John Curtas is …

Is MARCHE BACCHUS Ready for the Next Step?

A killer kitchen krew

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ELV is paying close attention to what’s going on in the Marche Bacchus kitchen.

Anyone with a discriminating taste bud in their head ought to be also.

Because what Executive Chef David Middleton, Consulting Chef Alex Stratta and Sous Chef John Courtney are cooking up there may be ready to catapult this west side mainstay to the top rung of restaurants in town…including the Strip.

When you consider their pedigree, this pursuit of excellence is predictable.

Middleton came to MB by way of Scarpetta and the dearly departed ALEX; Courtney is an RM Seafood alum (as well as former exec chef at Born and Raised, and Stratta, of course, needs no introduction to anyone who knows anything about the recent history of American gastronomy.

The question is: Will this too live crew craft a menu that can satisfy fussy gourmets, nit-picking critics, oenophiles, and the regulars who have kept this place humming along for the past decade?

It’s not as easy as you think. Because those gourmets and other dining dilettantes may recognize the quality being poured into the ingredients and the cooking, but — and how do we put this delicately? — many who treat MB like their go-to, al fresco eating club may blanch at even the slightest price increase — even if those increases are more than justified by the exceptional nature of what’s on the plate.

Keep in mind, restaurants like MB, Vintner Grill, Todd’s Unique and others, have no casino sugar daddy propping them up. They don’t feed off thousands of hungry people who are nudged their way nightly by a host of hotel employees. People who eat at off -Strip restaurants generally do so with their own cash, not a convention stipend or corporate credit card. As such, they are much more cost conscious — as any waiter or owner will tell you whenever they try to raise the price of anything even a buck or two.

So, what’s going on in Desert Shores is a gamble in more ways than one. Owners Jeff and Rhonda Wyatt — with all of that first class kitchen talent — are making a bid to be a dining destination — not just a pleasant place to grab a good bite and at a decent price with a killer wine store at your disposal.

We have no doubt the cooking (and the top shelf ingredients) will justify bumping up the tariff a bit. But will the crowds say “Hooray, it’s about time the cuisine matched the delicious setting!” or will the management hear a lot of “Whatever happened to that ten dollar pasta dish I used to love?”

From ELV’s perspective, it’s about time a local restaurateur tries to take Vegas’ neighborhood dining into the realm of what any reasonably sophisticated foodie enjoys in dozens of cities across our country. (We’re talking food quality here folks. Don’t get your pants in a bunch about us advocating a return to fussy, fine dining — something everyone under 40 seems to be rejecting wholesale these days, to the everlasting dismay of any sensible person’s comfort level and eardrums.)

Will Las Vegans finally put their money where their mouths are when it comes to eating well?

Is Las Vegas destined to be a city without a locally-grown, restaurant soul?

Will expensive chain restaurants remain the best anyone can hope for in our ‘hoods?

Will ELV ever get the love, honor, devotion and respect he so richly deserves?

Stay tuned.

Our money is on the cooking.

MARCHE BACCHUS

2620 Regatta Drive.

Las Vegas, NV89128

702.804.8008

www.marchebacchus.com

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10 Responses to Is MARCHE BACCHUS Ready for the Next Step?

  • ery interesting question you rise of witch I have often pondered and I think that perhaps the major obstacle are the locations.
    When you dine off the strip there is not much more after or before dinner. You drive to a half closed down strip mall, eat and then?
    Well, if you are in the mood for a show or a drink, take a walk or just see some life and action at the end there is the….Strip (or east Downtown now.)
    If you make the effort to dress up a bit and enjoy a quality dinner at the end you want also a bit of a destination.
    I’m often in San Francisco for work and , for example, last time I had dinner at Zuni cafe’ in Hayes Valley, an old and bit run down neighborhood, where in the past years several excellent dinning, coffee shops and bars have opened. So after dinner we took a walk and enjoyed what the area offered.
    Marche Baccus has a delightful setting with enjoyable food and fun wine shop and I have often had lunch there, but dinner only once because there is nothing there at night. For the same reason I went only once to Due Forni, that I enjoyed, but at that price I prefer going to the strip, at least I see some life even if I agree with you, not always the best “life forms”.

    So my conclusion is that I hope Las Vegas, with all the great Chefs that came, are here and will come through, will one day find it’s unique way of transmitting this to it’s outer neighborhoods besides Spring Mountain,….but there we have also good prices!

  • I have always enjoyed Marche Bacchus. Glad to hear the food will even get better. Congrat’s to the owner’s. Due Forni has good pizza. However, the wine is too expensive by the glass or bottle. That’s just my opinion. It seems that an extensive high priced wine list doen’t fit the pizza joint concept. The other menu items are nothing to rave about.

  • Regardless of any potential food price increase, the wine list is still half (or even less!) the cost of any decent strip restaurant. MB will continue to provide value even if the menu prices increase. The food quality certainly has increased, I don’t mind if prices follow.

  • Just remember folks even on the Strip there is a limit to what the traffic will bear for a gourmet meal. Remember ALEX? I really believe that the era of $250-$350 pp dinners ( not counting drinks, wine and tip) are at a real limited timeframe circa 2012.

  • I have not dinned at MB in a few years because it was never as good as some of the places on the strip. But what really put me off about the place was the prices of the wine and the service. Some of the servers were good but it was never consistent. Wine, well prices on some are more than any other place in town. I remember a Sine qua non, Atlantis Fe being sold for $650 a bottle. I can go online and get it for $280 and at the time it was selling for $350-$400 in 4-5 star restaurants on the strip.

  • “But what really put me off about the place was the prices of the wine and the service”

    I agree they have consistency issues with regards to service. It seems to have also improved lately, and I hope it is a continued area of focus. Hopefully strip-quality culinary talent will translate into strip-quality front of house service.

    I think your one bottle of wine example on pricing is clearly and demonstrably the exception. The vast majority of their wine list is available for within 10% of the prevailing wine-searcher.com normal retail price, wheras most strip restaurants have standard pricing 2.0-2.5x as much as that. I don’t think SQN and maybe a few higher-end Burgundy and Bordeaux selections are representative of the rest of the wine list, which is basically at 10% above retail.

  • I’ve tried to go in there a few times around 9pm, only to be told the kitchen was closed already.

  • Food’s good, service is good, hosts are very accommadating . My wife and I have been in there many times after 9pm and even though the kitchen may have closed, the chef always reopened and personally cooked for us anyway. Try to get that to happen on any strip restaurant !

  • While Marche Bacchus has really come a long way in the last year, I still think they are entirely too expensive to be a real locals joint. The prices are about as equal to eating on the strip. This is a special occasion place only, and they should be trying to get regulars in that make a normal wage.

  • This place blows

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