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It's The Norm
October 18-24, 2001 ARCHIVES
"It's The Norm" - Recent Entertainment Events in Las Vegas


by Norm Johnson
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Went to a party the other evening to celebrate the opening of a new restaurant inside the Paris of Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. And what a restaurant!

It is definitely different and the name itself tells you something is unique inside. "Ortanique's" takes its name from a delicate hybrid, a combination of an orange and a tangerine found only in Jamaica. Born from the culinary imagination of Executive Chef and co-creator Cindy Hutson, Ortanique's "Cuisine of the Sun" puts an international spin on traditional Caribbean cuisine to create a style that is uniquely its own.

The original restaurant is located in Miami's upscale neighborhood of Coral Gables, Florida. The 120-seat restaurant was the second place to feature the new and very special cuisine created by Ms. Hutson. Her other successful and first venture was "Norma's on the Beach," which opened in 1994 and won all types of awards from the very first year, including the coveted Five-Star Diamond Award, bestowed upon restaurants for providing a total dining experience.

The Paris restaurant, located in the walkway between its sister hotel, Bally's, seats 180-diners in very comfortable surroundings. Beautiful drapes cover the walls and the tables are spaced nicely so as to allow privacy while dining. The bar is located in the front section of the room adjacent to the entertainment and dancing section.

"We like to think of "Cuisine of the Sun" as an eclectic fusion of different nations and their natural bounties," Hutson said, who first teamed up with co-creator Delius Shirley in 1994 when they opened Norma's in Florida. "We're delighted to bring Ortanique's cuisine to what has become one of the most dynamic dining cities in the country."

Diners are treated to a wide range of menu choices, from appetizers including Ceviches, Curried Crab Cakes (which my partner loved) and Jerk Foie Gras, to wonderful island salads such as Tropical Mango and Spicy Fried Calamari. Some of the main courses include Caribbean Bouillabaisse, Pan Sauteed Bahamian Black Grouper with Ortanique Orange Liqueur Sauce and a Jerk Double Pork Chop with Guava Sauce (which was absolutely out of sight).

This newest edition to the Las Vegas dining experience is open daily for dinner only, Sunday through Tuesday from 5:30 to 10:30 pm., Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 11 pm. Ortanique also offers live music on Wednesday and Thursday from 9 pm., to 1 am. and Friday-Saturday from 11 pm., until 2 am. Reservations are strongly suggested.

Debbie Reynolds, the unstoppable one, opened last night in The Orleans Showroom and will be singing, dancing and doing her impersonations through this Sunday. This is a lady that just keeps going and going and going. And to be perfectly honest with you every day she ages its like fine wine she just gets better. One cannot go wrong paying for a ticket to one of her shows.

The Rio will be a busy place these next few weeks what with the return of Penn & Teller to the 1,500-seat Samba Theatre with performances nightly at 9 pm. The 2001 Magicians of the Year in Las Vegas open Oct 25 through Nov. 11. The marvelous Scintas continue to bring their very special brand of entertainment in the Copacabana Showroom nightly Friday through Tuesday. We enjoyed their act when they were at the Hilton and now in this much roomier showroom they are definitely top drawer. The Rio has booked the fantastic Earl Turner into the room to do his special style of entertaining when The Scintas are taking a rest on Wednesday and Thursday. All and all a busy place!

That's it. I'm outa here!

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