Sitting inside the sleek dining room of Gordon Ramsay’s newest Las Vegas restaurant, Ramsay’s Kitchen, the celebrity chef grabs the edge of one of the tables and gives it an aggressive jostle. “Having a lighthearted documentary called Kitchen Nightmares, I need to get my shit together. Because if the glass is chipped or the table is wobbly, it’s ‘Ramsay is having his own nightmare,’” says the chef. “Between you and me, I’m fucked either way.”
The chef has previously opened five restaurants in Las Vegas, and with the opening of Ramsay’s Kitchen just days away, he’s still daunted by the fast approach of the November 10 soft opening. “We got to get it so right,” he says.
Ramsay’s Kitchen at Harrah’s Las Vegas joins the celebrity restaurateur’s local portfolio which includes Gordon Ramsay Steak, Fish and Chips, Pub and Grill, Burger, and Hell’s Kitchen. It’s been nearly five years since he opened Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace. In returning to the Strip for Ramsay’s Kitchen, he cites the city’s growing cultural landscape as what keeps him coming back. “When you have big stars like Adele or Robbie Williams that come to play, or Formula One, we then have to lift everything up to a meteoric level in culinary,” he says. “That’s the burden I’m faced with. That’s also when I’m at my best.”
Located at Harrah’s, Ramsay’s Kitchen becomes the eighth restaurant at the 50-year-old hotel and casino, and joins other celebrity chef restaurants like Bobby’s Burgers by Bobby Flay and Pizza Cake by Buddy V. Ramsay’s Kitchen first opened in January in Boston, with the aim of presenting a “culinary journey inspired by Ramsay’s global travels,” as the marketing materials read. He speaks reverently about his time filming Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted — ending the film day and then setting off for some hole-in-the-wall restaurant where a chef will show him how to perfect Indian butter chicken or Indonesian rendeng or Oaxacan mole.
Despite Ramsay’s love for global flavors, many of the dishes on the Las Vegas menu skew American or British. There’s a bright and flavorful jumbo lump crab cake, the layered British dessert Eton Mess and a roasted grape flatbread that combines tangy blue cheese with sweet fruit and balsamic glaze. Unsurprisingly, Ramsay’s signature beef Wellington makes the menu.
While some dishes are priced on par with the hotel’s affordable rates (just $34 a room most of next week), others are clearly catering to the high-spending convention crowds. Ramsay describes it as “affordable glam.” There’s a $38.95 crispy salmon entree with purple cauliflower puree. There’s also the $189.95 seafood tower. “Sat right next to the convention center, those are big dollars,” says Christina Wilson, the vice president of culinary for Gordon Ramsay North America. “When it’s somebody else’s money, they’re just swiping away. One way we can lean into that from a business standpoint is having a raw bar where you can come in here and spend $70 on crab legs.”
The interior of the restaurant is stylish and almost intimate. Seating 244 at a time, it’s divided into smaller dining areas with slate gray walls, cream-colored furnishings, and elements of copper throughout. Metallic beaded curtains lend some privacy to booths and a planter of foliage adds a touch of freshness to the windowless casino restaurant. And there’s the large mixed-media portrait of Ramsay that looms over the seafood counter.
A few of the dishes on the menu stand out as favorites of Ramsay’s, like the tuna tartare, marinated in a delicate chili garlic soy and paired with a touch of sour cream to cut the heat. He describes the horseradish panna cotta which accompanies a beef carpaccio as “off the charts.” And both Ramsay and Wilson practically salivate when describing the onion soup, with its crispy crouton insulating tender oxtail and caramelized onions.
In selecting the Strip as the location for his sixth Las Vegas restaurant, Ramsay notes that the Las Vegas dining scene used to have a reputation as one that was “big and boisterous and loud.” But now it’s a place he sends his young chefs to train and cook in the company of his heavyweight peers. “And I’ve found a spot for number seven,” Ramsay says without sharing specifics while getting up from the table that — if it wasn’t wobbly before his jostle, is now. “Anyway, I’ve got to go now.”
Ramsay’s Kitchen (3475 South Las Vegas Boulevard) will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Reservations are available online now starting November 25.