Fremont East’s Le Thai really helped the entertainment district across Las Vegas Boulevard from the Fremont Street Experience get its legs under it when it opened in 2011. It paved the way for the neighborhood that now features more than 20 dining destinations and allowed the chef to open a second location near the Scotch 80s. Now Dan Coughlin, the chef and owner of the restaurant, gets ready to give Downtown diners a new excuse to visit when he opens his pan-Asian restaurant 8 East at Circa on October 28, two months ahead of schedule.
Coughlin plans to serve Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Thai dishes at the new resort with rare spirits behind the bar. The menu features small plates meant to share, a variety of skewers, and dishes served family style, along with classic and creative desserts.
The small plates menu offers crispy pork belly bacon that’s slow cooked for 10 hours before it’s lightly fried and served with a side of tamarind sauce. His Tokyo crepe comes with sauteed wild enoki, oyster, and shiitake mushrooms, as well as fried tofu, cilantro chimichurri, Kewpie mayo, and soy glaze. A pork belly bao uses smoked porchetta. Coughlin tested his beef and chicken skewers out on diners at Le Thai before coming out with a rendition with green sauce.
Diners can order a five-spice rib-eye steak seasoned with star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds and served with butterfall sauce. A brisket fried rice and whole lobster fried rice, dan dan noodles with ground pork and a Sichuan sesame sauce, and ramen with osso bucco round out some of the family-style dishes teased.
Coughlin says he worked on fusion dishes and techniques to incorporate at 8 East that he tested at his Thai restaurant and at home for family and friends, such as salt and Sichuan pepper chicken wings and cumin lamb lollipops that will be served with Sichuan, Chengdu, and Thai sauces.
On the dessert menu, find Thai coffee crème brûlée, matcha green tea ice cream, and an Asian tiramisu.
The restaurant plans to serve rare Japanese whiskies and sakes, as well as specialty cocktails such as the Singapore Sling and an Old Fashioned, and a curated wine list featuring natural, biodynamic selections. The drink menu also will highlight a Japanese Whisky tasting flight.
The design of 8 East uses organic and natural design elements. At its entrance, customers can see a wall art installation filled with traditional Maneki-neko waving cats, symbolizing good luck in the Japanese culture.
Circa promises to only allow patrons 21 and over inside the 1.25-million-square-foot resort and casino, which will have the world’s largest sportsbook and a pool complex, Stadium Swim, open 365 days a year, and a number of drinking and dining options when it opens the first five floors on October 28.
• All Coverage of 8 East [ELV]