Alex Stratta may have let Wynn Las Vegas but that doesn’t mean he disappeared from Sin City. The chef who created the Michelin two-star Alex at Wynn, which closed last year and is being turned into Climaxx, a new nightclub, and Stratta, the casual dining concept there, just opened the Italian restaurant Bigoli in New York City last November. And he still lives here. In Vegas. Commuting.
Stratta wanted to open a casual Italian restaurant in New York. “The press got a hold of it so we had to make it more than it is. It’s doing well,” he says.
But that long commute hasn’t kept him out of Las Vegas. Earlier this month, he held his first pop-up dinner at Marché Bacchus French Bistro & Wine Shop, a four-course affair with a wine pairing. Stratta has been consulting with the French restaurant, even bringing Dave Middleton from Stratta over to helm the kitchen. “Rhonda and Jeff [Wyatt, the owners of Marché Bacchus] have always been really good friends. I always want to support the guys who work for me,” Stratta says.
Fans of Alex the restaurant found some of Stratta’s signature dishes on the menu. He served a braised short rib with brown butter horseradish potato gnocchi and a variation of a seared scallop dish with candied fennel and apricot chutney that was an appetizer at Alex.
“I think no matter what type of environment you’re in, when it comes to quality, the food speaks for itself. Now I’m trying to change gears a little bit. Very fine dining is waning away,” Stratta says, turning his eye to fine dining experiences in a more casual setting. “They don’t want to spend the big bucks.”
That doesn’t mean Stratta won’t consider opening another restaurant in Vegas. “I’ve been thinking about it. The economy is somewhat coming back. The restaurant business is already such a risk. It’s something that I do want to do. I don’t think I’d do the high end. Something casual, accessible, with a good wine list,” he said.
Maybe Bigoli West?
For now, Stratta says he’s focusing on healthy and nutritious foods, even vegetarian dishes, a prompt he got during his time at Wynn Las Vegas. “As a chef, that’s a bigger challenge to create interesting vegetable dishes that are light and delicious at the same time.”
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