When Majordomo Meat & Fish opened at the Palazzo in late 2019, it was one of Las Vegas’ most anticipated restaurant openings. Chef David Chang was on hand to present his second concept in town, after the popular Momofuku at the Cosmopolitan, taking over the former CarneVino space. No one could have predicted that a pandemic would shut down the restaurant industry a few months later.
Even with his restaurants on hiatus, the past few months have been busy for the chef. He recently published a dissertation entitled Eat a peach, a coming-of-age story chronicling his culinary rise – from a humble noodle bar in 2004 in New York to a global empire now spanning 15 restaurants, with a podcast and hit Netflix shows. It’s an extraordinarily honest and unvarnished account of the restaurant industry as a whole. For those in its trenches, it’s a high-pressure career where the rewards can be sky-high, but it can also demand its price in the form of abuse, substance, or whatever.
For Chang, who was diagnosed with bipolar, reaching his celebrity-leader level came as a surprise, and the kind of meteoric rise he has experienced in less than two decades has taken its toll, including depression and a persistent feeling of impostor. syndrome. âI created my own prison,â he writes. “I just don’t understand my appealâ¦ I’m not supposed to be here.”
The son of Korean immigrants who grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, Chang suffered from isolation and loneliness throughout his childhood, and was often embarrassed by the look and smell of the food his parents had. were preparing. For those who watch his Neflix show Delicious uglys, this is a theme he returns to over and over again, the complicated relationship of food, race and culture.
But it’s the flavors of his childhood that ultimately underpin Chang’s culinary philosophy – an eclectic take on Asian influences that showcases unexpected but revealing tastes and textures. Above all, Chang considers a meal to be a party, and all of the ingredients that come together to create a dish add something unique to the party.
âWe want to do something unique for Las Vegas,â Chang said recently when he hosted a dinner party at Majordomo. âWe didn’t want it to be just a steakhouse. I wanted to challenge us. I wanted to make sure this restaurant was something worth it, where people would want to go tonight, [where they] I wouldn’t want to do anything other than celebrate life, friendship, love, so many possibilities that a good meal can be.
These possibilities included the introduction of new specialties to the Majordomo menu when it reopens during the summer. The Sunday Smokehouse was so popular that its run was extended until November. The $ 45 menu features a selection of three proteins – a weekly rotation of chicken wings, whole chickens, pork ribs, pork shoulders, sausage, pork belly, short ribs and brisket beef. The sides, of which you choose three, include potato salad, coleslaw, fries, mashed potatoes, collard greens, corn pudding and more. The meal ends with a dessert of your choice. On Mondays, the restaurant offers a wide selection of grilled meats, including premium steaks, Wagyu tenderloin, bone-in sirloin steak, and New York oak-fired strips.
And if you’re in the party mood with a few close members of your social group, the brand new private lounge, which must be booked in advance, is a secret hideaway with an exclusive karaoke experience, from a bar to private cocktails and a place to watch the big game. It even has a passage window where you can order from Chang’s adjacent Moon Palace, which serves burgers, fries, and drinks.
Chang might think his success is an unlikely story, but for those who have experimented with the possibilities of his cooking, it’s a delightful story of inevitability.
BUTLER Palace, 702-607-3060. Thursday, Sunday-Monday, 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.