The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has finally opened the doors to the newest foodie hotspot on the strip, with its eagerly anticipated Block 16 Urban Food Hall now in full operation at the hotel. Featuring some of the most eclectic and sought after foods from around the US, the dining destination is a first of its kind for the city, bringing a unique assortment of some of the most acclaimed bites from a variety of different diverse styles.
“It’s a food destination where you can come and try things from all over the country,” explains Brian Fyler, Hotel Executive Chef at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.” The Chef revealed the one thing they were looking for when deciding upon which food vendors and chefs they wanted to bring into Block 16 - craveability. “We wanted venues and restaurants that served craveable food. Something that people would want to come for. You might be coming specifically for one of these venues, but when you take a 360 degree view of Block 16, you’re going to crave everything that’s in here.”
And craveable is a rather apt description for the selection of tasty offerings available to diners. The featured foods all share the common theme of being some of the most desirable flavors from acclaimed chefs and restaurants found throughout America’s best food cities. While the whole concept of a food court isn’t uncommon, Fyler is quick to point out that it’s not actually a food court, but rather, a food hall featuring some of the most lauded chefs in the industry. “This is the first urban food hall of its kind in Las Vegas,” he explains. “High quality, fast casual service is something that’s really taking off in the country, and I think it’s coming from people that want to have a meal that’s not as expensive, but just as delicious as a fine dining restaurant. And this is where they come.”
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has, for a long time, established itself as a premier food destination, with recognizable names including Momofuku, Beauty and Essex, and Zuma, at the forefront of their culinary lineup. But with the introduction of Block 16 comes the opportunity for visitors to experience the hotel’s high level of food and beverage, at a significantly lower price point, and essentially, at a faster speed too. Named after the original red light district of Las Vegas, the hotel aimed to take the edgy attitude and history behind Block 16, and turn it into a first of its kind culinary destination, with a little bit of fun and cheekiness.
Portland Chef Rick Gencarelli brings his iconically mouthwatering bites to Vegas with his extravagant sandwich eatery, Lardo. Known for his big, bold flavors, and unctuous, satisfying salty meats, these sandwiches will no doubt be a lifesaving rescue after a long night in Vegas. James Beard Award winning Chef Andy Ricker brings his famed wing concept, Pok Pok Wing, from Portland, where his truly addictive Vietnamese fish sauce wings are an utter showstopper. Bursting with the most enslaving of delicious southeast Asian flavors, the golden crispy wings justifiably carry a cult following. Paired with a made to order, authentically vibrant papaya salad, it’s a meal that’s worth traveling to Las Vegas for. Tekka Bar’s handmade sushi rolls from local Las Vegas restauranteur Takashi Segawa bring individually crafted handrolls with a gratifying warm sweet rice, cool fresh seafood filling, wrapped in crisp nori, along with accompanying sakes.
From Nashville comes Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, the ultimate pinnacle of classic southern comfort food. Although, the word “comfort” might be a little misleading, with their varying levels of heat, ranging from mild heat right through to their infamously fire breathing “Shut the Cluck Up” heat, at a whopping 350,000 Scoville. For Hattie B’s, the opportunity to bring their southern flair to Las Vegas was an opportunity they had to seize. “The great thing about partnering with The Cosmopolitan is that they’re great food and beverage people - they’re real operators”, says Nick Bishop Senior, Co-Owner of Hattie B’s. “Coming to Las Vegas, we’re now able to expose Hattie B’s and hot chicken in general, to a totally different market out there - a market that may not come to Nashville. A lot of people come to Vegas, and for us to be a part of this, was just a natural fit, and we were honored to be a part of it.”
For tequila lovers, New York City’s Ghost Donkey brings their eclectic menu of tequila and mezcal in a spicy Mexican tavern setting. Their extensive offerings feature expertly chosen tasting flights, as well as specially crafted cocktails prepared with traditional Mexican spirits. An impressive menu of nacho plates are available to accompany the cocktails, including a robust mushroom nachos, pleasantly pungent truffle nachos, and a more unique chorizo and tripe nachos.
For something sweet, New Orlean’s District: Donuts. Sliders. Brew. serves up delectable donuts in its first West Coast location. Breakfast sandwiches, biscuits, and sliders are also available, but honestly, you’ll want to make a beeline for their sweet donuts and brûléed cinnamon rolls. Their daily assorted rotating varieties of heavenly donuts are simply delectable, but standouts would be their PB&J with a luscious peanut filling topped with a raspberry cream and strawberry jam, and their scrumptious salted caramel donut, both of which you’ll be buying more of, to take to your room for a pre night out snack. But their brown butter drop donut is a serious must order, with an outer crunch that is mind blowingly delectable, before a pillowy soft, dense inside, topped with a sweet glaze. You’ll be working your way studiously around the outside of the donut, biting through that exquisite crust, perhaps even forgetting the center of the donut exists. It doesn’t come as a surprise to find out that District sells up to 800 donuts every day, once you’ve tasted one.
Block 16 continues The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ commitment to creating an exceptional dining destination, highlighting the understated standard of food that the city has to offer. It’s a unique addition to the glitzy sophistication that the property offers, and its ability to bring in a faster, more relaxed dining experience will be welcomed by those seeking an informal, yet similarly memorable meal from some of the country’s most sought after chefs.
The author of this article was hosted by The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.