Dining: Vive Las Vegas
In his paris restaurant, Guy Savoy serves his steamed turbot on a bed of baby spinach topped with a poached egg. The whitefish’s delicate taste mixes so divinely with the salad that you are inclined to chew slowly, hoping to prolong the turbot’s presence on your plate. Just as the last bite disappears, however, the maître d’hôtel whisks away the platter to reveal—voilà!—a shallow soup bowl that had been concealed beneath the dish. Juices from the fish and egg, and bits of the spinach salad, have run into the bowl’s garlic-and-potato-flavored turbot bouillon, creating a second act that is simultaneously familiar and novel to the senses.
Chef Savoy—a constant and genial presence in the dining room, always directing the performances—delights in creating such moments for his patrons. Consequently, his Michelin three-star restaurant in Paris, Guy Savoy, regularly ranks among the world’s best establishments.
Given his charisma and penchant for theatrics, Savoy seems well suited to the site of his first U.S. venture, Restaurant Guy Savoy, which is scheduled to open in April 2006 at Caesars Palace. “I like the energy of Las Vegas,” says Savoy, who joins countrymen Alain Ducasse and, with two restaurants slated to open at the MGM Grand this fall, Joël Robuchon in the Nevada desert. “Many cooks come to this town, and they have to be dynamic. I will also be dynamic.”
Although set amid the togas and card tables of Caesars Palace, Restaurant Guy Savoy will resemble its Parisian sister, with intimate dining rooms (seating a maximum of 75 guests) dressed in dark woods and accented with stone, leather, and contemporary art. Several dishes will make the journey from France, including Savoy’s artichoke soup with black truffles; his oysters swimming in their juices with sorrel mushrooms, lemon, and cream; and his marinated, roasted, and pan-grilled lamb.
Savoy’s cuisine shows a deep respect for tradition, but the chef always leaves room for innovation if it will please his diners. His creativity and devotion to his craft date to his childhood in the Rhône-Alpes hamlet of Bourgoin-Jallieu, where his father lit torches around the family’s garden to prevent the crops from freezing at night.
Savoy plans to divide his time between the Paris and Las Vegas establishments because, he says, he would miss his own garden if he remained in the States for too long. When the chef is in Vegas, however, it is a safe bet that he will surprise his diners with a culinary trick or two.