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There's a saying, attributed to Calvin Trillin with an assist from Wolfgang Puck, that the higher off the ground you get, the worse the food becomes----with airplanes being the best example. Like them I remember the ubiquitous rooftop and revolving restaurants of the 1970's when the continental cuisine craze was at its height (even they never told you which continent the food came from).

Curnonsky, the French gastronome said that in cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection. My guess is that when a restaurant is hatched hundreds or thousands of feet off the ground, simplicity and perfection have been sacrificed before the first potato is baked. Well there is nothing simple about MIX perched on top of The Hotel at thee Mandalay Bay, and it's not a perfect restaurant either, but it is an excellent one that is capable of taking your breath away.

The 15 million dollar white on white on white design, and twenty-five foot ceilings do that the minute you step off the elevator. The blown glass bubbles create a surreal, inside a champagne flute effect, which gets even weirder if you score one of the George Jetson escape pod booths. . Right now the bar crowd is as groovy as it gets for thirysomethings, while the restaurant is a see and be scene of the first order for the over 40's---.

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That bar is as black as the dining room is white, and is filled with guys who look great in t-shirts and the gals who love'em The studies in contrast, dark to light, big shots eating while big-shot wannabes drink, gorgeous young women versus gorgeous older women, ,guys who look good in t-shirts and uh,,,,guys like me, give this place a positive-negative charge that energizes both rooms.

All of this sleek and chic whimsy sends the message that fine food can be fun, and that formal, stuffy dining is a thing of the past. That was the message Alain Ducasse-he of the six Michelin stars-sent to America when he opened MIX in New York about a year and a half ago. It turned out that New Yawwkers were not quite with the whimsy thing, turning their noses up or down at peanut butter and jelly foie gras, mac and cheese in a petri dish, and seafood stews served like ice cream sundaes.

Our MIX ain't quite as much fun as that MIX was, but it is as casual and laid back as a place can be that has prices that are anything but. And if you're the sort who can laugh your way through a fifty-five dollar filet, then you should tune in next week when I critique the food.....

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