For years, the frontier of Las Vegas dining was exclusively populated by enterprising male chefs. Border Grill at Mandalay Bay was one of the first women-led operations, helmed by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. Since then, restaurants such as Giada at The Cromwell and Chica at The Venetian have also made their mark. Now Bricia Lopez, of LA’s lauded Guelaguetza, brings a new concept to Park MGM with Mama Rabbit Mezcal +Tequila Bar.
Lopez has long been heralded as a mezcal messiah of sorts, bringing this lesser-known Mexican agave-distilled alcohol to the masses. The niche beverage has been gaining popularity and showing up on menus outside of Mexican bars and restaurants, including at places like Velveteen Rabbit and The Laundry Room. But Mama Rabbit promises to take things to the next level by offering the largest selection of agave-based spirits in Las Vegas.
If you’re not quite ready to slowly sip unadorned mezcal, as the purists recommend, cocktails at Mama Rabbit will ease you into savoring its bold flavors. The Salt of the Earth cocktail is a complex and layered choice with ingredients such as Amontillado sherry, Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, and Oaxacan cacao. Or try Gusano’s Delight, a refreshing mix featuring a familiar combination of avocado, cilantro and fresh lime. If sweet is more to your taste, the Palomita cocktail is a fruity fantasy with pomegranate, hibiscus and fresh grapefruit. Finally, if you’re craving a unique experience that doesn’t involve mezcal, the Mama Rabbit Margarita Service showcases the classic cocktail prepared tableside with quality ingredients (prices for the service start at $35 and climb to $325).
At this bar, the indulgence will not be limited to alcoholic beverages. The Botanas menu has a reasonably priced assortment of savory snacks. Munch on chips with a trio of salsas varying in color, texture, and flavor. Crunch on the crispy foundation in the citrus-laden Ceviche Tostada. Other expected items like Mama’s Guacamole, Street Quesadilla and Carne Asada Taco round out the menu and still leave room for a Churro or Paleta dessert.
But you’re not visiting a bar on the Strip for the drinks and snacks alone – there’s a certain expectation that ambiance will play a large role as well. Just look at The Chandelier at the Cosmopolitan. In this respect, Mama Rabbit doesn’t disappoint, and manages to bring a different atmosphere that at once stands out from, but still embraces, the Vegas vibe. The space is divided into a few different areas. There’s the bottle service tables around the perimeter, a floor-to-ceiling double-sided bar in the center, and casino table games including roulette (in case you get bored just drinking).
With a color scheme that can only be described as “all the colors, but warm,” a dizzying variety of textures (from the flowers in the rabbit head sign to the intricate brickwork surrounding the fireplace centerpiece) and the Okuda geometrical mural and slot machine sculptures, it might seem like too much. But in true Vegas fashion, too much feels just right.