Caesars Palace announced Monday that James Beard award-winning Chef Michel Richard will bring a version of his popular Washington D.C restaurant to Las Vegas. Central 24/7 by Michel Richard is scheduled to open in September, and will occupy the current Augustus Café space, adjacent to the Augustus Tower hotel lobby.
This is quite a coup. I met Richard in 1977, when he had one of the best patisseries in Los Angeles, co-incidentally called Michel Richard. Later, he opened Citrus, an iconic restaurant that almost created the French/California idiom single handedly.
Then, he opened a Citronelle, a more casual version, in Santa Barbara, and eventually in Washington D.C., which has been the chef’s home for more than 20 years. His American café, Central in Washington, has the best fried chicken on the planet. Now, we’ll be able to eat it in Vegas.
March 7th was the chef’s 63rd birthday, and media giants Robin Leach and yours truly were on hand to celebrate it with him, and to hear his announcement. A small gathering took place in one of the outrageous, ultra-luxe Greek villas, with Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner in attendance. Twenty friends snacked on sushi, steak tartare and other treats created by Caesars Corporate Chef Todd Williams, before Chef Michel cut his birthday cake and revealed his plan.
Central 24/7 will offer a 24-hour dining experience in a 9,600 square-foot restaurant that will seat more than 300. The restaurant also will feature a large lounge complete with full bar including several beers
Richard doesn’t plan to do French. Breads will be made by the hotel bake shop. The menu will feature Richard’s famous hamburger, a killer 72-hour short rib dish, Razor clam chowder, fresh oysters, and the best fried chicken in this country. What makes it so impressive?
Why, “the crunch”, of course. Richard says his chicken was inspired by his first taste of KFC, but this is leagues above that product. At Central in Washington, Richard offers his chicken in a bucket to go, with mashed potatoes and Dijon dipping sauce for $29.95; three thighs, three breasts and ten nuggets. I’m hoping for the same deal on the Strip, but I won’t hold my breath.
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