Vegas Comes to Town

New Developments at Scottsdale Quarter are as Big and Sexy as Caesars Palace. Is That a Good Thing?

Written by: EATERAZ.COM

Nobody saw it coming. Caesars Palace has apparently opened a second location and it landed right here in the Valley. Operating under the moniker of “Scottsdale Quarter,” Caesars Palace Scottsdale is killing it. The new spot is working so well, we’ve been hearing rumors that the Vegas original may change its name from Caesars Palace to Scottsdale Quarter.

Kidding. Of course Scottsdale Quarter wasn’t built by Caesars, but it was built by a powerful company with a lot of %^&*ing money, and lots of money usually attracts more money. Caesars and Quarter have a bunch in common — a bacchanalian vibe, gargantuan spaces, beautiful people, pricey stuff to eat and drink, Mediterranean overtones and a crazy escalator.

On a recent weekend, we checked out a few of the new venues that were part of the opening assault that took place over December and January. Over half a dozen places turned their lights on, with over half a dozen more coming in the next couple of months. If you read any of the local food blogs, it might seem like 87 new places have opened here — they’re not far off, but they’re definitely excited to have something positive to talk about (since many aren’t too impressed with CityScape downtown).

First stop, TK’s Urban Tavern, where according to co-owner Brian Pierce, “people are doing backflips when they see the prices on wines by the glass.” Can’t say we saw any backflips, but the place was packed and humming with energy. According to chef/owner Patrick Fegan (Fiamma, Olive & Ivy, Gallo Blanco) they’ve been doing great in the short time they’ve been open.

That’s nice to hear. Really, it is. Apart from lighting that’s a bit too intense and acoustics that could use a dial adjustment (big glass and brick designs always require some sound absorption material), things seem headed in the right direction. Although it would be nice if someone could explain WTF an “urban tavern” is, the food was all par, with a couple of standout items: The Deviled Egg Salad appetizer was truly creative and it all worked. There’s an apple cobbler dessert that was incredibly delicious as well.

After dinner, as the night inched towards 9 p.m., cougar sightings increased with frequency. Primebar’s been open for almost a year now, and the shiny new places will certainly distract the mini-skirted masses for a little while, but we think balance will be restored soon and there’s enough love (read: plastic surgery patients) to go around.

Once we left TK’s, it was easy to figure out where the cougars were headed. Like salmon, we simply jumped into the current and floated towards an escalator that leads up to an alternate universe. No joke. The second level of Scottsdale Quarter is one of the wildest places in town.

Upon reaching the second floor, you’ll be instantly overwhelmed by the throngs of partygoers bouncing between Narcisse Champagne & Tea Lounge, Salt Ultra Lounge and Tanzy.

Tanzy restaurant is where the ride, er, escalator, deposits you. According to vice president of marketing Mark Mulcahy, the restaurant’s name is derived from the Greek herb “tansy,” which Zeus gave to Ganymede, a Trojan prince, to make him immortal.

Too Greek for you? Just know this: Tanzy is a 40 gazillion-square-foot contemporary Mediterranean restaurant that has to be seen. It’s damn impressive. Yelpers have thus far given them a four-star average — and we all know that crowd’s hard to please. Then again, what else would you expect from a place that bills itself as “an extraordinary culinary experience!” (exclamation point not added by us)? Their website also says “Tanzy’s crowning feature is its amazing passion infused to each entrée.” Now that’s Greek to us, but we get it — you’ve gotta be a little over the top in places like this.

Walking out of Tanzy, we were pulled back into the current at Salt Ultra Lounge — the bar portion of iPic Movie Theater. IPic is to movie theaters what a Lamborghini is to a Mazda Miata. Think lounging in reclining seats with a full menu of food, waiter service, and blankets and pillows should one be required.

But let’s get back to Salt “Ultra Lounge.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the prefix “ultra” as “beyond what is ordinary, proper or moderate.” Salt says they offer “amazing cocktails that are to-die-for.” With ultra statements like these, we wonder if they’re taking cocktails so far into the future that they might actually kill people.

One thing we’re actually surprised about is that no one’s done a bar focused on Champagne before Narcisse Champagne and Tea Lounge opened at Scottsdale Quarter. Smart move for the guys who own Barrio Cantina. Narcisse describes their name derivation as follows: “The word Narcisse is derived from a Greek myth. Narcissus was a handsome Greek youth who rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo. As punishment, he was doomed to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus pined away and changed into the flower that bears his name, the narcissus.”

Storyline aside, we must admit, 75 types of Champagne by the glass … in North Scottsdale … aimed at cougars and semi-wealthy dudes … they’re going to crush it weekly. Watch. Ironically, though, on a Saturday night, you’re more apt to see crowds chugging vodka Red Bulls over actual Champagne.

The Greek references between Tanzy and Narcisse are totally appropriate as the Romans loved Ancient Greece, and everything here is as big as the Roman coliseum, or at least Caesars Palace. When the places get packed, they resemble an apocalypse, but more an apocalypse inspired by the 1980s — swear we saw Madonna in her pearls and fishnet; Spandau Ballet impersonators were hanging on the V.I.P. Level; and that “You spin me right round, baby right round” guy was there, too.

We bet they expand that bar almost immediately. It does a poor job of servicing the entire, huge room, leading to insane bottlenecks and ’roided out customers jostling for their ordering positions. That V.I.P. level we were talking about is almost half the club, which kinda makes sense based on their own description:

“This unique Champagne & Tea Lounge is suited to fulfill the desires and needs of the affluent self-loved characters from all the surrounding areas of Scottsdale to metro Phoenix. The Champagne bar will serve as an upscale destination with an air of sophistication and sensual style. The atmosphere intermingles genres of stately old world opulence with a nuance of modern charm. Narcisse is a unique gathering place intended to stimulate the senses of taste sight and sound. Its progressive atmosphere will tease, excite and celebrate these senses continually throughout the experience.”

Yep, they just called their own customers self-loved. But what’s funny is that no one seems insulted by this. We guess it’s just a sign of the apocalypse. Or that the Roman empire is finally rising again, and it’s begun at Scottsdale Quarter, the Caesars Palace of Arizona.

Enjoy it all at scottsdalequarter.com

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