Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Cuisineist experiences a new FIRST on the Las Vegas Strip at the Palazzo

Remember the neighborhood bar just down the street ? casual , friendly great food that is creative but yet simple ? Those memorable burgers and fries that you can still taste even today ? Las Vegas has always been known for firsts but now inside The Shoppes at The Palazzo, a new FIRST has been born . FIRST Food & Bar has opened and from what we saw , and tasted will be a very big hit.

With out a doubt the crowd favorite was the “First Original” Mini Burgers Four all-beef patties, secret sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and tomatoes atop a White Castle bun. In a word WOW ! We still have a craving for them.

Other signature dishes from executive Chef Sam DeMarco are mouth watering Lollipop Buffalo Wings ,Maytag Bleu fondue, pickled cucumbers and excellent Lobster Rolls,Mini potato buns, and Maine lobster tarragon.

Of course, its not JUST about the great food at FIRST. There are signature cocktails like the Cucumber Gimlet ,Gin, cucumber, fresh lime and simple syrup, and a Cotton Candy Kiss Vodka, elderflower, vanilla, pineapple, cranberry juice with a crushed “Life Saver” rim will definitely put you in the mood as you listen to a State-of-the-art sound system by Sound Investment
featuring Funktion One and a DJ Booth for live DJ sets.

The trio of Chef Sam DeMarco, Jon Newton VP of VV Ventures and Tommy Nally of VV Ventures combined their many years of restaurant experience from all over the world to create FIRST , described as having an Industrial & Urban decor. The high, open ceilings and the tribal tattoo imagery embedded in the floor reflects its an industrial urban design.

The furniture mashes up styles that are modern, vintage and Gothic set to a palette of
dark, warm colors making the more than 10,000 square foot restaurant feel intimate but yet very trendy.

Chef Sam DeMarco, known to his circle of fans and friends as Chef Sammy D. ran the kitchens of legendary restaurants for years under the tutelage of famed chefs before branching out on his own.
In 1993 Sammy D. stepped into the culinary limelight, opening his first restaurant,aptly named First, in the East Village of New York City

The restaurant soon became a stop for high-profile chefs including Wolfgang Puck and Charlie Trotter who frequented the restaurant . These regular after-hours stops by chefs and their staffs earned him the title of “the chefs’ chef.”

Jon Newton arrived to Las Vegas in 1991, and began to hone his skills on the business side of the hospitality industry. Working with Brinker International and Gordon Biersch. In the mid ’90s he was asked to join a powerhouse-backed concept in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, marking his first effort on the Las Vegas Strip. After meeting partners at Emerging Brands, Newton was commissioned to create and operate Taqueria Canonita inside the Venetian Hotel and went on to develop other new concepts during his nine years with Emerging Brands including award-winning Aquaknox, Fishbowl, David Burke and Bossa.

Tommy Nally is a restaurant and nightclub owner/operator with more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, having launched dozens of exciting culinary concepts throughout the United States. His career as a restaurant owner began in New York in 1982 when he opened one of the city’s hottest casual dining restaurants, Rascals, and one of the
first sports bars in the country TKO. Tommy founded PaLante restaurant organization which specialized in Latin food. With a vision for the new trends in food, music and entertainment, they opened a number of Latin concepts on the East Coast and Puerto Rico including the
highly acclaimed New York restaurants Chicama and Pipa.

We will be hearing much more about FIRST, and from a personal stand point , The Cuisineist will be "regulars" for breakfast , lunch, dinner and even late night. After what we experienced on our first visit , the Palazzo has ANOTHER culinary hit on its hands !

Cheers and good luck !

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