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?
Our money is on the cooking.
2620 Regatta Drive.
Las Vegas, NV89128