By Jacqueline Monahan
Photos by Stephen Thorburn
Human Rooster Fights at Luxor’s Tacos & Tequila
They call it Mischieve Wednesdays and that’s no typo. On September 2, right in the middle of Restaurant Week, Luxor’s T&T (Tacos & Tequila) the atrium level eatery specializing in Mexican cuisine hosted a Human Rooster Fight, (HRF) donating a percentage of the night’s proceeds to the Three Square Food Bank, a non-profit organization working to end hunger in Southern Nevada.
Executive Chefs are more familiar with dressing roosters (known in the culinary world as capons) than dressing like them. That didn’t stop Rick Moonen and Adam Sobel of Mandalay Bay’s RM Seafood, Stephen Hopcraft of MGM;s Seablue, (he recently won Food Network’s Chefs vs. City) John Jay Watson of Trump’s DJT, Marc Djozlija of MGM’s Wolfgang Puck’s Grille, Noel Santos of MGM’s Diego, and T&T’s very own Saul Ortiz from suiting up for a good cause.
The floor of the restaurant was taped off into a 6’X6’ ring where each pair of contestants, complete with rubber chicken feet and masks, and with several balloons tied to each ankle by long ribbons, faced off. Or, more correctly, stomped off. It was their opponent’s balloons they were after, flapping their rubber claws onto the floor with all the power they could muster (hands, er, wings, had to be behind their back).
Rick Moonen, Chef/owner of RM Seafood in Mandalay Bay (featured on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters) and Trump’s DJT Chef, John Jay Watson fluttered and scratched their way into the ring first, as pretty MC Elissa narrated each fowl play.
The two food kings proceeded to do a lengthy, march-like battle using only their rubber chicken feet to burst their opponent’s balloons. Both chicken chefs were determined, and after what MC Elissa described as the longest match in HRF history, Moonen finally stomped his way to victory.
He was even more pleased in a later round when his Executive Chef, Adam Sobel, won his match against Marc Djozlija, of MGM’s Wolfgang Puck’s Grille. Moonen said he was there to “kick some butt, make some money (for Three Square) and raise awareness.”
The last two matches ceased to be a competition, but nonetheless played out for laughs, each remaining chef stomping to the delighted hoots of the admittedly tequila-influenced crowd. In the end it was decided that there was no big winner, just big fun for a worthy cause. The $250 grand prize that was to be presented in bar tab form to the winning chef was unanimously donated to Three Square Food Bank.
T&T is a highly-stylized Mexican restaurant and bar with a high-energy vibe and flavorful menu. The restaurant embodies traditional and modern elements of Mexican style intermixed with rock-n-roll flair. Most of the time, you’ll hear a driving rock soundtrack as you dive into your quesadilla, but in a more traditional venture, T&T offers Mariachi brunch every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring food and drink specials, accompanied by live Mariachi music.
Female hostesses and servers are outfitted in tank tops, shorts and black leather boots. The restaurant’s edgy design still manages to incorporate traditional Mexican culture, in spite of the chic, cut-out metal ceiling beam. There are images of skeletons, bullfights and sombreros adorning the 8000 square foot space. An extensive tequila collection features some that are infused, and yes, the worms are authentic.
Human Rooster Fights are an ongoing feature, taking place each Mischieve Wednesday, usually with a theme attached. There have been doctors vs. lawyers, men vs. women, singers vs. dancers, and most probably tequila vs. beer drinkers (which, no doubt, would garner the biggest pool of contestants).
Perhaps it would be fitting to suggest the phrase, “eat your heart out” to the chefs who participated in the latest battle. By donating their prize money to Three Square Food Bank (where $1 can buy three meals), they’ve proven that they have very large ones, indeed.
For further information:
Luxor Las Vegas
3900 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109