Last year, the beloved Trader Vic's at the Beverly Hilton shuttered, only to reopen as a pale comparison of its former tikified self near the pool. Sad to see nothing but remnants of the streetside restaurant covering the walls, although drinking mai tais poolside made up for it a little bit. This week, a Trader Vic's to the north closed. But the company isn't liquidating its Polynesian past entirely: A huge Trader Vic's recently opened on the Las Vegas Strip. Unfortunately, fans of the original might find everything tasting and looking a little less fruity, a little more vanilla.
A reader writes in about the new Las Vegas Trader Vic's:
"Surprised and shocked were the best way to describe our initial reaction. Gone were all the Polynesian flare and South Pacific themes. The extensive Polynesian menu was replaced with a surprisingly scaled down and uninteresting selection of old and new. Bland decor, with the exception of the giant tiki god wooden statue (the only one I might add), bland service, and bland food. Perhaps every culinary icon feels like it needs to move ahead with the times, but some legacies just shouldn't be messed with. The only saving grace at the Vegas Trader Vic's is that they didn't mess with the original Mai Tai.It's difficult to gauge exactly what the parent company is trying to do, but the LV Trader Vic's was supposed to be different: The website says the "famed tropical motif" has been "amplified" with DJ booths and a Tiki Club "ultra lounge." Basically, Vegasized. What's more, the company is touting the lounge (a la Bev Hills) as a new Mai Tai Bar "concept," sure to take the world by storm. What once was, will no longer be.
· Trader Vic's Officially Closed [~ELA~]
· The Shutter: Trader Vic's [Eater SF]