The James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards on Wednesday, March 29th, narrowing the long list that included five Las Vegas chefs and one bar, which was released in January.
Garagiste Wine Room and Merchant, a downtown wine bar that opened in 2019, is the only bar in Las Vegas to earn a nomination. Eric Prato, a hospitality veteran and former head sommelier at Bouchon, operates Garagiste as both a wine bar and a starting point for building your own wine cellar. The menu offers about 30 wines by the glass and hundreds of whites, reds, and rosés from throughout Europe and beyond, a welcome inclusion in the booming neighborhood of the Las Vegas Arts District. The cool gray interior is modern and leans industrial, with a sidewalk patio for dining in with a glass of wine and charcuterie board.
Two chefs from Las Vegas earned a nomination for the best southwest chef category. Chef Oscar Amador from Eater Award winner Anima by EDO was recognized for his neighborhood Spanish-Italian restaurant. In moving from EDO in Chinatown to Anima, Amador expanded on his talents for creating Spanish-Italian dishes with unexpected flavors, innovative methods, and eye-catching plating. The tasting menu he developed with chef Francesco Di Caudo, who made the long list but was not moved forward as a finalist, courses out plates of purple potato medallions with mint pomegranate pesto, parfaits of caviar and egg yolk, and squid ink spaghettini.
Kaoru Azeuchi was also tapped as a finalist for his intricate dishes and thoughtfully coursed menus at Kaiseki Yuzu. Inside the open kitchen and at the sushi bar, Azeuchi specializes in omakase dinners that highlight technique and ingredients. Seasonal fish is handpicked for every service. Azeuchi wraps seared king mackerel in lettuce and layers it with caviar and uni sauce. He grills A5 wagyu steak ribeye and plates it with winter truffles, foie gras, and toothsome vegetables.
Yip Cheung of Red Plate at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Jimmy Li of xiao long bao destination ShangHai Taste. and Francesco Di Caudo from Anima by EDO made the long list but did not move forward as finalists.
Below are the Las Vegas nominees. The whole list of nominees can be read here, and the final winners will be announced at a gala held in Chicago on Monday, June 5.
2023 James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant and Chef Award Finalists
Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK)
Oscar Amador, Anima by EDO, Las Vegas, NV
Kaoru Azeuchi, Kaiseki Yuzu, Las Vegas, NV
Garagiste Wine Room | Merchant, Las Vegas, NV
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards. Eater is partnering with the James Beard Foundation to livestream the awards in 2023.