John Curtas is …

SPAGO Kitchen Tour

Did you know Spago makes its own sausage? And cheese?

Did you know it bakes a lot of its own bread?

ELV didn’t.

Have you ever seen the kitchen?

ELV hadn’t.

Kinda surprising huh?

From what we saw, they do everything here but raise the chickens in the back yard — although knowing Executive Chef Eric Klein as we do, that wouldn’t surprise us either.

After almost nineteen years in business, and after eating there at least 2-3 times a year in that period, we had never been in the back of the house.

Like a lot of you, we sometimes take things for granted and sometimes we are wrong for doing so.

“Surely, such a high volume restaurant must buy all its charcuterie and cheeses wholesale?” we asked.

“No we don’t,” said Executive Sous Chef Andrew Skala, “and don’t call me Shirley.”

He then proceeded to guide us through his sausage and cheese-making operations, as well as into the sanctum sanctorum of Pastry Chef Crystal Whitford.

We saw ricotta and fromage blanc being made, salmon being readied for Puck’s famous smoked salmon pizza, freshly cured chorizo ready to chomp on, and more ‘shrooms than we’ve ever seen in one place at one time.

All restaurant kitchens fascinate ELV, but the scope and freshness of what gets turned out out here is impressive on any scale. And impressive is the only word for a 55 gallon drum full of canola/olive cooking oil — that lasts a restaurant of this caliber only for a week or so.

Just as jaw-dropping was lunch — tarte flambée (made with that fresh fromage blanc cheese), a smoked pork sandwich on pretzel bread, fresh tomato salad, pasta with fresh crab, and Crystals’ very special, fresh cherry Eskimo Pie (or cherry Klondike bar as she informally has christened it). It was so good, you’ll be seeing it in the Las Vegas Weekly soon, as a dish worth going out of your way for. But go soon, because Whitford informs us the cherry season may be coming to an end before we know it.

One thing that won’t be coming to an end anytime soon is the specialness of Spago. After almost two decades, it remains a restaurant worth a special trip — for lunch or dinner — because they make it all from scratch…and with a lot of passion.

ELV’s lunch came to $63, including tip, with a few freebies thrown in.


In the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace

3500 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109


5 Responses to SPAGO Kitchen Tour

  • Thanks John – this is going to make someone’s day… He’s always wondered why more folks didn’t realize what he was doing…Lord knows, I see very little of him. He’s very proud of his team, of how consistent the restaurant is, particularly given its age, and he’s always always honored to be not just as good a chef as he can be, but the best ambassador for Wolfgang possible. He’s sorry he missed you when you went in, but he was proud that Andrew took such good care of you. Sometimes others can tell your story better than you can tell it yourself…so we’re very happy you had a good time – and found a story worthy of sharing in the process! xo, tk

  • I agree with ELV that Spago is worth the trip. I’ve never had a bad meal at Spago and the service has always been exceptional. I think it is doubly remarkable that Spago is able to make such magic while burdened by a location in the Forum Shops where literally thousands of tourists pass by diner’s tables during a meal ( and sometimes stop and hover over you if you are seated next to the outside railing). The quality of the food and the cooking trump this passing parade every time. A remarkable achievement!

  • My dining here has been first class. When I purchased a drink of the Macallan 25, they were very generous. The food is solid. Nothing flash, but worth every penny.

  • Thanks for bringing Spago to my attention – never visited them before and at $63 it looks very worthwhile!

  • Now, if they would just resuscitate the wine list back to it’s former glory I’ll return.

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