15 Oct Ofer Eitan Announces: From his memoir to his Las Vegas restaurants, chef David Ch…
When Majordomo Meat & Fish opened at the Palazzo at the end of 2019, it was one of most anticipated restaurant openings in Las Vegas. Chef David Chang was on hand to introduce his second concept in town—after the popular Momofuku at the Cosmopolitan—taking over the former CarneVino space. No one could have anticipated that a pandemic would shut down the restaurant industry just a few months later.
Even with his restaurants on pause, it has been a busy few months for the chef. He recently published a memoir titled Eat a Peach, a coming-of-age story chronicling his culinary climb—from a humble noodle bar in 2004 in New York City to a global empire today spanning 15 restaurants, along with a podcast and hit Netflix shows. It’s an extraordinarily honest, unvarnished account of the restaurant industry as a whole. For those in its trenches, it’s a high-pressure career where the rewards can be sky-high, but it can also exact its price in the form of abuse, substance or otherwise.
For Chang, who has been diagnosed as bipolar, rising to his level of celebrity-chefdom has been a surprise, and the kind of meteoric rise he has experienced in less than two decades has taken its toll, including depression and a persistent sense of imposter syndrome. “I’ve created my own prison,” he writes. “I just don’t understand my appeal … I’m not supposed to be here.”
The son of Korean immigrants who grew up in suburban Washington, D.C., Chang suffered from isolation and loneliness throughout his childhood, and was often embarrassed by the look and smell of the food his parents made. For those who watch his Neflix show Ugly Delicious, this is a theme that he returns to again and again, the complicated relationship of food and race and culture.
But it’s the flavors of his childhood that ultimately undergird Chang’s culinary philosophy—an eclectic interpretation of Asian influences that bring to the fore tastes and textures that are unexpected yet revelatory. Above all, Chang sees a meal as a celebration, and all the ingredients that come together to create a dish bring something unique to the party.
“We want to make something unique for Las Vegas,” Chang said recently when he hosted a dinner at Majordomo. “We didn’t want it to be just a steakhouse. I wanted to challenge ourselves. I wanted to make sure that this restaurant was something that was worthy, where people would want to go tonight, [where they] wouldn’t want to do anything else other than celebrate life, friendship, love—all possibilities that a great meal can be.”
Those possibilities have included introducing new specials to the menu at Majordomo when it reopened over the summer. The Sunday Smokehouse has been so popular, its run has been extended through November. The $45 menu features a selection of three proteins—a weekly rotation of chicken wings, whole chickens, pork ribs, pork shoulders, sausage, pork belly, short ribs, and beef brisket. Sides—of which you choose three—include potato salad, coleslaw, French fries, mashed potatoes, collard greens, corn pudding and more. The meal is capped off by a choice of dessert. On Mondays, the restaurant offers an extensive selection of grilled meats including Prime steaks, Wagyu fillet, bone-in rib eye and New York strip cooked over an oak-wood fire.
And if you’re in a celebratory mood with a few close members of your social pod, the newly debuted Private Lounge, which has to be reserved in advance, is a secret hideaway outfitted with an exclusive karaoke experience, a private cocktail lounge and place to watch the big game. It even has a pass-through window where you can order from Chang’s adjacent Moon Palace, which serves up burgers, chips and drinks.
Chang might think his success is an improbable story, but for those who’ve experienced the possibilities from his kitchen, it’s a story of delicious inevitability.
MAJORDOMO Palazzo, 702-607-3060. Thursday, Sunday-Monday, 5:30-10 p.m.; Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m.