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December 19, 2014

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Rose. Rabbit. Lie.: 2014’s most inventive, innovative cuisine; shows are assault on senses

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Brad Garrett at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. in the Cosmopolitan on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, in Las Vegas.

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Criss Angel, Mr. Piffles and Piff the Magic Dragon at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. in the Cosmopolitan.

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Criss Angel is flanked by "Vegas Nocturne" hosts Alfonso and Beverley at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. in the Cosmopolitan.

Was it the beautiful woman who stripped down from her straight-laced secretarial suit to a nearly naked state to make red silk squares mysteriously vanish during her highly unorthodox and unexpected magic act?

Was it the secret invitation to a darkened room for a champagne cocktail to watch a man take a bath in his tuxedo to write music using glass balls?

Was it getting lost in a labyrinth of rooms and discovering decades-old LPs that I could play on an old record player?

Was it the diamond-shaped ice in the world’s most expensive cocktail glasses at the bar?

And why was a contortionist clad only in underwear and a dressing gown able to play chess against himself at the same board near a couple of guests swept up in the decadent delights and making out — outrageously — over a fabulous dinner?

This is a Las Vegas experience like no other. What happens here will be the most-talked-about event when visitors return home. Thank heavens the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is now giving pardons for what one does here.

Welcome to the wild, wacky and wondrous world of Rose. Rabbit. Lie. from theatrical producers Spiegelworld and dining directors Coastal Luxury Management at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

I have no idea what 411 operators think when tourists ask for the number to Rose. Rabbit. Lie. to make a reservation. To save you the inevitable hassle and sarcastic Lily Tomlin-type retorts, jot it down: (877) 667-0585, or visit RoseRabbitLie.com.

There is a stage in the theater room, but on its reverse side guests can watch what goes on backstage, which continues as part of the show. Think of this as a musical and entertainment journey that meanders through all the rooms of this social club enterprise.

It’s not just a bar. It’s not just a restaurant. It’s not just a nightclub. It’s not just a mad minstrel’s theater. It’s a playground for all of that — and more.

Rules of the norm be damned. This is all about the right amount of wrong and the rule of having no rules. You even have a choice of how to delve deeper into this social-entertainment experiment once you’ve entered thanks to a skeleton’s key.

Don’t miss the Study, which is a secret speakeasy to the Library dining room with its secret menu. There’s a doorway to the Music Bar, another to the two dining rooms off it with a passageway to the Swimming Pool room. There is no pool, no diving and no chlorine. It’s the backstage. They’re all separate, yet when the mesh walls slide upward, they all become one.

You can see everything that’s going on from the closest to the farthest, but no need to strain because the players move through all three rooms as the band plays. There also is a glass harmonica invented by Benjamin Franklin that can accompany the singer or dancer who sidles alongside your table during dinner. Models act out vignettes in costumes atop the band’s piano.

Glassware at the bar becomes entertainment. The brilliant bartenders can spin the glasses with the different-shaped ice that takes on different colors and shapes — and for some extraordinary reason doesn’t melt to water down your drinks.

These are no ordinary ice cubes. You can have a 2” x 2” diamond or a 4” rod. Don’t be surprised if you’re mesmerized by them to have a tap dancer go right across the length of the bar while you’re examining the rose petals inside the chrysanthemum drinks.

My bartender told me: “You can come here three or four nights in a row, and you still don’t see everything. There are hidden walls and doors I haven’t even found since I started working Night 1.”

It’s impossible to explain it all; it has to be experienced. Call it a raunchy Cirque du Soleil. Call it a comedic “Absinthe.” Call it a random progression of tame to risque that’s attracting 1,000 people a night through different erogenous zones.

The tapas-type dinner is superb: small-appetizer-sized bites of caviar on hamachi ranging from $15 up to $5,000, tuna, gazpacho and champagne served in curved glasses from Milan. Go for the chicken oysters without fail.

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"Vegas Nocturne" at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan.

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The run of "Vegas Nocturne" at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. has ended.

The $1,200 King Crab stuffed with lobster could send you running to your banker for a loan, but it’s worth every penny of the extravagance. Treat him to dinner later with the $275 crown of lamb served on couscous, and show him the “Garden of Earthly Delights” painting. It’s so erotic and the food so tasty, he’ll extend your credit line even more.

Kudos to executive chef Wesley Holton, formerly of Daniel Boulud’s expertise at the Wynn, and pastry chef Ben Spungin for producing 2014’s most inventive and innovative cuisine in Las Vegas. Their three-page, folded, then wax-sealed menu on parchment is a hymnal to well-executed and fun food that appears as a delicacy for Mr. Creosote in Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life.”

My writing can’t do justice to the performance acts within the three cantos, or shows. One must experience this assault on the senses by the 40 artists in the cast. One minute you’re inside a table-thumping Irish wake with two brilliant twin tap dancers picking up the tune from the hand-slapping and powder-covered drunken revelers.

The next you’re avoiding the water splashes from a sexually provocative acrobat propelling down from the ceiling into a bathtub on leather straps. Mickey Rourke could take extra lessons for a sequel to “9½ Weeks.”

Your host is walking upside down in the ceiling one minute and then urging caution and discretion as a lovely lady miraculously achieves the impossible of balancing whale bones around her to duplicate the time Jonah was inside the mammal. It is a relief when she accomplishes the impossible task.

Marvel at the Chinese juggling duo who cavorted farther and farther away from each other while throwing each other all kinds of things they caught that balanced on their swinging ropes. The glass harp of wine glasses filled with different levels of water will soothe your troubled brow.

Comedian and actor Brad Garrett was in a VIP booth next to me marveling at the action. He was so blown away that he returned the next night with eight friends. Then they all came back the third night with another 20 pals.

How do you explain to anybody that the cast closes one act by shooting popcorn into the audience and another with a barrage of table-tennis balls? After the final 30-minute canto at midnight, which pushes the already-pushed envelope, the off-kilter and bizarre experience becomes a nightclub.

The place is never what it appears to be. You have joined the Mad Hatter’s party with a zonked-out Alice in Wonderland. You will return time and again to figure it out. I guess this is what it feels like to be on psychedelic drugs?

I just want to know how long it takes, and with how much bubbly, to create the 500-glass tower of champagne. They’d probably let me drink it all, and I’d wind up in the show. Maybe then I can discover where the 99-percent naked woman hides those red scarves she makes disappear.

She’s a lot more attractive than the man who is able to squeeze his body through a tennis racquet, but that, too, will make you wonder where the heck you are or have been — or are going.

Rose. Rabbit. Lie.’s bar and restaurant are open Thursdays through Sundays from 6 p.m. until close — whenever the last guest decides to call it quits. The “Vegas Nocturne” cantos are at 8 and 10 p.m. and midnight.

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.

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