When Wolfgang Puck opened a Spago in the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace in 1992, it was considered a gamble. The restaurant's overwhelming payoff instead helped transform Las Vegas' -- and even the nation's -- culinary scene.
Today, a baker's dozen of America's celebrity chefs have a vested interest in the Strip's most upseale eateries, and two "masterpiece" restaurants, Picasso and Renoir, have received the coveted Mobil Travel Guide five-star rating.
"People are coming in from New York and San Francisco to have dinner -- that says everything," declares chef Julian Serrano, the force behind Picasso's Mediterranean-influenced cuisine.
Other nationally recognized top-tier chefs who have lent their marquee names or are hands-on partners in Las Vegas locales include Piero Selvaggio, Nobu Matsuhisa, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, all from Los Angeles; Charlie Palmer and Jean-Louis Palladin from New York; Michael Mina from San Francisco; and Emeril Lagasse from New Orleans. And there are more …