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Chef José Andrés & Friends Present Dine-N-Dash at SLS Las Vegas

Dine-N-Dash At Umami Burger At SLS Las Vegas

Umami Burger

I love dining and drinking events like Dine-N-Dash by José Andrés that will be held at SLS Las Vegas next year. I’m a fan of sampling lots of food and drink from different restaurants and chefs.

This event stands out because VIP admission includes food and drink from all restaurants at SLS plus cooking demonstrations from José Andrés and Curtis Stone AND admission to see AWOLNATION. This should be the first show at

This should be is the first show at The Foundry which is the new concert venue at SLS Las Vegas taking over the space formerly devoted to the nightclub LIfE. It’s always cool to be the first to do something in Vegas.

Details on Dine-N-Dash are below:

World-renowned chef, author, philanthropist, and SLS Hotels Culinary Director José Andrés will host Dine-N-Dash at SLS Las Vegas on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, benefiting Andrés’ nonprofit organization, World Central Kitchen, and locally-based nonprofit organization Three Square Food Bank. Modeled after the chef’s annual Washington, D.C. restaurant crawl, Dine-N-Dash will be a culinary tour of SLS Las Vegas. Guests will enjoy signature dishes and hand-crafted beverages from all seven acclaimed restaurants, along with eclectic culinary offerings throughout the casino, “cocktail theater” by renowned mixologist Rob Floyd and a live cooking demonstration by José Andrés with special guest chef Curtis Stone (Maude, Los Angeles).

“For three years, we have been celebrating Dine-N-Dash in DC’s Penn Quarter, and I’m so excited to be bringing it to Las Vegas,” said chef José Andrés. “What’s better than enjoying food and drinks from all of the incredible restaurants at SLS Las Vegas, all for a good cause! I am so proud of the work that my team is doing at World Central Kitchen to find solutions for hunger and poverty, and I’m thrilled this event will also benefit a local charity, Three Square, as we introduce Dine-N-Dash to Las Vegas!” 

The complete SLS Las Vegas restaurant portfolio will spotlight stand-out dishes and drinks at Dine-N-Dash, offering guests a taste of its diverse culinary offerings. Menu items will include:

  • Bazaar Meat by José Andrés: Oysters Gin & Tonic, Cotton Candy Foie Gras, Kobe & Caviar, Sloppy Joe, Gazpacho Shots, Beef Tartare Sliders, Beef & Parmesan Grissini and New York Sour
  • Katsuya: Kumamoto Oysters, Lobster & Truffle Chawan-Mushi, Scallop Sashimi and White Grapefruit Cosmopolitan
  • Cleo: Basturma with Halloumi, Hummus with Tahini and Clementina cocktail
  • Ku Noodle by José Andrés: Open Sesame, Fried Wonton, Mini Duck Pancake and Sake Punch
  • Umami Burger, Beer Garden & Sports Book: Truffle Sliders, Hatch Sliders, Cheesy Tater Tots and craft beer
  • 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria:  Assorted hand-crafted pizzas and Birra Moretti
  • Northside Café: Al Pastor Tacos, Barbacoa Tacos and margarita
  • Desserts by SLS Las Vegas Culinary Director Luke Forzano and Executive Pastry Chef Oralia Perez

In addition to tastings, guests will experience a one-of-a-kind cooking demonstration from José Andrés and Curtis Stone in The Foundry, SLS’ new live-entertainment venue, as well as mixologist Rob Floyd’s inventive and high-energy “cocktail theater” at the casino’s signature Center Bar.

A VIP Dine-N-Dash experience also grants guests access to a happy hour with José Andrés and Curtis Stone in Bazaar Casino, admission to a concert by AWOLNATION in The Foundry—before those tickets go on sale to the general public, on January 8—and an exclusive after-party featuring desserts and drinks from Bazaar Meat.

“We are thrilled to showcase SLS’ culinary array in one all-encompassing event headlined by globally celebrated chefs José Andrés and Curtis Stone,” said Matt Erickson, senior vice president of restaurant operations at SLS Las Vegas. “Dine-N-Dash will be unlike any other event in Las Vegas, and we can’t wait to give guests a taste of what makes SLS so unique.”

General admission tickets start at $99, and VIP tickets start at $199.  A portion of proceeds benefits Three Square, Southern Nevada’s only food bank and a member of the Feeding America network, as well as World Central Kitchen, the nonprofit organization chaired by José Andrés that finds creative solutions to hunger and poverty worldwide. To purchase tickets, visit slsvegas.com/dinendash.

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Sam Nazarian & sbe Sell Their 10% Of SLS Las Vegas

Buffet Monkey At SLS Las Vegas

First Buffet Monkey, Now Sam Nazarian Out at SLS Las Vegas

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sam Nazarian (sbe) decided to sell their 10% Of SLS Las Vegas. SLS Las Vegas has gotten off to such a bad start since opening in 2014 that they’ve made drastic changes like closing the nightclub, removing brand names from stores and restaurants, refreshing their players club to a more locals friendly model and more.

SLS Las Vegas isn’t the cool, hip casino originally planned and this basically seals the nail in that coffin.

Stockbridge Capital will operate the casino-hotel for the time being. Earlier this year I speculated that SLS Las Vegas was on the road to becoming Cosmopolitan Jr. but I don’t think that will be the case moving forward. The executive staff at SLS Las Vegas is doing everything they can to change the image of the property. By the time Stockbridge sells SLS there won’t be any cross marketing opportunities for Cosmo and SLS to make any sense.

I really like the hotel rooms at SLS Las Vegas and the Umami Burger/William Hill sports book but I’m not sure there’s a compelling reason to visit more often. I’d like to see the property do better but I think that will take new ownership. We’ll see.

Read more about “Nazarian to Sell Stake in SLS Las Vegas Hotel” at the Wall Street Journal

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2nd Umami Burger Was Even Better Than The First

Lunch At Umami Burger At SLS Las Vegas

Lunch At Umami Burger

If you follow me on twitter or facebook you know that I had lunch at Umami Burger at SLS Las Vegas the other day. This was my second visit to Umami Burger. My first visit was on the first day SLS Las Vegas was open. While I really liked the first burger and fries I wasn’t paying close attention to the food. I was busy drinking, chatting, playing video poker and just looking around. This time around I was alone and more focused on my burger than checking out the new restaurant/sportsbook/beer garden.

On my first visit I split half of the Manly Burger and really enjoyed it although I thought it was almost too flavorful. The beef flavor was almost overpowered by the beer-cheddar cheese, bacon lardo and smoked salt (fried) onion strips. Not to mention a mustard spread and house ketchup on the side.

A wise man recommended that I try one of the truffle burgers. I went into lunch with this and mind but was in the mood for bacon. None of the truffle burgers on the Umami Burger menu have bacon so I went back to the Manly Burger you see in the picture above. I added the off the menu cheesy tater tots for $5. Before diving into the burger I just want to say that you should ALWAYS ORDER THE TATER TOTS.

This Manly Burger tasted a bit more mellow than my first one. This time the ingredients we much more in balance than the first burger. If we were running this burger through a photo editor the beef flavor was enhanced, the cheese was dialed down and the bacon and onion rings provided a perfect accent. The flavors of the burger and toppings were in perfect harmony. I had a Rogue Dead Guy ale which complimented all of the flavors perfectly.

Looking back at both burgers I think that the sharpness of cheddar cheese is what was a little shocking on the first burger. Keep that in mind if you have a gentle tongue. The burger with less cheese spread really tasted much more like a burger. Call me crazy but when I order a burger I want to taste the burger.

Video Poker at Umami Burger Straight Flush

Thanks for lunch Umami Burger!

I ate at the bar because I wanted to play a little video poker and have a couple of beers. The restaurant side of the bar only had the 3 play machines (the casino side has a few 1 line games). While waiting for my burger to arrive I snagged this sweet straight flush. The straight flush covered my lunch bill which was under $20 ($13 burger, $5 tots) and gave me a couple more dollars to spend on my next visit.

As I mentioned in my full overview of the Umami Burger restaurant/sportsbook at Vegas Chatter playing video poker while you eat allows you complimentary drinks. Not only did I make a few bucks with the straight flush but I had a couple “free” $9 beers.

It’s a nice touch that the bar on the restaurant side has more bar space to eat in front of the video poker machines. It makes eating easier than on the casino side although the video poker is a bit far.

I find it hard to choose a best of any food category but the burgers at Umami Burger are definitely among the best on the Vegas Strip. The service at the bar is great and I really like the sportsbook/sports bar setup. Umami Burger has definitely become one of my new hangouts on Vegas Strip.

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First Impressions Of SLS Las Vegas

SLS Las Vegas Carpet

SLS Las Vegas Carpet

My first impression of SLS Las Vegas is positive but not perfect. Nothing is perfect as far as I’m concerned. I’ve already detailed some of the flaws from the first few days of business in a separate post.

1. The Setup

The pre-opening moniker SLS Las Vegas used to describe the property was “affordable luxury”. That set up for the hotel to be fancy on a budget. For example there’s no way to make Ikea furniture feel luxurious but it can look nice. With that in mind I went in with limited expectations.

2. Casino Layout

SLS Las Vegas Casino

SLS Las Vegas Casino

I care more about the casino than most of SLS Las Vegas. The floor plan is only 60,000 square feet. If you ever visited Sahara this is 20,000 square feet less. The floor plan is small, which is fine but there are choke points that make it almost impossible to go to certain parts of the casino. The high traffic walkway by table area near the players club and The Griddle is tight and will always be busy. There are similar choke points on the slot floor that will be impossible to walk through because machines are packed so closely. Just scope out areas before sitting down at a table or machine.

Layout aside there are ample 3:2 blackjack games for $5 and $10. Craps has $10 minimums. There is decent video poker and all new slot machines. I dig all of this and wouldn’t mind gambling here. US Poker has a breakdown of most of the games.

Parts of the casino floor seem dark and that can make the tight casino feel almost claustrophobic on busy nights. This feels like a casino I’d visit during the day more than at night.

3. Umami Burger – Sportsbook – Beer Garden

Umami Burger Entrance At SLS Las Vegas

Umami Burger Entrance

This is the part of the casino I was most looking forward to. A sportsbook that serves good burgers and good beer? This might be heaven. It is and it isn’t. This isn’t a sportsbook.

Umami Burger a sports bar/restaurant with a patio and a place to bet on sports. Burger prices are between $12 and $15. Not too bad for the Vegas Strip. Draft beers are around $9-10 and bottles start at $5. There are no drink tickets from William Hill for sports bets as of opening but I think that will change. If you drink/eat at the video poker bar your drinks will be comp’d while you have money in play.

Umami Burger Bar At SLS Las Vegas

Umami Burger Bar

I really like this as a restaurant. Like I said in Vegas Chatter this is a good sports bar/restaurant but it’s not a traditional sportsbook. It should be packed with sports fans for big events but expect to see kids and families in the mix on other days. Even thought it’s not a traditional sportsbook this is my favorite spot at SLS Las Vegas.

Note, you can still sit and watch games without spending any money. However, if there are paying customers for Umami Burger you’ll politely be asked to leave if you’re not spending money.

4. Dining and High Priced Drinks

[Read more…]

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Searching For Flaws At SLS Las Vegas

SLS Las Vegas Carpet

SLS Las Vegas Carpet

I like SLS Las Vegas. I might like it a lot but it’s too early to tell. Like everything in life SLS Las Vegas has some flaws. During the week I’ll going a bit deeper into the things I like but I want to touch on some things that I’ve seen and heard that stand out on the less than awesome side.

These are just meant as a heads up for visitors and not a take down of SLS. You can’t judge any business on 2 days of operation.

SLS Las Vegas has already started to address some complaints from the first two days of business (beer prices for one) and it will be interesting to see how else they handle early complaints.

Dark – The casino is kind of dark. There’s little natural light and what light they have isn’t very bright. I didn’t spend much time in the casino so I’m not sure if this is a sleep inducing kind of dark or if it creates some intimacy. If you like natural light hang out near the Vegas Strip side. There’s a blackjack pit near the Vegas Strip entrance and Umami Burger has light from the beer garden.

Tight – Even though there are less 200 less slot machines than the Sahara had the slot floor can be tight. If two people are playing back to back in some areas it may be impossible to pass. When The Griddle or The Code booth are busy the pit of blackjack tables becomes uncomfortable. I’m not sure this can be fixed so these are just spots that I’ll avoid.

Hidden Buffet – The buffet is on the second floor and there’s limited signage that I can remember pointing people there. The setup is nice if you like a buffet but you may have to remember that you want it. I think it’s great to have the buffet on the second floor as it will keep kids/families out-of-the-way from the rest of the property for a while.

Drink Prices – Drink prices across the board are kind of insane. Most draft beers (a good selection) at Umami burger are around $10 or more. Cocktails at other restaurants are $14-$15. A bottle of soda (no fountain drinks) at Umami Burger is $5(!). Large Iced Coffee at The Perq is more than $5. These are more in line with Vegas Strip luxury hotel prices than a middle tier hotel. Umami did drop a bottle of Stella Artois from $8 to $5 last night so it looks as though SLS Las Vegas will offer some options to the prices.

Trying Too Hard – I like a lot of the design touches on the main floor of SLS but some have mentioned that it comes across as trying too hard to be cool. It’s almost as if there’s too much design effort which comes off as obnoxious. To each their own.

Small Rooms – You should know the basic rooms are some of the smallest on the Vegas Strip. If you’re not aware of the size it will bother you. They try to mask the small size and bad views with design but the bones are the bones.

In The Hood – You’re kind of in the hood when you’re outside of SLS. There are plenty of security guards on and around the property to remind you of that.

Slow Elevators – The building is old and the elevators haven’t been replaced and have been getting wonky already. This was a problem for some people in the garage over the weekend. On my Friday tour the World Tower elevators didn’t want to close. In their defense we had to be over capacity with too many people.

Here are links to pictures I took over the weekend if you’d like to get an idea of what SLS Las Vegas looks like.

11 Nuggets of carpet

Umami Burger/Sportsbook/Beer Garden

Friday – A boatload of pictures from all over

Saturday – Just a few casino pics

 

Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas