Culinary creations in Las Vegas are nothing short of amazing, and even long-standing restaurants find ways to be hip and fresh in the ever-changing market. With the New Year comes a new batch of eateries vying for attention on and off the strip.
Here are eight of the hottest restaurants of the moment.
1. Chada Thai & Wine
This restaurant with flavors from Southern Thailand and a wine list to rival the best in Vegas is a go-to in Sin City. The menus caters to a Vegas pastime – drinking – but it also brings unique flavors and dishes missing from other Thai eateries. Black pepper pork belly, eggplant salad, and lo-ba (a mixed grill of pork offal) top the list of favorites at this trendy spot. Open 5:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., Chada may just be the best in late-evening dining for night owls.
Location: 3400 S Jones Blvd, Las Vegas.
2. Craft Kitchen
Craft Kitchen is the labor-of-love project of former Red Rock Resort executive pastry chef Jaret Blinn. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch in Henderson, but it’s a worthy start to your day. Blinn operates his restaurants with three mantras: feed others how you want to be fed;” no judgements, man; and rules are meant to be broken. His personal dogma has inspired dishes like red velvet pancakes, jumbo crab with champagne vinaigrette, and short rib hash. The spot also caters to those who are gluten free and the whole facility is peanut free.
Location: 1040 S. Eastern Ave., Henderson.
3. Kitchen Table
Another restaurant that only does breakfast and lunch, Kitchen Table serves American dishes with European and Mexican twists. Mouth-watering selections include an omelette with house-made mac and cheese and duck confit; chorizo crepes; a donut sandwich made with fried egg, sausage and white cheddar; and croque madame.
The huge menu will force patrons to return again and again to get their hands on each dish. The founding chefs (Antonio Nunez and Javier Chavez) are no strangers to the kitchen, bringing experience from established eateries like Vic & Anthony’s, Morton’s, and Mercadito. The pair are eager to compete with top-tier restaurants on the strip.
Location: 1716 W. Horizon Parkway, Henderson.
4. Rivea Las Vegas
Sunny views accompany delicious food at Rivea, located at the top of the Delano. The Vegas version is the third Rivea on the go; there are also locations in London and Saint Tropez. It combines a laid-back atmosphere with 180-degree views of the city. Executive chef Bruno Riou focuses on using seasonal ingredients to create simple and fresh dishes. Influences from the south of France and Italy show themselves in options like prawn and calamari crostino, tomato and basil tigelle, and zuccotto for dessert. Dress is upscale casual at this modern eatery.
Location: 3940 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas.
5. Tacos el Gordo
Want to ditch the upscale restaurants with their white table cloths? Come to this no-frills Mexican joint with counter service. Tacos el Gordo operates in California and Nevada, building a reputation for authentic, high-quality cuisine. With 11 signature tacos along with other flavors from Tijuana – like tostadas, mulas, and loaded french fries – Gordo is perfect for those seeking a low-key dining experience. Open from 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. or later, it’s another spot that offers late-night treats.
Location: 1724 E Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas.
Fukuburger, with its classic cheeseburger options and more adventurous culinary experiences, is a favorite of locals. The restaurant started, and still operates, as a food truck before it moved into its more-permanent home in the Hawaiian Marketplace. While a variety of Vegas eateries offer out-of-this-world burgers, Fuku can definitely contend with the best, mostly thanks to its “crack sauce” – a house recipe made for dipping everything from the Buta burger (made with japanese barbeque sauce and red ginger) to french fries. Interesting dishes worth trying are the Karai burger (featuring avocado cream and habenero kabayaki) and the Naga Dog (a ⅓ lb. hot link with grilled kimchi, daikon relish, wasabi mayo, spici kabayaki, and hari nori).
Location: 3743 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas.
7. F. Pigalle
Paris’ Red Light district is honored with the new restaurant F. Pigalle in downtown Las Vegas, a recently-opened fondue spot on Fremont Street in the old Radio City Pizza location. Red booths, concrete steps, and walls covered in French newspapers help set the tone, which is dubbed “sultry and intimate” by co-creator Sam Marvin. Dining options include cheese, shrimp, and steak fondue, with produce from Wiser Farm and steak from Double D Ranch. Unlimited wine is served in baby bottles, a nod to a parisian glass tax in the early 1800s. Local artist Pete Castro contributed a 55-by-7 foot mural with odes to Paris’ Quartier Pigalle and theatre district.
Location: 508 Fremont St., Las Vegas.
8. Rollin Smoke BBQ & Tavern
Just south of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, where History Channel’s Pawn Stars is filmed, Rick Harrison teamed up with Rollin Smoke BBQ to open a small shop on Las Vegas Boulevard. The original shop is located on Highland Drive, but this spin-off still offers old favorites like the Biggin’ Sandwich; hand-rubbed and hickory-smoked chicken and ribs; and momma’s bacon potato salad. A full bar upstairs has 16 beers on tap, including the signature Rollin Smoke Amber Ale and a peach wood-smoked malt, plus a wide selection of “southern” cocktails. Harrison is often spotted bartending and signing autographs.
Location: 725 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas.
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