12 must-eat Las Vegas meals
USINFO | 2013-08-12 11:15

 
1. The riserva steak
Carnevino, at Palazzo, 789-4141.
 
Dry-aging is rightfully all the rage, but 60 days is for wusses. Carnevino does it the right way with the riserva—minimum 240-day dry-aged steaks. Yeah, I said it: eight months. The riserva displays the pungency of gorgonzola while conveying the essence of pure meat in every bite. After experiencing this, you’ll never look at steak in the same way.
 
2. Chicken fingers
Crown & Anchor British Pub, 1350 E. Tropicana Ave., 739-8676; 4755 Spring Mountain Road, 876-4733.
 
This homey British pub hardly looks like a culinary must from the outside, but belly up to a plate of the chicken fingers and you’ll quickly reconsider. Crispy, golden breading wraps impossibly moist chicken with wide bowls of hot sauce and ranch for dipping. Good luck keeping them to yourself.
 
3. Hot N Juicy style shrimp
Hot N Juicy Crawfish, 4810 Spring Mountain Road, Suite C-D, 891-8889; 3863 Spring Mountain Road, 750-2428.
 
Sure, the place is called Crawfish, but those mudbugs offer scant meat for such effort. Better go with the shrimp Hot N Juicy style in a seasoning mix that combines all the other flavors for a garlicky, Cajun kick that will have you licking your fingers long after the last crustacean has disappeared into your belly. Just be careful not to rub your eyes.
 
4. Consome loco and cochinita pibil tacos
Los Antojos, 2520 S. Eastern Ave., #B, 457-3505.
 
This family-run hole-in-the-wall turns out authentic Mexican food that’s the antithesis of drive-thru fare, like the consome loco, a crazy-good chicken soup with rice, avocado and lime that’s as comforting as anything your mother makes. Follow it with a pair of cochinita pibil tacos, spicy pork cooked in banana leaves and topped with pickled onions. You’re favorite carnitas will seem boring by comparison.
 
5. Khao soi
Lotus of Siam, 953 E. Sahara Avenue #A5, 735-3033.
 
Thai food is based on four flavors—sour, sweet, salty and bitter—and this dish off the famed restaurant’s Northern Thai menu melds them all in one addictive meal. Coconut cream curry packs a sweet, mellow heat over egg noodles and your protein of choice, garnished with red onion, lime and pickled vegetables for some essential balance. Order it once and you’ll be hard pressed to get anything else.
 
6. Honey toast
Ichiza, 4355 Spring Mountain Road, 367-3151.
 
Save room for dessert. After you’ve sampled this Japanese izakaya’s savory nibbles, it’s time for the honey toast—a loaf of chewy white bread with the top lopped off, baked till the crust is crisp with butter and honey melted into its gooey center then topped with heavy scoops of vanilla ice cream. It’s hot and cold, salty and sweet—the kind of simple, gratifying dessert that lingers long after you’ve put down the spoon.
 
7. The counter
Tiffany’s Cafe, inside White Cross Drugs, 1700 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 444-4459.
 
We all love quiet corner booths, but sometimes nothing beats the buzz of an old-school counter. At Tiffany’s, being up close means getting to watch the cook as he works the grill (yeah, we said cook, not chef), scope out the strange assortment of wall hangings and eyeball the ... unique cast of characters coming through the door. Oh yeah, the classic, greasy-spoon food’s pretty good, too, especially after a long night at the bars.
 
8. $20.12 lunch
Estiatorio Milos, at Cosmopolitan, 698-7000.
 
Three courses. Twenty dollars. The lunch special at this Mediterranean seafood palace is not only an incredible deal, it’s incredibly delicious. While it’s hard to go wrong here, for our Jackson, the best lineup is charcoal-broiled octopus (additional $10), grilled lavraki (sea bass) and the sinfully rich Greek yogurt martini.
 
9. Miso ramen
Monta, 5030 Spring Mountain Road, #6, 367-4600.
 
The salty bite of fermented soybean paste mellows into steaming pork broth for a nutty, whisperingly sweet bath for tender wheat noodles and wood ear mushrooms, green onions and mustard leaves, paper-thin wheels of pork belly and a hard egg showing off a perfect, golden yolk. The dish is almost too beautiful to eat. But the wicked blend of tastes and textures will have your spoon scraping the bottom of the bowl.
 
10. Omakase
Sen of Japan, 8480 W. Desert Inn Road, #F1, 871-7781.
 
Sen of Japan chefs Shinji Shichiri and Hiro Nakano know their food better than you, so why bother with actually ordering? That’s the beauty of omakase—you leave the choices up to the experts. Your only responsibility is to enjoy the trip. Whether or not the dishes are on the menu is irrelevant; it’s going to be a memorable night.
 
11. Soup dumplings
China Mama, 3420 S. Jones Blvd., 873-1977.
 
Beloved among local foodies, these petite steamed dumplings are the ideal start to an authentic Chinese meal. Scoop them onto your spoon carefully—each bite contains a mouthful of tasty pork bathing in rich broth—then slurp and chew your way to dumpling bliss.
 
12. Firefly
Multiple locations.
 
Everyone has favorite dishes at this local Spanish mainstay, where the food comes fast and furious and the crowd is young, boozy and on its way to a great night. Gather a group of friends and pass around plates of bacon-wrapped dates, Manchego mac and cheese, chorizo clams and tortilla Española, all washed down with a pitcher of sangria or mojitos, (preferably the blood orange variety) liberally poured.
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