On Thursday afternoon at Vanderpump à Paris, it was le chitchat, les cocktails and la famille.
That’s when Lisa Vanderpump, the restaurateur and reality television star, hosted a tasting at the restaurant for about two dozen friends of the house.
Ken Todd, Vanderpump’s husband and business partner, and their daughter Pandora Vanderpump Sabo (who recently gave birth to Vanderpump’s first grandchild) joined the restaurateur to host the tasting. So did Nick Alain, Vanderpump’s partner in the home line Vanderpump Alain, who helped her design Vanderpump à Paris.
The restaurant, Vanderpump’s second on the Las Vegas Strip, opened a month ago in Paris Las Vegas. The Thursday afternoon gathering preceded the grand opening party on Thursday evening.
Vanderpump, who has owned or operated nearly 40 restaurants with her husband, welcomed her guests, then spoke briefly about the need to keep things fresh.
“Every restaurant has to have its own identity,” she said. For Vanderpump à Paris, that means “French classics with an edge of whimsy. Bringing Paris to Vegas and bringing Vegas to Paris.”
Boozy drinks, rich bites
Then it was off to the tasting.
Stems of Vanderpump rosé emerged first, followed by an elaborate presentation of five cocktails. These included The No. 5, a Cognac confection poured from a parfum bottle like the one that holds Chanel No. 5, and the Louvre at First Sight, a mezcal drink served in a smoke-filled glass pyramid that nods to the glass pyramid in the main courtyard of the museum.
Vanderpump Sabo noted the restaurant’s cocktails typically contained at least 2.5 ounces of alcohol.
Cheese (Camembert, Truffle Tremor, chèvre, Humboldt Fog blue, manchego) and accoutrements were offered on tiers in an open birdcage. Vanderpump baguettes stuffed with triple crème brie and black truffles — chewy, oozy, earthy all at once — touched down, followed by a trio of tartares composed of shrimp, ahi, hamachi, salmon and sea bass.
Little pucks of fried goat cheese provided a palate cleanser.
‘Sexing’ things up
As guests sipped and nibbled, Vanderpump stopped by their tables. During a chat with the Review-Journal, she spoke about her favorite places in the City of Light (Rue Saint-Honoré, the Seine, antique markets) and the city as inspiration for the restaurant.
“We needed to create something that felt like it was part of Paris,” said Vanderpump, who speaks French fluently and once lived in the South of France. At the same time, Vanderpump à Paris was going to occupy a casino space, not a freestanding building.
“You’re aware of the confines, then you work from there to sex it up,” Vanderpump said.
She drew attention to the flowered fabric, reminiscent of upholstery or a carpet bag, covering the sides of the custom bar stools. “It’s so ugly, it’s beautiful.”
Or what the French call jolie laide.