A striking centerpiece sets the mood for dining and nightlife at nu sanctuary, the imaginative new restaurant and lounge opening at Town Square on Tuesday, May 4. Symbolizing a new beginning, a sprawling tree seemingly grows from cascading roots along the floor in a colorfully LED-lit divide across the room. Overhead, the branches of the tree span the ceiling as a makeshift awning.
Developed by an eclectic management team including nightlife specialist, Gino LoPinto, Mediterranean dining and lounge entrepreneur, Zaher ‘Z’ Fakih and medical professionals and entrepreneurs, Timothy Beckett, MD and Naz Wahab, MD, nu sanctuary features a myriad of creative offerings such as freshly made fruit hookah and cocktail selections, as well as innovative fare.
With design and disposition inspired by the works of Salvador Dali, the interior of nu sanctuary showcases world-class art and intricate details, all of which are anchored by the awe-inspiring tree at the heart of the venue. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors convert the patio and dining room into an indoor-outdoor space, with total climate control to keep the patio open and comfortable year-round. The shift from dining to nightlife occurs at 11 p.m. nightly with a dramatic “transition” through which the room is divided into “heaven” and “hell” in a bold flash of light and sound, accentuated by a video display on oversized screens.
A communal table in a corner of the dining room that is used for larger private parties, as well as for separate dining areas, is accentuated by an oversized interpretation of “The Last Supper.” In the piece, the disciples are replaced by the nu sanctuary logo as the central icon among various religious symbols. The symbols together at one table represent a celebration of spirituality in all its forms. Converting the vision of the founders into a tangible reality is Los Angeles-based architect and designer, Amit Apel.
Nu itself means “naked” in French, and the design is a portrayal of naked beauty, life and the afterlife. Even the furniture serves as ornate conversation pieces, transitioning from oversized chairs guests sink into for dinner into platforms revelers dance on at night. With speakers situated at approximately every square yard, the Martin London sound system, installed by FBP Systems, exude the highest level of quality, not just quantity.
“With the development of nu sanctuary, we created a concept where guests are transported into an environment that turns any meal, drink, or night out into an unforgettable experience,” said Fakih. “We want guests to keep coming back for the food, the music, the hookah, and the cocktails; all in a welcoming atmosphere that is as comfortable as it is imaginative.”
The high expectations set by the innovative atmosphere are met, if not surpassed, by the inventive creations of burgeoning chef, Brian Howard. A modern global fusion of fare, the menu is progressive, but approachable. With selections such as compressed watermelon and yellowfin tuna bites with yuzu and ginger essence, potato-filled pierogies topped with American caviar and chive crème fraîche, and “spring chicken,” made from locally-farmed chicken stuffed with tellegio cheese, wrapped in house-made prosciutto and served over a light and fresh tomato-olive salad with a sauce of Sauvignon Blanc butter, nu sanctuary offers cuisine patrons crave. Howard, who developed his craft through working with such celebrated chefs as Thomas Keller, Andre Rochats and Kerry Simon, brings his own signature style to the nu sanctuary menu. Fakih’s background in Mediterranean fare provided inspiration for Howard, as well.
“We believe that Brian Howard is the next great culinary talent,” said LoPinto. “As the executive chef of nu sanctuary, he has assembled an expansive menu that explores worldly influences without boundaries. The results are incredible – every selection on our menu is excellent; and unlike anything you’ll find at any other restaurant.”
Any great menu begins with the ingredients, and the menu at nu sanctuary features selections made from the finest meats, fruits and vegetables, many of which are locally grown and farmed to ensure the highest level of quality and freshness. Social responsibility is also prevalent through the use of sustainable seafood and other ingredients, plus nu sanctuary bottles their own water.
Howard expanded his culinary talents to assist Fakih with the development of the hookah menu, which is the first in Las Vegas to use fresh fruit in form and presentation. The cocktail menu showcases the same emphasis on fresh ingredients and creativity, and blends ingredients to craft new twists on classic cocktails with results that are both refreshing and delicious.
LoPinto has always had a heart for house music, and was one of the first in the city to bring internationally-known house DJs and performers to the Las Vegas nightlife scene. The nights at nu sanctuary, which continually shift promotions from one weekday to the next, often showcase LoPinto’s love for great house music. LoPinto has appointed DJ Shoe, the only American DJ for the world-famous Buddha Bar, as music director.
Nu management group is comprised of LoPinto, a pioneer of the Las Vegas nightlife scene with nearly 25 years of experience; Fakih, a conceptual artist, spiritual visionary and master of hookah; Beckett and Wahab, two medical entrepreneurs who bring valuable business operations experience and savvy from years of operating their own medical practices; and award-winning celebrity chef Kerry Simon, who serves as a food and beverage consultant. Nu sanctuary at Town Square is the first of other planned ventures for nu management group.
Located at Town Square across from Rave Motion Pictures, nu sanctuary is open daily for lunch, dinner and late-night starting at 11 a.m.