Show-Stoppers on Stage – and on the Plate

That quirky edge we’ve come to expect of Las Vegas has taken an exciting twist of late, as gastronomic offerings become as fascinating as the performers on tap throughout the year.

The shiny-new Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which opened its doors in December, is currently leading the way on both counts, with no less than 13 eateries forming part of its restaurant collection. Chef Jose Andres, a Today show favorite, has brought a fun concept to the city: a Mexican-Chinese menu that brings together—not as a fusion, but under one roof—Unruly Monk noodles with caldo tlalpeño, pot stickers with fish tacos, fried rice with queso fundido. He’s also brought to the Cosmopolitan his critically acclaimed Jaleo restaurant, which serves Spanish tapas—some classic, some with a twist. Other exciting options: Greek cuisine and seafood galore at Estiatorio Milos and French brasserie Comme Ça from hot LA chef David Myers.

The Cosmopolitan also offers a monthly dining experience, The Fifteenth, where guests can enjoy a meal by a featured chef—a signature chef from the hotel’s collection or a guest culinary artist. The April 15 dining event, for instance, features The Cosmopolitan’s executive chef Jeff Walter, who is preparing a meal with farm-to-table ingredients reflective of the season, paired with biodynamic and organic wines.

Speaking of singular libations, the resort has a series of monthly wine tastings called Vintage: Sommelier & Sounds, which combines choices from the property’s sommelier with musical performances. The Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool—one of three in the resort—will also welcome a wide variety of performers live in an open-air environment of daybeds, lounge chairs and almost tangible excitement, with the likes of Robyn and Nas & Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley; other in-resort venues and bars will welcome other musicians throughout the year.

“We are also hosting Friday Night Fights [by the Boulevard Pool], which will combine the mystique and excitement of legendary Las Vegas boxing matches with a new and socially dynamic VIP experience,” says Lisa Marchese, The Cosmopolitan’s sr. v.p. of brand marketing, who adds that the resort continues to “experiment” with its programming. “We’re playing with the programming at all of our bars and lounges, jazz in the evening then DJs late night at The Chandelier. The unique personality of each venue—Book & Stage, The Chandelier and Bond—gives us the opportunity to book great bands and DJs, including Best Coast, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Fitz and the Tantrums, The Teddybears, DJ Mia Moretti and many more, all of which are non-ticketed.”

A quieter but no less exciting concept at the resort: its innovative art program, a show-stopper all its own that, according to Marchese, makes art accessible to all guests. “From the moment a guest comes through the door we have our lobby columns with digital content from our partners like Digital Kitchen, Art Production Fund and The Rockwell LAB,” she explains. A cool addition: “retired” cigarette vending machines from which visitors can purchase small art pieces. “Our Art-o-mat machines give guests a story to tell and a piece of art to take home as a memento of their time here at the resort.

“From what you see on the 65-ft. Marquee to stunning commissioned photography and our Art-o-mat machines where you can purchase original pieces of art on the go, we’re building a program that is accessible and can be appreciated by everyone—guests and passersby alike,” adds Marchese. “Our partnership with Art Production Fund and Eaton Fine Art has been a key enabler of our approach. They both continue to be great partners helping us source, commission and curate the overall program.” A terrace studio at The Cosmopolitan starts at $160 per night.

bringing in the ha-ha’s Caesars Palace may have Celine Dion for a 3-year residency at The Colosseum, but The Venetian is delivering laughs this year with a star-studded line-up of comedic legends. “Primarily, we’re looking to work with artists we think will resonate with our guests and fits within our property’s brand image,” says Chris Yancey, The Venetian’s exec. director of entertainment. “We’re selective about who we work with but also opportunistic. If we can find the right person, then we’ll be aggressive in going after them.”

The outrageous queen of comedy and “Piece of Work” trailblazer Joan Rivers is bringing her sharp zingers to The Venetian Showroom for several dates in June, October and November. Sassy Rita Rudner will be there year-round on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The always-sarcastic SNL alum David Spade is taking a break from his movies and TV show to appear for several dates in June, July, September and November. Also stopping by this year: Tim Allen, who’s following sold-out shows in months past with performances in May, August, October and November. The Suite Life package starts at $179 per night with a 2-night minimum.