HaSalon promises to garner many of the superlatives that the Las Vegas Strip’s new restaurants aim for: incredible food, late-night hot spot, fresh concept. But that’s not good enough for chef Eyal Shani: “At HaSalon you are getting the best feeling that life can give, the magic from a night you are praying will never end, experiencing a loss of control and the freedom that feeling has.”
This kind of language is par for the course for Shani, who conjures words like “vibration” and “energy” when talking about his food, describing vegetables as “mysterious creatures” that need to “seduce” him. His Las Vegas outpost of New York clubstaurant HaSalon is now open inside the Venetian Resort, and takes over the 11,000-square-foot space previously occupied by David Chang’s Majordomo Meat and Fish.
It took Shani about ten months to convert the space into a clubstaurant, where customers are invited to dance on the tables, DJs blare high-tempo music, and the house lights give way to strobes and fire. At the Venetian, HaSalon is open only on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with the first seating, a more relaxed affair taking place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the second seating, a kinetic dance party, lasting from 8:15 p.m. until midnight.
The menu is peppered with Shani’s signature linguistic flair, opening with: “You will live by your own destiny. Here you will have to take a chance.” Despite the flowery dish descriptions, he takes his food very seriously — the first HaSalon opened because Shani and his partner Shahar Segal wanted to cook good food in a restaurant of their own — one in which they only had to work two or three days a week. And so you can order “asparagus, exemplarily arranged inside a paper envelope” ($19), “7 ricotta clouds, not even one more” ($43), “Melanzana. Possibly feeds 2/4 humans” ($34), “THE TERRIFYING HAMMER” ($46), and “skirt steak bathing in tomato ovaries and spicy” ($53).
Shani’s dishes take broad inspiration from Israel, with additional French and Japanese influences. The chef regularly appears on Israeli “Master Chef” and owns more 40 restaurants worldwide, including locations of HaSalon in Ibiza, New York, Paris, and Miami, and soon also in Toronto and London. Shani opts to change up the menu frequently, even nightly. And he says he likes when the dining room is chaotic, enjoying the “decadence and purity” of people dancing inches away from cooks who are still working.
The chef opened Miznon, his quick-service pita eatery, just across the hall from HaSalon in December last year. Prior to opening, he claimed that his beef bourguignon pita at Miznon Paris was “the best bourguignon in Paris” and that his schnitzel pita at Miznon Vienna was “one of the best schnitzels in Vienna.” To Shani’s credit, his pita sandwiches at the Venetian — including wild mushroom and spicy rib eye varieties — earned rave reviews.
The latest culinary offering at the Venetian, HaSalon joins a trend of new high-energy venues going into the resort. The Miami clubstaurant Villa Azur opened in the resort’s Grand Canal Shoppes in November of last year, the same week that Flight Club, a circus-themed dart bar and restaurant, opened.
“Our mission, the whole reason for our existence and the whole reason that millions of people around the globe are dreaming of us, is to give happiness and make people that visit us much happier than they were before,” says Shani. Yeah, it’s an ambitious purpose, but that’s Shani. HaSalon is now open from 6 p.m. to midnight on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Venetian Resort. See the full menu, written entirely in Comic Sans, online.