It can take a lot to convince a spoiled Las Vegan to brave maddening traffic, high prices, and drunken tourists in order to dine on the Strip. What could possibly entice a local who can eat at amazing neighborhood restaurants such as Black Sheep, Hatsumi, or La Strega for half the cost and half the headache?
The Mayfair Supper Club, newly opened in the Bellagio, might have the answer. It’s not the food. Well, it’s not just the food, which is excellent. The menu at Mayfair dips into contemporary American dishes as well as classics, including appetizers such as shrimp cocktail and raw hamachi, and entrees such as vegetable pot pie and Beef Wellington. Other supper club favorites, like the Dover Sole Veronique, will also satisfy a craving for showmanship: Using only a pair of spoons and his well-trained hands, the server separates the fish from its skeleton as if undressing a lover. The prime rib is served with creamy horseradish and tangy au jus; rather than a traditional steak knife, guests receive a handy version of a chef’s knife featuring a mother-of-pearl handle. The blade glides through the meat with nominal encouragement.
The dazzle continues with dessert. An ice-cream sundae is treated as an adventure as toppings are offered in individual crystal bowls. But the popular dessert choice among foodies will likely be The Cigar, chocolate and hazelnut employed in visual trickery and covered by a glass dome filled with fragrant smoke, bringing the meal to an extravagant end.
Extravagance, however, is evident before the meal starts — and this is what sets the Mayfair apart. Women in jewel-toned velvet gowns greet diners at the hostess stand — only it’s more of a hostess room than a stand. This small space is like dipping your toes before diving in. The casino soundtrack of voices, slot machines, and music is still audible while the senses adjust to a pink glow and the promise made by a lively din beyond the doorstep.
Once inside, dusky pink turns into a blazing sunset coral. The Mayfair bar clamors for attention with a cut glass back encasing underwater flora and fauna and a fluidly shaped counter featuring a flowing mosaic, all beneath a languid seashell skirt in iridescent teal. The effect is further highlighted by misty, petal-shaped mirrors in the ceiling bordering the bar. Windows looking out to the casino are but a vague reminder that a world outside this aqueous luxury landscape even exists.
A deeper dive leads guests to the main dining/showroom, where the walls are lined with sumptuous booths and a secondary illuminated bar. At the center of this space are the stage and live band. Entertainment at the Mayfair plays true to what has historically been synonymous with the supper club. A crooner and chanteuse lead an ensemble of costumed dancers, and all the exuberance is punctuated by wild bursts from the Bellagio fountains — a dramatic backdrop for a rollicking show. After the performance, the stage transforms into a dance floor where guests can continue the debauchery.
This is what’s being demanded now in exchange for the schlep to the Strip. A spectacle. Las Vegans are looking for an immersion where cocktails, dinner, a show, and dancing are all on the menu. An experience where evening blends into night, and that night can never be forgotten. Anything less is simply not enough.
In the Bellagio, bellagio.mgmresorts.com