The Trouble With Encore

There are passion restaurants and there are money restaurants. Rarely do the twain ever meet, and asking them to do so in Las Vegas is like expecting a stripper to take a check.

A cynic would say all casino restaurants are only about numbers and cash, but Steve Wynn has tantalized us before with the prospect of great food, generated by a passionate chef, generating lots of dough in the High Mojave. For what was Alex Stratta’s Renoir in the Mirage but an attempt to blend haute cuisine with lowbrow gambling?

Then came the Bellagio in 1998 — a place that sold its soul to the celebrity chef devil (igniting that stampede in the process) — and which took a fair amount of heat from the national food press for pretending to be passionate about food even as its absentee chefs did little more than wave at their operations from 30,000 feet as they flew from coast to coast.

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A Not-So-Happy New Year For Restaurants

ELV POSTS CORRECTION: We mistakenly reported that Woo in The Palazzo had closed. We discovered last night that reports of its death had been greatly exaggerated. All bets are off, however, on its chances for survival. ELV blames his staff and regrets the error.

Now, back to reality.

The headline in Nation’s Restaurant News in June said: “Vegas refuses to fold as economy craps out.” By late September that same banner read: “Hard luck befalls Las Vegas following U.S. housing bust.”

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What the f…k?

Rumor has it that Switch, the Mark Poidevin-helmed restaurant slated to open soon at Encore at Wynn….or Encore at THE Wynn or THE Encore at THE Wynn, will have a design and decor that switches mid-way through every evening. Get it? This change-o-rama will include: a ceiling that turns over, window and wall coverings that transform themselves….and costume conversions for the entire staff….once a night every night.

Just what these apparel mutations might be is anyone’s guess: Trousers to mini-skirts? Blazers to wife-beaters? Or perhaps from this to this?

And what the f…k does any of this have to do with food? The mind reels.

Steverino’s favorite in-house decor-guy Roger Thomas is the mind behind this design, to which ELV can only say: Go get ’em Rog! But watch out for all them moving parts!