Updating Downtown’s Most Anticipated Restaurants

Three Downtown restaurants—Turmeric Flavors of India, Atomic Kitchen and Sparrow + Wolf—were all announced more than a year ago. One is now open, one is in limbo and the other is moving … elsewhere. Here is the latest update on Downtown’s most anticipated restaurants, starting with the not-so-good news.  

Brian Howard, former executive chef at Comme Ça in the Cosmopolitan, says he is relocating his restaurant Sparrow + Wolf (previously the Huntsman) from its intended 1010 N. Main Street location to somewhere other than Downtown. The characteristically tight-lipped chef is not ready to share the new location just yet. Howard says he loves the Arts District but could not come to an agreement with landlord. 

This is the second time Howard has relocated his restaurant. After announcing his the whole-animal and charcuterie concept Harvest & Larder in early 2015, Howard was forced to move due to an asbestos issue.

“There are certain parts [of the journey] that are frustrating, but I learned so much over the past 18 months,” he says. “[The concept] has evolved so much since Harvest & Larder; it’s more mature.” And to Howard, being unwavering in his vision is worth the wait. “I’m super determined,” he says, “and I’m not going to settle just to open.”

According to the chef, Sparrow + Wolf represents the two sides of himself as well as the Old-World-meets-New-World concept of the restaurant that will use seasonal and local ingredients and serve some wood-fired items (there will still be charcuterie, too). “It’s a good technique and cooking from the heart,” he says. Las Vegas will get a sample of what it’s been waiting for at the Downtown Brew Festival on October 22.

Front patio space of Atomic Kitchen

On East Fremont, the Atomic Kitchen restaurant next to Atomic Liquors at 927 Fremont St. has been a long time coming. Owner Lance Johns (who also co-owns the neighboring bar) says construction is set to finish the first week of November, but that the neighboring Fremont 9 apartments created a power issue so they won’t be able to open until it’s fixed. “Its a hurry-up-and-wait game,” Johns says. As of now, he is not sure when the  3,250-square-foot casual restaurant will open.

Of the menu, Johns says it will be wide-ranging: “There is something for everybody, [from] a twist on bar food to fine dining.” Rose Signor of Atomic Liquors is leading the beverage program, but Johns says that while Atomic Kitchen will not have the same items as its neighbor, there will still be a selection of craft beers and specialty cocktails.

The restaurant and bar seats about 100 guests with two separate patios—one for dining and the other connected to the bar by large garage doors. The building previously served as an auto garage from 1946 on, and even had a cameo in the movie Casino. Some of the original components remain such as the garage windows that separate the kitchen from the dining area.  

Bottom floor of Turmeric

Bottom floor of Turmeric

While Atomic Kitchen plays the waiting game, Turmeric Flavors of India at 700 E. Fremont Street celebrated its soft-opening on October 14 although the menu and design remain a work in progress.

Co-owner Rajesh Patel says the plan is to keep the menu as fresh as possible. The new corner spot serves individual plates rather than the cuisine’s traditional family-style dishes. The menu consists of appetizers, main courses and sides such as spinach dumplings, lamb and chicken korma. Prices range from $8-$28 on the current menu. Patel says he wanted to differentiate Turmeric from other Indian restaurants around town.

Downstairs, dining tables and a bar dominate, and open onto the corner by way of large garage-door-style windows. Upstairs, a rooftop patio offers a central bar and multiple seating options that will have a “sexy Kama Sutra vibe” with murals, festival lighting and some bench-style seating—all of which are still in the works. For now, hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch, 5-11 p.m. for dinner, and possibly later on the weekends.

Vegas Seven