New York import Bagatelle brings French-Mediterranean style to the Tropicana
Tue, Nov 6, 2012 (5:14 p.m.)
Carlos Larios, Invision
- At Tropicana, 701-0200
- Supper club: Daily, 6-11 p.m.
- Nightclub: Friday & Saturday, 10 p.m.-4 a.m.
Want to eat where you play? Bagatelle Supper Club welcomed partygoers last week for a Halloween sneak-peek masquerade and dinner party hosted by American Horror Story’s Dylan McDermott. After months of construction and tentative opening dates pushed back, however, it was the new Tropicana venue that guests really wanted to unmask.
This is more than Club Nikki/RPM with new lipstick. Bagatelle’s aesthetic is its own, and the mentality is restaurant first, party second. With popular venues in LA, New York City and St. Barth’s, the Bagatelle brand is widely credited with influencing the international supper club and champagne-brunch trends.
Bagatelle partner Remi Laba describes the formula: “It’s really the natural progression of dinner into a party. It’s an immersive experience from start to finish, all about capturing people’s imagination at different times of the night. Start with a good dinner; the atmosphere builds up, turns into a party where everything can happen. ... Think about a dinner party at your house—dinner and cocktails with friends turns into dancing on couches.” At Bagatelle, guests also bypass the dinner-to-club commute and the long lines that often come with it.
Celebrating its grand opening November 16, Bagatelle beautified the space with comfy cream leather booths and an oversized LED-lit crystal chandelier that alternates pink, purple and reddish hues. A champagne angel circles above a small dancefloor adorned with a white lily centerpiece. White walls, white moldings, framed artwork and a cutout ceiling create a clean and modern atmosphere in which to enjoy chef John Zamarchi’s menu of Southern French-inspired Mediterranean cuisine brimming with truffle flavor. Signature dishes include truffle gnocchi with black truffle pesto and truffle sauce ($24), French mac and cheese with truffle veal jus, ham and Swiss cheese ($24), and truffle-roasted chicken with country-style potatoes and foie gras sauce ($27).
Bagatelle’s weekend party brunches are scheduled to launch in December, and starting next spring, Bagatelle Beach Club will open with a 250-seat outdoor Mediterranean restaurant, a sandy beach with activities like volleyball, 18 cabanas, and of course, more champagne brunch. The space will double as an outdoor concert venue.
Jonathan Segal, CEO of the One Group, told the R-J, “Instead of just hanging out in a cabana and ordering $200 bottles, you can come to the Tropicana and have an inclusive daytime or nighttime experience. … The club is not designed to compete with Surrender and Marquee, and instead will offer an alternative to noisy, crowded and high-priced clubs.”
Is Bagatelle unique enough to survive in the highly competitive Las Vegas dining, nightlife and pool-party markets—and at the Tropicana, no less, where its two predecessors failed seemingly overnight?
It just might be. Nikki Beach brought a strong global brand that never caught on in Vegas, and RPM tried a celebrity strategy that didn’t bring enough newness to the table. Bagatelle has more going for it: a dinner-first concept, a bridge between dining and nightlife and the support of STK’s One Group, which creates a party power-couple of an internationally renowned brand and proven Vegas operations with scores of satisfied customers. Will the marriage last in Las Vegas? Let’s raise a glass to finding out.