- Dan Coughlin’s 8 East is set to open October 28, the same day Circa will become operational.
- The renowned chef said the hotel decided to let him open the eatery two months ahead of schedule, which is okay with him.
- The 8 East menu is a combination of Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean influences.
- Most small dishes would cost $9-12, while diners will spend between $20 and $40 per head.
Local chef Dan Coughlin’s pan-Asian restaurant 8 East will open two months ahead of schedule. The debut is on October 28, the same date Circa will start operating.
Chef Coughlin, whom local epicures know best for his innovative Fremont Street eatery Le Thai, said the decision to open earlier than scheduled came from the hotel, and he is fine with it.
Coughlin said he told Circa vice president of operations, David Rosborough, that he trusts him on drawing people to the casino. He further said, “Our job is to make some good food and to fill this restaurant.”
When Circa first approached Coughlin about doing an Asian concept at the property, he said the plan was for a conventional, formal Chinese eatery. However, he had other ideas.
He says they still wanted to be street rather than boujee. He said that while “the steakhouse is there to be boujee, which is beautiful” and awesome, they wanted to ensure that one could come to the place with friends and still feel comfortable.
Coughlin and his team developed the menu at his Le Thai venues, his home, and the homes of his friends. The menu is now a combination of Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean influences.
Coughlin said they always wanted dumplings because everyone likes them. They also thought about doing yakitori, skewers, steaks, and baos. The last thing they considered was having some noodle dishes.
Coughlin’s wife and partner, Shauna Dong, said, “The whole thing is about sharing.” Those who come with groups of friends can have everyone picking something. They can also get the dishes “in the middle of the table and just share,” she added.
The beverage program will include Asian whiskies, natural wines, and cocktails that integrate Asian flavors such as ginger, lychee, and basil. The chef said most small dishes would go at around $9-12, while diners will have to part with between $20 and $40 per person, including some drinks.
When asked about opening amid the ongoing pandemic, Coughlin said he is comfortable with the safety protocols adopted at his other restaurants and is hoping that the same will work at 8 East. He also hopes that Circa will do the proper vetting and implement guidelines that will make people feel safe. Otherwise, they will be “going backward again,” he said.
However, Coughlin was quick to say that he had faith in Stevens. “If there’s a casino operator I want to work with for the first time, it’s definitely Derek. His energy is insane. And that guy will die trying, I think. That’s just how Derek rolls.”