News & Politics

Michel Richard and Jose Andres Do Vegas

The legendary chefs expand their signature DC restaurants in big-name casinos

Michel Richard tells high rollers: Come on in for breakfast at 5 in the morning. Photograph courtesy of Caesars Palace

The dean of Washington fine dining, Michel Richard, made some history in September when a branch of his DC bistro, Central, opened in Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas strip: No James Beard Award–winning chef has ever had a round-the-clock restaurant.

The 245-seater has all of Central’s signature dishes—short ribs, fried chicken, lobster burger, sparkling Celebration Cake—as well as a similar vibe, but it offers two treats not available in DC: a sunny outdoor patio and, in a move that Richard fans can only hope will expand to Washington, breakfast from 5 to 11 am.

There are omelets, blue-berry muffins, spicy huevos rancheros, and a “Central breakfast” that includes eggs, three kinds of meat, mini-pancakes, and hash browns—enough to cure even the worst Vegas hangover.

Richard isn’t the only local culinary powerhouse expanding west: The new Central is a short walk past the Bellagio fountains to José Andrés’s Vegas outpost, a Jaleo franchise on the third floor of the new Cosmopolitan casino that also includes an eight-seat mini-restaurant called é.

Named for the last letter of José, é is a cross between DC’s Minibar and Andrés’s hit Los Angeles restaurant, the Bazaar. The Las Vegas Sun loved the $150 prix fixe, 15-plus-course tasting menu so much that it called é “the most unique restaurant in the world.”

Molecular gastronomy not your style in Vegas? Then get a table in the larger Jaleo, run by transplanted DC Jaleo chef Rodolfo Guzman and featuring an enormous wood-fired paella cooking pit.

This article appears in the November 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.