Wine on the Water - A European Delight
Somewhere along the line, France invaded the desert southwest and created a culinary lakeside paradise. It was named, appropriately as it turned out, after the Roman god of wine and ecstasy. Desert Shores residents know this place well, but it's a welcome and exciting surprise to Las Vegas visitors.
Please look through the tabs that follow to tour this place. It is Marché Bacchus, a wine shop and restaurant nonpareil.
A Little History
In 1999, an unlikely couple visiting Las Vegas came upon Desert Shores, and were amazed to find such a spectacular place with four lakes in the northwest part of the valley. They also found a beautiful commercial center growing and taking shape right on the widest part of the largest lake, next to the Desert Shores Community Center. They realized that this would be an incredible location for a wine shop and wine tasting, plus some French cuisine. It already looked so European.
That couple was Gregoire and Agathe Vergé and, as luck would have it in creating a French wine-centric hideaway, they are from Burgundy, France. They started small and built it slowly as residents watched with pleasure. They created a charm that matched their Bourgogne roots, assembling wines and French dishes that attracted a loyal following.
Two of their most loyal followers were Jeff and Rhonda Wyatt, of Diamond Bay in Desert Shores. As they note on their website, "We felt so fortunate to have this gem in our neighborhood and would escape here several times a week to browse the wine bins, dine on the beautiful lake and just relax in a European setting."
When the Vergés needed to tend to affairs across the pond in 2007, the Wyatts "knew we wanted to turn the passion we had for this special place into our life's work". They bought the restaurant, and bring their own deep experience in wine and French cuisine from their home town of New Orleans.
The remainder of the tabs show what the Wyatts have created from the Verges' foundation, and you won't want to miss it.
The Wine Market
Unlike your average first-class European Bistro on a lake, the first thing you see when you walk into Marché Bacchus is its spacious wine shop, beautifully styled with European architecture and a welcoming, casual atmosphere.
The market is an institution that has grown and matured over time, benefiting from the expertise of its European and American roots. It has over 950 labels from the Old World, New World ... and some from Really New Worlds of winemaking. It's a wonderful place to browse and/or purchase favorite or unique wines even if you're not going to eat at Marché that day.
But remember this great "kicker" if you DO eat at Marché. You may buy wine at the shop at standard retail prices, and bring it with you to eat fantastic food on the lake with only a $10 corkage fee. As you know, when you buy a bottle of wine at a typical restaurant, there might well be over 200% markup ... and no lake, even if you get great food!
This speaks not only to the great bargain embodied in a wine-accompanied meal at Marché Bacchus, but also to its casual, relaxed spirit. If you'd like another bottle or to try something different during your meal, you can just leave the table, go to the shop, select a label and go back to the lake. Naturally, your waiter or one of the knowledgeable folks in the shop can help you pick if you prefer. If you come to Marché very often, you don't need your own wine cellar. (Think of the savings!)
The Central Dining Room
When you pass through the market and take a right, you come to the beautiful indoor dining room with full views to Lake Jacqueline. True to its roots, this romantic venue has European ambience, warm lighting created by old-world sconces and a magnificent chandelier, and is accented by (of course) unique and fascinating wine-cork art.
Between courses of savoring your meal here, you can stroll out to the lake's edge, back to the wine shop or, more likely, just drink in these beautiful surroundings as you would your chosen vintage.
Lakeside Terrace Dining
Naturally the coup de grâce, if we may borrow (and slightly misuse) a French term, is dining by the lake.
A boat's-eye view gives you an idea of the incomparable ambience in the Lakeside dining area. So far, sea-based pirate attacks to steal food have been rare.
At Marché Bacchus, lakeside seating meanders around curves, with boulders and plants mingling with the tables.
Although outdoors, the area is protected from the sun and climate-controlled with misters or fireplaces and heaters, depending what this aquatic setting demands that day or night.
In cooler weather (uncommon but it happens), transparent screens protect diners while still yielding a full-on view of the lake and its waterfowl, fish, turtles ... and the occasional indigenous boater jealous of what you're eating.
Ah, winter in Desert Shores ... come to Marché to suffer the elements in style.
And on the more-common perfect day or night, it's like being on the French Riviera. Nice, oui? (Sadly, some puns are simply unavoidable.)
La Cuisine du Marché
As we've seen, we can't eat at Marché Bacchus without finding a beautiful table with a view. And we've found the superb wine market with its great prices, together with the chance to choose a wine to enjoy with dinner for only that amazing $10 corkage fee.
The only thing we haven't covered is the food. And it's wonderful. And as luck would have it, it's French. More specifically, it's authentic "French cuisine with contemporary and New Orleans influences", reflecting the unique combination brought to the table by its current and former owners. As you'll see browsing the menus, this lakeside retreat offers something for everyone, focusing on meat and seafood dishes. Vegetarians won't be disappointed, as the chef will make something on the spot especially for them. And each day, there is a different (and special!) special.
This feast is assembled by none other than Executive Chef Dave Middleton, shown below in his natural habitat at Marché:
Dave has risen to fame in Las Vegas, having opened Scarpetta at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas as the executive sous chef. Prior to that, he served as chef d’Tourant at the former Alex at Wynn Las Vegas and sous chef at David Burke (Venetian), working alongside James Beard Award-winning Chefs Alex Stratta and David Burke. As noted on the Marché Bacchus website, Dave was hand-picked for this position by Alex Stratta, who serves as consulting chef for the restaurant's food and wine programs.
To get an even better feel for the quality at Marché Bacchus, please take a look at the Menus and Awards in the next two tabs. With that kind of acclaim, this combination wine shop and superior French restaurant on spectacular Lake Jacqueline in Desert Shores is something residents and guests alike must visit over and over again.
The Menus of Marché
Check the links below to browse Marché's menus from within their website.
One additional note: The wine list is the wine shop, which is hard to beat. But you also can buy over 40 wines by the glass, beer, sake or a wide variety of very cold or piping hot non-alcoholic beverages.
Awards and Articles
Over the years, Marché Bacchus has become a celebrated part of Las Vegas culture. It's the hideaway where the local oenophiles and gourmands in town want to go, and to show off to their out-of-town guests.
The awards and local and national articles referenced below are a testament to that reputation. It's also important to notice that nearly every article raves about its lakeside location, which is certainly a significant part of its mystique. Marché Bacchus and Desert Shores are all the stronger for what each brings to the table.
The articles referenced below show up in "lightbox" form when you click each link. Close the box, and you're magically right back here. Note that some of the files are fairly large, so it may take some time for a few of the lightboxes to load when clicked.
|Las Vegas Review-Journal||Best of 2012: Restaurant with a View; Editor's Pick||Best of 2012|
|Las Vegas Review-Journal||Best of 2010: French Restaurant; Reader's and Editor's Pick||Best of 2010|
|Las Vegas Review-Journal||Top 10 Las Vegas Restaurants||Top 10 Restaurants|
|Las Vegas Review-Journal||50 Essential Las Vegas Restaurants||50 Essential Restaurants|
|Desert Companion||Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year||Neighborhood Retaurant|
|VegasMagazine.com||Restaurant is a French bistro, wine bar and shop, all rolled into one on a lake||Vegas Magazine|
|Food and Wine (National)||The Magazine chose three wine shop stars nationwide: one each in Las Vegas, New Orleans and Seattle. Marché Bacchus is their LV pick!||Food and Wine|
|Value in Vegas, Max Jacobson||Restaurants Worth the Money||Value in Vegas|
|The Tasting Panel||Vegas, Wine and Value||The Tasting Panel|
|EatingLV.com||Decadent, Diabolical and Delicious: Wine Prices at Marché Bacchus are Amazing||EatingLV.com|
|What's On Magazine||Hidden Treasure on a Las Vegas Lake||What's On|
|Las Vegas City Life||New Owners make Marché Bacchus the first restaurant to merit two articles in this publication; raise the bar even higher||Las Vegas City Life|
|Las Vegas Review-Journal: Norm||Local gossip columnist tells Las Vegas residents where to find the coolest stuff||Norm|
|New York Times||Suburban Las Vegas Top-Notch Dining Options||New York Times|
|Summerlin Magazine||"Notable for its idyllic location overlooking a lake in Desert Shores..."||Summerlin|
|JohnMariani.com||"There are few things more pleasant in the Vegas Valley than sipping wine on the patio of Marché Bacchus on a weekend afternoon..."||John Mariani|
|Las Vegas Weekly||Las Vegas' Best Wine Shop||Las Vegas Weekly|
|Marche Bacchus||News Release re: Chef Alex Stratta Consulting Relationship||Alex Stratta|
One of the cool things about living in Desert Shores is not only the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of its lakes, but also to hear the soft sounds of light jazz or blues wafting across the water. Much of the time, those sounds belong to the entertainment on the lakeside terrace at Marché Bacchus.
The bistro offers live music four nights per week, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. At this writing, here's the lineup from Marché's website:
For the most recent information, click on the "Events" menu item at www.marchebacchus.com.
Free Wine Tastings
Another fine form of free entertainment are the wine tastings at Marché Bacchus every Saturday from 11:30AM to 1:30PM. You'll learn about the wines you taste and receive tasting notes for each. It's a perfect thing to do for a Saturday lunch, or just on its own. The restaurant and its atmosphere welcome "newbies", so start to learn about wine (or expand your already-overwhelming knowledge) with these fun events on the lake.
The Perfect Mix
So, mentally add all this to the existing mix. The lake. The wine. The food. The wine shop. The value. Great conversation and a breathtaking view. And at night, live entertainment. It's a perfect mix for a perfect evening in a perfect place.
If you've gone through the tabs, you understand why Marché Bacchus is such an asset to Desert Shores (and yet another truly unique reason to live in the community).
Remember, too, that the restaurant caters parties, events and weddings on the lake, indoors or at your location. It can handle audiovisual needs, sit-down events, buffets and cocktail receptions. (See the "Menus" tab above to look at some of the possibilities.)
To contact Marché Bacchus or make reservations, please call, email or go to their website: