By the looks of it, Honey Salt plans to become the next chichi spot to frequent on the west side of Vegas when it opens close to Halloween.
Chef Kim Canteenwalla from Society Cafe at Encore Las Vegas and his wife Elizabeth Blau — who runs Blau & Associates, a restaurant planning and development company, and partners with Simon at Palms Place as well as Society Café — are behind the 4,554-square-foot upscale restaurant taking over the former Nora's Wine Bar and Osteria space in Rampart Commons across from Boca Park.
"We've done the fancy restaurants on the Strip," Blau says over lunch at Society Cafe. "We wanted to do a neighborhood place." She describes Honey Salt as relaxing and a comfortable place to eat as well as family friendly (after all, their son Cole is turning 8) with a great bar.
Instead of video poker, find craft cocktails at the bar along with bottles or carafes of wine. Already the $500,000 renovations to the space include moving the bar from one side of the restaurant to the other.
As for the food, Blau says much of the menu is inspired by the dinner parties they throw at the house and by dishes they discover on their travels. "We want to bring the experience of entertaining at home to the restaurant," Blau says.
"Basically this is just an extension of our house," Canteenwalla says.
Already Joseph Zanelli, formerly at Lakeside at Wynn Las Vegas, has been pegged as the executive chef.
They spent last weekend visiting farms in the Santa Barbara area with Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby from the Downtown3rd Farmers Market. Homemade dishes made with farm-to-table ingredients, in some cases organic, will make the menu. There's even plans to publish a lifestyle cookbook from the restaurant.
The pizza oven from Nora's remains, and the decor calls for decorative bookcases throughout with a small wine room. Blau and Canteenwalla say their dining room table is filled with finds to decorate the restaurant, right down to assorted salt and pepper shakers that they believe diners will eventually start bringing in to add to the collection.
Even Cole is getting in on the menu, conjuring up his vision of the perfect kid's menu. "It's kid tested, mother approved," Blau says.
Honey Salt plans to hire 45 employees who won't be wearing strict uniforms. Instead, Blau has wants them to don a specific style of shirt with identical aprons. The 146-seat restaurant includes seven dining bar stools.
Eventually, Honey Salt plans to add brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, but when it opens, lunch and dinner will be on the menu. The restaurant plans to be open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. nightly.
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The future home of Honey Salt [Photo: Susan Stapleton]