Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 | 11:56 p.m.
Las Vegas is a city that’s become somewhat immune to new restaurant concepts and ideas since the celebrity chef invasion put us on the map 20 years ago. Can a new concept be created? If so, can it break through and bypass TV superstars of the culinary world?
It’s a difficult challenge, but advance word from critics and experts on chef Sam Marvin’s new steakhouse and butcher shop indicates that he’s pulled it off. Echo and Rig is a two-floor, 12,500-square-foot venue capable of serving 2,000 customers a day and opening Aug. 29 in Summerlin’s Tivoli Village.
“The meat is the star. It’s onstage in full view of everybody,” Sam told me. “We will definitely change the way people shop and eat. They will eat where they shop, and they will shop where they eat. This will be the end of their supermarket shopping.”
I’ve known Sam since we did Food Network shows together in the 1990s, when he worked with star chef Rocco DiSpirito. Sam always delivers what he promises. He later went on to Los Angeles, where he opened the revolutionary Bottega Louie, which changed the way people thought about Italian cuisine.
Now comes his first venture with his own company, and it is radically — almost rebelliously — groundbreaking and innovative.
“Until now, restaurants have all worked under the same formulas. Menus are similar, and meals from the kitchen get cooked and served the same,” he said.
“This is a whole new idea, a new way of running the restaurant business. It’s a no-brainer. It is unique. It is fun. I am going to go right up against all the big chain restaurant operations with a $30 check concept, but we’ll serve super- high quality.
“People really aren’t interested in eating 44-ounce tomahawk steaks, so we’ll be serving all prime with all different 8-ounce cuts and categories for $22.”
Sam told me that thanks to computer imagery, he can map an animal from being raised to slaughtered to carved up, cooked and served.
“Call this nose-to-tail butchery,” he said, laughing. “But customers will know exactly what they are buying and the great natural vitamins and nutritional health benefits.”
Diners and shoppers will have a choice of as many as 90 menu items, including farm-raised poultry and fresh seafood, at Echo and Rig, which has the look of an 150-year-old London butcher shop.
“A lot of marble and stone, but not trendy, not kitschy,” Sam said. “From the outside, they’ll look right through floor-to-ceiling windows into the walk-in fridge meat locker where all the meats will be hung on display. This is an homage to meat complete with an exhibition and demonstration area.”
Additionally, Echo and Rig will serve breakfast, brunch and lunch featuring an array of dishes, fresh-mixed concepts, fresh-baked goods and pressed juices.
“We have designed Echo and Rig to be a community and social gathering place, not just a special-occasion steak restaurant,” Sam said.
He’s chosen expert butcher Trevor Morones, who trained under New York’s legendary Pat LaFrieda, to showcase his techniques. Although only 23, Trevor has been hailed a butcher savant with extraordinary skills akin to the world-respected Dario Cecchini in Italy, who each year in Tuscany has chefs and restaurateurs — including Trevor — making a pilgrimage to see him at work and to eat his culinary pork presentations.
Trevor’s personalized instruction on picks, preparation and service comes complete with beautifully packaged meats in their branded, crisp blue butcher paper with twine and wax seal.
Sam summed up: “People want to find value and quality in every dollar they spend. The butcher shop of late was one where the butcher knew your name and you knew his. Butchering is a lost craft and skill, and one that was highly respected. The butcher was highly regarded because these were items you were feeding to your family, and you were able to trust the person selling it to you.
“Unfortunately, none of that is relevant in today’s market. We will change that at Echo and Rig Butcher Steakhouse. It will be a place to stop by on your way out and bring home tomorrow night’s dinner or pop in and have Trevor help you create a great dinner as you head home from work.”
Echo and Rig Butcher Steakhouse will be open Sundays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. with a special late-night menu. Brunch will be available Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.