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July 28, 2014

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Sports legends film TV special at Palms, sign N9NE Steakhouse door

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Chef Barry S. Dakake with sports legends in his kitchen at N9NE Steakhouse in the Palms.

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Sports legends in the Hardwood Suite at the Palms on Monday, Jan. 30, 2012.

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Chef Barry S. Dakake at his "Shakedown Door" in his kitchen at N9NE Steakhouse in the Palms.

Star chef Barry S. Dakake is used to having Hollywood and sports stars in his N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms, but not on the scale of this past weekend. “There’s never been a night like this in the 11 years we have been open,” he told me shortly after serving dinner to more than a dozen sports legends.

Then he walked me back into his kitchen office to show off his third and newest “Shakedown Door,” and sure enough there were the prized autographs from guests from the night before: Joe Montana, who inked his own best play move; Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee; artist Jamie Tyndall; and Minnesota Vikings running back Toby Gerhart.

The sports legends included Reggie Jackson, Randy Johnson, Bo Jackson, John Smoltz, Ozzie Smith, Wade Boggs, Gary Sheffield, David Wells, Trevor Hoffman, Joe Carter, Dwight Clarke, Rob Dibble and Harold Reynolds.

The icons are filming an NBC special, “The Players’ Club,” competing in various challenges in and around the Palms. The winner donates $50,000 in winnings to his favorite charity. Cameras rolled in the Hardwood Suite on Monday, with a poker tournament set for today.

Barry added: “We welcome a lot of stars … but, honestly, this is the most in the restaurant at one dinner. Very overwhelming because I’m a huge sports fan, but even more so when they came in the kitchen to sign my door. I started this tradition when we first opened. Every sports star who has ever been into the restaurant has graciously signed it.

“We’ve filled two doors so far -- I gave one to my father. Now just a week ago, we hung this new third one. It was blank until this weekend. Now it’s half-filled already from just the first weekend. That’s beyond thrilling.”

With that, Barry asked me to sign my slogan, “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams,” and I put it alongside Joe Montana’s playbook autograph. NFL Hall of Famer Joe was with professional poker player Phil Hellmuth for his feast at N9NE. They devoured a chilled shellfish platter, followed by 24-ounce bone-in rib eyes and creamed corn, with a mountain of s’mores, banana cream pie and New York cheesecake for dessert.

Joe also hit “Iron Chef” winner Kerry Simon’s restaurant Simon at Palms Place for the Sunday pajama brunch, but he didn’t show up in bedtime attire.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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