Charlie Trotter is out in Vegas.
The uber-chef has closed his two-year-old, award-winning Restaurant Charlie in the Palazzo Las Vegas resort. Thursday was its final day of operation.
In this strained economy, the numbers just didn't work at the seafood-focused restaurant, which earned Trotter his first Michelin star. Bar Charlie, the sushi bar within the restaurant, was named one of the 10 best places in the nation for sushi by Bon Appetit last year.
"This was something we've been discussing and brainstorming and trying to find a solution for for quite a few months," Trotter's wife and spokeswoman, Rochelle Smith Trotter, said Friday.
Reworking the concept of the high-roller joint wasn't an option -- though it was bandied about, Smith Trotter said.
"We lowered prices three times... We added a three-course, get in-get out pre-theater type of menu," Smith Trotter said. "We realized it was still not enough to bear the level of clientele that seemed to be the frequent guest that Las Vegas is now seeing."
"We just didn't want to start to change the level of service and quality and ambiance and food offerings and staffing and things of that sort," she said. "It became a question of integrity. At the end of day, that was the bottom line."
Trotter's Restaurant C at the One and Only Palmilla Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico also is no more; the chef had a five-year deal with the property, which ended in November of 2008.
Trotter is said to still be planning a restaurant at One Madison Park in New York.
Trotter's plan to open a restaurant in New York, meanwhile, is still going forward -- though that may or may not happen at One Madison Park, where it was originally announced, Smith Trotter said. The property is rumored to be thisclose to foreclosure. "Charles is still very interested in a New York presence, and preferably to continue to go down that path at One Madison Park," she said.
This, of course, isn't the end of the story. Smith Trotter, herself a consultant to restaurants and developers, is in talks with three developers about three possible ventures for Trotter -- two in Asia, one in suburban Chicago and all "casual," as in "a 25 to 30 dollar lunch check and 50 to 65 dollar dinner check."
The chef was traveling and couldn't be reached for comment.