Although they’ve been serving food for a few days now, tomorrow marks the soft opening for Fleur by Hubert Keller.
Along with La Cave (only ten days old), and the unveiling of some little b&b next door to CityCenter ( whose name escapes ELV right now), this event marks quite a month in Vegas’ recent culinary fortunes. It may be the catalyst of great things to come, especially if that hotel-named-after-a-magazine draws the world to it doors with its edgy ad campaign and murderer’s row of restaurants.
Funny how things have changed over the years. When we first started this restaurant writing gig in 1995, we thought it would be cool to actually eat in and review every restaurant in a single hotel…once. Now, we do it without even thinking about it. It will take us about two weeks to work our way through the-hotel-named-after-a-Sex-and-the-City-cocktail, and then, we’ll start posting reviews of the restaurants on/in our multiple venues. (As exciting and fun as it will be, it’s also a lot of work.)
But that will be then and this is now, and right now the small plates bonanza at Fleur is something to behold.
Pork meatballs that could teach Italians a thing or two, foie gras parfait with huckleberry compote, pristine oysters, delicate, crispy tuna “taco” and smoky pork ribs were our introduction to what Hubert Keller and Chef Steven Wolf are doing here, but from the taste of things, this will be casual, small plates food on a different level.
We asked Hubert if the new, casual format meant less kitchen staff, and he told us it actually means more. Almost double the number of cooks and kitchen hands to keep all those small plates cooked, plated and served. From the looks of the menu (still a work in progress) , there’s going to be a lot of interactive noshing going on. Nitro-frozen cocktails whipped up tableside, smoked ribs served under a dome, etc. — will keep everyone active and entertained, and right off the bat, Fleur promises to be mobbed precisely because of what it isn’t: a big deal meal restaurant.
As for the beautiful setting and decor — yes it’s been compromised somewhat. The wall of roses has been replaced with wine corks, and those cozy little alcoves now sport high tops and communal dining nooks. We’re not super-keen on the patio furniture out front either, but the quality of the eats will be enough to keep anyone distracted from these small affronts. From the tastes we’ve had, this place promises to become a small plates mecca, and you’ll be too busy enjoying yourself to notice.
Hubert picked up the tab and we left a forty dollar tip.
FLEUR by Hubert Keller
In the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89119