What's new in the city where grown-ups play


LAS VEGAS -- In a town where the architectural landscape seems to change faster than the shifting winds, it's not easy keeping up with current events -- Vegas-style. The following is a brief sample of what's new -- or transformed -- on the local scene.

X -- An Erotic Adventure

Those who question Las Vegas' commitment to its unofficial "Sin City" moniker need only scan the ubiquitous taxi-top show ads for evidence that sex is back and sin is in.

Providing ever more proof that Vegas is the grown-up way to play is the Aladdin's latest nod to adult entertainment, "X -- An Erotic Adventure."

Appearing in the Aladdin's new, 400-seat CenterStage showroom, this daring show is a fast-paced, naughty diversion. Driven by a pulsating score, "X's" hardbodied dancers generate so much heat in multiple fantasy vignettes that even the A/C system withers under the strain.

Impressive production values, specifically the costumes and choreography, add to the experience. Long after its finish, our group was still buzzing about the vertical bed number -- an amazingly choreographed and incredibly sensuous piece that must be seen to be appreciated.

And for those who doubt that a sexy show can also be a class act, "X" is definitive proof that the terms "adult revue" and "sophisticated" are not mutually exclusive.

Showtimes are Tuesdays through Sundays at 10:30 p.m. Tickets range from $44.95 to $54.95. Phone: (877) 333-WISH; Web: www.aladdincasino.com.

Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa, in nearby Henderson, features canopied opium beds - sans the opium, of course - at its outdoor Whisky Beach lounge.Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa

It's trendy, it's smart, it's hip, it's in Henderson. Henderson? Not to worry. Out of town but definitely in the running is Station Casinos' newest hotel, Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa.

Only 10 minutes away from the action of the Strip, Green Valley Ranch is an upscale, serene oasis that celebrated its first anniversary in December.

Voted "Best Local Hotel" in 2002 by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the property features a Mediter-ranean motif with 201 rooms and suites, nine restaurants and a European-style spa bathed in a cool ambience.

Las Vegas locals have the power to make or break off-Strip hotels, so we decided to follow the local buzz and evaluate the Feast Around the World's Sunday Brunch Buffet -- the true litmus test of any Vegas property.

Starting with the build-your-own-Bloody Mary bar, this recently enhanced culinary feast -- priced at only $16.99 -- impressed us.

Multiple live-action stations feature freshly prepared, tasty and artfully presented choices.

After dark, hipsters hang at Randy Garber's Whiskey Sky, the 5,300-square-foot nightclub where New York's Whiskey Bar meets L.A.'s Sky Bar.

And just outdoors on Whiskey Beach -- yes, beach -- the canopied opium beds (sans the opium) beckon hedonists to lounge, drink and party.

Sure, the Strip is a nonstop whirl of activity, but clients seeking elegance with an edge could easily slip into their own little world at Green Valley Ranch.

Rates start at $159. Phone: (866) STAY-GVR; Web: www.greenvalleyranchresort.com.

Rosemary's at the Rio

Next to their prized culinary creations, high-profile chefs are known for their high-octane egos. Pairing them up in one kitchen could be only slightly less volatile than King Kong vs. Godzilla. Imagine that mess!

Thankfully, the reverse is true and perfect harmony reigns at Rosemary's at the Rio, where couple Wendy and Michael Jordan share co-executive chef duties.

Boldly proclaiming their straight-ahead mantra of "good food, good wine and good service," the duo is delivering that formula at their recently opened restaurant in the Masquerade Village.

The classically trained chefs present a gourmet menu featuring American cuisine with a Southern bent and a French flair -- and it works to perfection.

Impressive starters include Southern crabcakes with marinated cucumber and pan-crispy sweetbreads served over cheddar grits.

The delicious butternut squash soup, served in a carved-out pumpkin, gives Wolfgang Puck's version a run for its money.

Main course standouts are the wood-oven roasted veal chop in a fresh herb reduction and the pan-seared sea scallops on a bed of parsnip potato puree.

Presentation is eye-pleasing, and service is crisp but not overbearing.

Delicious breads are baked in-house, and the dessert sampler caps off a spectacular meal. A three-course dinner for two tops $100, not including wine.

Restaurant competition is fierce in this town, and new openings often don't elicit more than a yawn.

This talented family operation, however, has got it all together and is sure to make its mark.

For additional information, call (702) 777-2300 or visit www.rosemarysattherio.com.

David Yeskel, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based freelance travel writer, estimates that during his 27 years of exploring Las Vegas, he has stayed in more than 25 hotels, eaten more than 400 buffet meals (that's about 5,000 shrimp), seen 200-plus shows and slept a cumulative total of 15.3 hours. He can be reached at [email protected].


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