The Atomic – Champagne, Vodka, Apricot Brandy, Fino Sherry
Spanish Trail – Azunia Organic Tequila, Mandarin Liqueur, Fresh Lime, Blood Orange-Grand Marnier Foam, Sea Salt
Custom Margarita – Blackberry, Tequila, Rosemary
The Strip – Hendricks Gin, Fresh Lime, Cucumber Juice, Lemongrass Syrup, Mint
Snacks – Wasabi Peas, Trail Mix, White Chocolate Pretzels
Cheese & Charcuterie – Valdeon Blue, Delice Du Jura, Mt. Tam, Morbier, Prosciutto, Culatello, Guanciale, Almonds, Red Wine Pears, Apricots, Grissini, Housemade Focaccia, Flatbread
Ménage a Trois – Skinny Fries, Tater Tots, Sweet Potato Fries, Peach-Bourbon Ketchup, Chimichurri Aioli, BBQ Sauce
Crème de la Crème – Tahitian Vanilla, Sicilian Pistachio, Dark Chocolate, Grand Marnier Madeline, Vanilla Vacherin
Although it is likely few even noticed Mandarin Oriental’s quiet conversion to Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria brand in August the changes are slowly becoming more obvious, signage and MoZen’s renaming as Zen Kitchen mostly aesthetic while the installation of Chris Zadie as Wine Director and William Perbellini as property Mixologist look to take the former Mandarin Bar in new directions.
Now dubbed SkyBar, an appropriate title for the 23rd-floor space offering dazzling views of The Strip, it was just prior to 6pm with sun already down that two guests checked in at the hostess podium, reserved seats found along windows facing north and while soft music plays high above illuminated tables.
Not the typical Las Vegas watering hole, no televisions or thumping EDM to disturb the tranquility of a resort without gaming or smoke, it is from a concise menu where every drink has a story that guests are invited to make their selections, a first round of The Atomic and Spanish Trail each carrying the lofty price tag of $18 but both well balanced with the former brisk and bubbly while the latter is smooth and Fruit-forward beneath a lightly-salted cloud.
Turning attention to nibbles, or as SkyBar chooses to call them “Eclectic Bites,” it is gratis that Wasabi Peas, Trail Mix and White Chocolate Pretzels are provided, the rest ranging $12 to $29 and although pricey also well-presented such as the case with Cheese & Charcuterie that comes from a bird cage in large portions easily shared by a party of four with fluffy housemade Focaccia, extra-funky Blue and Culatello out of one of Italy’s most well-regarded facilities all highlights.
Less impressive in the Ménage a Trois, a $15 trio of fried Potatoes not dissimilar to what Michael Mina’s Stripsteak provides each table for free, a second round of drinks again showed Mr. Perbellini to be more than capable of translating skills learned in Italy to the American palate, a custom Margarita featuring fresh Blackberry Juice made fragrant by Rosemary while “The Strip” is as refreshing in January as it likely is during the 110ᵒF Summer.
Rounding out the visit with Dessert, a $14 trio from Waldorf Astoria’s Pastry kitchen featuring the talents of Vivian Chang, “Crème de la Crème” refers to traditional Pot de Crème ranging from Tahitian Vanilla to thick Dark Chocolate, though the best is undoubtedly Sicilian Pistachio taken bite-for-bite with a Grand Marnier fortified Madeline.
THREE AND A HALF STARS: Recently rebranded from Mandarin Oriental to Waldorf Astoria a look at Skybar’s new offering shows plenty to like whether on its own or prior to dinner at Twist, though as may be expected of a luxury hotel brand the experience comes at a price.
RECOMMENDED: The Strip, Spanish Trail, Cheese & Charcuterie, Crème de la Crème.
AVOID: Ménage a Trois.
TIP: Reservations are available and guarantee the best seats.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.