Michelin three-star chef Masayoshi "Masa" Takayama, who owned Ginza Sushi-ko in Los Angeles until he moved to New York to open Masa and Bar Masa in 2004, is set to debut his first Las Vegas ventures on Dec. 17: another Bar Masa and Shaboo, a shabu-shabu restaurant.
He joins fellow three-star chef Pierre Gagnaire of Paris (who has opened Twist, his first restaurant in the U.S.) as well as Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Michael Mina, in the $8.5-billion CityCenter on the Vegas Strip.
"It's a new, gigantic building where I get to create my idea, my style," Takayama says. "It's more than the food. Very different from Ginza Sushi-ko style." The Las Vegas outpost of Bar Masa -- inside the Aria Resort & Casino -- is about three times as big as the Bar Masa in New York, decorated in high Strip style with 15-foot doors of teak and copper, curved red leather banquettes and arched ceilings.
Takayama calls it coming full circle. On his first trip to L.A. from Tokyo, he says, he got off the plane and drove directly to Las Vegas to see "flat land."
Thai food truck launches in L.A.
Bangkok native Tommy Buratarat, who co-owns the restaurant House of Thanon in San Diego County, has launched Yum Yum Bowls, the first Thai food truck in Los Angeles (at least as far as we know). (Twitter: @yumyum bowls)
Two new competitors, Grill 'Em All (Twitter: @grillemalltruck) and the not-quite-ready-to-launch Umami truck, wade into the gourmet-burgers-on-wheels battle, a niche that previously belonged to Baby's Badass Burgers (Twitter: @babysbbs).
And Sweets Truck will offer some competition to recently launched Little Spoon Desserts, selling desserts by local bakers and caterers such as Xtreme, Cookie Casa, Embrace Sweets, Madame Chocolat and Milk & Krunchies. (Twitter: @thesweetstruck).
-- Betty Hallock and Elina Shatkin