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An exclusive look at Pierre Gagnaire's first U.S. restaurant, slated to open at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas

August 25, 2009 | 10:00 am

 Gagnaire1

The Vegas Strip is no Rue Balzac, but come December, a Pierre Gagnaire restaurant will open on Las Vegas Boulevard. 

Twist by Pierre Gagnaire will be the Paris chef’s first restaurant in the U.S., and it will be located on the 23rd floor of the coming Mandarin Oriental — part of the first phase of openings at the $8.5-billion CityCenter.

Gagnaire, who also has restaurants in London, Dubai and throughout Asia, follows other Michelin three-star chefs from the City of Light to Sin City: Joël Robuchon (Joël Robuchon and l’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand); Guy Savoy (Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesar’s Palace); and Alain Ducasse (Mix at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay). Gagnaire’s original Paris restauranthttp://www.pierre-gagnaire.com/index-fr.htm is in the Hotel Balzac in the 8th arrondissement.

Gagnaire’s Vegas foray comes as restaurants struggle in an economy that has hit once-high-flying high rollers. Also slated to open in the CityCenter are restaurants from Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Masayoshi Takayama and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

The idea of Twist “is to respect the unique sense of place of Las Vegas whilst creating our own story,” Gagnaire says. “Where my concepts are different at my restaurants across the globe, my philosophy to cooking is the same: quality, pleasure and my own twist — which is my signature.”

Gagnaire is known for high-technique-meets-high-whimsy. He has collaborated with French scientist Hervé This on recipes such as Saint-Jacques “Faraday,” an emulsion of scallops, orange oil, smoked tea and gelatin. 

Expect his signature “langoustine 5 ways” to appear on the Twist menu: langoustine mousseline with curried grapes; grilled langoustine with new potatoes and mushrooms; langoustine tartare with celeriac cream and spiced grapefruit syrup; fried langoustine seasoned with Terre of Sienna (a spice mixture of orange peel, pepper and curry); and dressed in white velouté with langoustine jelly.

Heading the kitchen in Las Vegas will be chef de cuisine Pascal Sanchez, who previously oversaw Gagnaire’s Sketch in London and also has worked with Gagnaire in Paris.

The 74-seat Las Vegas restaurant was designed by Adam Tihany, featuring a glass staircase, suspended wine loft, and more than 300 gold globes that float across the ceiling and illuminate the dining room. (Tihany also has designed restaurants such as Daniel and Per Se.) 

Also to open in the Mandarin Oriental: MOzen Bistro, a kitchen “theater” with a sushi bar, noodle bar and rotisserie; Tea Lounge, serving high tea; and Amore Patisserie, stocked with fresh pastries, chocolates and gelato.

-- Betty Hallock

Rendering: Twist by Pierre Gagnaire. Credit: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.

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