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David Middleton Takes the Toque at MARCHE BACCHUS

David Middleton looks ahead to a better menu

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If cooking at Gary Danko, Fleur de Lys (San Francisco version), ALEX and Scarpetta (Las Vegas version) doesn’t prepare you to run the kitchen at Marche Bacchus, we can’t imagine what does.

Those comprise the culinary pedigree of new MB Executive Chef David Middleton, and the 31 year old chef is planning on using his ten years of cooking at others’ restaurants to put his personal stamp on his own.

“I got tired of grinding it out,” is how he puts it when we asked him why he moved from the pressure of being Dan Rossi’s Sous Chef at Scarpetta to running Las Vegas’ best, off-Strip bistro. “It was time for me to take the helm of my own kitchen.”

The opportunity arose when Joe Swan, also an ALEX alum, decided to fly this coop for the colder climes of his hometown Michigan. Two weeks into the gig, Middleton is excited but cautious when we ask him the ultimate question about the food at MB: How can you upgrade and move this food forward without alienating the older regulars who expect the same old, same old every time they dine…at the same prices they’ve been paying since 2003? (If they add a buck or two the cost of something, even if it’s for better ingredients, customers go apoplectic….as many an owner has told us. Ahh, the joys of restaurant ownership in the Vegas ‘burbs.)

“You’re not the first person to ask me that,” he says with a wry smile. “We have the potential to be the best restaurant off the Strip, but I have to remember our core customers, so for the time being, we’re going to change about 40% of the menu.” And then, without missing a beat he volunteers: “The trout’s coming off. Trout is only good if you catch it yourself.”

ELV couldn’t agree more. When we ask what remains sacrosanct, Middleton is quick to defend the lobster croissant, and then add (almost as if to appease the finicky critic): “We’re adding a seared foie gras with a sweetbread fricasse, plus three new pastas, and David Doyle, who’s leaving D.O.C.G. to be my sous.”

At this point, our staff wondered if anyone would be left at Scarpetta/D.O.C.G. to do the cooking, but ELV assured them all is well in the Scott Conant universe…and the last time we saw him he was too busy counting money to stress over the help.

You get the impression the stress of the Strip is something Middleton will be glad to leave behind. “It’s really important to get some balance in this chaotic business we’re in,” he says. “Almost anyone can make steak frites, but not everyone can make a perfect sauce. It’s that perfection you strive for with Michelin 2-star food, but when you consider the cost and the labor and the 4% profit margin, it almost doesn’t make any sense.”

Being mindful of the costs, labor and expenses of Strip eateries (and the money casinos have to throw at them), is it even realistic to expect neighborhood joints to compete? “Off Strip restaurants get a bad rap,” he says, “but you can still aim for that level of excellence. We are the Davids to its Goliath. I can’t compete with the starting union wage for a Cook 1 ($18.50/hr.), but if you get the freshest, highest quality ingredients, manipulate them as little as possible, and let them speak for themselves, you can put out food that’s just as delicious as anything that’s going on down there.”

MARCHE BACCHUS

2620 Regatta Drive.

Las Vegas, NV89128

702.804.8008

www.marchebacchus.com

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13 Responses to David Middleton Takes the Toque at MARCHE BACCHUS

  • Chef David has cooked for me twice at this restaurant and he’s putting out an incredible product. This restaurant keeps getting better and better .

  • There is no doubt this is the best restaurant on the west side of town. The addition of David just makes it that much stronger.

  • With only 1 pic of a lame sandwich and otherwise bottles of wine…I will PASS.

  • Great place to hang and drink wine but the food is always mediocre. This guy David left the strip to take it easy on the lake. Dont expect him to be doing anything special

  • I agree with Larry; the many times I have been there, the food was just ok but what is really off putting to me, and the main reason I will not return, is their policy of charging $10 to uncork their own (not inexpensive) wine purchased on the premises. Talk about greed.

  • Seems like the place has chefs running through it like something-something through the geese on the lake it rests aside. Nonetheless, I always loved going there and will again next Vegas visit.

  • @Helen. Seriously Helen, you are boycotting a place that charges a $10.00 corkage fee. That’s absolutely crazy. With standard restaurant markups being around 300%, somebody charging me a $10.00 fee to use their stemware and not charging me a standard mark up as well as offering me already obviously discounted wine beforehand should be commended. Most establishments charge me a $35.00 corkage fee minimum and only if the wine I’m bringing isn’t on their list. You should go down to the strip and bring your Kendall Jackson Chardonnay or White Zinfandel and complain and watch what happens. That post is the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in a while anywhere and I’m sorry for any negative intonation from me but seriously….

  • I’ve got to agree with Raymond, you mind paying $10 for them to provide glassware and service? seriously????

  • Are you charged $10 for the glassware when you order a beer, or a soft drink for that matter? The “service”? What service? Should I pay an extra charge for them to uncap that bottle of beer? It doesn’t take much more effort or time to uncork a bottle of wine. Do they add $10 for the plates you eat from, or the silverware? How ’bout those fancy napkins huh?

    I’m with Helen. Tacking on an extra charge for the “privilege” of drinking a bottle of wine you just purchased from them (which means of course they already made a hefty profit off of you) is ludicrous. You want ridiculous Ray? Keep paying these places that extra $10, $35, or whatever makes you feel “important” for nothing. Seriously …

  • I think John and Helen need to stay home and drink their favorite box wines in the privacy of their own homes. John, if you think that buying a bottle of wine at retail prices with a $10 corkage fee is more expensive than buying a bottle from a restaurant wine list, you really do need to get out more. Of course they don’t charge you $10 for the plates you eat of off, since that is built into the price of the food. Many restaurants do charge for split plates though, essentially a service charge for the plate.
    After being charged $165 for a $60 bottle at Daniel, I’ll happily pay a $10 corkage at any restaurant that offers it! Since Helen and John likely won’t be there, it should be an enjoyable meal.

  • Helen and John you both should be embarrassed posting your comments above. You obviously don’t eat out much at restaurants that have a wine list. Making comments when you don’t understand the difference between retail sales and wine list prices only displays your ignorance regarding dining. Seriously.

  • The MB shills have discovered this thread! LOL

    We are all entitled to our opinion here folks. And mine is that MB has mediocre food, a beautiful location, ridiculously skimpy pours, and some obviously passionate “fans” ;)

  • The complaints about the wine pricing here are insane. The cost to drink a bottle of wine at Marche is at least half what it would be at comparable restaurants.

    As for the food, I’ve always found it to be great (there are obviously better restaurants in town, but outside of Todd’s, they’re all on the Strip). My biggest complaint, however, is that the portion sizes are too large. They should make them 30% smaller and reduce the prices slightly. Large portion sizes cheapen a restaurant.

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