Las Vegas: Something for Everybody

Chefs & Restaurants
By Alex Adad-Santos for PASSPORT Magazine
The Vegas Strip
LIGHTEN UP: The Vegas Strip (Photodisc/Getty)

The list of chefs opening Vegas outposts is an honor roll of culinary stars and includes Guy Savoy, Joel Robuchon, and Tom Colicchio. Among them is David Burke (Tel: 702-414-7111) and his first venture out West. His inviting, open kitchen, is home to some of the best food on The Strip. Start off with the "Crisp and Angry Lobster", served impaled on a bed of nails and infused with chili oil (the buttery crustacean has every right to be angry). Just be gentle in peeling him off the painful plate. Executive Chef Troy Thompson assuages Burke's meaty dishes with his delicate take on fish. "The Fish Inspiration" changes according to the catch of the day, but the airy Alaskan halibut served atop crispy, French asparagus and summer truffles is nothing short of divine. Finish the night off and take a trip back to second grade with the whimsical cheesecake lollipop tree, an assortment of bite-sized cheesecakes on lollipop sticks, all served alongside a dollop of bubblegum whipped cream.

Michael Mina's StripSteak (Tel: 702-632-7414) will make your tastebuds wish they had tastebuds. Abundant in blond woods, vibrant crimson, and geometric patterns, the scene is open and unassuming. You'd never guess it'd be the home of $200 Kobe. Gun-shy steak enthusiasts can rest assured knowing the two wood-burning grills and slow-poaching method that Mina incorporates ensure the ribeye and filet mignon are exquisite. Start off with the flaky lobster fritters, accompanied by a side of duck-fat-fried French fries. Be sure to stock up on the newly envisioned American sides, like the truffled mac & cheese.

Sin City is also the place to enjoy New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles restaurants without having to catch a plane. Japonais (Tel: 702-791-7111) is a mirror image of its Chicago and New York venues. Part faux-brick wall, part dandelion-shaped bonsai, and dimly-lit private tables make this place look right out of Ocean's 11. Maroons fill the space, and a wave of undulating wood cascades from the ceiling down onto a waterwall. The staff here is very knowledgeable, and you might need their guidance in navigating their scrumptious menu. The signature dish, "The Rock," is as dramatic as it is tasty. Slices of soy-marinated New York Strip Steak are served along with a 900º scorching rock atop sea-salt. Cook the savory pieces on your molten slab to your liking and enjoy the savory bursts of flavor. For main courses, the snapper, poached in sake, cuts a light contrast to the buttery scallops it's served with. For meat lovers, the filet served with uni (sea urchin) is tender, mild, and downright comforting.

If it's all about ambiance, there's no place quite like Social House (Tel: 702-894-7111.). While you might have to pry your eyes away from the Treasure Island Sirens and pirate ship down below, the funky duets on your plate will make it easier. Put yourself in the hands of an adept sushi chef. For those more inclined toward hamachi, you'll be rewarded with their sashimi topped with a biting, tempura Serrano pepper and kalamansi-infused soy. Crafting the sushi to your taste, your dinner could range from sweet shrimp with Japanese pink snapper to lambchops and salsify purée.

Published: 13 Aug 2008 | Last Updated: 1 Apr 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »