Chef Chat, Part 1: Carlos Rodriguez of Vic & Anthony's

As we entered Tilman Fertitta's venerable mansion, Vic & Anthony's, we were greeted by his stalwart concept chef, Carlos Rodriquez. He told us about the ins and outs of this dynasty's crown jewel.

Eating Our Words: How long have you been with Vic & Anthony's?

Carlos Rodriguez: Since the very beginning. We began this venture eight years ago, and I was hired to help design the benchmark Landry's concept from the start (hence the title "concept chef"). Tillman put his father and uncle's name on the door and gave Tim (Director of Operations) and me the honor of making sure they were proud to be there. We spare no expense here, and that's orders from the top. We source the highest quality seafood and steaks and are expected to. Tillman told me firsthand, "Spare no expense. Make my father proud." I hope I have done just that.

EOW: Vic's has two kitchens, one upstairs and one downstairs. How do you manage operating both at the same time?

CR: They both run almost every day. I have complete trust and faith in our chain of command, starting with my sous chefs. I run expo, or continuous service, on both floors, and it is always a good workout. We don't believe in hotboxes, so even for catered events we make everything fresh. The one time I actually used a hotbox it caught on fire and set off the sprinkler systems. That was a message from God: "Carlos, no more hotboxes." I listen to signs like that.

EOW: What sort of events does Vic & Anthony's have space for?

CR: We don't look at size. A family of ten is welcome to call us to reserve a private cellar room for a graduation party if they like. Our goal with our catering services is to make sure every person that is our guest receives the same special attention we pay our visitors in our main dining facility. We call it recreating the "experience."

EOW: Is there a good time for first-timers to come to Vic & Anthony's?

CR: I think a great introduction for the everyday family would be Friday lunch and dinner, where we offer our signature burger to enjoy. A little less costly than the imported Australian lobster tails, I might add.

EOW: Wow, imported lobster tails? What else can one expect from your food service?

CR: Signature Gulf Coast cuisine, live Maine lobsters, King Crab, my personal maple-glazed quails and, of course, a mean steak.

Check back tomorrow as we find out more about Carlos Rodriguez and ask him about the Vic & Anthony's in Las Vegas.

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