Address: The Cromwell, 3595 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Phone: 1-855-442-3271 or 702-667-1799
Status: Opens at 7:30 p.m.
Tonight's the night when Giada De Laurentiis finds out if people will not only like her California take on Italian cuisine but pay $68 for a 28-ounce bone-in Tuscan rib-eye. Also of concern, how patrons pronounce her pasta dishes such as Spah-geh-tee and Boo-kah-tee-nee, which she helpfully phonetically spells out for the uninformed.
How will the world react? After all, the Food Network star is debuting her first restaurant with not only her name on the door but the recipes she's cooked time and again on television. A restaurant eight years in the making until she found what she calls the perfect spot, De Laurentiis reached out to her fellow TV chef star friends Mario Batali and Bobby Flay for advice.
Her dishes include an entire antipasti menu, with dishes made at a bar as guests enter the restaurant. Two separate ovens cook pizzas and bread. Throughout the space that includes six cantilevered windows opening to the Strip find photos of her family all over the place. De Laurentiis herself sat in every chair to test them out. Diners can see into the open kitchen, even through cutouts in the bar. Rose gold seems to be a theme here, finding a home on the chandelier at the entrance, the dinnerware and the dessert cart, rolling out for the first time tonight.
Of note, Giada has no executive chef since De Laurentiis fired Arturo Moscoso in the middle of May. She tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Moscoso, who previously worked briefly at Buddy V's Ristorante, wanted to put his own spin on the dishes.
"That person wanted to put their own tweaks on it right away. He would say yes to me and then I would turn around and leave for a day and come back and it was not the same way again. So I just decided, 'We're done. You don't get it, we're done.' "
For now, Kurtess Mortensen is overseeing the restaurant.
Over the past week, VIPs, friends, family and the media have eaten at the restaurant on parent company Caesars Entertainment's dime. Reservations on OpenTable were offline during a recent check, but June 16 was the first available when last visited.
Last night, the pint-sized star threw one last shindig (sponsored by Clairol Natural Instincts in De Laurentiis' fave color, Amber Shimmer) before officially opening the doors, and the night proved to be emotional.
"I tried to pick iconic dishes that I knew people loved of mine,'' she tells the Today Show. "The first time I saw people eating and drinking in this restaurant with music going and the windows open and servers, everybody in their outfits and their uniforms, it gave me chills, but I also went into the bathroom and cried in one of the stalls. The emotion is so overwhelming."
And for some reason, Jersey Shore vet and deejay Pauly D interviewed De Laurentiis for E!
For now, the restaurant is only open for dinner, but does plan to serve lunch and a brunch in the future.
· All Coverage of Giada De Laurentiis [~ELV~]