Los Angeles’ Toca Madera is coming soon to the Las Vegas Strip.
Guests of the new 200-plus seat restaurant, lounge and speakeasy — tucked between Aria casino-resort and The Shops at Crystals — will find themselves enveloped in a bird’s nest-like space, ushered through a secret VIP corridor, presented flights of Kobe and surrounded by performers such as fire artists.
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Noble 33 hospitality co-owners Tosh Berman and Mikey Tanha — who are the entrepreneurs behind Toca Madera in L.A. on West 3rd Street and in Scottsdale, Italian restaurant Sparrow in downtown L.A. and Casa Madera in Toronto — say the third Toca Madera location takes the original dining concept and turns it up to an 11 with a modern Mexican steakhouse vibe.
“We’re rooted in Mexican flavors but that doesn’t make us just a Mexican restaurant,” Tanha says.
Toca Madera Las Vegas will debut a new menu befitting of the city of opulence — think bites of buttery wagyu and piles of caviar on everything. The elevated steak program includes premium Australian and Japanese beef with wagyu, kobe and prime options ranging from 2 ounces to 40 ounces. The Tomahawk + Bone Marrow is served flaming and floating over salsa verde, presented and sliced by chef tableside, and the Kobe Flight of 3 with Japanese A5, Olive Kobe, and Japanese A5 “True” Kobe are presented on a sizzling Japanese stone.
Popular Toca Madera offerings such as Sashimi Mexicano with ahi tuna, cucumber, avocado, pomegranate, chile de árbol, and leche de tigre, will be on the menu along with brand-new dishes created by Noble 33 corporate executive chef AJ McCloud. New dishes include A5 Wagyu Tacos and Wagyu Enchiladas, and a Truffle Burger with a wagyu beef blend, wagyu short rib, truffle gouda, caramelized mushrooms and black truffle.
The farm-to-glass mixology program, led by beverage director Carla Lorenzo, will include a showstopper Caviar Martini with Castelvetrano infused gin, olive oil, washed Dolin dry vermouth, orange bitter and fennel, served with Caviar, edible gold, fennel scented air.
“Las Vegas is an important market for us. If we want Noble 33 to be a global leader, we must have an impactful presence and Vegas is the epicenter of hospitality and the entertainment world,” says Tanha. “This location center Strip not only gives us a lot of branding but a lot of foot traffic. But it’s not inside of the resort or inside the mall. It’s very easily accessible.”
Noble 33 doesn’t just act as restaurant operator — Berman says they concept and create their projects from A to Z thanks to their in-house design firm Monochrome.
“We curate and develop everything that you hear, touch, feel and see. Everything is custom and bespoke. We create all the furniture. We design all the light fixtures. We develop all the music,” Berman says.
During an exclusive first-look walk through for The Hollywood Reporter of the $10 million space, Tanha revealed “The Bird’s Nest,” a photo-worthy art piece that serves as the entry point, which features sinewy branches and a canopy of lush green trees perched over a reflecting pond.
The locker room is where VIPs store some of their most prized objects for the public to ogle. “We started this in Scottsdale, some of our athletes have signed football basketballs or our investors have their favorite bottle of tequila. It’s a cool, personalized experience for VIPs,” Tanha says.
Guests are then led into the lounge, where they can have a drink and hang out or order the full menu. To capitalize on an energetic vibe, everyone will pass through the lounge at some point with many opting to stay before or after dinner. In the lounge, positioned above the DJ booth, skulls adorn the wall.
Toca Madera’s touches include undulating custom woodwork forming a skeletal pathway between the lounge and main room — then bridging over the dining space, earth-toned velvet upholstery, intimate lighting, and a biophilic design with several trees and other live green touches throughout. The open kitchen and dramatic U-shaped bar take the starring roles in both the restaurant and lounge respectively.
Pay close attention to the bespoke sonic journey that fills Toca Madera’s layered atmosphere, curated by Dan Whitfield, Noble 33’s vice president of marketing, a blend of DJs and live musicians playing deep, melodic, and Afro-Latin house music.
“The music moves throughout the space,” Berman says.
Down a long corridor, there’s the speakeasy, which can serve as an extension of the dining space, an after-hours lounge or a private area for special events. “It’s a secret room, where you can have your own party,” Tanha says.
Berman and Tanha, who became fast friends after meeting in a Las Vegas nightclub in the 2000s, feel this location represents a coming of age for the brand and their partnership.
Five years ago, Tanha, with a background in finance, partnered up with Berman, who helmed some of the hottest nightclubs in Southern California, Arizona and Mexico.
“At some point, you grow out of that scene and you have to start evolving the way you look at hospitality. While I loved certain elements of nightlife, the late nights and the overconsumption of alcohol and all the things that go along with it were becoming elements of my past,” Berman says.
Celebrities who’ve dined at Toca Madera in Los Angeles include Brad Pitt, Channing Tatum, Michael B. Jordan and Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra.
“Toca Madera started as a bar with a food component and it evolved into a culinary-driven brand. We’re 85 percent organic. We bring in all of our proteins from the best butchers and sources around the world, including joining the Japanese Kobe Federation,” says Berman. “While we have a DJ and theatrics and all those things, at the end of the day, we’re not a nightclub. But we can be a nightlife alternative for a more sophisticated and older demographic as we want the restaurant to be fun, engaging and to be exciting for people.”
2022 openings will include Casa Madera West Hollywood (inside the Mondrian Hotel) and Sparrow Italia in Mayfair, London. In 2023, Noble 33 will continue its expansion with outposts in New York, Houston, and Miami. Berman says the Miami location is in Brickell with a three-story ground up build out planned.
Toca Madera Las Vegas will be open seven days a week, from 4pm to 12am Sunday through Wednesday, and 4pm – 1am Thursday through Saturday.