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The soup dumplings that Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold once referred to as “small miracles” will be available at Aria on Oct. 19. That’s the official opening date for Taiwanese dumpling and noodle chain Din Tai Fung’s first Las Vegas outpost, where it will serve the signature xiao long bao that Gold praised, alongside dozens of other dumplings, buns, noodles and rice dishes.
Announced for Las Vegas in November, the chain operates more than 170 locations in 13 countries, including 12 in California, Washington and Oregon. While COVID-19 may have complicated the expansion into Las Vegas, Din Tai Fung Vice President Aaron Yang says “there was never any doubt that we would open.”
The restaurant, which will employ about 120 people, is taking the space of the former Aria Cafe. The large, sprawling space will seat 212 people when it opens, even after adjusting for the limited capacity and social distancing requirements that restaurants currently must follow. It features a curving glass wall overlooking Aria’s North Valet (and the Nancy Rubins sculpture Big Edge), as well as a show kitchen where guests entering the dining room will be able to see the chefs pulling noodles and assembling dumplings.
Chen-Wei Chan, a veteran of Wazuzu, Red 8 and Hakkasan Group, will helm the kitchen. While the food in Las Vegas isn’t expected to vary much from what customers know from other locations (at least at first), Yang says they are “working closely with the Aria team to come up with a world-class cocktail program that will be in line with menus in Vegas.” That program will include about a half-dozen signature cocktails, as well as beer and wine, to start.
Once it debuts, Din Tai Fung will be open from 4-11 p.m. nightly for dinner, with meals expected to run $35 to $50 per person, with beverages.
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