Esquire has selected Society Café inside the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas as one of the Best New Restaurants in America for 2009. Chef Kim Canteenwalla’s wealth of upscale American signature dishes, including mac ‘n’ cheese with truffle dipping sauce and lobster roll club with pancetta and avocado, may have had something to do with the selection.
Of course, we knew Society was a go-to spot for high end comfort food long before food writer John Mariani published his list. In fact, we actually hit up Chef Canteenwalla for a private cooking lesson earlier this summer and learned to make the addictive mac 'n' cheese bites on the appetizer menu at Society.
The American eatery was the only Las Vegas restaurant selected for this year’s edition of the annual list, which appears in Esquire’s November issue. Past Vegas winners include Guy Savoy inside Caesars Palace and Joel Robuchon inside MGM, both in 2006, and Wynn restaurants Alex and Bartolotta in 2005.-April Corbin
Esquire food critic John Mariani has never embraced Vegas—in 2001, during the city’s food renaissance, he proclaimed, “There’s not much depth to it.” But he hasn’t been a total player-hater, naming Guy Savoy and Joel Robuchon to Esquire’s 2006 ranking of America’s best new restaurants. His warming trend continues, with Society Café Encore among the his ’09 top 20.
He praises chef Kim Canteenwalla and partner Elizabeth Blau for “ensuring that everything from your morning Oscar Benedict with crabmeat to your late-night nosh of three sliders—filet mignon, charred tuna and sloppy joe—is done better than anywhere in Las Vegas.” The list appears in Esquire’s November issue.-Ken Miller