Las Vegas restaurant offers global seafood ‘playground’
White-tablecloth restaurants are often challenged with an air of stuffiness or pretentiousness that can be off-putting to many diners. At AquaKnox, one of Las Vegas’ popular seafood restaurants, general manager Rob Menefee wants guests to have high expectations of a dinner experience devoid of pompousness. So there’s a lax dress code at AquaKnox. “This is Vegas, after all — so we just ask people to wear clothes in the first place,” he quiped.
Located inside The Venetian resort, hotel and casino on Las Vegas Boulevard, the 250-seat restaurant, owned by San Francisco-based Tavistock Restaurants, opened in August 2003 with a focus on global seafood. The menu is dotted with seafood of international origins: John Dory from New Zealand, albacore tuna and opah from Hawaii, red shrimp from Argentina, Australian barramundi, Brazilian lobster tails, Brittany blue lobsters from France and blue prawns from Baja.
“Chef Steve Aguglia is looking for the cleanest, most sustainable species in the world,” Menefee said. “He has great ethics and morals, which is a rarity to find in Vegas.”
Korean-born Aguglia came to the United States as a child, working in a hospital cafeteria for his first job and eventually landing at the
French restaurant Brasserie in Las Vegas, where he worked his way up to sous chef. He started out at AquaKnox as a line cook, becoming executive chef in April 2013 at the age of 32.