With the city continuing to reopen quickly, Las Vegas has moved forward significantly with restaurant and property openings, shows and all kinds of festivities. A highly-anticipated opening will be coming to the Grand Canal Shoppes inside The Venetian® Resort Las Vegas later in 2022 with the arrival of Villa Azur.
The restaurant recently announced its executive chef, Sani Hebaj. “I look forward to being a part of Villa Azur’s opening in Las Vegas and putting my spin on the French-Mediterranean cuisine it’s known for,” said Chef Hebaj in a statement to the press. “The food and the vibrant atmosphere will make the restaurant a perfect destination for guests to celebrate special occasions or just a night out on the town.”
Chef Hebaj brings plentiful experience to the table (no pun intended) with an education at the California Culinary Academy and previous openings at Dabble and The Beast by Todd English. We talked with Chef Hebaj about the restaurant, his culinary experiences and what diners will find on the menu.
Inside the Villa Azur Menu
WT: What can diners expect from Villa Azur?
Hebaj: Diners can expect the same exquisite culinary experience with a one-of-a-kind party vibe and fabulous service that you come to know as Villa Azur. It is born out of a passion for exquisite food, expertise in the hospitality industry and a fondness for nightlife.
WT: Can you tell us about your process of building the menu?
Hebaj: I always approach the menu with the same question, “What does the guest want to eat?” In every restaurant, you go to, that changes. Guests come to a sushi restaurant because they are looking for the freshest fish. Guests come to Villa Azur for a Mediterranean experience born out of the south of France with a twist. We go through the idea of what is going to be fun and invite the guest back. We want to stand out from everyone else and do our own thing while keeping up with what is happening. We want to have the wow factor since you see the dish until you taste it.
WT: You have extensive experience from some fantastic restaurants. How do you think those experiences influence your technique and menu curation?
Hebaj: As I have worked my way through the kitchens, I have seen what pleases the guests most and what works well in kitchens. Throughout all my years, I feel like using what is the freshest and best in the season has always been what turns out to be the most flavorful. Utilizing those ingredients with the cooking styles to enhance the flavors and trying to offer items that appeal to different palates is really important to developing any menu.
WT: Can you tell us about some of the menu items?
Hebaj: We will have small plates to start, such as grilled octopus and crudos; larger sharable items like a Seafood Tower with lobster and king crab, oysters on the half shell, caviar and blinis, truffle burrata; One-of-a-kind table side pasta with cognac; Entrees such as a 40oz Tomahawk or a Pettit Filet as well as Whole Salt-Crusted Fish finished table-side and Truffle Ravioli. For sweets, one-of-a-kind desserts such as Nutella mousse, Filo Dulce de Leche with ice cream (all desserts are very generous size servings).
WT: What are your favorite items on the menu?
Hebaj: I really love the Salt Crusted Fish, Lemon Caviar Pasta, Tuna Crispy and New York Wagyu served with sweet potato purée, Just to name a few.