Tuesday, June 5, 2007

To Vegas

The Mercy Boys are on the road again. This time it was eight days in Las Vegas! Wow, how do you survive eight days in Vegas? Perfectly legitimate reason for being there: buying mission for the 2004 spring season for Sebastian's Closet. Covered two complete shows back to back, and the spring fashion season next year is looking GREAT! Very very cool new things happening and you'll be able to partake right next door to Mercy.

Amongst everything else, Las Vegas has become a center point in the US for great restaurants. Many of the great chefs and proprietors have set up shop in Vegas and we took it as our mission to sample as much as we could. Highlights of great dining:

Aureole: Wow, probably one of the most beautiful spaces in Las Vegas. Great cuisine. A must when you go. Wine is selected from notebook computers and you navigate your way through countries with great descriptions. You can select a great wine from the 50,000-bottle inventory. After much contemplation we decided on a superb '97 Brunello that was just out of this world. Once a wine is selected you can watch a "wine angel" navigate a pulley system and scale a three-story-high wine rack that is smack dab in the middle of the restaurant. Incredible experience! Difficult to rival this one! This is nestled in the Mandalay Bay resort. When you are finished dining, work with the concierge of your hotel to get you on the list to get into the Foundation Room, at the top of the Mandalay Bay. Must have your name on the list to get in. By far the most breathtaking view of the strip from the balcony. Very dark wood with great couches, a large movie room playing great concerts and several smaller rooms for more intimate experiences make the Foundation Room one of the most coveted spots on the strip.

China Grill: Staying in the Mandalay Bay, across from Aureole you can enjoy the China Grill. Probably one of the finest Chinese restaurants in the country. You cannot beat this for Chinese food with a definite twist. All is to share and portions are incredibly flavorful. We had a great Coppola Pinot Noir with our dinner that complemented the food superbly; another highlight of the China Grill is their rest rooms. They were written up as one of the top 10 bathrooms in the US by the Travel Channel. An entire experience unto itself! On Wed, after 11 pm, this entire restaurant turns into a very hip cool lounge called Red Dragon. Get there late, the later the better!

Nobu: Now, here is the home run of the century. Call way in advance for reservations. We made ours weeks in advance and were lucky to get in. By far the best Japanese cuisine we have ever had; this has become one of Vegas's best. Hard Rock Hotel serves as home for this little gem. The first was in LA and the next two are in the Big Apple. Incredible service. Ask your waitperson to just "bring you food". You'll be very pleasantly surprised what a great job they do. This will be one of the highlights of the trip! Promise.

There are a few great staples of Vegas that we had to try:

Piero's: This place has been there for 50 years. Frequent guests were the Rat Pack. Frank Sinatra was known to frequently entertain there as it was one of his very favorite restaurants. Fine Italian cuisine with very generous portions. The food was great and the main reason to go is the wait staff. You have to experience this for yourself. Very New York Italian. This is tucked away off the strip a bit but worth the 3-minute cab ride. It is an experience dining there, and one well worth it. Ask your waiter to decant the wine and sit back and enjoy!

Drai's: Another major highlight of the trip. In the bottom of the Barbary Coast, this gem is hidden away. Yes, I said the Barbary Coast Hotel. Has been there forever. I think Bugsy Segal may have stayed there himself! This restaurant is one of the sexiest environments you find. Splashed all in red with zebra- and leopard-patterned couches, it is a great place to hide away. How unexpected is this in the middle of the strip? Food and service are awesome. The red walls are bathed in candlelight. Candles everywhere! Loved it!

Rosemary's: The Rio Hotel is home to this casual dining experience. Great space with a great view from the hotel. We thought the wine list needed a bit more to it, but overall the food was good and the space is very cool. There are so many great places to experience in Vegas, if you are there for your 3rd or 4th time during the year, this would be one to try. We put it on the "B" list where the others were on the "A" list.

Lounges: The latest term is "Ultra Lounge." The hotspot in Vegas is Tabu. The MGM Grand Hotel is home to this wild and wooly spot. The boys hit it at 1 am to find a line of about 50 people outside. Having pulled a couple of strings, we were fortunate to have our name on the list to get in. The place is rockin'. Guys, you cannot wear sandals. Ripped jeans are cool, but NO sandals. Must have shoes. Two weeks before we were there, Tom Jones was partying with a bevel of beauties along with Dom Perignon. It is THE place. Worth a visit. V Bar: The Venetian is where you'll find this great little spot. Has been there for a while and this will be our 3rd or 4th visit to this great space. Very sleek and chic. Great music and comfy couches make this a happening place. Oh yeah, great wide screen TV showing flicks like "Old School" make this a very fun place.

Sounds like we didn't do much but eat and drink the entire week. NOT TRUE.... The troops made it to a couple of shows and took our buddy, Bucky Barrett (Roy Orbison's lead guitar player, http://www.buckybarrett.com/), to see his first Cirque Due Soleil, MYSTERE. Our opinion is that this is the best of them. Incredible experience for everyone from 3 to 80! Don't miss this.

Another night found us at the pool of the Hard Rock in a private party standing five feet from the bandstand experiencing the Gypsy Kings. How cool is this;, we are there with one of the best guitar players in the world, Grammy award winner and he says, "man, these guys can play, they are incredible". The Gypsy Kings were incredible! If you don't have their music run and buy it!

Eight days seems like a long time in Sin City but let me tell you, we covered some ground. Oh, yes, the trade show was great! We got some very cool stuff for spring of '04. Loud stripes and shirt tails out, guys! Tim Leamy, one of the Mercy boys and manager of Sebastian's, can help get you set for the new season. Men and Ladies, stop by and see him.

The Mercy Boys!