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Posted at 4:41 PM ET, 12/22/2010

Jose Andres: 'E' is not a Las Vegas Minibar

By Tom Sietsema

Only a few days ago, Jose Andres opened two restaurants within the glittery new Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas: Jaleo, a branch of his popular Washington tapas bar, and China Poblano, a hybrid Chinese-Mexican restaurant. Tonight, he officially unveils an unexpected third dining experience, an intimate restaurant-within-a-restaurant that simply goes by the nickname "e."

It's a single raised table that seats up to eight diners who will pay $150 -- "plus, plus, plus" per person, jokes the Spanish native -- for 15 to 20 small courses, starting this evening with "nitrogen sangria" garnished with grilled raspberries. What sounds a lot like his exclusive Minibar in Washington is instead going to focus on "pure product," he says.

The best caviar might top a perfect fried egg. Norwegian lobster will be simply grilled, moistened with its juices and (shades of Minibar) served with "air of roses," says Andres, who sees e as "great human resources," given the number of young chefs who want to work for him but can’t all fit into the Washington operation.

The eatery, whose design incorporates old card catalogs to display ingredients, was not in the resort's original game plan. But after Andres noticed some free space in the 7,200-square-foot Jaleo, he says, "I couldn’t help myself." A team of Andres's acolytes, some from Minibar, will execute his ideas at e.

What's up with the single-letter moniker? Andres says he didn't want to attach his full name to a project he couldn’t be in full-time. The last letter of his name – his signature "e" with an accent -- was a compromise.

Reservation requests for e, which offers two seatings a night, Tuesday through Saturday, should be sent to Big rollers, take note: Three thousand bucks gets you all eight seats for the night.

By Tom Sietsema  | December 22, 2010; 4:41 PM ET
Tags:  Jaleo, Jose Andres, Minibar, Tim Carman  
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