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Vegan in Vegas? Go to Wynn

Vegan in Vegas? Go to Wynn

Las Vegas, land of all-you-can-eat extravaganzas, pricey steakhouses and star chef-driven temples to fine dining, is hardly a vegan-friendly destination. But Steve Wynn wants to change that.

Every restaurant at Wynn¹s two plush resorts, Wynn and Encore, now has several vegan choices on the menu. And, as one would expect at luxury-level resorts, we¹re not talking tofu hot dogs and portobello mushroom burgers here. The chefs actually put some thought into the selections, which include:

• Starters such as a fava bean puree with sauteed hon shimeji mushrooms, snap pea salad and aged balsamic vinegar at Alex and the market chopped salad with avocado, carrots, celery, pumpkin seeds, edamame and tarragon vinaigrette at Society Cafe Encore. The Country Club excites palates with a vegan version of their popular watermelon gazpacho with avocado, jicama, tomato, cucumber, cilantro and yucca crisp.

• Entree options include the summer vegetable gratin at Botero, risotto con verdure di stagione (risotto whipped with seasonal vegetables) at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare and Napoleon of savory tofu with ratatouille and fried eggplant at Tableau. Stratta offers whole wheat pasta primavera, a vegan take on the Italian-American staple. SW, Wynn's signature steakhouse, serves crave-worthy vegan dishes such as grilled royal trumpet mushrooms with creamy polenta and shallot balsamic sauce.

• Fans of Asian food can select from Wazuzu's vegan crunch roll with crispy asparagus, avocado, cucumber and arare; Okada's vegan cold soba noodle; and Wing Lei's crispy tofu with sugar pea, water chestnut, carrot and bean sprout.

• Decadent desserts such as blueberry cobbler with toasted almond ice cream (presumably a soy version of ice cream) at Sinatra and banana crepes with coconut ice cream and avocado mousse at Switch provide a sweet close to any meal.

Prices will reflect the high standards at the two resorts; a tofu carpaccio appetizer at Switch menus for $14, while a three-course vegan tasting menu at the Michelin-starred Alex will fetch $80.

Executive chef David Snyder downplays the significance of the new policy and points out that many of the two resorts’ restaurants had already made accommodations for vegans. Observers have suggested that the change reflects the personal dietary habits of Steve Wynn. That might be the best explanation for why two large upscale resorts in a decidedly mainstream market would cater to such a tiny demographic (less than one percent of Americans identify themselves as vegan, while 3.4 percent say they’re vegetarian).