Sadelle’s Opens at the Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas with elegant design and flair.

Sadelle’s Opens at the Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas with elegant design and flair.

AS colorful as a palate of paint and as disarming as a golden retriever, the epitomes designer and creative, Ken Fulk is a man that exudes delight and wonder with impeccable sophistication. Having a few moments to speak with this delightful designer and impresario was indeed a privilege. Mr. Fulk enthusiastically shared his creative vision for Las Vegas, namely his newest design effort,  Sadelle’s located in the former Bellagio Café adjacent to the hotel’s popular garden conservatory in Las Vegas Nevada. Working closely with restaurant visionary Major Food Group in creating culinary outlets of superb quality, Fulk along with Jeff Zalaznick, Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi have formed a restaurateur dream team filled with interactive synergy in shaping spaces into dining destinations.  

 VLV: Please tell us about this exciting new project here at the Bellagio Las Vegas.

KF:  So Carbone was our first project in Vegas. This is our second collaboration with Major Food Group and the MGM corporation. We have great simpatico. With Carbone it was like how do take a classic, almost like Good Fellas Italian restaurant, tucked into the west end of new York and reimaging that in Vegas. 

In my mind it was Opera, with all these wonderful banquettes where everyone is looking at each other, where no one had their backs to the door. We placed the giant chandelier from a Ferrari dealership in Philadelphia. 
When we got the task of reimagining Sadelles, which is a charming new York storefront, I wonder how we were going to reimaging that for Las Vegas. For me it was a French Brasserie, all day long bustling with people and activity and beautiful displays of food along with the classic elements that existed in Sadelle's in New York; certainly our color palette the blue, pink and green and reimagining it here and centered with a great bar. We reoriented and created a staircase with a real sense of arrival while segmenting the restaurant so there is more of a  French café scene looking out to the pool and gardens. The bar looks out over the restaurant and the conservatory and the main dining room is anchored with centered with large glamorous banquettes. It is typical Vegas fashion like poof and we are here. 

 VLV: You are indeed extremely creative, with many different outlets, including Mr. Ken Fulk’s Magical World and Dering Hall.

KF: I am a lucky man, God made a job for me. Really it all goes back to being a child when I would pick out my little blue blazers I would pick out the buttons and it was made for me. It was about storytelling. As a kid I was in charge of every holiday and most Sunday suppers. My parents owned restaurant growing up so that had to do with the culture of it part of it, but it all seemed to be more about how life got lived. It was important to me that all these moments matter. I learned the word flambé early in life. When I saw the word on the menu, I knew they were going to light something on fire. So I loved the showmanship. This goes along well with Vegas where life is a show, and everything is ready for its close up. We are very well aligned with this.

VLV: How did you develop you relationship with MFG?

I was at my home in Cape Cod when I received a phone call from this brash sounding New Yorker, Jeff Zalaznick, and he told me about Sadelle’s concept and we have this wonderful woman who is going to do the bagels. I thought why are calling me to do a bagel store but that was not it, he want to work with someone who understands us, who speaks the same language and tell our story. I knew the idea of it, and  Saddles is the name of one of their grandmothers. So I went back to San Francisco since this was before our NY studio and came up with some storyboards for a presentation and flew back to meet the group at Carbone. I set up my presentation and said this is Sadelle's. Jeff said this is the best presentation he had ever seen. We instantly hit it off and we knew we sort of fit together. Since then we have worked on multiple projects and I have designed homes for them. They have become dear personal friends. There are a lot of great designers out there but the end of the day it is about relationships. Relationships should be treated with respect and care and we do that with one and another, it is exciting. I truly have made my life up. That’s how we do it from shoes, to books, to candles, to restaurants and why not? It has been an exciting ride.

VLV: I see on your instagram that you are a big animal proponent, especially golden retrievers.

KF: Oh Yes, I am. We have 3 golden’s and a funny little wiener dog. I am an emeritus board member of the SPCA. We love animals and center our lives around them.

VLV: What is the first thing you look at when you are assessing a space?

KF: At Carbone we did much more physical work but here I thought about my own 4000 square foot loft that when people came in they were always surprise at how big it was because I had divided it into smaller more intimate spaces. So we did this here; You have the bar, café and the grand glamorous dining space with the great banquettes and of course color. Some people are afraid of color, but I am not. Another bold move was the flooring. We introduced bold geometric graphic flooring throughout the bar and dining room and then beautiful reclaimed French oak all through the café and entry.

VLV: Now have you worked on these projects do you have more projects planned for LV?

KF:  We would be well suited for it. We certainly enjoy this and we work with an amazing group of people. Yes, I do think we will have more projects, maybe a real 1950’s night club? Wouldn’t that be fabulous?

Eataly Las Vegas is Now a Reality A Park MGM.

With much fanfare, and dedicated hard work, Eataly has opened their doors on a weekend where a reported 300,000 plus New Years Eve Visitors descend upon the Las Vegas Strip. Located in the Park MGM, Eataly’s newest addition to their already 37 worldwide locals is unique; these front doors will never close to the public, albeit that some of the indoor venues will close within the Eataly complex.

Eataly’s theoretical life came to fruition under the persistency and tenacity of Italian business magnet, Oscar Farinetti, a man who developed UniEuro into Italy's largest consumer electronics company. 

Inspired by the bazaars of Istanbul and his desire in bringing the best in Italian products within a unique market setting, Eataly was born. Transforming his nebulous idea into a worldwide reality that continues to prosper with global success, took many arduous and persistent years. Since the first opening in Torino Italy in 2007, 

Eataly has grown into more than 37 global food villages reminiscent of European markets where one could eat, shop, dine and learn surrounded by a cornucopia of local producers and Italian cured meats, cheeses, wines and other gastronomic delicacies.

According to Farinetti, “Eataly’s success is linked to our philosophy, because people can eat shop and learn, all about high-quality food, three activities that don’t coexist anywhere else. Moreover, our informal style of communication shows how direct and approachable we are, just the way people like.”

With the onset of perhaps one of the most ambitious projects to date, Oscar’s beloved son, Nicola Farinetti has taken the reigns as the CEO of Eataly USA and spokesperson for the project. He gives us few reminders of what lies behind this culinary organization that continues its ambitious expansion around the globe.


Looking around at the incredible array of food offerings and producers here at Eataly, are the offerings standard in all the Eataly’s worldwide?

NF: No, for many reasons but reason number one is high quality Italian food is limited. It is limited by producers because they are tiny. We may have a producer that is in 5 stores and another is at 10 stores since they are small producers. We look for local producers. It is important that we also collaborate with the local community. Producers may be different, but they follow the same quality standard. Of course, there are some products that we have in every story but we augment with local producers. I think we have Creekstone, but in Boston we have another local provider as it is in all the different stores.

Do you think Americans are increasing their food awareness as to where their food is coming from and how it is processed?

NF: Food is becoming more and more important every day. None the less we are improving not just in the US but everywhere. Nutrition and our understanding of how and what we put in our bodies changes everything. It changes the way we feel, our very DNA, it changes everything.

Was that really the impetus of your motivation in opening Eataly?

NF: We have always believed that food can change everything. It is a very big component on environmental system of the world. It you produce good food it is better for everyone and it better for the health system. Cheap food doesn’t exist. If you are don’t pay for it someone else is paying for it. It is either in the environment or it’s either the person who is person who has made the food that is extremely poor and underpaid for it.

What was the driving force to take Eataly globally?

NF: It really is my father. I am extremely lucky I was born in a family where My Dad was a visionary. At times he could not sleep as he was busy creating projects. He was always creating things and making things happen. He is a retailer and had the vision form the beginning. It took me years to understand his vision. He had the vision since we opened in Torino. I think I am always a couple years behind my Dad, as he is always thinking ahead. For us, we just want to be very proud of what we do. We have created something so unique that is also very complicated and impossible to replicate. It is our happiness but also our greatest nightmare; for example we will have 75 restaurants opening in one location in one day.
What is your greatest challenge?

NF: It is always going to be people but that is the greatest challenge for humanity. Everyone who wants to grow is going to have this challenge.

Chef Nicole Brisson, Elaine Harris, Scott Harris

You have a wonderful executive Chef working with you Chef Nicole Brisson. She is a great team player.

NF: She is wonderful team player. We are very happy to have her working with us that has our same value. She is our only female executive Chef working with our company in the US. She is so knowledgeable about this market more than anyone of us, she knows everyone.

What is uniquely challenging about Las Vegas?

NF: Opening no, but we are working with the MGM Corporation which is challenging in a good way. We have also opened our own store in our own way, but this is the first time we have collaborated with another company that is very different in sizing and culture. It has been fantastic. Everyone says it is about scalability, as far it could be very on a Friday but dead on a Tuesday. We will find out as we go forward.

Guests queued up for hours and at exactly 5pm the doors to Eataly Las Vegas opened to reveal a plethora of imported Italian delights to sip and savor on through the evening.

2018 was a year of moving fast forward in the Las Vegas dining scene on and off the strip.

Las Vegas is constantly evolving as an international food and beverage destination city; a place that spends millions on ambience as well as creating cuisine that elevates the appetite. As 2018 quickly comes to an end a time of reflection on refined dining venues and new hot spots is worthy of some contemplation as dining is so integral to our social habits. With the focus on more experiential dining venues to please the Millennial crowd, newly dining digs are opening at record speed along the famed Las Vegas Strip.

With newcomers Block 16 Urban Food Hall, CATCH, NoMad and Cipriani’s in addition with Station Casinos multi-million spending there is plenty of competition amongst the culinary corridors of Las Vegas. As the City moves forward as a dining juggernaut it now attracts more diners per year than gamblers. Off the Strip, some of the best dining can be found with the recently opened Cleaver, Rooster Boy and MordeoLV.

These restaurateurs have taken the challenge to throw their pots and pans into the culinary arena. How does one stay relevant year after year as the number of new chefs and celebrity chefs weave their way into the Vegas restaurant landscape? From our observation it takes many factors, but the two that truly stand out are customer service and great food. If you excel at both, than you are such to survive and thrive in a city that is always hungry for great food 24/7.
Why not start the Vegas culinary journey with a walk through an Asian inspired street market? Block 16 Urban Food Hall is the place to sip, savor and stroll in the hip and happening Cosmopolitan Hotel, Casino and Resort.

The Food Hall offers Nashville’s famous Hattie B’s Fried Chicken, New Orleans District with its made from scratch bites, biscuits, donuts and sliders. Lardo out of Portland focuses on deeply flavored bold tastes in their pork and beef dishes while Portlander and James Beard Award winner Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok Wing lends wing fans a place to dish, dine and devour this tender meaty marvels, along with his many other Asian inspired menu items. Not to missed, the Ghost Donkey bar where top shelf tequila and mezcal go well with Truffle Nachos and inventive bar snacks is an intimate artsy space.
NoMad recently made its grand debut under the Neon lights of Sin City to much fanfare. The hoopla is well deserved as this NYC and LA hot spot that is now under the Las Vegas dining and drinking banner. Will Guidara and acclaimed Chef Daniel Humm have created an exceptional food and beverage program that elevates both the palate and the party.

The Sydell Group in partnership with Make it Nice operates the Nomad Hotel that has just recently opened offering a place to party and be pampered within a few feet of each venue and with complementary Valet in a city that put a premium on parking this is indeed a notable incentive.

NoMad’s James Beard award winning bar program under the direction of master mixologist Leo Robitsheck is the place to imbibe and be seen. 

Bar menu items recommended are the carrot tartare, gourmet hot dog and the black truffle tartlet. NoMad’s main dining room is a spectacle to behold as this two story library concept displays an impressive 25,000 book collection that will have you reading the bold headlines of refined dining. In the gorgeous library, dining with a demonstration is highly recommended.

Begin with the Martini Cart, a “tableside presentation of the Martini Cocktail and its variants throughout the 20th century” beginning with a Manhattan and ending with the 2018 Mirepoix crafted with very special spirits.
The Nomad Roast Chicken with its alchemic blend of foie gras, black truffle and brioche is a gastronomic indulgence that does raise the bar on all others chicken dishes in town. 

Complete the meal with a fire and ice presentation of the delectable Baked Alaska, served table side with flaming flair and exquisite service. NoMad late in the year opening has ushered in a new era of fine dining where dinner becomes an outstanding meal memory.

CATCH opened at the Aria Hotel boasts a globally inspired selection of dishes and a décor that could make Monet proud. Garlands of greenery intermixed with twinkling lights that guide you down the corridor as soothing water features induce a Zen like state. The giant floral butterfly wings are a popular selfie spot along with the peony wall of prettiness. No, this is not a walk into Oz, but a culinary journey into a world of shared plates and shared selfies. This LA popular restaurant now has a Vegas counterpart and has quickly become the “go” to place in Vegas. The restaurant transforms at 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday as a DJ hot spot.

Must have Instagram and culinary marvels are the truffle sashimi bathed in rich black truffle puree, chili ponzu and caviar; the Hellfire Roll composed of spicy tuna and Asian pear is offered with a dramatic presentation; and the Salmon Belly Carpaccio will have you spellbound with tantalizing flavors. Along with creative cocktails such as the Ziggy Stardust and the Mood Ring, CATCH’s interesting culinary story is worth repeating.

Over at the Bellagio, Wolfgang Puck’s Spago reopened at the now shuttered Olives with unparalleled fountain views and a dazzling display of picture perfect dishes that are in tune with seasonal ingredients. Wolfgang’s signature handmade pastas, pizza, and fresh proteins cooked to perfection can all be enjoyed al fresco while enjoying the spectacular Bellagio Fountain.

Try the Farm fresh baby beets with a citrus yogurt, pistachio and feta cheese with the veal “Weiner Schnitzel” along with a WP wine or cocktail.

Within the Bellagio is the crème de la crème of haute dining. Newly appointed Executive Chef Alan Madonivich and staff strive for perfection as Le Cirque’s continues to maintain the highest levels of French cuisine. As a one star Michelin, AAA five diamond and Forbes five diamond award winning establishment, serious diners know this is the place for dining distinction.

With truffle season upon us, the Alba white truffle risotto will whisk you into culinary heaven. Several tasting menus are available along with superb selection of wines and cocktails. Chef prepares dishes that are worth a plane trip and continue to dazzle and demonstrate a superior dining experience.

Across the fountain, The Venetian/Palazzo  is undergoing their own changes with the opening of the modern Electra cocktail bar and lounge are and acclaimed chef Ricardo Zarate’s ONCE (pronounced on-she) combines Japanese influences within his thoughtful Peruvian cuisine. Nestled along Grand Canal Shoppes with its garden like atmosphere and delectable menu items including grilled octopus and oxtail Bibimbap, Once is well worth a stop after the shop.

Next door, the Wynn Plaza Shop is now home to a NY staple, Cipriani’s. This is the where the sleek, streamlined nautical interior, white jacketed servers, impeccable service and signature Italian dishes combine for another look into the new face of elegant Vegas dining. Begin with an original Bellini and the Carpaccio alla Cipriani, or the Chilean sea bass “alla Carlina or any other of their well know and popular dishes.

At Caesars’ Palace Gordon Ramsay started 2018 with a searing hot entrance with the opening of Hell’s Kitchen which continues to draw huge crowds on a daily basis.

Chef Giada De Laurentiis followed suit with the opening of her casual eatery Pronto. Now the newest place to brunch is Pronto where this casual grab and go concept transforms from into a relaxed brunch spot Sat. and Sun. with Chef’s light and delectable brunch menu within the multi-stations. Plates of antipasto, made to order omelets, and hand cut Tuscan beef tenderloin and a tower of Giada’s decadent desserts including her signature lemon ricotta cookies are such to please tourist and local alike.

Off the Strip another Food Network star, Chef Scott Conant has opened Masso Osteria within the Red Rock Resort and Casino to the brunching crowd with 100 layer lasagna, carving and dessert stations bottomless mimosas, along with a menu items that include a Porchetta eggs bennie, panettone French toast and chef’s signature pasta al Commodore. Conant’s his signature sauce and olive oil is now available at select retail shoppes.

Station Casino’s has been busy with their multi-million dollar renovation of the Palace Station and their complete overhaul of the Palms rendering stunning new dining sites. bBD’ s standing for beers, burgers and desserts boast a lineup of 26 rotating drafts, sours and limited releases. A complete butcher shop and open air kitchen will captivate diners as their prime beef burgers are cooked to order over a wood fired grill infusing irresistible flavors in perhaps some of the best burgers around. As far as the desserts, Instagram worthy shake and house-made soft serve ice cream are camera and palate popular.

Next door the Boathouse Asian Eatery offers an outstanding happy hour menu with $3 beer and $5 beer specials and $6 well drinks, fresh sushi, and an eclectic blend of traditional Asian dishes and flavors all within an modern, sleek and artistic atmosphere including a mural of a giant octopus symbolizing good luck.

The Palms dining list of new opening keeps coming with the overhaul of N9 Steak transformed into a modern steak house, SCOTCH 80 and the elegant Italian Vetri replacing Alize. More dining venues will be popping up quickly in the 2019 as the renovations and innovations continue.

Off the Strip local restaurateurs are now bringing their own brand and culinary expertise for those who crave elevated dining but rather deflect driving to the Strip. Not far from the Strip on Paradise Road is Cleaver-Butchered Meats, Seafood & Classic Cocktails.

This is the retro steakhouse concept of barman and expert mixologist Nectaly Mendoza whose nine years at his award winning Herbs & Rye laid the foundation for this owner operator to move forward with his expansion dreams. With now two off-strip venues to choose from diners will love the consistency of ever exceptional cocktails, steaks, pasta and seafood.

Award-winning Chef Khai Vu and Master Sommelier Luis de Santos have established MordeoLV Boutique Wine Bar, a gem of Spanish, Asian, and South American influenced dishes paired with just the right glass of wine or cocktail.  A nod to truly global gastronomy with killer small plates of grilled Spanish octopus, yuzu chicken and pork cheek skewers gilled over a Japanese bench charcoal, alongside a bevy of brilliant tastes that rival any on- Strip offerings.

Located along lake Jacqueline in Desert Shores Rooster Boy Café is perhaps one of the best bistros to open in Las Vegas in 2018, the concept of seasoned chef Sonia El-Nawal. This quaint neighborhood eatery open 7 am-3 pm Tues.-Sun. is just the place to pop in for a bowl or bag or Sonia’s Rooster Boy granola that come in 4 varieties: Original, Grain free, Extra Rich )with bits of dark chocolate in the mix) and Low Guilt, or a sumptuous galette( free form French pastry dough) filled with savory or sweet ingredients, or a hearty meat and egg breakfast served with piping hot coffee or one of the other thirst quenching beverages. Chef’s Sonia’s love and passion for hospitality and sourcing the best possible ingredients will have you a frequent flyer.

Another hidden taste treasure located in the Lakes neighborhood just a few years young, is Chef Marc’s Trattoria. Chef Marc Sgrizzi 30 plus years as Chef and restaurateur have proven passion found his plates of pasta and signature Italian dishes. He continues to please the locals with daily menu specials like Tuna Bolognese or an exquisitely prepared veal chop. 

All pastas are made in house and Chef Marc is committed to the best in ingredients, service and quality throughout his restaurant operations.

With such a variety of tastes, cuisines, and atmospheres to choose from, dining in Las Vegas is ever exciting, tantalizing and above all multi-cultural. On the Strip or in the suburbs Las Vegas is always heating things up both on and off the stove.

Sadelle’s Opens at the Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas with elegant design and flair.

Sadelle’s Opens at the Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas with elegant design and flair. AS colorful as a palate of paint and as disarming as a...

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