Sinatra at the Encore Hotel
The new signature resort unveils a culinary homage to Ol' Blue Eyes
I think he would dig this place.

LAS VEGAS Encore, the new signature resort in the Wynn collection, unveils Sinatra, a culinary homage to Ol`Blue Eyes, and the only restaurant sanctioned by the Sinatra family to bear his name. Theo Schoenegger, former executive chef of four-star Patina in Los Angeles, offers a menu comprised of modern riffs on classic Italian cooking in the city once frequented by Sinatra. The artist`s charisma and style are kept alive through a reinterpreted Italian menu that emphasizes the chef`s seasonal approach to the country`s signature flavors and dishes.

"For several glorious years, I had the chance to be associated with Frank Sinatra here in Las Vegas, and also in Atlantic City," says Steve Wynn. "Those moments and memories light up my life, even today. This restaurant gives me a delicious opportunity to share Frank with my friends once more. I think he would dig this place."

Displayed near the restaurant`s entrance are awards chosen by Steve Wynn and the Sinatra family that showcase Sinatra`s vast career and achievements. Included are his Oscar for From Here to Eternity, Emmy for Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music, and Grammy for Strangers in the Night. Photos of Sinatra, a gold album he received for his Classic Sinatra album and a letter penned by Sammy Davis, Jr. grace the walls of the restaurant. The restaurant`s soundtrack features classic Sinatra as well as tunes from his friends, including Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Bennett and Nat King Cole.

"The family is delighted to be collaborating with Dad's friend Steve Wynn", says Nancy Sinatra. "Frank loved the city and people of Las Vegas. We've tried to incorporate his appreciation of great food and spirits into the heart of the restaurant."

"Opening a restaurant at Encore and working with Mr. Wynn has been the opportunity of a lifetime," says Schoenegger. "I'm honored to have this opportunity, and to add my signature approach to traditional Italian cuisine in an environment that's inspired by Frank Sinatra."

Wynn`s in-house designer Roger Thomas has created a space that juxtaposes the modern and the antique, while honoring Frank Sinatra. The open, airy environment is at once intimate and striking, and a cozy outdoor patio allows guests to dine al fresco, invoking the feel of an intimate dinner party in a Tuscan garden. Bringing the outside in, Thomas incorporates textures, colors and materials found in nature such as hemp rope, shades of green and brown wood. The carpet is composed of rich browns, greens and red-orange tones, while walls are made of sandblasted wood paneling inset with mirrors reflecting the outside garden. Descending from the ceiling are five custom-made olive green chandeliers that Thomas created from hemp rope and burlap. Chairs designed with knotted loops of rope are from the Roger Thomas Collection.

A signature aspect of the design are two large shell vases designed by Thomas Boog that stand over seven-feet tall in the main dining room. Encrusted with small black shells, the patterns of flowers and butterflies are created from green Mother of Pearl inlay. The bar area is flanked with a pair of nine-foot tall crystal beaded obelisks made in Sicily in the 1920`s. A crystal ship floats above the bar, adding a charming vintage touch.

Born and raised in Italy, Chef Theo Schoenegger has a deep and rich knowledge of Italian cuisine. From Europe to Italy to New York, Schoenegger became known for his four-star cuisine and emphasis on seasonality and farmer`s markets ingredients. The chef brings this philosophy to Sinatra, adding a modern perspective to the classic Italian menu. The elegant setting honors the legend that helped put Las Vegas on the map.

The menu is divided into assagini, antipasti, primi, pesci, carni and contorni, followed by dolci. Schoenegger`s relationships with California farmers allow him to bring the area`s best seasonal ingredients to Sinatra. To start, guests can create an assagini quartet from such items as polipetti octopus salad, prosciutto with persimmon and Portobello with fries and tartar sauce. The antipasti selection includes tonnato made of veal loin, tonnato spuma and fennel; and cappessante with seared Maine diver scallop, celery and kumquats.

Signature primi options include a classic zuppa di fagioli, made from a cream of borlotti beans, tubettini and garlic-rosemary oil; agnolotti with ricotta, herbs, chives and winter truffle; and risotto con astice made from organic Arborio rice and Maine lobster. For a main dish, guests can then choose from a selection of pesci and carne dishes, such as cioppino with lobster, scallops, clams and fennel in tomato saffron broth; the "New York," consisting of dry-aged 16-ounce New York strip with cipollini onions and king trumpet mushroom; and ossobucco "My Way," a braised veal ossobucco with risotto cannelloni and gremolata. Contorni include capponatina, which is a vegetable ratatouille; polenta mantecata with mascarpone and parmesan cheese; and funghi trifolati, a wild mushroom saute.

For dessert, the tempting selection of dolci includes include zeppolini, warm little doughnuts filled with lemon raspberry and zabaglione; torta di ricotta, a lemon ricotta cheesecake with raspberry sorbet; and a daily selection of homemade gelati and sorbetti.

Guests seated at the chef`s table can opt to have a special menu crafted for them by Schoenegger, who will design a tasting to reflect their favorite Italian dishes and the season`s finest ingredients. Those collaborating with the chef on the menu can also be involved in choosing wine pairings for each dish. The table, accommodating 10 people, sits in the elegant wine room, which also stores 500 bottles.

Patricia Richards, Wynn`s mixologist, has designed a cocktail list consisting of Italian-inspired, whimsical creations such as the Bellisima, made from Stoli Peachik Vodka, white peach puree and prosecco with freshly muddled raspberries; or the tri-layered Tiramisu, made of Three Olives Triple Espresso Vodka, Navan Liqueur, Bols Advocaat, dark creme de cacao, espresso and Kahlua cream.


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