20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
This crazy restaurant is less than a year old and is already garnering some high level attention. They sell out almost immediately and with 14 seats each night (1 seating), you can see why so many want to get in on the event.
The restaurant is found inside Lost Spirits Distillery, an outstanding off-strip attraction in Las Vegas with a creepy circus vibe throughout. You wander to 4 different stages watching vaudeville, magic, dance, circus and burlesque acts happening so close you can touch them. It's a terrific experience and one I highly recommend whether you dine here or not. (You can pair a ticket with your dinner. And should.)
The restaurant is so completely on brand - from the insane boozyness of the meal (they warn you about this ahead of time), the creepy dining room and even the dishes themselves. Bravo for a terrific marriage of experiences. It couldn't be done better.
20,000 Leagues is absolutely worth coming to. It's a unique and insanely fun experience. The food is excellent, though not as excellent as it pretends to be. That said, their signature octopus dish is insanely great as is the the "eggs on egg in a nest inside an egg". Creative, inventive and delicious. Top notch for sure! The snail dish also stood out as unique and delicious.
The entire meal is bathed in over-the-top emotion and fabricated drama. For me, it took you "out" of the immersion and made you feel like you were watching giddy young ones giggling that they are doing this to you. Like when someone over-insists that it's all about YOU, you realize that it's actually about THEM. The greater the dramatic emotion ladled over each course, the more I felt that I was there for HER, rather than the experience was offered for ME.
The meal opens with a sermon (no other way to refer to it) the chef gives on how this is her dream, and we're allowing her to live her dream. Dishes were introduced with similar emotion. One actual introduction: "The song we play during this dish makes me feel I'm below the water fighting to find the surface. Allow it to be your inspiration for fighting to find your way to your dreams..." (I think maybe I'll just try to enjoy the dish, if that's OK.)
This energy was pervasive, including each dish delivery AND clearing being punctuated by the drill sergeant screams from the kitchen: "ARMY FORMATION!!!!!" "YES, CHEF!!!!"
I need to say that Chef Taylor Persh is earnest and talented. She graciously brought her staff out to thank them for their service. She spent time with the group after the dinner answering questions in meaningful and engaging ways. Her commitment to the experience is full-on, and you feel every inch of it. I mean, she built the dining table herself. She's all in.
So perhaps my scoffing above can be chalked up to being 50 years old and a bit fuddy-duddy-ish. Perhaps my recent visit to Alchemist influenced my "scale" for immersive dining - and who can achieve THAT perfection? Whatever the reason, it should not detract from the fact that this is a unique and creative experience with excellent food. Completely worth a visit if you can get in. My guess is that they will be sold out for many years to come.