DAVID BURKE Denies Rumors, Improves Food

It has the best location of any restaurant in town. Smack in the middle of restaurant row in the Venetian, where every guest, gambler and conventioneer at this mega-plex walks by it at least twice a day.

Yet rumors have been circulating of David Burke‘s imminent demise for sometime now. Last week, Robin Leach first mentioned that someone in the Venetian was pulling up “…stakes and eggs, and moving back to New York….” (Burke’s specialty/obsession is the egg in all its forms and cooking guises.) This past Sunday, Norm! in his R-J column, also reported it as a rumor making its way through our restaurant mill.

Both of which were (and are) vigorously denied by Burke and his management.

To which we can only say two things: 1) we at ELV have heard the same rumors (independent of Robin and Norm!), and; 2) experience has taught us that restaurant owners and management will deny they are closing a place, while looking you straight in the eye, with one hand on The Bible and the other on The Torah, the night before they shutter an eatery for good.

Call it deception, call it denial; facing facts can be hard. And the fact is, David Burke doesn’t show up here much, and the place is hanging on by its fingernails, despite having vastly improved its food.

So things don’t bode well for Burke. Like Joachim Splichal ‘s Pinot Brasserie right next door, he hasn’t developed his brand, or worked his magic here, beyond slapping his name on the sign. (Jean-Georges Vongerichten is the poster guy for absentee chef syndrome, but his restaurant (Prime in the Bellagio) makes so much $$$, no one cares or calls him on it.

Which is a shame (for DB and diners seeking interesting eats), since Executive Chef Dan Rossi served us some mighty tasty goods recently. Lobster with scrambled eggs on toast points, sweet and sour spinach salad, Tasmanian sea trout that was all you could want from a farm-raised fish, and a brined, double-cut pork chop that is the last word in porcine perfection. And his deconstructed banana split was a thing of beauty.

If David Burke has a failing (as a chef and restaurateur) it’s that his food can sometime seem overly complicated. It’s not meat ‘n ‘taters, nor is it fussified French, nor ingredient-driven Italian. He takes American classics and twists them into something very Burke-ian, that (sometimes) borders on the surreal. ELV still remembers a sandwich he had at David Burke and Donatella years ago, with the bread being giant, soft pretzel sticks, and an “angry lobster” that looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss cartoon.

Still, we know many chefs who consider him a slightly mad (in a Mad Hatter sort of way), but immensely talented, creative force in gastronomy, whose restless mind goes on flights of food fancy that many consider fantastic.

With Rossi in the kitchen, maybe that creative beast has been tamed somewhat. In Vegas, this is a good thing. Best not to challenge the taste buds or brains of our slack-jawed hordes too much.

But Rossi has serious chops, and they’re not just pork. He worked for years under Alex Stratta, so, by definition, he is a perfectionist. His talents, melded with Burke’s vision, could be good for this restaurant.

If it can figure out a way to start capturing customers.

And if it decides to stick around.


In the Venetian Hotel and Casino

3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109


14 thoughts on “DAVID BURKE Denies Rumors, Improves Food

  1. It does look better, I better get back before it closes. I do believe rumors about closings are usually based on truth (having been through one before).

  2. Much like baseball or other sports the more vehemently the denial of a trade or change the more likely its going to happen.

  3. It sounds to me like Robin Leach is confirming something that you heard & shared with us last month about Sheldon Adelson convincing Daniel Boulud to open his new Vegas joint at The Venetian when his contract with Adelson’s archnemesis Steve Wynn expires. You mentioned David Burke looked likely to be replaced by Boulud, so I guess Robin Leach is now lending this rumor some more credibility (even if he won’t yet name names).

    Still, I hope this doesn’t prove to be true… Or that at least I’ll have a chance to try David Burke before that other “DB” takes over.

  4. ELV, eater picked up your feed on this story, congrats!

    my inside tract on this story has been hush hush still. i know there isnt much being said in the house of venetian

  5. I will tell you that all these blogs are ridiculous because they are not closing at the venetian. The only DB closing is Daniel Boulud. This is how rumors get started when people talk about things they don’t know about. So for all the fans of David Burke come in and eat this week he will be in town December 1st in his Las Vegas location.

  6. Marisa-

    OK, then. Game on. If my dad doesn’t want to go with me next week, maybe I can get my ex-boyfriend (long story) to go with me later. Do you have a date for when David Burke will be in town?


    Hmmm, interesting. Maybe Marisa is right and Sheldon Adelson is just laughing at all the gossip spreading around town? I’m sure at the very least he’s having a few laughs at Steve Wynn’s expense.

  7. I go by there all the time and there is never anyone in the place…same can be said for Pinot too.

  8. Lefty: Again? Dad. Ex Boyfriend. Fer cryin’ out loud!!!

    Isnt there a gay food blog you could use to air your dirty laundry (er.. soiled loincloths)?

  9. dave-

    Here you go again, hijacking another thread to trash me and attack me personally. Have you nothing better to do? If you have a problem with my family and friends, that’s your problem. There’s no reason to resort to homophobic slurs, and hopefully this will be the last time I have to waste time on this BS.

    (And btw, watch out, or else I might just start my own food blog. http://bloghungry.typepad.com/ is great, but it’s mostly LA based. I didn’t know food blogs were now segregated & queer bloggers aren’t allowed in “str8’s only” food blogs.)

    Bye Bye-

    OK, enough of him. And yes, it’s weird how David Burke & Pinot are almost always so empty. They’re so close to the theaters, the casino, and (of course) the convention center. For such a prime location along “Restaurant Row” with so many potential customers all around, it’s hard to imagine why they wouldn’t be doing better business (other than those customers not being interested in their respective products).

  10. vegasdave-

    I am not sure what the source of your homophobia is but it should really stop (at least on this blog). If I wrote about my family or getting an ex-girlfriend to buy me lunch you wouldn’t make snide comments about it. So don’t do it to atdleft when he does the same thing.

  11. BW:

    I have no problem with gays or lesbians, generally. I’m a live and let live guy. Always have been.

    My problem with annoying gays like Lefty is that they tend to shove their “queerness” down everybody’s throat (i.e. the classic “flamer”) and that I find distastefull.

    This is a food blog fer chrisakes. Lefty should take his Gay agenda someplace else. Or, as Chris Rock says: if you’re going to act like a “faggot” in public, you should expect to be called a faggot.

  12. bwdining-

    Thank you. :-)

    And you’re also thinking David Burke will go bye-bye? I guess I’ll then have to do my best to make reservations ASAP. I don’t know if this is enough for me to change my reservations for this weekend, but I might have to fit in another “day trip to The Strip” this month just to try “the other DB” before he possibly leaves us (I guess to be replaced by “DB”). There aren’t many vegetarian options on the menu, but the few that are do look interesting… And the “cheesecake lollipop tree” just looks too funny to miss!

  13. ladies, ladies!!! relax, take a proverbial ‘chill-pill’

    i do agree this is a food blog, and lefty id say contributes more about his father and ‘the land of the housewives’ rather then a ‘gay’ agenda

    either way who cares. ELV go review something else so these idiots get off this topic!!!!!

  14. the word is out – will close after the holidays / think before you book after the first of the year

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