct. 9, taking advantage of the cooler fall weather at the Venetian’s outdoor Doges Palace grand entrance.
Singer-songwriter Jonathan Cain (Journey, The Babys) will provide entertainment and serve his Finale wines created with Dennis De La Montanya Winery & Vineyard. Chefs include Steve Benjamin, who recently won “Chopped” on the Food Network, and fellow “Chopped” champion Olivier Desaintmartin.
* Zine Noodles Dim Sum at Palazzo will be closed next month to undergo a major remodeling and re-concepting.
* “Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro is adding eight doughnuts to his Carlo’s Bakery menu at Palazzo, including an original cannoli doughnut filled with cream and topped with cinnamon glaze.
* “America’s Got Talent” magician Seth Grabel is now performing tableside magic at Rockhouse that adjoins Carlo’s Bakery.
* Chef Pete Ghione, formerly of chef Charlie Palmer’s Aureole at Mandalay Bay, has joined Canyon Ranch Spa Club in the Venetian as executive chef.
* Congratulations to Hank’s Fine Steakhouse at Green Valley Ranch celebrating its 10th anniversary. It started with 13 wines by the glass and 1,800 bottles and has now grown to 20 wines by the glass and 2,700 bottles.
* And to the Oyster Bar at Palace Station celebrating its 20th anniversary. It’s still so popular, customers wait as long as two hours to get one of the 18 coveted seats to watch their food cooked right in front of them in steaming kettles.
* Smashburger recently launched a social media campaign #SinCitySurvivalTips to give away a free trip to Las Vegas, but locals already here can win its cash value since they don’t need the trip. Fans who think they have what it takes to survive Sin City can submit their most sensible, wild and outrageous survival tips on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #SinCitySurvivalTips by Oct. 20.
One winner will have the chance to put their tips to the test for a weekend getaway here for two. The promotion is to celebrate Smashburger’s new Sin City Burger with American cheese, Smash Sauce, haystack onions, Applewood smoked bacon and fried egg between an egg bun.
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 Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
MGM Grand, a AAA Four Diamond resort, offers 5,044 rooms and suites.
MGM Grand features KÀ by Cirque du Soleil; Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club; and world-class entertainment at the Grand Garden Arena and Hollywood Theatre.
The resort offers signature restaurants by celebrity chefs including Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill and Michelin three star and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Joël Robuchon.
As part of its ongoing “Grand Renovation,” MGM Grand has remodeled all rooms and suites in its main tower and is adding several new experiences to its lineup including Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub, a new upscale dining/nightlife concept (coming in April 2013).
MGM Grand also features a state-of-the-art, non-smoking conference center, the Grand Spa, Cristophe Salon, "CSI: The Experience" and an inviting pool complex featuring the tantalizing daylife of Wet Republic.
Upscale accommodations include The Mansion, an exclusive hotel within the hotel; the luxurious two-story SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand; and The Signature at MGM Grand, a luxury all-suite, non-gaming hotel located adjacent to the main resort.