Some of Las Vegas's most luxurious dining experiences are also its most eco-friendly.
B&B Burger & Beer.
Gone are the days when partaking of some impossibly rare delicacy sourced at great expense from an endangered corner of the globe signified the height of luxury dining. While it’s true that Las Vegas is still one of the best places on the planet to conspicuously consume the ingredients that make conservationists weep, more and more of the city’s finest restaurants are introducing their guests to locally sourced, sustainably produced foods in eco-friendly environments.
Take the team of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, whose restaurants—including the critically acclaimed Carnevino Italian Steakhouse (Palazzo, 702-789-4141), B&B Ristorante (Venetian, 702-266-9977), Otto Pizzeria (Venetian, 702-677-3390), and B&B Burger & Beer (Venetian, 702-414-2220)—are all making impressive strides in reducing their environmental impact. These are the only restaurants in Las Vegas to boast the Certified Green stamp from the Green Restaurant Association, and their efforts range from using energy-efficient lighting and kitchen equipment to implementing full-scale recycling and composting programs. “One of the ways we eliminate waste before it even happens is we don’t offer a straw with water, unless requested,” says chef Jason Neve, the hospitality group’s culinary director. Triple carbon filtering lets the restaurants serve their own chilled sparkling or still water in reusable bottles, and their meats come from humanely raised, genetically sound animals that have not been treated with antibiotics or growth hormones. Adds Neve, “We also source from local farms, reducing our carbon footprint and helping our community.”
Shelton’s Farm organic chicken at Sage.
Chef Shawn McClain of Sage (Aria, 877-230-2742) works with Kerry Clasby, known as the “Intuitive Forager,” who brings to McClain’s kitchen an incredible variety of specialty produce, such as Buddha’s hand, minutina greens, chickweed, and limequats. She seeks out these unusual edibles in California and at Nevada farms in Overton, Caliente, and Pahrump, and she sells them at local farmers markets, too, so everyone can enjoy them. McClain’s partnership with Clasby allows him to change his menu often to ensure that his dishes offer the freshest ingredients with the purest flavors. “No GMOs and no unnatural additives,” he says, “will ultimately leave an ingredient— either vegetable-based or meat—a more pure food that contains more natural flavor and heirloom characteristics.”
Yellowtail at Nobu.
At Nobu (Caesars Palace, 702-785-6628), 95 percent of the menu items are sustainably sourced, according to chef Christopher Shane Chan Yai Ching. “Every opportunity we take to look for a source that’s sustainable is not just a commitment to our environment, but also an attempt to find a high-quality product,” he says. “Meats such as Wagyu from Japan and Rosewood Wagyu from Texas are naturally raised in an environmentally sensible way with 100 years’ experience and commitment to the beef industry.”
Guy Savoy’s crispy sea bass.
Culinary magic impresses the gourmands at Restaurant Guy Savoy (Caesars Palace, 702-731-7286), where the ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible and international products are selected so that “each ingredient of every dish is traceable,” says chef Mathieu Chartron. “It’s important for us and our customers to know where each ingredient comes from.” The duck and guinea hen are from California, th e quail is from Texas, and the salmon is from an organic farm in Scotland, while the restaurant has eliminated bluefin tuna from its menu due to overfishing.
Specializing in fresh, modern Mexican fare, Border Grill (Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7403; The Forum Shops at Caesars, 702-854-6700) has been committed to fighting overfishing and marine endangerment for 15 years. Adhering to the guidelines of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, which recommends species to avoid, the restaurant (including its recently opened second location, inside The Forum Shops) serves only seafood that is sustainably sourced. Chef-owner Mary Sue Milliken is resolved to introduce her guests to choices like mussels and squid. “Our ceviche bar at Forum Shops offers a variety of dishes that feature these delicious bottom-feeders,” she says. “I feel I can make them really irresistible to guests.”
The concept at Della’s Kitchen (Delano, 702-632-9444) is “desert sustainable,” focusing on products produced in the state. Susan Wolfla, Mandalay Bay’s executive chef, says Della’s has a Nevada beef program and its own greenhouse and uses glasses made from reclaimed wine bottles. “We also use seasonal vegetables from Northern Nevada and a hydroponic farm in Pahrump.”
These days, some of the most opulent dining spots on the Strip allow you to satisfy your conscience as well as your stomach.