There are few things I know less about than sports betting. So why would I write for “Point Spread Weekly”? Because I know about fantastic food, and you’re hungry. Growing up in a multiracial family, traveling across the country as a competitive gymnast, living all over as a television journalist and then cooking with and for some of the biggest chefs in the world … well, it has developed my palate.
As you head back to our shining city to cash some tickets, I’m offering some tasty bets for the best eats in Las Vegas.
Locals do not frequent The Strip. That’s a fact. We come and go for work, and we take back streets to get around. We retreat to Henderson and Summerlin and downtown for our weekends. But I’ll start with the Boulevard because the restaurants here can compete with any city in the world if you are willing to free some room in your money clip.
1. Bazaar Meat. Welcome to a dining extravaganza by the great Spanish chef Jose Andres. Behind the attractive hostesses you’ll find an equally stunning case of suckling pigs (order in advance). A doting chef roasts the little piglets nearby in a wood-fired oven called a cazuela. Expect crispy, salty, porcine candy. I got to cook on the opening team of this special place, and without a doubt, it is still the best for steak or any morsel of meat in the city. If you are looking for healthier options, the vegetables from the Josper grill are outstanding. Think grilled veg on a whole new charred level. And the Tomato Tartare is excellent. Bazaar is expensive, but it’s worth it. Try a beverage. I like the Foggy Hill Negroni. (inside Sahara Las Vegas, 2535 S. Las Vegas Blvd.)
2. Mon Ami Gabi. You can’t beat this patio for people-watching, and you can’t miss the Onion Soup Au Gratin. The soup is decadent with its gruyere cheese baked golden over the top and perfect broth beneath. It’s a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, so you know the service is impeccable. I order the Trout Almondine because I am a sucker for brown butter. If you want meat, the Prime Steak Frites are delish. My pick is the Au Poivre with a brandy peppercorn sauce. (inside Paris Las Vegas, 3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd.)
3. Rose. Rabbit. Lie. You’re in Vegas, baby. And it’s fun to eat with singers, a three-piece band and a dancer on tap. Enter this beautiful and fun modern supper club. It is funky. The drinks are wicked. Try the Theatre of the Mind, a remake of the classic Ritz cocktail with Hennessy VS Cognac, cherry, bitter orange and “Cham-feign” foam. I am living for the signature Beef Wellington because I like my meat in puff pastry. It’s prime tenderloin with seared Hudson Valley foie gras, creamed spinach, King Trumpet mushrooms and Black Truffle veal jus. Yes, fancy pants, but YOLO. (inside The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South)
Just Off The Strip
1. Fat Choy. Around the corner from The Strip and Sahara, discover a tiny hole-in-the-wall casino called Eureka where you can get cheap, cold beer and devour some of the best Asian diner food anywhere. Take a trip to Flavortown at Fat Choy, one of Guy Fieri’s recommendations on Triple D. I will not argue with the man because Chef Sheridan Su makes some of the best Bao around. The wings are fire, and the Fat Choy burger is mind-blowing. Try the half-pound patty layered with short rib, bacon, onion jam and a runny egg. Yum, the perfect morning-after delight to soak up the excess. (inside Eureka Casino, 595 E. Sahara Ave.)
2. Lotus of Siam. A quick rideshare up Sahara, and you will drool for some of the best Thai food in the U.S. I’m not exaggerating. The Crispy Duck Khao Soi is sublime. Served on egg noodles drenched in a Northern Thai Curry sauce with red onions, lime and pickled vegetables, it hits every taste bud like a spicy missile. No surprise, Chef Saipin Chutima is a James Beard Award winner. Every dish is a taste explosion, and the wine list is vast. My culinary touchstone Anthony Bourdain has called the food “perfection.” Enough said. (Two locations: 953 E. Sahara Ave., Suite A5, or 620 E. Flamingo Road)
1. La Strega. You want a perfect date-night restaurant about 20 minutes from The Strip? La Strega boasts beautiful, relaxing, feminine decor. Chef Gina Marinelli is killing the game at this Summerlin hot spot with her fresh take on coastal Italian cuisine. La Strega means witch, and there’s magic brewing in her spectacular sauces. I recommend the Rigatoni Bolognese with wild boar and nduja (spreadable pork sausage). I want to swim in the sauce. I had to stop Mitch Moss from licking the plate in public. Bottom line: Make a reservation. It’s worth the drive. (3555 S. Town Center Drive., Suite 105)
2. EDO Tapas. If you claim to be a foodie, take a trip to Las Vegas Chinatown. It is more like Asia town with superb choices for Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean cuisine. But EDO Tapas is Spanish-inspired food with a modern twist. Small plates of deliciousness. Your eyes will go wide, and your mouth will be happy. I always get the tasting menu. It’s just $55, and you can have fun trying a variety of Chef Oscar Amador’s distinct creations like the Green Tartare — avocado and zucchini soaked in a pistachio vinaigrette. You can also try the cutest little bikini sandwiches ever; imagine a super-skinny Spanish grilled cheese. EDO Tapas also has a vegan tasting, and if you want something more traditional, the paella is amazing. (3400 S. Jones Blvd., Suite 11A)
3. Metro Pizza. Finding excellent pizza in Las Vegas is not as difficult as it used to be. To me, pizza is a food group, and it pains me profusely to pick a favorite because I am sure to disappoint several good food friends. I highly recommend Metro Pizza in Centennial Hills — long drive, but if you want the best, you pay the pizza piper! Chris Decker is nothing short of a pizza savant. Order whatever he says to order. He comes up with out-of-this-world pizza combinations consistently. Go to his Instagram page @everythingbutanchovies for the latest. And then wrap your mouth around that gloriously crispy, airy crust. If you need the perfect, simple cheese and tomato sauce pie in your life, get the classic Sicilian. It’s pizzagasmic. (6720 Sky Pointe Drive)
I picked places that are open for dine-in and takeout. All restaurants are operating at 50% capacity in Las Vegas, so reservations for most are required to keep it safe. Also, the hours and days are changing rapidly. Call for the most accurate restaurant times. Good luck and bon appetit!
Lorraine Moss is an Emmy-nominated journalist and chef. She hosts a podcast with chef photographer Louiie Victa. “2 Sharp Chefs and a Microphone” airs new episodes every Monday on iTunes, Spotify and iHeartRadio. You can reach her on her recipe blog: fromchefwithlove.com and on IG: @ChefLorraine.