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Daniel Boulud
Daniel Boulud
Bill Milne

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Daniel Boulud Looks Back at the First Eight Months of DB Brasserie

Daniel Boulud’s DB Brasserie was one of the biggest openings in Las Vegas this year, marking the return of the French chef to the Strip. Here, Boulud looks back on the first eight months of the restaurant, some of the changes and tweaks he made and what his French brasserie plans to do in the next six months.

We haven’t talked in a couple months. How are things going at DB Brasserie?
I think it’s about six or seven months down the road now. We opened before summer, so that gave us time to organize. We expanded our cold cut program. We’re changing a little bit for the seasons. We’re getting a lot of repeat customers now. We’re open 11 to 11. Before, we were only open for lunch. I think it’s nice. I think the location is fantastic. The feel of the room has the original sort of a sense of a brasserie. It’s a place where you can gather a large group in Paris. A place to eat with friends or family or your lover. The rendezvous place for any type of person.
We try to keep that spirit.

When you open a new restaurant in Vegas team start with and team worth with. We’re much more confident together. I think the dining scene in Vegas keeps coming. It’s a fine French American bistro with a little DNA of all.

What new lessons have you learned since opening?
I am in a different hotel. The management has been very supportive. We have to continue to be successful as a local restaurant and to be able to also attract people for a good reason. I think the good reason there is a great menu and great service and great cocktails and also at a reasonable price. For me, it’s very important that we offer a great experience at a reasonable price. But at the same time, I’m interested in bringing fine ingredients. [The restaurant] has my name over the door. It’s important for quality and service. The duck confit one of the most popular dishes. It’s as popular as the burger.

Are you finding an audience for lunch and brunch?
Yes, absolutely. I think lunch in Vegas, not too many do lunch. You have to be quiet flexible with the lunch. We keep working on the menu to provide that. The brunch is something we’re building. Brunch is getting better and bigger. I think we are figuring out the right offering for the guests. Don’t want a buffet. It’s nice to have charcuterie or cheese.

What’s changed since you opened?
Not much. Some dishes on the menu. That’s natural as we opened before the summer and now it’s almost winter. The chef has apprehension about the ingredients available. We have introduced the two DB Burgers. We are doing a prix fixe on the early side that’s affordable. You have a chance to come early and have a great bite.

We are still working with our cocktail program and happy hours.

I think we’re going to keep refining our game and refining our setting. We’re tuning the menu and tuning the service. That’s something that might not be always visible but in constant motion.

What’s the most unexpected thing that happened?
I think the most unexpected was to open just before the summer. Usually July and August are not good months for Vegas. Conferences are down. They’re not really the strongest months. I think it was in a way good for us to have less of a crazy start. We didn’t have much of a surprise doing business in Vegas. We’re not in a trendy hotel that just opened. To be with the Venetian team brings a lot of pride too to be be alongside Thomas Keller, Wolfgang and Emeril. What I enjoy at the Venetian is the dynamic team of food and beverage people. They’re always doing events.

Are diners more adventurous this time around compared to five years ago?
Yes, they can be, absolutely. At the same time they’re also a little more following trends. I think the most important thing is to never feel trendy. Diners are more adventurous. I don’t do a menu with gutsy things because that would please very few. People definitely spend more for food than Vegas was known for. It gives us a chance for interesting ingredients.

What's on tap for the next six months?
We are discussing that with our team right now. We’re going to change the format of the menu. I want to expand some of the offerings as well. I think the lunch is something we have to keep working at. Once we have a reputation for lunch, especially with the transient customer, you need to constantly communicate around that. The bar and lounge will make some changes there as well.

Definitely on the menu we are continuing to bring some new offerings to keep people excited. The wine list is something we watch constantly. We’ll continue to do wine dinners and either the menu drives the choice of wine or wine chooses the dinner. We’re about creating moments.

Any chance we’ll see a second restaurant from Daniel Boulud open in Las Vegas?
That is too early. You’ll be the first to know.

DB Brasserie

3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-430-1235 Visit Website

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