Fans will remember the long run Todd English’s Olives had at the Bellagio, from 1998-2018, and can now rejoice as his new rendition of Olives, with his time-tested take on Mediterranean cuisine, has returned, to new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
This new incarnation reimagines the original Olives (which premiered in Boston in 1989), with an intimate, 185-seat dining room, and an open kitchen with wood-burning oven. Décor includes elegant tile and hardwood flooring, dark wood paneling, olive green banquettes and chairs, Renaissance-inspired art and large windows offering a view of the resort’s pool.
The wine program is overseen by sommelier extraordinaire Bernard Erpicum, whose resume includes several years as wine director at the original Spago in Beverly Hills and illustrious establishments such as Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace. His list has 185 labels from mainly Mediterranean countries of France (especially Bourdeaux, Burgundy and Provence regions), Italy, Portugal and Spain. Twenty-four are offered by the glass, like the Il Fauno di Arcanum Super Tuscan from Toscana, Italy.
The food menu also harkens back to the first iteration of Olives, with many of the same dishes offered more than 30 years ago. Your meal begins with a basket of pizza-like bread served with green and black olive tapenades and a wonderful basil herb ricotta spread. You’ll be tempted to overindulge, but save room for more greatness.
Several dishes are meant to be shared, like the beef carpaccio with gorgonzola polenta, balsamic onion, scallion cream and shaved Parmigiano; and pastas including tortelli, a mix of sweet and savory, composed of butternut squash and sage brown butter; and agnolotti, filled with veal breast cooked slow and low, joined with basil and lemon ricotta. Entrées present as works of art with a range of colors, like the 12-ounce wood-grilled sirloin block served with Tuscan croutons, balsamic onions topped with a rich Gorgonzola cheese sauce; shawarma-spiced salmon with red quinoa tabouli and cherry raita; salt-crusted sea bass with miso glaze and asparagus; and classic chicken Milanese with arugula, tomato, reggiano and lemon vinaigrette.
Stars of the dessert menu are the Very Vanilla souffle served with vanilla ice cream and vanilla crème anglaise, a nice change from the ubiquitous chocolate versions; and mascarpone panna cotta with blackberries, balsamico and sweet basil.
The four-time James Beard award winner English continues to expand his local culinary foothold with this opening, also recently opening The Beast in Area15. We can expect more to come in the near future (especially as he is now a Las Vegas resident), including the opening of The English Hotel and Pepper Club restaurant in a newly built four-story property in the Downtown Arts District.
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, 702.693.5000
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