Sunday, March 26, 2017

We sit down with Chef David Chang and learn about his passion and his new venue in Las Vegas at the Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino.

Having the drive and ambition that demonstrates the wattage of Las Vegas, Chef David Chang is the man that knows how to get things accomplished. His acclaimed Noodle bar and culinary exploits are expansive and his reputation as being determined and disciplined in learning and gleaning from the best kitchens in the world is reflective in his focus and fortitude in an industry that is fraught with disaster . 

Chef David Chang continues to move forward in his creative process while maintaining the integrity of his vision and branding as a culinary entrepreneur and restaurateur. We had a few minutes to spend with Chef Chang to find out his take on his newest addition, Momofuku located in the upscale, hipster swank of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Casino and Resort in Las Vegas and learn of his perspective of the turbulent restaurant world.

VLV: How long where you eyeballing Las Vegas for this venue and are you elated to finally be opened?

DC: We have been looking at Las Vegas since the economic collapse in 2009. It has been a long time with working with the Casinos. I feel like Goldilocks following the breadcrumbs, until we found the right fit here at the Cosmopolitan.

VLV: I have read that Momofuku is a “hype-generating, buzz magnet” is that how you would describe the venue?

DC:  We don’t do any of that; we just try to do great food. We hope that we are more substance than flash. We have a lot to figure out in Las Vegas.

VLV: Hospitality is the mainstay of the economy in Las Vegas, what is your definition of hospitality and how will be presented in Las Vegas?

DC. Hospitality has a multiple of viewpoints and has multiple roads but I believe for a long time hospitality was defined as one kind of way which was a Western or Michelin star French way. But I think how I define hospitality is in what really matters and that is how the customer leaves the restaurant. Hopefully they leave ecstatic and they got value from the experience. How you get there doesn’t really matter as long as you do it with ethical and moral guidelines.

VLV: What do you want people to encounter when they first enter you restaurant? 

DC: Most of our restaurants are very different; some are what I would term bare boned. After traveling and working abroad and in Asia, I have found that décor and ambience is certainly a very Western perspective to what is delicious and what is great that can be Euro-centric in most part. Living and working abroad and in Asia opened my eyes, in that some of the best food in the world is made in the most humble of places. I would rather have a place that has to overcome its limitations, than to be accentuated by them. It does not mean I don’t enjoy great ambience, but for me it is about seeing the happiness in people’s faces when they are having a good time. It’s a high bar, but that’s the road that I chosen. 


VLV: What do you look for in your employees especially in such a transitional type of business?

DC:  First thing I look in an employee will they be harder on themselves than I would be? Are they willing to make mistakes? Do they want to work hard and be a part of the team? It doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be exceptionally talented but do they have the grit and fortitude to go forward.

VLV: What are some of your expectations of your venue here in Las Vegas?

DC:  This menu has been really difficult. We have never done the same menu anywhere and that makes it difficult on ourselves, but some things are the same and certain things are not. We try to work with local purveyors to source different ingredients, so things taste different. This restaurant had to get a lot of targets, one is that it is in a Casino that doesn’t really have a Noodle house and there is every type casino in the world that doesn’t have some sort of noodle house, and it has to appeal to a wide range of people; It has to appeal to foodies potentially; it has to appeal to people from out of town looking for a fun night, well it literally has to hit just about every type of demographic. It would have been easier to say we are a steak house but we aren’t, but in fact the challenge is in hitting all our goals and having a menu that we could execute.

I have been talking to a lot of our customers and thankfully most people are enjoying us, but there are people with super expectations that maybe let down, I wish we could blow people away, but we just opened so that doesn’t make me happy. So let’s see how we are judged in year 2 or year three. It’s not like a movie premier; the movie is not like going to get any better. We will get better after six months, a year.

VLV: As we the final note, what words of advice would you give an aspiring Chef?

DC: You are going to have to push harder than everyone else; you are going to have to tough it out. That’s true. Every time you think you are at a bottom, there is a lot lower that you can go. And when you reach your top, wherever that might be it’s just a higher fall.

When is Las Vegas, Chef David Chang’s Momofuku is worth a stop to dine and explore a mouthwatering venue with a view.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Chef Andre Rochat Opens Andres Bar & Bistro in Las Vegas.

Chef Andre Rochat has forged a culinary legacy in the annals of Las Vegas restaurant history spanning over 30 years beginning his iconic namesake Downtown venue, to the stunning Alize at the Palms and his recently closed Andres at the Monte Carlo hotel.  Chef Andre has now journeyed back to his original roots by going back full circle in engaging the locals at his newest namesake, Andres Bistro &Bar located in the former home of DW bistro southwest area of Las Vegas.

Andre's Bistro & Bar combines the classic French Bistro and American tavern scene and is Chef’s attempt to have everyone enjoy his cuisine in a more affordable and relaxed neighborhood setting. “We want our patrons to eat, drink and talk to each other, not just eat and rush out. In Europe, we take time to socialize, spending a few hours with friends and family, and we want people to do that here,” explained Chef Andre. Chef Andre is continuing to serve superb cuisine in the suburbs and at age 73 he shows no signs of slowing his pace or cutting corners with everything being made in house and sourced as fresh and local as possible.

Open for lunch, dinner and brunch, Andre’s Bistro & Bar is the perfect place to meet with friends, family and associates.  Andre’s intention was in creating a place where that similar “cheers” kind of feeling overtakes you from the moment you in walk into the front door. With plenty of open seating and Andre’s hallmark roosters gracing the wall décor along with whimsical drawings rendered by Chef’s niece, Isabelle Michaud, a convivial and relaxed atmosphere has been achieved with flair and thoughtfulness. The Happy Hour menu is designed to put a grin on the face of any budget conscious diner with menu items such as the perfectly cooked lamb burger accented with tangy zatziki and feta and a generous portion of frites for a mere $7, or the Andre’s signature beef burger with Swiss cheese, red onion marmalade and truffle mayo for the same price point.

Similarity, the main menu showcases the tried and true Andre French classic dishes such as the lovely Golden Trout Almandine with green beans and buerre noisette, or the Moules Frites with a generous helping of PEI mussels surrounded by tomato concasse, garlic and parsley accompanied by a side of seasoned French fries;  another option is the duck fat fries for  a deeper crunchy textured frites .The seared fois gras , another true French classic dish,  intermingles rich duck liver with apple and almond crumble, crème anglaise,  and pork reduction. Desserts are always a pleasurable experience when it comes to Andre’s culinary magic, as highlighted in decadent Apple Tartin or the memorable grand mariner soufflé.

The wine list, hand crafted cocktails and beer menu offer generous and ample offerings for everyone in your dining party. With over thirty years of honing his Las Vegas hospitality and culinary craft, we applaud Chef Andre Rochat for continuing his legacy as a neighborhood restaurant and as Bastian of stellar service and impeccable food. For more information on Andre’s Bar &Bistro go to: