By Alesandra Dubin Posted March 28, 2011, 6:45 PM EDT
Best known for his avant-garde and traditional Spanish cuisine, José Andrés debuted his newest venue, China Poblano, in Las Vegas. The restaurant showcases Andrés’ take on the street-food cultures of China and Mexico, blending the seemingly different cuisines into a concept that includes both familiar, authentic dishes and new fare. There are 140 seats in the restaurant and 20 in the lounge, and the entire venue is available for buyout.
Open for lunch, dinner, takeout, and late-night dining, China Poblano offers Chinese noodles, dim sum and soups, tacos, guacamole, and ceviches. Small plates include spring rolls, steamed buns, and quesadillas. Signature offerings combine flavors from both Chinese and Mexican cooking together in the same dishes.
Handmade preparations are emphasized, and guests can watch as cooks prepare fresh tortillas using a comal, or fill and fold dumplings that are cooked to order. The drink menu also references both cultures, offering a wide variety of tequilas, mezcals, and Chinese beers.
SEED Design designed the venue with a three-dimensional Buddha sculpture, framed by two takeout windows where guests can pick up noodles or tacos to go. There are red concrete floors, red concrete bleacher-style seating, and sculptures of iconic Chinese and Mexican figures. Projectors display changing famous Mexican and Chinese faces around the restaurant. Political propaganda posters from China and Mexico in the 1960s line the walls. The ceiling is lined with 100 bicycle wheels, and interspersed across the ceiling are handblown, red glass lanterns designed to look like upturned vases.
Each of Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup restaurants tells a story, and China Poblano's fare makes reference to Spain’s historic connection to China and Mexico: Spanish trading ships that sailed across the Pacific Ocean between the Philippines and Acapulco during the golden age of Spain transported spices, fruits, and chiles, along with silver, silk, and immigrants between Mexico and China.