The James Beard Award Best Chef: Southwest semifinalist returns to the Strip and partners with hospitality veteran
James Beard Best Award Chef: Southwest semifinalist Nicole Brisson will open two restaurants, Brezza and Bar Zazu, at Resorts World Las Vegas, in partnership with industry veteran Jason Rocheleau leading business operations and hospitality for the culinary ventures.
Opening this summer for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, Brezza will serve upscale and modern coastal Italian fare that embraces the traditions of Italy, offering handmade pastas, premier seafood and other premium beef cuts. Derived from the Italian word for “breeze,” Brezza is inspired by the inviting and uplifting Italian way of life, serving deliberately
sustainable product with ceremony and meant to be enjoyed at a lingering, leisurely pace. The beverage program will pay homage to Italy’s vast produce selections and unique creations with Negroni variations, classic amari and strong focus on Italy’s historic wine region. The multidimensional 300-seat space will feature a bar/lounge, speakeasy private dining room and spacious patio overlooking the Las Vegas Strip.
With 140 seats, Bar Zazu will bring alive the spirit and flavors of Europe by showcasing its regional diversity through hot and cold tapas, cheese and charcuterie and sweet and savory pastries. Wines from around the world served by the glass, bottle and flights, along with beer and cocktails from different regions of Europe, encourage exploration. With a lively social dining experience at the forefront, Bar Zazu will also have health and wellness in mind.
“Returning to the Las Vegas Strip feels like I am returning to my home. I really feel this is an environment that fuels my creativity and where I thrive,” said Brisson. “The menu at Brezza will feature items that I simply love to cook, dishes I learned during my travels in Italy and other signatures through the years. These include handmade pastas and sustainable seafood in the form of crudos and whole fish. A key feature of our kitchen will be our wood-fired grill. The utilization of white oak will impart a beautiful flavor to our selections of meats and the unique fish varieties we’ll source. Bar Zazu will be more of a social, shared experience with
cutting-edge cuisine. I’m excited to step out of my box and work with our Chef de Cuisine to push the limits.”
“Chef Nicole is the perfect partner for these projects,” said Rocheleau, managing partner and vice president. “Her experience with Italian cuisine is one of the best in the industry. Chef is a wealth of culinary knowledge and her commitment to quality sets her apart. When it comes to Vegas, oftentimes more is more, so Brezza is meant to serve as a retreat. It’s designed for tourists and locals alike, so you can slow down and savor our curated offerings. Bar Zazu’s fun, eclectic vibe is the perfect space to experience a new take on tapas and to be immersed in the deco forward design.”
No stranger to the Las Vegas culinary scene, Chef Brisson opened Wynn Las Vegas before moving across the street, first as chef di cucina at OTTO Enoteca at The Venetian, then executive chef at Carnevino at The Palazzo, managing the 5,000-square-foot dry-aging facility. In 2016, she took the helm as culinary director of Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group’s Las Vegas operations. She was named the first female executive chef of an Eataly in the U.S., when she opened their first Vegas location at Park MGM. In 2019, she opened Locale Italian Kitchen, winning multiple “best of” awards, being named one of Vegas Inc’s 40 under 40 and a semifinalist for James Beard Best Chef: Southwest. Most recently, she collaborated with Chef Giovanni Mauro at Monzu Italian Oven + Bar during their expansion, as well as developed multiple concepts with Chefs Martin Heierling and Dario Cecchini for sbe’s subsidiary C3 (Creating Culinary Communities). She has served on Three Square’s Culinary Board since March 2020 and is a founding board member of the Vegas chapter of Slow Food USA, whose mission is to create dramatic and lasting change in the food system and reconnect Americans with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our food.