gar­den party

The bright, fresh new dé­cor and dishes in Jardin trans­form the restau­rant into a light-filled cen­ter­piece for Wynn’s col­or­ful gar­dens.

Wynn Magazine - - CON­TENTS - By Larry Olm­sted

The bright, fresh new dé­cor and dishes in Jardin trans­form the restau­rant into a light-filled cen­ter­piece for Wynn’s col­or­ful gar­dens.

For years the restau­rant at the be­gin­ning of the En­core Es­planade greeted din­ers with Seated Lady, a gi­ant bronze by Colom­bian artist Fer­nando Botero and known af­fec­tion­ately by reg­u­lars as “The Fat Lady.” Now gone, the big, dark statue per­son­i­fied the restau­rant Botero, the din­ner-only steak­house that has given way to its po­lar op­po­site, the light, bright Jardin. The new three-meal-daily eatery over­looks the En­core pool, and its very name, French for “gar­den,” evokes warmth. “I don’t de­sign to theme. But the name of the restau­rant says it all: It’s about gar­dens in all the beauty they present. Our job is to con­nect the in­side to the out­side and vice versa,” ex­plains Roger Thomas, Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent of De­sign for Wynn De­sign and De­vel­op­ment. “The din­ing room was com­pletely re­fur­nished with cab­i­nets specif­i­cally se­lected for Jardin and used to sep­a­rate the space into more in­ti­mate din­ing ar­eas while main­tain­ing the fo­cus of the view on the beau­ti­ful

Jardin brings gourmet riffs on Amer­i­can fa­vorites and com­fort foods to Wynn—along with a wealth of in­sti­tu­tional mem­ory.

gar­dens that sur­round the cir­cu­lar room.” The over­all ar­chi­tec­ture was not changed, since the restau­rant lends it­self to be­ing ei­ther dark and more for­mal or full of light, he says. The fo­cus of the space is now on a gi­ant flower ar­range­ment and a mir­ror-filled light well. And since a busy room that serves three meals a day can ac­cu­mu­late carts and other el­e­ments, part of Thomas’s job was to elim­i­nate clut­ter. Bridg­ing the gap be­tween the more for­mal Tableau and the ca­sual Ter­race Pointe Café, Jardin brings gourmet riffs on Amer­i­can fa­vorites and com­fort foods to Wynn—along with a wealth of in­sti­tu­tional mem­ory. Chef Joe Zanelli helped open Tableau in 2005, then launched the Coun­try Club, be­fore run­ning room ser­vice for both ho­tels when En­core opened. Af­ter a stint with pop­u­lar lo­cal restau­ra­teurs Blau + As­so­ci­ates at their Honey Salt and And­iron Steak & Seafood eater­ies, he re­turned here to wind down Botero and over­see its trans­for­ma­tion into Jardin. “I was do­ing a hun­dred filets a night at Botero,” says Zanelli. That was just months ago, but to­day the lead­ing din­ner choice at Jardin is herb-crusted salmon sit­ting atop a sunny yel­low sauce of lemon, con­fit fen­nel, and Peru­vian yel­low pep­pers served with a quinoa and veg­etable med­ley. “Usu­ally you have a fish dish in the top four or five, but I never ex­pected it to be­come so pop­u­lar. It is def­i­nitely num­ber one.” While the salmon re­flects the lighter, fresher aes­thetic at Jardin, with its quar­terly menus fo­cused on the best sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents, this is still Ve­gas, and Zanelli is quick to point out that “filet is num­ber two.” Other heartier fa­vorites are the short-rib ravi­oli at din­ner, and what has quickly be­come the break­fast sig­na­ture, the chef’s in­spired take on fried chicken and waf­fles. The clas­sic soul food dish has en­joyed a na­tional resur­gence, but he did not want to do an­other cookie-cut­ter ver­sion—and had no plans to serve waf­fles at all. In­stead, he bor­rows from the clas­sic Toad in a Hole egg dish and makes a slice of thick, crispy

To keep things sea­sonal and gar­den-style, Zanelli has booked an en­tire green­house to pro­vide toma­toes, zuc­chini, arugula, and other veg­eta­bles.

French toast with an egg set in a hole in its cen­ter, paired with dou­ble-breaded, but­ter­milk-soaked fried chicken. The same poul­try prepa­ra­tion an­chors one of the most pop­u­lar lunch choices, the but­ter­milk fried chicken sand­wich, on a chal­lah bun with house-made ranch dress­ing and cole slaw. “You have to ap­peal to ev­ery taste here,” says Zanelli. “Every­one in the two ho­tels comes for break­fast. At lunch you get shop­pers and con­ven­tion­eers, plus some play­ers. For din­ner we get a big pre-show crowd and big club crowd. It is very var­ied, but we wanted to el­e­vate the three-meal restau­rant. Us­ing high-qual­ity in­gre­di­ents, we make as much as we can here from scratch, try to be cre­ative, and do as much ta­ble­side prepa­ra­tion as we can.” That means soups poured in­di­vid­u­ally and a flashy sig­na­ture dessert, the Fleur “flower pot cake”: dark choco­late cake in­side a hard choco­late-shell “pot” sprayed the color of terra cotta. Serv­ing three to four, the cake is pre­sented whole and sliced ta­ble­side. “So many peo­ple started or­der­ing them to go that I had to find spe­cial boxes. We make at least 30 a day.” Other ta­ble­side flair in­cludes the rolling Bloody Mary cart at break­fast, and Moscow Mule cart the rest of the day. De­signed by Wynn prop­erty mixol­o­gist Damian Cross, this in­cludes a gi­ant cop­per mule mug that holds an en­tire bot­tle of vodka and all the fix­ings, which is then la­dled out like punch for the ta­ble in in­di­vid­ual cop­per cups. To keep things sea­sonal and gar­den-style, Zanelli con­tracted with a lo­cal farmer and has booked an en­tire green­house to pro­vide toma­toes, zuc­chini, arugula, and other veg­eta­bles. “I’m an East Coaster, but I have been out here long enough for my fla­vor pro­file to lighten up. I use more spices, herbs, and acids, and we put a lot of f la­vor in, but we are not cook­ing with but­ter or heavy cream,” he notes. “It is re­lated to the weather here in Ve­gas, and this space, which is very bright with lots of nat­u­ral light. It’s like eat­ing on your sun porch.”

The Fleur choco­late cake at Jardin tells the restau­rant’s story in lay­ered dark choco­late mousse and moist choco­late cake in a choco­late “flower pot.”

clock­wise from far left: Jardin’s take on the ever-pop­u­lar ba­con and eggs, with Kurobuta pork belly, quail eggs, kim­chi fried rice, and black gar­lic aioli; pa­tio din­ing out­side the restau­rant; Chef Joe Zanelli in his kitchen; house­made but­ter­scotch maple bour­bon pud­ding with bour­bon maple cream and ba­con al­mond brit­tle.

An Amer­i­can Wagyu rib­eye cap is served with arugula salad, fork-mashed pota­toes, trum­pet mush­rooms, and sauce au poivre.

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