Food Reviews


You Fancy, Huh?

Upscale eateries with class.

La Cave

I've noticed that I've really neglected the Wynn & Encore restaurants. So I've made it a point to start knocking out a few places in each. I started with La Cave inside of the Wynn.

La Cave is a Wine Bar that is equalled out by their menu of tapas. The restaurant is gorgeous inside and there are all kinds of intricacies to it's overall design. The dining floor is separated into three or four main areas, each with their own characteristics. I went with a good friend of mine and we decided on dining out on their patio that overlooks the Wynn pool. 

Being at wine bar, of course we had to have some wine, so we ordered the Sommelier's Selection Wine Flight. With two white and two red wines each from different regions of the world, we loved our choice. The two stand outs were the Chenin Blanc from South Africa, and the Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain. Both very well balanced and delicious. (Click picture for larger image to read the wine descriptions)

For our first small plate we had the Crispy Wonton Salmon Sashimi. These were a great way to kick off our meal. The salmon was tasty and not too fishy with the wonton really being the hero and giving a great contrast in texture and flavor vs. the party on top of them. The sesame soy dressing was excellent and had a little heat to it. Avacados were also in the mix, but really didn't add anything other than color to the dish. A good plate overall, but $15 for three bites is a little rich. I know it's at the Wynn, but I could get way more fish for the buck at most sushi restaurants.

On to one of my all time favorite small plates: Bacon Wrapped Dates! I've had some tremendously good bacon wrapped dates in my time, and these ones were pretty good. The dates were served very hot and gooey with the bacon having a great crisp and a very rich flavoring.   A very good offering from the bacon Gods. Not in my top three, but still damn good. A puzzling component to this dish though was a blue cheese fondue (not pictured) that was made to dip the dates into. The fondue couldn't have been more bland. It added nothing to the dates. They could save some money and just not even serve it. They're bacon wrapped dates, there's not much else to need to add there.

Flatbread. There's oh so much you can do with flatbread. When reading La Cave's menu and checking out their six flatbread options I picked Chef's Selection Flatbread for two reasons: Nueske's Bacon and Poached Quail Eggs! Nueske's Bacon is like the Kobe Beef of bacon and quail eggs are always a great delicacy. Both together equals and amazing flatbread. The quail eggs were rich and creamy, the bacon was about as good as you can get, and the cheese was the winner above all! With two stellar ingredients atop it, the cheese still blew me away. It looked to be a blend of sorts and man did it make me savor each bite. And underneath all of this goodness? Boring bread. Perhaps intentional since all the other additions were so top notch, but nonetheless, the bread itself was very bland. But that's easily forgotten once to take a bite and have all of the other wondrous flavors breakdancing on your tongue at the same time. (Side note, this flatbread could've fed four people easily and had expensive ingredients on it and was only $14 vs. the three bite Salmon Sashimi for $15, just sayin'.)

Polenta Cake. That's not something you see every day. Especially wearing hats of  Diver Sea Scallops on top. This eclectic offering is a little all over the place. The scallops themselves were divine and cooked perfectly. The polenta cakes seemed a little too cooked and were crunchy and dry, the mushrooms were a hair al dente, and the sauce was pretty but had no flavor to it. If the polenta cakes weren't as crunchy I think this would have worked a lot better. As I had it though, it felt like forced creativity to make scallops more fun that didn't quite work.

More Flatbread?! No, S'mores Flatbread! We figured since we had a delicious regular flatbread already that'd we'd indulge in trying a dessert flatbread as well. Interesting is the best word to describe this take on s'mores. Overall, the flavors were very subtle. The marshmallows were good and nicely melted and the cream added a good richness to it, but it still fell short. Conceptually, a good idea, execution-wise, it's missing something. Also, an extremely large dessert. It should have been half that size.

Two desserts are better than one! I don't think this little guy is on the menu, I believe it was a special. Chocolate Risotto. Also something you don't see often. Served in a little cup with little spoons, this dessert is in the OK category. The cookie was good, but the risotto itself was lacking a real chocolate punch. It was more Chocolateish Risotto. Way more savory than sweet. And as much as I love pistachios, these added good color, but were completely lost in the one note taste of the risotto. I was a little disappointed with this one. It coulda been a contenda!

So, what have we learned? La Cave's dishes are a mixed bag, their prices are not quite on point, and some ideas are better left in the chef's head. I like most of what I had at La Cave and I'd like to go back to have more wine flights and try different menu items. I just hope the rest aren't as inconsistent as what we encountered on this trip. 

Rating Description
out of 10
7 Location
Inside the Wynn on the Strip, it's at least centrally located for most Las Vegans. And the Wynn has a pretty easy parking garage.
10 The Décor
Beautiful. It's very well done and the attention to detail is outstanding.
8 The Prices
As a whole, the prices are pretty good. I don't think anything is over $19. There are just a few dishes that are obviously overpriced.
10 The Drinks
The wine selection is outstanding and they actually have a decent craft beer list as well. And of course a fully stocked bar.
6 The Food
The food was just not memorable for the most part. Everything was flawed in one or more ways.
8.2
OVERALL
La Cave has good things going for it, but some things are holding it back from being epic.
(out of 10)

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The Barrymore

A diamond in the rough. That's what I think The Barrymore is best described as. Nestled in the newly renovated Royal Resort on Convention Center Drive, The Barrymore really is a destination. Unless you're cutting through, going to a convention, or indoor skydiving, there's no real reason to be on that road. But now The Barrymore presents a reason to stop and take in it's cool, retro atmosphere with a great layout and even better food.

We were first greeted by the hostess at their enormous white door that transports you from the dreary Royal Resort into the decadence that is The Barrymore. From the entrance you can see the hip and stylized bar directly in front, the relaxed outdoor patio with cushy seating and a fire trimmed wall, and the two dining rooms, one directly ahead past the bar, and one to the right. We were escorted to a plush booth in the dining room on the right and seated. The décor inside The Barrymore reminds me of the Cosmo, attention to detail and quality at it's finest. Everywhere you look you see something posh and nostalgic. The ceiling is given style with film reels, the space between booths has golden eagle statues jettisoning out, and the walls are covered with mirrors small and large. It gives you the retro Vegas feel while at the same time feeling very updated. I love the look and feel of every part of The Barrymore.

The menu is very straight forward and precise. It's simplicity is part of its genius and is really well thought out. We started out with the Chef's choice of the Lobster "Deviled Eggs" and the Roasted Artichoke. The Lobster "Deviled Eggs" are served beautifully and a perfect amount for two to share. The fillings were fluffy and very flavorful by themselves, but the American caviar on top really puts it over the edge. For what this appetizer lacks in size, it makes up for in richness and flavor. The Roasted Artichoke easily could be my new favorite appetizer. At first glance it looks like a salad, but once you dig in, you see the meaty artichoke hearts waiting for you. The flavor profile is robust and just downright amazing. The char was perfect, the consistency was outstanding, and the salsa verde sauce takes it to a whole other level. I will order this every time I go to The Barrymore.

We were so delighted with our appetizers we had forgotten to even try the Table Bread! When presented to us, I couldn't completely understand the server, but I'm pretty sure she said one of the breads had bacon in it. Even if it didn't, it was quite good. The parmesan flat bread was über cheesy and fresh while the "bacon" bread was also delicious and went great with their slightly salty butter. 

When our waitress was telling us about the specials for the day, an off menu item caught my attention... Swordfish, I love me some swordfish. My Swordfish was served on a bed of sausage, a great tomato sauce, and topped with delicately sliced onions that were sweet and complimented the fish well. The Swordfish itself was very well cooked and was excellently seasoned. It had a great char on it as well, and was a decent portion size. The two slices of sausage and the tomato sauce were very rich and kept a good contrast of flavors compared to the Swordfish. It was overall very enjoyable and I'm glad I ordered it.

Our other entree was the 16oz Pork Chop. This beast was exceptional. Sporting amazing grill marks and being very tender throughout, this was a stellar choice. The rustic seasoning on the chop was perfect and well paired with the aioli sauce on the side that was buttery and creamy(Not Pictured). We ate half at the restaurant and I had the rest reheated in the oven the next day, still amazing!

For our sides, we had the French Fries and Asparagus. The fries are cutely served in a mini "frying basket" and are great, but they're the same as the ones at Public House. I would have liked to have seen a little more of a "Barrymore spin" on those. The Asparagus was offered grilled or sautéed, I got them sautéed which included them being dressed with a heavy parmesan cheese spread. The asparagus themselves were very thick and cooked through and they all had a great parmesan flavor even without the cheese stuck to them. 

For our closing act we went with the Gelato: vanilla & berry flavors. I've had more gelato in my life than you could ever think of (long story), so I'm picky when it comes to this dessert. If The Barrymore makes their own Gelato in house, I'm extremely impressed, if it's outsourced, it's still damn good. The vanilla was bold and strong in its taste but not overpowering and the berry had a great fruity mouth feel and was definitely made with real fruit. Absolutely grade A Gelato.

I feel like we just scratched the surface of The Barrymore on this trip. I really want to go back to explore the rest of the menu and to also try out their signature Cocktails at the bar. I really hope The Barrymore is here to stay, I'm not saying that because of the establishment, more of the establishment it's located inside of.   Otherwise, this should become a great local secret like Chicago Joe's and the Ranch House, where only the cool Vegas people know where it is and what it's all about.

Rating Description
out of 10
7 Location
The actual venue is amazing. But it's located in a small redone hotel/timeshare on Convention Center Drive. At least it's centrally located!
10 The Décor
Beautiful. It's very well done and the attention to detail is outstanding.
9 The Prices
You're looking at about $50 a person for a decent meal, but the price definitely is worth the quality of the food.
N/A The Drinks
I'm going N/A for my trip this time. I didn't have any alcoholic beverages, but I do know their wine selection is astounding and they have great looking cocktails. I'll update this eventually.
10 The Food
Nothing we had was mediocre. Everything was great. I'm stoked to try more off of the menu ASAP.
9
OVERALL
A Sin City Foodie top pick!
(out of 10)

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Jaleo

In the midst of the insane opulence of that which is the Cosmopolitan, lies an equally over the top experience at Jaleo. Located on the 3rd floor of the Cosmo is a mix of amazing places to eat with Jaleo holding up the growing Tapas category. The entrance to Jaleo is inviting and enticing and holds a level of energy not seen by most eateries on a Tuesday evening. Just walking in and sitting at the bar, I knew we were in for a treat.

Just as the rest of the Cosmo, no level of detail went underlooked inside this Spanish Tapas endevor. From the Tapas Kitchen mid dining room, to the wood burning circle kitchen right next to the bar, Jaleo's let's you marvel in the mastery of culinary design by seeing how it's made right before your eyes. 
At the bar, we ordered two drinks, I had a Tomato infused something or other that was out of this world, very pricey for the serving size, but worth having at least once. My friend ordered a glass of champagne which was also good I was told, but also on they high side for price vs. Volume. That aside, it was time to order. We got the Bacon Wrapped Dates, the Potato Chips with white and red sauce, Chirizo Wrapped with Potato chips, White Asparagus, and the Conejo (Rabbit). 
To make this easy, I'll simply break it down:
Bacon Wrapped Dates: A typical order for us from Firefly, so we wanted to compare. The presentation was definitely not what we were expecting, but very fun to experience. They come served in a tennis shoe from a brand that we were told is the "Adidas of Spain". Aside from the off the wall plating, the Dates were amazing. The difference is, they deep fry the bacon wrapped dates so the whole bite is moist and flavorful with more of a hint of bacon and the richness of the date compared to most places where the bacon wins the flavor battle. A+
Potato Chips with Red and White sauce: A simple dish with lots to love. The chips seemed freshly made and the sauces had a good contrast to each other. Being so fresh, the chips had less crunch than you'd normally expect, but I saw it as a good thing. Not mushy, just less crunch and more smooth textures. B+
Choirzo Wrapped in Potato Chips: Simple, yet delightful. It is what it is, delicious Spanish chorizo, fresh potato chip, and a toothpick. Pick it up, bite, and enjoy. Simplicity at it's best, and tastiest. A
White Asparagus: This was served inside a sardine-can-like tin sprinkled with a bit of cheese. The fresh crunch of each bite, cut by the slight bitterness of the cheese made each tiny serving seem like so much more. A
Conejo (Rabbit): Something that's definitely not on everyone's top choices to try, but should. This was a leg and ribs serving with an apricot compote that was light and rich with enough sweetness to nicely balance the supreme flavors of the juicy Rabbit. If you've never tried Rabbit before, this is the one to try. It is not off putting at all, and will make you wish you could have it every day if you could! A+
To finish us off, we figured we'd indulge and have the Chocolate Hazelnut Cake. What a work of art this dessert was. I would've paid for just one bite of it. The chocolate and hazelnut combination they use is an absolute marrige commencing on your pallet. It was so good, I'd go there to just order that! A+
I thank the Cosmopolitan for choosing such an outstanding Tapas joint. I can't wait to try more of the menu. Hopefully over time, Jaleo's gets a happy hour or local's night, but even until then, this will be my new place to enjoy Tapas with friends and family.

Rating Description
out of 10
8 Location
A fun location on the restaurant floor of the Cosmo.
10 The Décor
Outstanding! Tables made from foos ball tables, stools made from tree stumps, open kitchen in the middle of the dining room, it's all something to marvel.
8 The Prices
Overall the prices are appropriate. The drink prices were a little high, but the cost for the food was on par with any other tapas joint in town.
8 The Drinks
The drinks were made with care and stood out in taste.
10 The Food
Best tapas I've had. Everything from presentation to flavor profiles have been perfected.
8.8
OVERALL
A definite favorite!
(out of 10)


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Inbetween Bread

Burgers, Sandwiches, and Subs oh my!

Baguette Cafe

Tucked away in a business park on the South West side of town lies a very cool little spot called the Baguette Cafe. Off of a frontage road that most would just blow right by, the Baguette Cafe is a place that is worth finding and stopping in for a bite to eat. It has character, it has charm, and around lunch time, it definitely has a line. Baguette Cafe is unbeknownst by most Las Vegans, but for those that work in the surrounding office buildings, this is their little foodie secret that the valley needs in on.

The small and unassuming Baguette Cafe has a layout similar to Starbucks with a menu board behind the counter on the wall, delicious pastries and treats encapsulated in glass for you to drool over as you make your decisions, and a coffee barista station to the left of the cashier. The owner takes most everybody's order and is very energetic and friendly. He remembers people's names and what they typically order and recommends specials and other menu items for the newly initiated. It's nice to see passion of this kind behind the counter.

I was stopping in with a friend of mine, whom recommended we eat there for lunch. We ordered two sandwiches and split a half each to try both concoctions.

Up to bat first was the Prosciutto Sandwich. I was intrigued into ordering this sandwich because of the ingredients listed: prosciutto, salami, lettuce, sauce, cheese, and walnuts. Sound good? It was. The combination of the prosciutto and salami was very nice and both stood out while still delivering their common salinity in a nicely subtle fashion. The cheese was excellently melted and the accompanying sauce was quite nice. The best part of this sandwich? The walnuts. The slightly bitter flavor with the added crunch contrasted beautifully with the soft cured meats and their saltiness.  My only qualm with this sandwich was that the baguette was a touch on the tough side, but it was easily overlooked by the quality ingredients and flavors residing within.

Baguette Cafe- Prosciutto Sandwich

The Chipotle Sandwich was also an overall solid sandwich. The baguette on this one was toasted perfectly, was soft, and easy to bite through. The chicken was moist and tender and the thinly sliced bacon gave the sandwich a good crunch in the middle and excelled the flavors of the chipotle sauce. The sauce was good also and had a little kick of heat on the back end. This sandwich is on the "Specials" board, but I don't think it ever changes.

Baguette Cafe- Chipotle Sandwich

My trip to this randomly located sandwich joint was a great success. I'm dying to go back and try the eggplant sandwich and a few others I had my eye on. If you're in the South West side of town hankering for a quality bite to eat, you have to check out the Baguette Cafe.

Rating out
of 10
Description
5 Location

Very easy to miss if you're not looking for it.

8 The Décor

A very chic, modern, minimalist design in the dining room.

9 The Prices

Very good prices for the quality of the food you get.

N/A The Drinks

I didn't have any drinks, but they have juices, organic stuff, coffee, and sodas.

9 The Food

Quality ingredients with a passion behind the crafting, all things I like in a joint like this.

7.75 Overall

If I'm in the area, I'll definitely stop by again. I hope more locations open up in the future!

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Juice 'N' Go

Juice N Go- Logo

Juice 'N' Go is located off of Oakey and Rainbow in a "shack" that used to be a drive through coffee hut. Conceptually, you drive up to the menu board, order, drive to the window, pay, receive items, and you're off… That was not the case in my trip. It was more like Juice 'N' Wait. 


I drove up to the menu board and was greeted by someone on the speaker saying they'd "take my order in a second.". Five seconds later a body appeared next to my window and startled me because I was just talking to a speaker and now I had a human with a note pad at my car. I was confused. Obviously the speaker works and they heard me, why is there a person here? Oh well. I took a look a the a la carte menu and took a stab at creating a good smoothie and roast beef wrap. It was puzzling why there were no preset sandwiches, wraps, or smoothies/juices. I could throw random items in a wrap or smoothie at home; The reason I go elsewhere to eat is to have someone else's expertise offer me professionally composed dishes! Anyways, I gave my order to the kid with the notepad and he told me to pull up to the window to pay. I thusly paid and waited for a minute or so for my order. The window opened and a different person told me to pull around and park in a space and my order would be out shortly. Reluctantly, I parked and waited. (Luckily, to kill time, I watched the live PS4 Announcement Event on my phone.) After about 10 minutes, the first kid came to my car and handed me my wrap and smoothie. He asked me to take a taste of the smoothie to see if it was OK, or if they needed to remake it. In my head I said, "Son, it took you 15 total minutes to get me this, I am not waiting again." I told him it was fine and finally got my Juice to Go. 

Obviously, the entire concept of this place is in shambles. Zero things went right for them on the 'N' Go part. If it was a walk up joint on a beach everything would have been fine. But when it's a drive through with three cars in the bay… not so much.

To the food! The wrap I ended up with was a Roast Beef Wrap. I got it with a spinach wrap, roast beef, and ranch. I figured it was hard to go wrong with that combination. I wasn't wrong on the ingredients, the execution is what was awry. There was nothing special about this wrap. The beef was seasoned well, the rest was fresh, I just seemed like it was thrown together and then loosely wrapped and sent off. I feel like I should never eat something while I'm out and think that I could make it better at home. Not only could I make a better wrap, it would also cost me a fraction of the price; $7 for a wrap made in a shack is a little up there for me. 

Juice N Go- Roast Beef Wrap

I won't even start on my smoothie. Let's just say, there's a reason Jamba Juice and Tropical Smoothie are gigantic chains and Juice 'N' Go is in an old coffee hut.

 I admire their organic ways and passion for fresh ingredients, they just need to get their shit together on the quality of experience, presentation, and collective idea behind "fast, fresh, food".

Rating out
of 10
Description
3 Location

It's easy to miss and a destination, both not good.

8 The Décor

The shack is wrapped in bright colors and fruit decals.

4 The Prices

If the experience and food were good the prices would be ok, otherwise it's all overpriced.

5 The Drinks

The selection is great. The fact that you have to make the juice concoctions isn't. 41 different ingredients to put in a smoothie or juice is a little much.

6 The Food

The ingredients had quality, the execution and flavors did not. There's nothing there to wow you.

5.2 Overall

Unless they change a lot, I'm sure this place will be gone when they're lease is up.

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Five Guys Burgers (Lake Mead Location)

I've been wanting to check out Five Guys Burgers for months now. Unfortunately, I was never in the right area at the right hunger level to venture forth. Luckily and very recently, the Foodie gods felt like putting one right down the street from me. So I no longer had an excuse and I figured I'd visit them on opening day.

This Five Guys Burgers is wedged in-between Firehouse Subs and Yogurtland in the old Create Burger pad on Lake Mead and Tenaya. Thankfully, Create is gone, I never had a good burger or experience there, so I was very hopeful for Five Guys to deliver a better casual dining experience. 

The first thing I noticed when walking in was the open and inviting dining room. The second thing I noticed was the staff in the kitchen yelling different things in code to each other and the patrons. When my girlfriend and I entered I think I heard "Two in the door!". So apparently, there is a high energy level behind the counter in the open kitchen. 

The path to the ordering counter is strewn with bags and bags of peanuts as well as open buckets of complimentary peanuts with paper trays. Gimmicky? Yes. Do I love shelled peanuts? Hell yes! After ordering, we sat down and I went to town on most of my tray of peanuts. The peanuts are good, and add a small level of fun you don't normally get in a burger joint.

It seems like all orders are made "to go" no matter what. Our burgers were wrapped in aluminum foil and were in a large paper bag along with the fries. We had the Cajun Fries which are fried in peanut oil. They were plentiful and good. They didn't have as much kick to them as I expected but they really went well with the house ketchup. They were seasoned with lots of spices and were fried a nice golden brown. Alone they're good, with ketchup they're damn good.

Bacon Cheeseburger. Those two words just belong together. I ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger with green peppers, mushrooms, and BBQ Sauce. When I received my burger I learned that these are all double burgers! The "Little" burgers are the single patties. So this thing was pretty massive. My burger was cooked to be well done as they state, but mine ended up being a little medium rare, which is fine by me, because that's the only way to have a burger. The bacon tucked away in this beast was great and thick, the mushrooms were good, the cheese was tasty and melty, and the buns were fresh. The BBQ sauce was pretty good, I just didn't really get enough on my burger, but there was enough overall to be noticed. All in all, this is a pretty good burger. Not the best I've ever had, but the best I think you can get from a casual dining establishment. 

With 15 different toppings to choose from and one of those fancy super Coke dispensers, Five Guys Burgers may only serve a few items, but you can get a variety of choices each visit if you mix it up. I'm excited to go back and try a different topping combination as well as their hot dogs. Good thing Five Guys Burgers is now less than 5 miles from where I live!

Rating Description
out of 10
6 Location
This location is in a pretty busy shopping center and located right next to 4 other dining options. Parking is always a bitch there.
8 The Décor
Open, inviting, and music playing, It's exactly enough without any fluff.
9 The Prices
Two of us ate for about $15, not too shabby. And did I mention the free peanuts?!
10 The Drinks
How do you beat 120 drink options?
9 The Food
The burger was very solid and the fries were great. If the hot dogs are similar in quality and taste, they have a great simple selection.
8.4
OVERALL
*Ominous music playing*…..I'll be back...
(out of 10)

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Firehouse Subs (Lake Mead Location)

(After reading this review, please check out the amazing follow up here.)

I'm the type of person that thinks everything deserves a second chance. Sometimes first impressions aren't the best and a second look is warranted. That being said, this was my fourth attempt at enjoying Firehouse Subs…

I really want to like Firehouse Subs. I like their story and the Fire Station charities they support and the whole concept. Unfortunately, what I don't like, is the food at this location.

Many people I know have constantly told me I had to try Firehouse Subs and that their subs would blow my mind. So I tried them a few months ago and had the Hook & Ladder…massively disappointed. Lacking flavor, had bland bread, etc. So I figured I'd try again with a different sub. The second time I had the New York Steamer…overcooked brisket and pastrami with barely any mustard and mayo. Also served to me at room temperature. Well shit... How can so many people tell me this place is epic when they've struck out twice with me so far? Why not try it a third time you say?! Third visit, I had the Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket… meat was cooked ok this time, just had no flavor. The bread was still bland and the cheddar cheese was nowhere near melted. Fail.

So on to my fourth and final visit. Now that I have this website as a forum, I figured I go in and do an actual review. 

I did notice a change this time around, their fancy new soda fountain. I think it's called the Coca Cola Freestyle. It's a touch screen soda fountain with like 120 options of blending drinks and such. Including their "Famous Cherry Limeade". Like an idiot, I've tried to make their limeade 4 times now, and have failed each time. No matter how many limes I stuff into my cup it still tastes like grenadine and soda water. I wonder how many of those get poured out by people like me failing to understand what their idea of cherry limeade is. 

The sub I got this time was the Engineer. The Engineer is made up of smoked turkey breast, melted Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms, lettuce, mayo, mustard, onion, and tomato. To start, they advertise these subs as Hot, which typically means toasted, but every sub I've encountered of theirs has been in the warm category. It's hotter than cold, but not hot, and not really toasted either. They should be advertised as "Hotish" subs. The bread has never had any real flavor to it and I think that's a big miscue on their part, the bread plays an integral part of a sandwich, and when it's bland, everything inside it is exponentially more bland. Speaking of bland, I have no idea how you can get smoked turkey to not taste amazing, but they've achieved that feat. The .99¢ Buddig smoked turkey at the supermarket has more flavor. My mushrooms were undercooked as well. And as far as overall flavor goes, everything tastes the same. Each bite is so one dimensional. I even tried adding some of their numerous hot sauces to the sandwich to liven it up, but to no avail, it just tasted like hot sauce on a sandwich that was weaksauce.

The only thing I like in Firehouse Subs is their décor. For being a chain restaurant, they do have a nice layout and accoutrements: Fake brick interior walls, fire axes, firemen's helmets and more. But on this trip, my admiration of their look and feel was destroyed by having to hear the staff behind the counter talk about when they're going on breaks and lunches for 15 mins. When you have an open kitchen like that, you have to be mindful of the patrons that are clearly within earshot. And it didn't help that there was no music whatsoever, the only sounds other than the staff was background noise from some flat panel TVs.

Thusly, I bid adieu to Firehouse Subs. I will not be back, there's no reason for me to try again. I'll stick to Wich Which for my sub needs. 


Rating Description
out of 10
6 Location
This location is in a pretty busy shopping center and located right next to 4 other dining options. Parking is always a bitch there.
8 The Décor
Visually, there's some cool stuff going on in Firehouse Subs.
6 The Prices
Around $8.50 for a sub, chips, and a drink. If the food was good, it might actually be worth it.
10 The Drinks
How do you beat 120 drink options? If you ignore the horendous limeade, the choices are staggering.
1 The Food
0 out of 4 times I had a good sub here. Such a shame.
6.2
OVERALL
I think the popularity of Subway, Port of Subs, and Firehouse Subs goes to show that Americans really could care less about quality ingredients and flavors in their subs.
(out of 10)

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Heart Attack Grill

Go big or go home. That seems to be the thought process behind the Heart Attack Grill on Fremont Street. Big appetites, big burgers, big people, and big disappointment. Well, I'm sure the first three were in their plan, the fourth one just came about on its own. Ever since I'd heard about the Heart Attack Grill I was intrigued. Monster food portions cooked in the fattiest ways actually entices me, especially when there's a theme behind it. But a theme can only take a place so far when the heart of the establishment has in fact, stopped beating.

A friend of mine wanted to eat here on his birthday before a night out of convivialism, so I took that opportunity to finally try this infamous restaurant. There were a lot of surprises throughout our time here. First and foremost, cash only… Really? If this were some deli in New York I'd understand, but a major spot on Freemont Street? Even the parking meters take debit/credit cards right down the way! Secondly, we were required to put on hospital gowns as we entered and were assisted by one of the "nurses" while putting the gowns on. While entering the dining area, I noticed it was pretty much a ghost town. There may have been one or two couples eating at tables and that was it. It was 6pm on a Monday, but c'mon, that's pretty dead. (And a bad sign!) We sat at the bar and took a look at the menu. Another shock to me, it wasn't a menu full of crazy and rediculously sinful concoctions, it was four burgers and some fries…that's it. The full extent of the food portion of the menu was four variations of one item, and one of an other.

Before partaking in the meal portion of the night, we told our "nurse" that it was our friend's birthday and she immediately responded by grabbing a microphone and wooden paddle to give him three birthday spankings. *See Video*

The burgers offered here come in four sizes: the Single, Double, Triple, and Quadruple Bypass. Each stacking on an extra 1/2lb patty. Each burger also had the option of adding 4, 8, 10, and 14 bacon strips respectively. Since we were waiting for a few more friends to show up, we decided on two things, first the Flatliner Fries to just munch on before ordering and some adult beverages. One of the fun options on their menu is the choice of Colt 45 or Old English 800 in 24oz cans. How could I pass up a choice like that? When we got our Ol' Es they were served (as they always should be) in brown paper bags. Classy. The fries came pretty quick and were a definitive brown shade, I'm assuming from being deep fried in absolutly pure lard. They were super rich and greasy with a hint of cooked pork flavor. These will fill you up fast, so be careful chowing down on em if you plan on attempting any of the burgers after. 

I ordered the Double Bypass Burger with 8 strips of bacon. It's a good thing I eat healty most of the time, because this beast was a full pound before even adding the bacon! This caloric behemoth consisted of two 1/2lb beef patties, half a tomato, American cheese, red onions, and their secret sauce. And yes, I did put the whole thing down in one sitting! When ordering, I inquired if I could get it medium rare and was responded with a big fat "nope". That always pains me to hear when it comes to burgers or steaks. So, once I received my well done burger, I had at it. The bun was fresh and had a good texture to it, the beef patties were Okay, but nothing to write home about. The tomato seemed fresh, but the red onions were just sad and wet. They seemed half ass sautéed. The best thing about the burger was the added bacon strips. They were thick and juicy with the right amount of grease to them. After toughing through a solid 15 mins of eating this thing I was finally finished and felt accomplished as a man devouring over a pound of meat, but at the same time saddened that I really didn't enjoy most of what I had eaten. 

As far as the feel of the joint, there wasn't much. It felt like a forced concept with no heart to attack. The overall theme is meant to look like a 50's diner, but all the music being played was from the 80's and 90's, and our order was taken with an iPod touch. So it seemed a little all over the place. The music is really what kept us entertained. They had an iMac controlling the big music video board behind the bar, so we took turns making song requests from those eras. And the reason we had to keep our selves entertained in the first place is because the wait staff of "nurses" really seemed as if they couldn't care much about making sure everyone was having a good experience. There were the occasional spankings, but otherwise the wait staff was no different than what you would get from going to a two star chain restaurant. 

All in all, I guess it's fun to say I've been there once and had a humongous burger, but that's about it. I have zero desire to ever go back there again and although we had a good time, it was more by our own accord than the Heart Attack Grill's almost vapid attempt at a themed eatery. It's in a location that has decimated everything ever put in it and I'll go ahead and assume it wont be around for an other year or so because of the lack of a pulse of the staff, being cash only, and only having two edible menu items, to name a few reasons. For me, the Heart Attack Grill was a flatline overall without the need of resuscitation.  

Rating Description
out of 10
5 Location
Double edged sword here, it's a good location to get to since it's smack dab on Freemont Street, but the building that it's in has cursed every establishment that's tried to survive.
4 The Décor
There's mock movie posters that have had Heart Attack Grill makeovers and a huge video wall behind the bar, otherwise there's not much else to look at that's stimulating.
7 The Prices
Eh, I guess for the amount of food you're getting, the prices aren't that bad. Drink prices are $5-$10 though.
3 The Drinks
No draft beer. Shots are $10 for 4oz!
6 The Food
Selection is terrible. The food is good but not great.
5
OVERALL
It's a tourist trap that could be fun and delicious, but is neither.
(out of 10)

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Pubs with Gastronomy

Gastropubs

Vehicles with Food Inside

I <3 Food Trucks!

Redneck Kitchen

First and foremost, I'd like to say that the owners/operators of the Redneck Kitchen Food Trailer are two of the nicest people I've met. I actually met them a month or so before launching SinCityFoodie.com and have always tried to catch their trailer at the right time to try it out. This review is a combination of two trips within a week to try two very different offerings from these two very nice Rednecks!

Right outside a small parking lot near the Statosphere is where I first got to try one of their "Naked Burrito"s. Their Naked Burritos come in four variaties from no meat to three different meats consisting of: Chicken, Steak, Pulled Pork, Fried Bologna, and Fried Hot Dogs. I went ahead and ordered The Bubba with Pulled Pork & Chicken and got all the fixin's of lettuce, cheese, beans, sour cream, guac, pico de gallo, and jalapaños with no black olives. The first thing I noticed when handed this behemoth of a meal was there was no tortilla, hence the "Naked Burrito"! I dug in with my fork and started on the pulled pork side. My tongue's immediate reaction to my first bite was, wow, there's a lot of flavor in there. The pulled pork was delicious and a little sweet, with the sauces really bringing everything together. The chicken was very well cooked and seasoned also and was very juicy. The cheese blend was also impressive and definitely very gooey and cheesy. And the jalepeños were a nice added touch as they were hot but not overpowering. The only real component that got lost in the mass of goodness was the beans, they were there, but didn't add anything to the fiesta going on around them. Overall, this was an awesome meal that was also easily large enough for two to share.

Now, the reason for the second trip was because @RedNeckKitchen replied to me on Twitter (@SinCityFoodie) when I mentioned that I was having Chicken & Waffles at Mollie's Kountry Kafe and told me that I HAD to try their Redneck Chicken & Waffles. They didn't have that on the menu the first day I went, so I visited them again at the Saturday Night Truck Stop to finally try their stab at my all-time favorite meal (From Roscoe's or course). I'll start with this… It has potential. The Chicken & Waffles from Redneck Kitchen is served with the waffle acting like a taco shell with the chicken inside, no fork needed! Conceptually, so far, so good. The waffle was perfectly cooked: golden brown, crispy outside with soft inside, and dense but not too airy. The chicken was two chicken fingers drizzled with their home made butter/maple/chipotle syrup. The sauce is pretty stellar, but I wish it had more kick to it, I really was left wanting for more heat. The chicken isn't close to being called a southern fried style , but they were juicy and tasty nonetheless. This dish is just missing something, not sure what exactly, but it's like the Death Star in Return of the Jedi, not fully operational. I want this dish to be awesome and I think they'll eventually figure it out and I'll be excited to try it again when they do! And for the record, this starch and poultry combo is not bad in any sense, this is a good, hearty meal, it's just off from the standard of what I beleive Chicken & Waffles should be more like.

Some cool stuff about Redneck Kitchen is that their pay system is through an iPad with the Square app and they make some kick ass home made hot sauces. And as I mentioned, the owners are an awesome and very nice couple. The only uncool thing, I think they could improve on, is the drink offerings. All they have are fountain drinks. I'd love to see an epic home made lemonade or fruit punch to really round out the Redneck drinks. 

I enjoyed Redneck Kitchen both times and want to go back to try their Hillbilly Nachos, Port-A-Pot, and desserts. 

Rating Description
out of 10
8 Selection
Only four main items, but a few variations of each and you pick your meats.
6 Truck Fun Level
The trailer is pretty basic. No music coming from inside or anything. It is fun to try their many different hot sauces though!
10 The Prices
$5-$10 is a pretty amazing price range, especially for the serving sizes, each meal could probably serve two people each.
7 Truck Findability
If you follow them on Twitter, they're pretty easy to find. They're not on the streets quite as many days as some other trucks/trailers though.
9 The Food
The Naked Burrito was amazing, the Chicken and Waffles fell a little short, but overall they have quality ingrediants and a good passion for what they're cooking.
8
OVERALL
Definitely a new favorite, I just need to try more of what they've got!
(out of 10)

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Fukuburger

Two hours…. in a line… in a parking lot.. to eat one burger. Man was it worth it! My first experience with Fukuburger was at a 4 truck round up in the parking lot of a tattoo parlor with myself and somewhere around 500 other people. I was determined to finally get my hands on a Fukuburger. So I waited and waited and waited, and when I finally heard my name called I snatched my order and went directly to my car to begin enjoying my amazing first Fukuburger. I figured I'd order the #1 since it was simply named "The Fukuburger". Immediately I could tell that these guys mean business. Extremely high quality ingredients, very fresh buns, and perfectly cooked and seasoned beef patty. Oh, and the mind-boggling good wasabi mayo and Fuku-sauce! After that burger, I knew I'd try and catch Fukuburger whenever I could.

Over the past year, I've probably been to the truck a dozen times and have even ventured to Fukuburger LA! I've had all 6 of their main burgers and both the garlic and Jazz fries. The Jazz fries are good enough to order by themselves (Crack sauce FTW)! I have yet to try any of their hot dogs for some reason, but I will the next time I check them out.

The regular Fukuburger is definitely tasty, but I'd have to say my favorite is the #3 Buta Burger with the #2 Tamago in at a close 2nd and the #4 Kinoko taking the bronze. But they are all hands down better than most burger joints in town.

The Buta Burger has applewood smoked bacon, American cheese, pickled red onions and ginger, with Japanese BBQ sauce and that awesome wasabi mayo. What I love is that all the flavors work so well together. The bacon is always thick an delicious and the Japanese BBQ sauce brings the whole thing together perfectly with the pickled red onions and ginger giving the burger a nice texture shift and crunch. If you're a bacon lover like me, this is the one to order.

How do you make an already great burger better? Add a fried egg! The Tamago offers furikake, teriyaki and wasabi mayo, crispy onion strings and a fried egg. I've actually had this one two ways. When you frequent food trucks you'll always encounter the "we've ran out of (something)" dilemma, so I've had this burger without the egg but with all of the other ingredients. Still bomb! This is probably the richest burger of the bunch, but it's one of the few things I've eaten recently where as soon as I was done I wanted to order another one asap!

Shrooms enhance everything… Especially in the case of the Kinoko. Grilled Shitake mushrooms, pickled red ginger, teriyaki sauce and wasabi mayo make up this masterpiece. This one I've had from the truck and the LA location and it was exactly the same! Which I see as a well accomplished feat. The mushrooms are consistantly nice and thick and grilled with finesse. The combination of the seasoned beef and the Shitake's make for a flavor party in your mouth! 

As for the rest; #5 The Karai is the "spicy" one, but the one time I ordered this guy, he wasn't all that spicy. I really expected to get kicked in the face from the habanero kabyaki, but instead it was like a gentle slap. I might have caught this one on a bad day, I'll give it another shot for sure. The non-beef option of the #6 Chicken Katsu is a solid offering, just nothing too amazing about it. The crack sauce really holds it up for me. I only order this one when they run out of Fuku-pattys.

Did I mention the Jazz fries yet? Holy shit these are good. Go get some right now! I have no idea why I don't have a picture of them, but I'll make it a point to go find the truck and order some just to get a picture…. and maybe devour them too. And get some to go.

Of the growing food truck craze in Sin City, Fukuburger definitely has gotten things right. Very simple menu. Always friendly staff. Outstanding quality of ingredients. And some of the best burgers you can get off a vehicle with food inside. 

Rating Description
out of 10
8 Selection
Six burgers, hot dogs, fries, and specials. Compared to some other trucks, a solid amount of offerings.
10 Truck Fun Level
The truck is decorated with awesome graphics with the main window covered in stickers and pictures. You get to give whatever name you want to be called for your order, and if you tip, you get a Korean jelly treat!
10 The Prices
Burgers are typically $5 each. Jazz fries are only $2. Everything is definitely well priced for the quality received.
9 Truck Findability
If you follow them on Twitter, they're pretty easy to find, and typically on the streets 4-5 days a week.
10 The Food
Consistancy is key and Fukuburger is consistantly awesome. Quality ingredients with genius sauces make a great combo. I have to get my Fukuburger fix at least once a month or more!
9.4
OVERALL
A Sin City Foodie top pick!
(out of 10)

SinCityFoodie.com


Places with Adult Beverages

Bars with food, what a great concept.

Erin's the Grille Next Door (Closed)

This review is a compilation of many visits to Erin's the Grille Next Door because they happen to run the kitchen inside of O'Aces Bar & Grille on Cheyenne…and I happen to be there two to three times a week! So each time I go, if I do eat, I try to diversify and get something different every time. I believe I'm about half way through the menu by now. So, please enjoy what I've enjoyed so far from Erin's.

I am a stickler when it comes to Pastrami sandwiches. If a restaurant has a "Pastrami Sandwich" on their menu but don't have Rye bread it is an outright tragedy. The first thing I ordered from Erin's was their Pastrami on Rye because…that's how it always should be! So Thankfully they use the right bread and ingredients. My sandwich was served nice and hot. The meat was salt, tangy, and spot on for consistency and juiciness. The pickles were adding what they needed without being too briny and weren't too thick for the sandwich. The only slight misfires were that the bread was toasted a little too much and the swiss cheese got a little lost and wasn't apparent. Overall though, the meat was right and the bread was proper. For being inside of a bar, this is a pretty legitimate Pastrami on Rye.

Along with most sandwiches offered at Erin's you get the option of Slaw or Potato Salad. With my sandwich I got the Potato Salad and was overall pleased. The portion size is substantial and the potatoes were soft and creamy. The pickles were a hair too abundant, but other than that, a good side for any sandwich.

On one of my visits, the soup of the day was their Chicken Enchilada Soup. Served in a large bowl I was pretty happy with the portion size for the price. There was a good amount of tender chicken inside the soup and a lot of flavor. The soup had an underlying kick of spice to it that was very welcomed, but it was slightly too much because the cook sprinkled some pepper on top that was not necessary to complete this dish. Aside from the pepper, the soup is very good, creamy, and the spice level would be just right otherwise.

There are two types of French Dip sandwiches in this world. Bomb, amazing, blow you away types… and downright awful types. There is no grey area in the realm of French Dips. None I say! Luckily, the French Dip here is on the more hailed side. This might be the best thing I've had so far at Erin's. The meat is pouring out of the sandwich and is juicy and as succulent as can be. The dip was superb with just a bit of saltiness to match well with the meat and the bread was soft and toasted to perfection. This really is simplicity at it's best.

I used to make Meatball Subs 8 hours a day for half a year a decade ago. I've just recently started to order them again because 1. I ate so many, 2. I thought my own were the best! I don't know about anyone else, but a problem I always have with Meatball Subs is they're awkward to eat when left in tact. I always made my subs with the meatballs mashed with a fork to make for an easier eating experience. That is one little detail that helps me better enjoy the Meatball Sub at Erin's. The meatballs themselves were delicious and slightly mashed while being coated, and I mean coated, in the mozzarella cheese that was gooey and sensational. The bread was toasted well and the sandwich was easy to eat with little mess and lots of flavor. Bravo!

The Sausage Sub was equally as good. The sausage had a good snap to it and coated my tongue with meaty goodness. The onions were cooked perfect and although it looks like a simple sub, it really had a lot going on. 

Basically a BBQ Pizza, the Big Bubba Pizza is all about the sauce. The BBQ sauce is abundant and the cheese seemed blended, which I love. The onions were good once again and the pork was tender and well proportioned throughout the pie. The only part that wasn't quite right was the crust. It was a little al dente and could have used some more time in the oven or at a hotter temperature. Also, as a small side note: It always takes a decent amount of time to get pizza at Erin's. I don't know if they're just perfectionists or they're oven isn't hot enough, but you just have to be patient. I've had their other regular pizzas and they're fabulous, you just have to give them some time. So enjoy a beer or three while you wait!

Beer Battered Chicken Fingers. What a great combination of words! Easily some of the best chicken fingers I've ever had. The secret is they beer batter them in house! Also, I can always tell that Erin's uses very clean oil for deep frying because of the light taste and coloring on their fingers and fries. These fingers are exceptional. The price may seem a little high for the amount, but trust me, the quality is worth it. These are fingers that are so good, they're amazing naked without being dressed in sauce! I always get my sauce on the side so I can choose how to enjoy them. Their breading is always light and crisp with very tender and juicy chicken inside. Also, they're nowhere near greasy, which is nice. 

The Big Bubba Burrito is deceiving. It's a hot sub sandwich disguised as a wrap. It works, but it's either missing something or it's just a tad too expensive for what you get. Otherwise, it's solid. The pulled pork is good and is sauced well. The slaw inside is crunch and fresh and adds a good heartiness when combined with the meat and cheese. The BBQ sauce is not overpowering and is nice and sweet. The only real foul in this guy was the raw onions, I don't know if they forgot to cook them, but they should have been, or omitted. I'm still on the fence with this one.

Every now and then there are off menu specials available. One night the BBQ Platter was a special with ribs, pulled pork, mac & cheese, and slaw. The pulled pork was the same as on most of the other dishes, but when by itself it is still pretty good. It's not overly sweet, was slightly tangy, and wasn't as tender as usual. So good, but not great. The ribs were very tender but the BBQ sauce wasn't the star it should have been this time around. The meat was good, it just didn't have the best supporting cast.

Ah yes, The Tod Burger. If you haven't already seen my friends and I attempt The Tod Burger Challenge, please click here. This burger is a monster. And although I attempted to put it down under 2 minutes, I still enjoyed it! The bacon is off the charts good and very crispy. The cheese was very well melted and hot. And the patties themselves were very well seasoned and packed lots of flavor even when smothered in ranch. If you're not a big eater, you should just tackle half of this or share with somebody. 2lbs is a lot of burger for anyone. At least it is 2lbs of deliciousness in a bun!

Rating Description
out of 10
8 Location
On Rainbow right off of Cheyenne in a very busy shopping center, O'aces/Erin's is pretty visable and easy to get too.
6 The Décor
Eh… As much as I absolutely love O'Aces/Erin's, the decor is drab. It's a few neon beer signs, a few Vegas related posters, and a decent amount of flat panel TVs.
9 The Prices
Most of the food holds up to the prices well for the quality and/or quantity you get.
9 The Drinks
Since it's a part of O'Aces, it has a fully stocked bar and the best bartenders in Sin City! Craft beer options would be nice though…
9 The Food
Typical bar food with an extra level of quality is hard to find. Hot Sandwiches, Pizzas, Burgers, and more, Erin's food is overall very good and consistent.
8.2
OVERALL
If you're in the NW side of town, it's worth a visit if you're feeling like better than average bar food!
(out of 10)


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Sagos Baja Tavern & Lounge

Located in a mini strip mall next to a Papa Johns and a Karate school, Sagos seems small and unassuming whilst viewing its exterior. But once inside, it opens up into a pretty large space with many pleasant surprises.

I set forth to Sagos because a favorite bartender of mine, Amber, that used to slang drinks at my local watering hole O'Aces (Cheyenne), is now there and I hadn't seen her in forever. It's a little bit of a trek from where I live, but I'm glad I made the trip.

Upon entering, I went right to sit at the bar. After being there for about 20 mins I turned around to look at the rest of the place and realized I totally missed the enormous dining room they have! It has two huge front-projection screens with 10 or so other flat panels surrounding the dining area, shuffleboard, a Buck Hunter arcade game, and nightclub style lounge/couches. Apparently a good place to watch sports!

A friend of mine was meeting me, so I figured I'd start out with a Weird Beer (Click for my review on Innis & Gunn: Irish Whiskey Cask) and take a look at the menu. I asked Amber what she liked and she quickly recommended the Loreto Chicken Sandwich. A lot of menu items spoke to me, but I figured I'd go with what she recommended, but I subbed the fries for Onion Rings.

I started munching on the Onion Rings because they looked so perfectly golden brown and crunchy. They were great! The batter was light and had a good crunch to it, and they had that good "The cook actually used clean oil" taste. They're big and meaty and had tons of flavor. And to accentuate the clean flavors of the rings, there was a nice ranch to dip them in. The ranch was also light and not overpowering like most. I'd almost order this by itself if I wasn't too hungry.

Then to the Loreto Chicken Sandwich: sporting fresh avocados, tomatoes, grilled chicken, and their special sauce all delicately placed in-between two halves of very tasty and fresh, toasted bread. The chicken was perfectly cooked and all of the flavors and textures worked well together. The best part about this sandwich was a slight kick from their sauce. It's not overly spicy, just enough to let you know it's there. I took my time eating because I enjoyed the flavors so much. For under $10, I was very surprised by the overall quality and taste of this meal.

Once we were done with our meal, I figured to ask if they have any signature shots. Amber gave us their house specialty: the Sagos' Smoothie. (Click for my review)

So, overall I was pleasantly surprised by Sagos. Surprised by the quality of food, the craft beer offerings, the size of the establishment, and the look and feel of the joint. It's a fair trip for me to get over there, but I'll be frequenting more often after this maiden voyage to try more menu items and maybe catch a game or two.

We took a picture with Amber before leaving… we were a bit distracted.

Rating Description
out of 10
7 Location
If you're in Summerlin you're in luck. Anywhere else and it's a drive. It's easy to get to being located on Fort Apache and Trop though.
9 The Décor
Island views painted on the bar walls, fake palm trees and such around. It's nice and not too gaudy. Also, brighter than most bars, doesn't feel like you're in a dungeon. Enormous screens in Dining Room for sports and big events!
8 The Prices
For the food, the prices were pretty damn good. Beer prices are great for drafts. Craft beer prices are high.
8 The Drinks
Not much on tap, but they do try to carry craft beers. I was told they'll have Dogfish Head on tap pretty soon!
9 The Food
The food was solid. Also, it's a small menu, which I like, better quality control. I'll be back for more!
8.2
OVERALL
A great place if you're in the area!
(out of 10)

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Pizza Joints

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie!

Streets of New York

Ever have a friend tell you "You HAVE to try this place, they have the best ______!" and in you're head you're saying "Yeah right…"? That's exactly how and why I went to Streets of New York the first time over a year ago. A friend told me their pizza might be the best they're ever tasted. Bold statement. Especially telling me that since I used to be a hand toss pizza chef and am super critical of pizzas. So I went and tried Streets of New York, had their pizza, and my mind was then blown. 

For a tucked away, slightly unassuming pizza joint at the edge of town, Streets of New York may have the best pizza I've ever had. But we'll get there. 

Let's start with a fresh appetizer, shall we? On this outing, we ordered the Bruschetta to commence our meal. The slightly buttered bread slices were toasted perfectly: not too crunchy, not too soft… just right. The Roma tomatoes were fresh and stood up brilliantly against the balsamic vinegar and olive oil to cut the sweetness. And the basil stole the show by being apparent, but not taking over my palate altogether. The entire dish was very refreshing and had the right amount of sweetness to it. This could easily be shared between 2-3 people. The Bruschetta is a "must" order for me now every time I go.

My main order was Lorrie's Lasagna. Reasons for ordering: 1. Because I love lasagna. 2. Because I already knew the pizza was epic so I wanted to try something else….and the pizza again too. The lasagna says on the menu "baked until bubbly". This is no joke people! This lasagna was served to me while still bubbling! The plate was so hot I accidentally burned my forearm on it (reaching over for the parmesan. I love cheese). So after letting this scorching plate cool down, I dug in and was very surprised. As you can see from the picture, the lasagna seemed like a very heavy dish, but in actuality it was extremely light and delicious. All the ingredients were very fresh and thankfully, the ricotta cheese was plentiful. A lot of places cheap on on the cheese in their lasagna, that was not the case here. Also located inside this magmatic marinara ménage a trois was three meats that blended so well with their surroundings you'd think the animals were bred just for this plate. The Italian Sausage shined, but the ham and meatballs were very flavorful as well.

Now for the star of the show: The Pepperoni Pizza! Just look at that picture! If that doesn't make you hungry, something is deeply wrong with you. I know Streets of New York is a small chain, but this location in Vegas sure makes it feel like a boutique establishment with lots of care and passion around making an outstanding pizza. The pizza is always slightly greasy, but good greasy. Like: you got it in New York greasy, Not: they made 30 in one oven that's fifty years old greasy. The sauce is to die for and is always a perfect ratio to the cheese and toppings. The dough they use is top notch and good enough that you'll eat the crusts and want more when you're done. The cheese is abundant and definitely a blend of different mozzarellas (my guess). The pepperonis are rich and meaty and always cooked on point. I've never had a burnt topping at Streets. I've eaten at a hundred different pizza places, Streets of New York is definitely in my top three for pizza overall. But for Vegas, hands down, the best I've had. (I've had Sammie's, Brick Oven, Secret at Cosmo, Grimaldi's and more.)

And to finish us off… a Homemade Blueberry Cheesecake. I don't know if this is a typical menu item because it was not on the menu. It was a daily special written on their chalkboard and I was assured it was made in house and not outsourced. If that's the truth, they've knocked it out of the park with this masterpiece of piece of pie. This delicate slice of cheesecake was very rich and had a great consistency throughout. The blueberry flavors were just a playful note on my tongue, but enough to remember every bite I took. I probably took a good 15 mins eating this one slice just to savor it. The blueberry crumble alone was worth each fork full. I will be deeply saddened if this isn't on the chalk board the next time I go, but hopefully, if it's not, a stellar replacement will be made available.


Being my sixth or seventh visit to Streets of New York I've noticed a main similarity to my visits… consistency. They are consistently good: Always fresh, always friendly, always quick and efficient. Consistency is what keeps customers and I am a loyal customer of Streets of New York. If only they delivered to my house!

Rating Description
out of 10
8 Location
It's far away from most, but it's in a cute outdoor mall kind of deal.
9 The Décor
New York décor and feel overall. The bar is nice the tables and booths give off that good ol NY Pizza Joint feel.
8 The Prices
It's a tad pricier than I'd really like, but at least it's worth it!
9 The Drinks
Domestic Beer, good Import Beer, Wines, Milk, Juice, Teas, they have it all covered.
10 The Food
I've never had anything at Streets of New York that I thought was sub par.
8.8
OVERALL
A Sin City Foodie Top Pick!
(out of 10)


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Mark Rich's New York Pizza & Pasta (Closed)

I've been wanting to try out Mark Rich's since it moved to the Centennial location a while back. I had eaten at the old location about a decade ago and it was really good, so my expectations for this location were somewhat high walking in. But my high expectations could have been mediocre expectations and I still would have had a hard time liking the experience I was left with.

It was a slightly cold and windy night that we went into Mark Rich's, which is situated in a quaint strip mall. After seating, I immediately began to notice that the temperature inside the restaurant was just about the same temperature we had just come from outside! It was downright cold the whole time we were there. I took a look at the menu and was just floored by the amount of items. I think I counted around 115 menu items! That's a lot of plates to get right every time. After filtering though the menu, I decided on the Pasta Cristopher: Pasta with pink marinera sauce with clams, crab meat, and shrimp. We ordered our food and a lemonade and then waited.

Also, something kind of interesting with the menu; On the front of the restaurant they advertise they serve beer and wine, yet these items are no where to be found on the menu. In fact, we weren't even offered beer or wine, or shown a separate menu for adult beverages. The only way I even knew they had a selection was from one of the 6"x4" table cards stuffed behind the condiments.

The lemonade came pretty quick and when first tasted…seemed off. There was just something weird about it. It almost seemed like it was just a yellowish tinted soda water with a drop of lemon in it. It basically resembled nothing close to lemonade. The dispenser said Minute Maid but something here was awry. We sent it back and just got water instead.

How can you make water a bad experience? Serve it in a 16oz glass with a 10" straw, that's how. I should have taken a picture, the straws were two times the length of the glass. Who does that? 

Now, mind you, 15 minutes has gone by since we ordered, so I've had plenty of time to soak in what was going on in this place. A lot of not so good things: The music was annoyingly low, like audible, but not loud enough to distinguish songs without really paying attention. Every single picture on the wall, and there were dozens, were crooked. It looked like there was an earthquake and no one felt like fixing any of them. We noticed that there was a pepper flake shaker on the table, but not parmesan cheese. They charge $1 for use of the parmesan shaker…. At a pizza & pasta restaurant…WTF?! If they want to save money, they could cut their straws in half and get two for one!

Twenty five minutes. That's how long it took for our two pastas to come out. One family came, sat down, and ordered a 16" pizza that come out before our two pastas. So by this time we're starving. I begin my seafood pasta and am met with clams that still have grit and sand in them, shrimp that had zero flavor, and crab meat that was suspect of being "krab meat" that was also flat in the taste department. The pink marinera was just a watery goop. And to top it off, the pasta was overcooked and slimy. This was horrible. The only good thing I had was the garlic bread, but that's pretty hard to screw up. Otherwise, bland is the best way to describe the food. I tried my girlfriend's Chicken Alfredo, bland and soupy too. 

We ate what we could because we were so hungry and didn't want to wait for them to make us a different plate or to drive somewhere else. Once we finished, our plates just sat there. The waitress came, gave me the check, took my card, and came back and gave me back the copy to sign, and our plates were still there. They were still there when we left. I wouldn't be surprised if they're still there now!

I don't know what's happened to Mark Rich's. I don't know if he's not involved anymore and the quality control has gone to shit. Or if the cooks are even trying the food they're making. But this place needs some help. The pizza might still be good for all I know, but I'm not willing to go back and try after our horrendous experience. 

Rating Description
out of 10
7 Location
It's in a strip mall, so not too classy. Parking is easy.
2 The Décor
Crooked pictures. 8x10 signs taped to every open spot around the pizza station. Faint music.
4 The Prices
$12 for a pasta I could have made better, at home, and quicker. No thanx.
3 The Drinks
Adult beverages are served, but weren't even offered. The lemonade was strange and wrong.
1 The Food
Disgusting. At least the two pastas we had were. Pizza could be a different story, but I'd rather not chance it.
3.4
OVERALL
You couldn't pay me to go back.
(out of 10)

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South of the Border

Beans, rice, tortillas, tamales, peppers, yes please!

Cantina Laredo

Cantina Laredo is a chain Mexican Restaurant; But… there’s only one in Las Vegas so I feel it to be a little more special. Nestled within the heart of Tivoli Village, Cantina Laredo stands out with it’s outdoor seating and bold, brick facade. On the inside, Cantina Laredo is quite strikingly modern. There are wood furnishings everywhere, floor to ceiling windows connecting the outside patio, and an overall buzz that can be felt as soon as you enter. Luckily, the modern Mexican food stylings match the modern décor nicely.

We started our meal with the Bontano Trio. This dish was a sampler and consisted of two tacos, two crab cakes, and two chicken tamales. Each were of a decent portion size and it was great to share. The tacos were light and fun, the crab cakes were perfect in their consistency, and the chicken tamales were great. This was a great way to start off our meal!

Cantina Laredo- Bontano Trio

For entrées we had the Torta de Pollo (Chicken) and Enchiladas de Cangrejo (Crab). The torta was peculiar, but in a good way. Compared to a typical torta from your local taco shop, this was not, but it still had the proper vibe to it. For me, it was more like a chicken ciabatta with southwestern flavors. The chicken was cooked well and was paired with mango and avocado cubes and the duo was excellent as well as very refreshing. I could do without the fries though, they seemed out of place. Otherwise, the sandwich was pretty solid overall.

Cantina Laredo- Torta de Pollo

The Enchiladas de Cangrejo were the star of the show for me. The enchiladas were stuffed to the brim with crab meat and had a nice, delicate sauce that perfectly brought in the delightfulness of the warm crab. The rice on the side was cooked perfectly and had a great texture to it. And the bed of julienned chips and cabbage under the enchiladas added a superb contrast that was very much welcomed. Bang for the buck, this was the best dish of our meal.

Cantina Laredo- Enchiladas de Cangrejo

Cantina Laredo does modern Mexican well. The feeling inside the restaurant and the twists on traditional Mexican fare is a great combination to behold. Seeing as there really aren’t many authentic Mexican restaurants in the Summerlin area, Cantina Laredo should be the go-to place for anyone looking for something with quality and care from South of the Border.

Rating out
of 10
Description
8 Location

What's nice about Cantina Laredo being inside of Tivoli Village is that it makes less of a destination. You can walk around before or after eating.

10 The Décor

Modern and welcoming at its best. Even the plates were nice to look at!

8 The Prices

Prices aren't really too bad for the amount of food you get.

N/A The Drinks

Although they have some interesting looking specialty cocktails, we did not partake on this venture.

9 The Food

Consistency of the quality of food was impressive and all of the plating of the dishes was on point.

8.75 Overall

A Sin City Foodie favorite!

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Cilantro Tacos

Fast casual is a great way to eat. The food is quickly made without sacrificing the quality of the ingredients and you can enjoy your food free from ball pits and people drinking 72oz sodas. Cilantro Tacos is an excellent addition to the fast casual category for the NW Vegas foodies to enjoy. 

Cilantro Tacos opened on Cinco De Mayo this year and I just happened to be in the vicinity. The place is family owned and operated, bringing their SoCal style and flavors to Sin City. And when I say operated, I mean at least three generations working at the same time to deliver you delicious tacos and burritos with plenty of family charm. 

The new Mexican eatery replaced the horrible Gorditas Tacos in a mini strip mall along Rainbow off of Smoke Ranch. Upon entering, the layout is nice and open and there is an open kitchen behind the counter. The tables and chairs are hefty wooded pieces that are leaps and bounds better than similar places with plastic everything. Along with the main options on the menu there is a quality Salsa Bar, Horchata, and fresh fruit juice they change every day. The menu is decently small but still diverse; Of course tacos are the stars but they do offer tortas, burritos, Mexican fries, and even elote (Mexican corn on the cob)!

My first visit was on opening day and my second visit was the next day, and my third visit was about 5 days later. Obviously, I'm a fan. 

So let's start with the Salsa Bar. Any self respecting Mexican eatery has one of these, some better than others. Here, everything is very fresh and tasty. The pickled carrots and friends are hot but not too hot, which is how I prefer it. The Mild Chipotle sauce is amazing and actually mild! Most places label mild and it scorches your tongue off, this one is just right! The Verde sauce is a little hotter but not too bad, and the Chile de Arbol is delicious and great with chips. Overall, the Salsa Bar is a winner.

Cilantro Tacos- Salsa Bar

Tacos, Tacos, Tacos!!! As I've recently been to (and reviewed) Tacos el Gordo, those have been my gold standard for street tacos as of late. But from what I've had at Cilantro Tacos, there is now heavy competition. The Lengua Taco is stellar. The marinade on the meat is perfect and has the right amount of saltiness to it, the meat is firm but tender and just a joy to eat. The tortillas are solid and don't break apart when eating and the fresh cilantro and onions are superbly proportioned. This taco was so good that I've had at least two dreams about it since. More please!

Cilantro Tacos- Lengua Taco

The Chorizo con Papas Taco surprised me in a few ways. One, it was nowhere near as spicy as I thought it was gonna be, and two, it was actually just OK. It was slightly greasy and gristly but just didn't have the in your face flavor I'm accustomed to from chorizo anything else. Although it is a good meat choice and excellent taco, it just wasn't my favorite of the four that I tried. 

Cilantro Tacos- Chorizo Taco

Their fish taco, the Pescado Taco was great. I loved how flaky the fish was and it actually had some spice to it. A lot of places just slap some fried tilapia in their tacos with no seasoning and then douse it with sauce. This fish was filling, had bold flavors and stood up to the pile of add on atop it. The queso fresco was interesting to have on a fish taco but it worked out well and balanced the sauce that it came with. This is one of the better fish tacos I've ever had.

Cilantro Tacos- Pescado Taco

The Machaca (Shredded beer) Taco had nice changes compared to the others. This one was topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. The beef was slightly oily and very tender. It reminded me of Cuban Ropa Vieja with a little less saltiness. This is a small taco that will fill you up fast. 

Cilantro Tacos- Machaca Taco

I've had chile relleno at countless restaurants. I have never seen it in a burrito. So of course I had to order it. The Chile Relleno Burrito is different but welcomed. The burrito was stuffed with two chiles filled with cheese. The end result? An easy way to eat chili relleno I suppose. It worked in the burrito, it just needed a little more sauce or sour cream inside to maintain the flavors and not have so many dry components. I definitely think they've got something here and it will get better as they perfect it. I did really enjoy this burrito and can't wait to try it again. If you're a fan of chile relleno, you must try this burrito!

Cilantro Tacos- Chile Relleno Burrito

Cilantro Tacos is just what this neighborhood needed. Now there's no need to head all the way to North Town, or stand outside just to get some street tacos. The staff is more than welcoming, the ingredients are all top notch, and the atmosphere is easy going and a pleasure to be within. If you're feeling like some Mexican without breaking the bank, check out Cilantro Tacos ASAP! And tell them Sin City Foodie sent you!

Rating out
of 10
Description
8 Location

Right smack in between Lake Mead and Cheyenne, it's pretty easy to get to and find.

8 The Décor

The décor is very subtle. And I like it. Sometimes, it's ok to not slap every possible ethnic thing you can on the walls. I really like the furniture used as well. Alsthough I do think they could lose the green table coverings. The tables and chairs are beautiful as is!

10 The Prices

Tacos are $2, burritos are $5. Can't get much better than that!

10 The Drinks

No cervezas here, but the fresh juice that's changed every day is always amazing and their horchata is just how I like it.

9 The Food

Almost perfect. With a little more experience in the location I know they'll be able to pull off even better execution of their dishes in the future.

9 Overall

A Sin City Foodie favorite!

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Juan's Flaming Fajitas & Cantina

Located on Trop off of Fort Apache, Juan's Flaming Fajitas & Cantina resides in Buzz BBQ's old pad. Their outside is obviously a work in progress; Their sign is a vinyl banner and they still have stickers on the window from Buzz BBQ. But aside from the exterior, there actually is a lot of charm inside. The wall decorations are of simple Mexican scenes and it really is understated very well compared to many Mexican places that plaster the walls with trinkets and murals everywhere you look. Also I do like the color scheme, just simple yellows, purples, and reds filling in without being abrasive. The dining room is decently open and they even have a small stage in the corner. It feels cozy to be there. 

Unbeknownst to us, this restaurant had only been open about five weeks when we checked it out, so for a new place that no one has heard of, it was actually quite good.

Juan's Flaming Fajitas- Margarita

We were there in the middle of the day so obviously... I got a Margarita with my meal. The margarita was large and presented nicely. At first taste it was pretty sweet. I stirred it around a bit and it remained sweet. Although it was of decent size, I think it could have used a little more tequila. It seemed as if it was a perfectly measured 2oz of tequila with the rest all lime and simple syrup. So, it could use some work, but for $4 during happy hour, I can't really complain.

Juan's Flaming Fajitas- Fideo Soup

I ordered the the Flaming Shrimp Fajitas and it came with Fideo Soup. I love fideo soup. And this one is pretty close to the best I've had. At first glance I could tell I'd like this version because I could see it was a tad oily and that's just how I like it. Once my spoon dove in and cupped what was beneath the surface, I got to see that this soup had another benefit, it was chock full noodles! A lot of places skimp out on the noodles, not here! The broth was hearty and allowed the tomato flavor and aroma to be king with the noodles and seasoning as queens. I really enjoyed this fideo soup. 

Juan's Flaming Fajitas- Fideo Soup 2

After my soup it was time for my Flaming Shrimp Fajitas. And when they say flaming, they mean FLAMING! Take a look at the picture below! They brought the fajita caldron quasi-tableside (Close enough to feel the heat, far enough to not worry about my shirt combusting.) and lit it on fire. The three foot tall flame only stays around for a sec and then subsides, but it sure is fun to watch. Also, it grabs the attention of all the other patrons, so it's a good "sizzle" technic. Inside of the caldron is a lit flame that continues to cook everything as they sit it on the table.

Juan's Flaming Fajitas- Flame

My fajitas came with tortillas as well as Spanish rice, beans with cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. All of the ingredients were fresh and held to their own flavors very well. The shrimp were very tasty and all of the veggies they cooked with mixed well with each other. What I really enjoyed was there was no sauces to mask any flavors. Each tortilla I filled with rice, beans, shrimp, and veggies tasted very authentic and were flavorful. The rice and beans were pretty solid, but the guac was pretty damn good. Overall, this is a very fun and delicious dish. I couldn't resist to not order a flaming fajita at a place that has it in their name!

I definitely will go back here and try the rest of the menu as they all of the items look like they're made with the same quality and presentation standards as the fajitas. Also, a 3pm-7pm, 7 days a week Happy Hour ain't to shabby!


Juan's Flaming Fajitas- Flaming Shrimp
Juan's Flaming Fajitas- Fajita Add ons
Rating out
of 10
Description
9 Location

Once they get a legitimate sign out front it will be easier to find, otherwise it's pretty simple to get to and parking is easy too.

10 The Décor

I really like the décor here. It's simple yet fun.

8 The Prices

Everything is priced very well. I thought $17 was a little high for my fajitas at first, but it was worth it after it was all said and eaten. I don't think anything on the menu is more than $17 for one serving.

6 The Drinks

For what I had, they fell flat. But these is a full bar and more choices, I'll have to try more.

10 The Food

I loved everything I ate. I ate it all. And I can remember it all. All good things.

8.6 Overall

A Sin City Foodie favorite!

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Tacos el Gordo (Strip Location)

Why do you go to the Strip? Probably because you like to people watch, enjoy the free attractions, and/or enjoy an adult beverage or two at the wee hours of the night. Well, you're all in luck; All of those things relate to Tacos el Gordo. 

I enjoy people watching and this is a place you can just sit back, have a great meal and take in all the walks of life that enter the doors hungry for some delicious tacos. If a good show or attraction is your thing, just marvel at the cook staff on how fast they move and how many there are to accommodate the never-ending line of patrons. And if you've had a few and need to soak up some ethanol with some Mexican goodness, then you sir, will have picked the right place to do so as well!

Tacos… Tacos are definitely on the top of the list of food types that people ask me most about. "Where's a good place to get awesome street tacos?" My answer normally has been establishments that are a tad on the "slummy" side. So I'm happy I've been introduced to Tacos el Gordo, now I can direct the masses towards an easy to find joint where they don't have to worry about being stabbed.

Tacos el Gordo is open from 10am to 3am Sun-Thurs & 10am-5am on Fri-Sat. No matter the time you drive by or visit, you will see a line. I've seen the line creep around the side of the building like they were giving tacos away. But don't be deterred, the swiftness of the kitchen will guide you quickly to getting meat in your belly. 

Now, to my meal! I was in the mood for a variety when I walked in to Tacos el Gordo. Their variety resides in their meat types, they really don't have many dish options other than tacos, fries, and quesadillas; Which I think is a good thing, mixing in burritos and such would slow things down and take away from simplicity of the entire concept. So I went with tacos, tacos, and more tacos!

My first taco was the Adobada Taco. Adobada is spicy pork meat and damn do they do it right! Not only is the meat perfectly cooked with a little bit of crispiness to it, they dunk the tortillas into the drippings from the gyro style spit the pork rests upon! Delicious! They also serve all of their tacos with two tortillas (which is preferred!) and their accompanying sauces. The sauce on this bad boy was extremely good, was proportioned well, and had the right amount of spice in it to beautifully compliment the pork. If you sat down and ordered 4 of these, you'd be in heaven.

Tacos el Gordo- Adobada Taco

The next three tacos are going to be a little weird for some of you, but if you attempt to venture away from the norm, these are amazing meats to try that are scrumptious and taste nowhere as weird as their parts suggest. Trust me.

Although it's not "all the rage" in the good ol' USA, animal heads are delicacies throughout the rest of the world. If you ever get a chance to have an edible part of an animal's head, go for it, I bet you'll love it. The head I had in taco form was the Cabeza Taco. Cabeza typically refers to beef head. This taco was very earthy and rich with the onions providing a great match for the full bodied taste of the meat. The meat was very tender and not off putting at all. The green mole matched well and helped brighten up the earthy tones of the beef. All in all a solid taco that's very filling and definitely worth trying.

Tacos el Gordo- Cabeza Taco

I love tongue! No, not that kind! Well, I guess that kind too… but I love beef tongue! This Lengua Taco rocked my world. This was the best of the bunch and I can picture myself eating it right now. The meat was cooked expertly and was very full of flavor. This taco had the most meat in it of the ones served to me and it was a glorious affair. I liked that they were light on the sauce on this one and added raw onions. The meat got to show off it's tender, rich, meaty goodness whilst being  cut with the contrasting crunch and taste of the onions for a marvelous pairing that explodes in your mouth. (Insert joke here) If you go to Tacos el Gordo, I beg of you…. try the Lengua, you won't regret it!

Tacos el Gordo- Lengua Taco

Braaaaiiinnsss……Braaaaaiiinns….. This would be a zombie's favorite taco. The Sesos Taco is beef brains. If you can get past the fact that you're eating brains, you'll fair well. Beef brains are hard to master. Undercook it and it's just disgusting, overcook it and it's chewy as hell. But when it's just right… it's thought provoking… The Sesos taco here was on point and very well done. The brains were prepared splendidly and were tender but not chewy. The green mole here worked it's magic again on providing a great counter to the fattiness of the meat. This was a great taco for one that typically is done poorly. 

Tacos el Gordo- Sesos Taco

In closing I'll say this: Get to Tacos el Gordo as soon as you can. For lunch, for dinner, for a drunken meal, for any reason! Not only is the food phenomenal, the open kitchen is a blast to watch, the people that come in the place are a cluster of locals and tourists, and the location is easy to find. Also, any place that has unlimited refills on horchata wins in my book! 

Rating out
of 10
Description
10 Location

Stupid easy to find and park.

5 The Décor

Pretty much zero effort put into the décor, but I'll let them slide.

10 The Prices

$11. My meal of 4 spectacular tacos and all I could drink horchatas was $11. Epic.

N/A The Drinks

10 The Food

Everything I had was great. Can't wait to go back for more!

8.75 Overall

A Sin City Foodie favorite!

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Pink Taco

Suggestive name? Check. Lowrider bikes in the windows? Check. 150+ Tequilas? Check. Pink Taco has a lot of good things making it a Sin City staple for Mexican eats. No es perfecto, but it has always been a favorite of mine over the years.

My most recent trip to Pink Taco was for my and my girlfriend's birthday celebration. We wanted somewhere with a fun, laid-back atmosphere, and a place that could handle a large group of 15 or so. Most places require a Group Menu for parties that size, which Pink Taco first informed me about, but after talking with them via e-mail, they were more than willing to let our party order a la carte. It worked out great. Our service was quick and efficient, and paying was extremely easy despite the group size. 

Since this was a birthday dinner, I might as well start with some drinks. First I had the Zapata Margarita. I didn't write down the exact ingredients, but all I tasted was a lot of orange juice and very little alcohol. And no matter how much I stirred it, the bottom was very watery. Someone else bought me the drink, so I couldn't complain much, but if I had spent $14 on a margarita, I'd want a little more Zapata and a lot less naranja! The second beverage of the night was the Monster Guava Margarita, just because I like ridiculous drinks. This one didn't fair any better. It basically tasted like I poured a Monster into a perfectly good margarita. To me, this has no right to be on the menu. This must be their attempt to get money from the "bros" that venture over from Rehab. 

On to the food! Now, for the record, my hands down favorite items on the Pink Taco menu is their Chile Relleno and Camarones, but I have to sway from them from time to time in order to diversify my experiences. So for this go at it, I had the Shrimp Cerviche Campechana for my appetizer and the Pink Taco for my entree. It is served with three (in-house made) crispy tortillas and consists of shrimp, scallops, tomatoes, lime, pickled jalepeños, and avocado. It looks like a smaller portion than it actually is and really should be served with six crispy tortillas, because I had to eat the other half of it with a fork after I ran out of edible vessels. The cerviche itself was juicy and flavorful. Thankfully not overpowered by lime juice like many are, and the tortillas were fresh and salted nicely. This was a fresh dish and a great starter. Also a good turnaround compared to my sub-par adult beverages.

The Pink Taco is actually three tacos and are put together with achiote grilled chicken, habanero pickled "pink" onions, avocado, and cotija cheese with Spanish rice and black beans on the side. The beans had a good home cooked taste and texture to them and the rice was good but not outstanding. The chicken was well seasoned and tender and was a good contrast to the sweet pink onions. The avocado was good and fresh as well. The only thing that could be improved upon on the tacos themselves is the tortillas. They only give you one per taco, most street tacos have two, and for good reason: So the contents don't soak through and create a mess! Otherwise they were good as a whole. And once again, its a dish that looks like less food than it really is, the tacos were stuffed with a good amount of meat for the money.

This experience at Pink Taco was a good time. The wait-staff was great and very accommodating, the food was solid, and the atmosphere was fun as always. Next time I go, I think it's time to go back to the Chile Relleno though, it's been a while, and I'll remember to get my drinks elsewhere before I go.

Rating Description
out of 10
9 Location
Anything off the Strip instantly makes it easier to get to. The Hard Rock is a fun place to be, and Pink Taco can be a stop before or after a concert, pool venture, or a day at the convention center.
10 The Décor
Lowrider bikes, gold Dayton rims, Mexican artwork everywhere, they knock it out the park when it comes to their theme.
7 The Prices
For Mexican food, it's pricey. For Mexican food in a posh hotel, it's pretty on point. The food portions equal the prices unlike most in this genre that are located near or on the Strip.
5 The Drinks
Their selection of Tequilas is amazing, the amount of said tequila in your drink though? Not as much.
9 The Food
The grub is always on point at Pink Taco. I've danced around the menu items enough to like anything they have to offer.
8
OVERALL
For me, easily one of the top three Mexican restaurants on or near the Strip.
(out of 10)

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The Taco Spot (Closed)

The Taco Spot is a relatively new Mexican joint in NW Las Vegas. I've driven by it many times saying I've got to check it out, but never did. Finally the opportunity presented itself and I got to try out what The Taco Spot is all about.

At first glimpse, The Taco Spot entices you in with vibrant, eclectic colors, pictures or Mexican ruins, and a simple yet stacked menu. The dining room is kind of split into two sections, so it actually seats more that it first seems. As well as, there is outside seating available that overlooks the busy intersection of Ann and Centennial Parkway. 

The menu has eight main items and then you choose what kind of meat you want with your selection. I started with the Costra, which is their signature dish. I've never heard of it before, so I ordered it. I picked the Chorizo, which they use a little spice alambre, steak, bacon, peppers, onions, and melted cheese to fill their delicious Mexican sausage. I had no idea what I was in for since this dish was alien to me and when I received it, I really didn't know what to think at first. 

This entire dish was like uncovering a mystery in a novel. It seemed simple when I started, but became more complex as I went. The top of this incarnation is a grilled cheese extravaganza. It was crispy, gooey, and a little greasy at the same time, awesome. Underneath it's sombrero of dairy goodness was the chorizo and all of it's mighty flavor. The chorizo was very well seasoned and the flavors have a fiesta in your mouth when combined with the cheese topping. The chorizo also has a good kick of spice to it, which it should, and there was definitely a good amount of it under there as well. Underneath the chorizo and cheese laid a yellow corn tortilla that was well soaked with it's upper bunk mate's flavors and grease. One good fork stroke at a time, I enjoyed each bite consisting of all three layers of this scrumptious oddity. 

After finishing the Costra, I was still hungry. Not because it wasn't a lot of food, I really just wanted an excuse to try another menu item I had my eye on. They had a specific taco option called Tacos Alambre al Pastor and it's two for $4.99. After reading the ingredients (Alambre spice, slices of pork, bacon, and steak, seasoned with adobo, with onions, and pineapple!) and wiping the drool off my lip, I ordered it and waited.

This Taco was so pretty I almost didn't want to eat it… but then I saw the pork glistening in the moon light and I went to town (as seen in photo). These were two generously full, street tacos, that were just bursting with flavor. (If you look at the Tacos Alambre al Pastor picture and your mouth doesn't start watering, something is wrong with you.) Forget a fiesta in my mouth, this was like a Mexican stand-off of deliciousness. Each meat stood out how they should, each pepper had texture and crunch, the onions were perfect, the tortillas were fresh, and their seasonings brought everything home in each outrageous bite. This is my new favorite taco. 

My only gripe of my entire meal was my drink. I had their Horchata, man it was terrible. It barley tasted like horchata. It was overly sweet, and was far from "authentic". I'll be happy when they start serving beer at this location later this summer.

The prices are fair, they have a punch card, they have your typical Mexican restaurant staples (Salsa bar, and TVs in the dining room playing Telemundo); It all works. There are only three locations in the nation of The Taco Spot and I'm glad Sin City is home to one of them. I will be frequenting The Taco Spot on a regular basis.


Rating Description
out of 10
6 Location
It's a destination. You have to drive down a small street first to get to it, and the only real thing there with it is a Cracked Egg.
8 The Décor
Nothing super amazing. It's fun and not over the top. It's enough to tell it's a Mexican joing, but not at all in your face.
10 The Prices
I'd say every menu item is good bang your buck. Two can easily eat for under $15 and have an amazing meal.
6 The Drinks
They have regular foutain drinks, a horrible horchata, and some other Mexican fruit punch. They said they'll have beer sometime this summer.
10 The Food
I had two menu items, and both were amazing. I can't wait to go back and try everything else!
8
OVERALL
There's nothing better in NW Las Vegas for Mexican Street Style grub.
(out of 10)

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Las Islitas

You ever sit there enjoying a really good movie, taking in the spectacle of the action and romance, being completely enthralled with the characters…. and then it all goes to shit with a horrible ending? Isn't that the worst? Well that's exactly what my experience was like at Las Islitas.

My girlfriend and I stopped in after a rub down at The Best Foot Spa because we were freshly relaxed and starving. Las Islitas was just around the corner, so we figured we'd give it a go.

The word "Interesting" is best to capture the essence of Las Islitas. There was a lot to take in. At first entering, I immediately noticed the vibrant and fun décor: Two huge murals on the wall of an island view, with oars, ship wheels, and other island themed decorations strewn about. We also saw that the place was packed  and that every single patron was hispanic, those are good signs to me. I also noticed directly next to the entrance was a table where they were selling bootleg DVDs! That'll definitely add some character to a place! There was two flat panel TVs playing Univision and music videos, by the hallway to the bathrooms was a random fish tank, with pet fish, not entrée fish, and a jukebox blaring Spanish music. There was also a separate sound system in the dining room that was also playing music, so at some moments, they were both playing different songs at the same time. A little annoying but a little hilarious too. 

Before our meal we were given their Chips and Salsa to snack on as we scoped the menu. The salsa was a tad watery and had a good spicy kick to it, but we added salt to help out the overall lackluster flavor. It wasn't terrible, just not amazing. We also shared an Horchata which was pretty good. It wasn't too grainy or sweet like most tend to be.

Las Islitas specializes in seafood but also has regular Mexican menu items like burritos and tacos, and even chicken fingers to satisfy 'Mericans I suppose. I wanted to try their seafood so I ordered the Filete Relleno, which had shrimp, octopus, tilapia, and peppers with rice and beans. My girlfriend got a carne asada burrito. Both meals arrived in less than five minutes from ordering and that always concerns me. It normally means everything is reheated in a microwave or they prepare the food in the morning and it just sits there in chafers until ordered. But, I didn't suspect either from our meals, I think the rice and beans of course were pre made, but my seafood was all items that would cook pretty fast in a hot pan, so no worries there. (And just as a funny observation, I was served this meal exactly as pictured…..what am I supposed to cut with the knife?!)

I first tried the rice and it was cooked perfectly, was a touch buttery, and had some corn kernels in it for a little extra flavor. The rice was overall pretty good. The beans on the other hand…. magnificently horrendous. I don't know how you screw up beans, that takes skill. A 79¢ can of Rosarita beans would have been better than this brown tragedy that was wrongfully bestowed upon me. Completely inedible. 

The seafood portion of my meal was the winner by far. The shrimp was cooked well and there was a good amount of them. They were sweet and had a good consistency. The grilled octopus was small in size but big in flavor, each little bite was very firm and tasty. The tilapia was buried under everything else, but shined by being very smooth, buttery, and cooked to perfection. And the sauce that everything was drizzled in was rich with a spicy undertone to it and really held it all together very well. I also got flour tortillas with my entrée and mixed the rice and seafood portions together and ate them taco style, I highly suggest eating it that way. 

Once we were done with our meals, our server cleared the table and we waited for our check….and waited…and waited… I flagged her down and asked for the check after about five minutes. She said she'd be back with it right away, so we waited…and waited… she was still serving tables and passed us a few times, still no check. After about fifteen minutes we said screw it and just rounded up how much we think we owed, left the money on the table and bounced. What a way to ruin a somewhat good experience. 

In the future, I'm willing to give Las Islitas another shot because my meal was pretty good (minus the beans). I'd like to try some of their whole fish offerings and desserts eventually, maybe pickup a bootleg movie while I'm at it, and see if they can redeem themselves by actually giving me the check when I'm done.

Rating Description
out of 10
6 Location
I've driven by and never noticed it before, it's kind of nondescript in a strip mall.
8 The Décor
I liked it. It doesn't seem cheesy or over the top. The hand painted murals really give it the island feeling.
8 The Prices
Prices are on par with most similar Mexican restaurants.
9 The Drinks
I didn't have any, but their selection is pretty good. Cocktails, Mexican and domestic beers, Tequila, Whisky, Cognac, Brandy, Vodka, and Wine all available.
7 The Food
On the seafood side, everything was great. The horrific beans were a problem.
7.6
OVERALL
I'm willing to go back for more seafood.
(out of 10)

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Boot Country Food

Italian food always has so much passion behind it.

Wolfgang Puck's Pizzeria & Cucina

First, I'd like to thank General Manager Warren Richards and Bartender Ryan Duncan for their professionalism and graciousness on our visit to Wolfgang Puck's Pizzeria & Cucina. It was very much appreciated.

I visited Wolfgang Puck's Pizzeria & Cucina to celebrate a friend's birthday. We had a group of six and were treated with the best service and quality of food. We really had a great experience.

The birthday girl and I started at the bar (Which has a never ending happy hour!) and we decided to snack on the Sweet Peppers (Happy Hour menu) while we waited for the rest of our party. These Cream Cheese Filled Sweet Peppers were marvelous! This is the best small plate I've had in a good while. The peppers were delicately sweet and amazing with the cheese being as creamy as possible and just downright delicious. The combination of the snap from the peppers and the soft cheese made for a good mouth-feel and experience. It's a good thing they only serve these on a small plate because I wouldn't stop eating them if there were more! 

Once we sat as a group at a table overlooking Crystals' first floor we were introduced to the house Bruschetta. For me, there is no in-between Bruschetta. It's either horrible or great. This Bruschetta was great! The tomatoes were very fresh and sweet and were paired with a light oil drizzled about atop a nicely toasted crustini. Everything was just as it should be on a solid Bruschetta. 

Next we shared a hearty Calamari Salad, although I think I ate most of it. The Calamari was very fresh, light in texture, and well cooked. The salad and dressing were also done well with a very nice original taste to the dressing. This salad could be a meal on its own. Once you get through the Calamari and salad you get to the beans awaiting you at the bottom drenched in the delicious dressing and you just can't stop! A very well contrived salad for sure.

Meatballs… Grilled Meatballs… These are good. Served with a mountain of parmesan cheese, these Grilled Meatballs were seasoned to perfection, very tender, and moist. These went pretty fast at our table!

Now to my two main entrées. Yes I had two, but I did share! Mussels are an easy way to me heart. These Steamed Mussels are some of the best I've had. Served in a skillet and still bubbling hot, I was already impressed. The mussels were cooked perfectly and the sauce was outstanding. Even more so because it was riddled with little cubes of sausage that were also phenomenal. This dish was so good I can still taste it as I write this.

My second endeavor was their Prosciutto Pizza. A pizza that is so simple it just makes sense. Prosciutto, tomato sauce, mozzarella, arugula, and pecorino flakes. That's it. Atop a crispy thin crust, the meat is abundant, the arugula adds a good amount of bitterness to the sweet meat, and the pecorino does get a little lost but still adds a little saltiness to each bite. As a whole, it's different yet refined. If you're a fan of cured meats, this is the pizza for you!

Don't forget dessert! We had the Zeppole with Vanilla Gelato and caramel dipping sauce. The little doughnut holes were fluffy and sweet and well enhanced when dipped in the rich caramel. The gelato was a little out of place, but nonetheless was still creamy and rich as well. A good way to end our meal.

We all really enjoyed ourselves at Wolfgang Puck's Pizzeria & Cucina. I will definitely be frequenting the bar and trying the rest of the ongoing Happy Hour menu and eventually a few more entrées. Ciao!

Rating out
of 10
Description
3 Location

Let's be honest, Crystals is not the easiest place to get to.

9 The Décor

A very modern and open dining room with many tables overlooking
Crystals' first floor.

8 The Prices

The Happy Hour menu at the bar is amazing. About $5-$8 for
dishes. The regular menu isn't too up there and the food to portion
size ratio is pretty damn good.

10 The Drinks

A fully stocked bar with some hard to find bottles as well as a very
knowledgable bar staff always equals a good time!

10 The Food

There really wasn't anything to complain about and I was
impressed with the quality of each dish. I want more!

8 Overall

I'll be raving about this place for quite some time. I just wish it
was easier to get to…

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Nove Italiano

I want to start by thanking Manager Alenrry Iniguez for his and his staff's amazing hospitality and graciousness. It was very much appreciated.

So, I wanted to take my girlfriend to an outstanding restaurant for our anniversary and I chose Nove Italiano for a few reasons: I love the view, the décor, and from what I remembered, the food. I was first at Nove over five years ago and I remember having a good meal and enjoying the view, so I figured I try them again and give them a proper review.

Nove Italiano sits on the 51st floor of the Palms Fantasy Tower and has a great view of it's sister tower and the Strip. It's main dining room (pictured) is very open and every seat gets to enjoy the view through the enormous windows. The seating further back peers directly over the Strip and has bench seating for larger groups (Or for two if you're early enough like we were!). Everything in Nove has a purple motif to it and all of the design elements inside are elegant and fun. And the best part? The amazing décor is matched by amazing food!

Most meals in most restaurants start off with some sort of bread. Most are boring and typical. Some are a little more artisanal. And then a select few actually put quality comestibles of yeast and grain in front of you as Nove did. Not only did the bread come in three varieties, there were also three ways to enhance the already superb bread flavors with a light oil, parmesan, and red pepper flakes. The parmesan sticks were very strong and direct with their parmesan flavoring, maybe a little much for some, but I liked it. The other two breads were fresh and very fluffy. What I liked about both were that the stood on their own perfectly well, but were upgraded once dipped. Absolutely some of the best Table Bread I've had at a restaurant.

Next we had a small plate, compliments of the chef, of two nice Brushetta bites and what I deduced to be fried Potato Balls. The bruschetta was light and sweet and the potato balls were cheesy and delicious. A good little plate to begin our meal.

My girlfriend and I love fried calamari; So we had to order the Federal Hill Calamari, and man are we glad we did! The calamari was draped with banana peppers and had a subtle lemon flavoring throughout. The calamari itself was very tender and actually had a touch of heat to them in each bite. This dish is very well balanced and I would go back just to order it by itself. It's that good. Easily one of the top three fried calamari I've ever had.

After we ordered and before our food arrived, we had a nice little conversation with some of the servers and they kept telling us that the octopus was to die for. Later in our meal when we met the manager he asked us if we've had the octopus too… We said "No, we'll get it next time for sure." But he wasn't having that and thusly brought us out a small order of the Baby Octopus to show us what was up. Damn…that is some damn good octopus. I've had octopus thirty different ways. This could be the best I've tasted. The char on it was perfect. The consistency was perfect. And the lemon and lime was there just enough to shine yet let the octopus be the true star. If you go to Nove Italiano, order the Baby Octopus! You won't be sorry.

Now back to our regularly scheduled meal. I was going to go for the duck on the menu but once the waiter told me one of the specials was Mako Shark I immediately changed my mind. It's a rare occasion I get to order shark anywhere, so when I can, I do. This shark had the major flavors and consistency of swordfish. It really didn't have much flavor to it, but it was hearty and tasted fine. The party happening around it on the other hand, out of control amazing! The "corn bread" the shark was seated upon was, is, and may be forever the best corn anything I'll ever have. In a single spoonful, the shark and the corn were a good combo. But I seriously would order just the corn portion if I could. It was so buttery and luscious with a great mouth feel and aroma. I let my girlfriend have some and her eyes lit up and she said "Wow!". The only thing out of place was the wild mushrooms placed atop the shark. They were tart and lemony with the consistency of artichoke hearts and did not blend well anything else on the plate. Thankfully, the corn components blew away my taste buds and that's all I could think of. I know sharks are king in the oceans, but on this plate, corn > shark. 

For a side I had the Gnocchi, which ended up being quite a big side dish. The gnocchi is kind of like a "soup of the day", the menu says Gnocchi- Chef's Whim. This day's Gnocchi consisted of lima beans and rabbit in a rabbit sauce reduction. The gnocchi was cooked perfectly and had a great feel to them. The rabbit was just ok, the sauce helped, but it was a little dry. The lima beans added some great color and were cooked well, but also were nothing outstanding. Overall it was a great side, I just felt like it it just needed some extra love to be over the top.

My girlfriend had the Rigatoni Bolognese for her main and I had a few bites. Visually, it was beautiful. The flavors reminded me of meat sauces my mom has made for me in the past, and I always see that as winning feature of any meal. If it can make me feel at home, it's good. The noodles may have been a little too cooked, but it wasn't that big of a deal. The meat and seasoning was perfectly balanced and was a real winner. And portion wise, this was enough for two. Next time she'll just get the pastas here appetizer size.

Originally we weren't going to order dessert because we were running short on time (had a show to catch) and we were getting pretty full. But the staff had other plans for us. After our meal, we were presented with a very fun dessert of Cannoli's that you fill yourself at the table and then dip into different sauces and toppings. I've never seen a dessert like this before and we loved it. We took turns filling the cannoli's and then trying out all of the dips and toppings. My favorites were the raspberry (bottom left) and the chocolate (bottom right) with the pistachios (middle). They were all delicious though and we really enjoyed this dessert.

Our anniversary dinner was quite a success. We had a top notch view of the city, some unexpected dishes that blew us away, and we met a very friendly staff. Nove Italiano is a restaurant every Las Vegan needs to get to at least once. After my recent experience and what I remember from my last, I'm going to make it a point to frequent Nove on a regular basis.

Rating Description
out of 10
9 Location
I've always loved the Palms and there's always something going on there or something to do. For Nove Italiano, the view helps and the ease of a direct elevator. It feels so exclusive!
10 The Décor
Every detail inside Nove looks very well thought out. The long bar made of wood, the purple accents to everything, the paintings that are actually TVs, it's all beautiful and modern.
8 The Prices
Not too shabby for a 5 star joint. Two are eating for around $100-$150, but you could get away with a few appetizers and still have your belly full and mind blown.
10 The Drinks
Fully stocked bar, well priced and tasty signature cocktails, and only one beer on tap, but that beer is Delirium Tremens. Epic...
10 The Food
As a whole, everything was amazing. Flavor combos and profiles were just smart. Plate presentation was always on point. And for having pasta, fish, sides, and dessert, it was all better than expected.
9.4
OVERALL
A Sin City Foodie Favorite!
(out of 10)

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'Merican

Nothin' like a big ol' steak.

Blue Ribbon @ Brooklyn Bowl

I was very excited to enjoy a good time at Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq this past weekend as I went as part of a VIP event and did get to bowl and watch The Legendary Roots Crew kill it on stage, but…. you know why I was really there... the Food!!!

I’ve heard about the legendary Fried Chicken at Blue Ribbon inside of Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn so I was more than thrilled to finally get a chance to try some without a 3,000 mile plane ticket attached! 

Now, there are different areas to dine in at Brooklyn Bowl because the place is absolutely gigantic. Three dining areas, two bowling alleys, a stage, pit area, dance floor, a few bars, and VIP section make up the joint as far as I could roam about. For dining, there is an inside area by itself, an area directly next to one of the bars, and an outside patio area. We sat at the patio that overlooks The Linq’s main walkway.

As recommended by our waitress, we started with the Rock and Roll Fries. I was intrigued by these fries because they just looked crazy enough to work on paper: gravy, Cajun spice, provolone and cheddar cheese. Who wouldn’t want that in their food hole?! The fries arrived on a fairly large plate with a fairly large portion to match. These are definitely fries to share, but you won’t want to! These fries are the perfect amount of cheesy, crispy, flavorful, and messy that you’d want in a fun dish like this. I really enjoyed that all the ingredients were perfectly balanced and no one flavor overrode another, they all shined with each bite and you just can’t stop eating them! There are many other enticing appetizers on the menu, but I am very happy we went with these to start our meal.

Brooklyn Bowl- Rock and Roll Fries

For our main course I obviously had to try the Fried Chicken. I’m a “go big or go home” kind of Foodie, so we went with the 12 Piece Mixed option to get the most out of our meal. But, to be frank, I may have overshot it a little, because the 12 piece order could feed a family of 5… Either way, I attacked our mountain of chicken immediately. The chicken was served piping hot, which I like, because then you have time to enjoy each piece without having cold chicken in the end. The outside crust of the chicken is the best kind of crunchy you could have on something fried; Each bite had crunch and it was a gratifying venture for my senses. The chicken definitely looks spicier than it really is, but does have a hint of kick to it, and the flavors are nicely complex yet subtle in how they impact your taste buds. This is some fried chicken that is hard to put down! So, I had a few pieces and took the other 82lbs to go. Was it as good as I was expecting? Perhaps a little better actually, I’m looking forward to going back and trying their wings and other entrées to see if their up to par with their signature favorite Fried Chicken.

Brooklyn Bowl- Fried Chicken

On the side we order their Collard Greens with Bacon, because bacon. I’m a huge fan of collard greens, I’m a huge fan of bacon, slap them together and you have a damn good side dish. The best part of these greens was that they weren’t greasy like some and the bacon had more of a cameo than a starring role and I think that’s the right combination for this type of collaboration. This greens are absolutely on point!

Brooklyn Bowl- Collard Greens

As a whole, Brooklyn Bowl left a good taste in my mouth, literally and figuratively. The environment is fun, there’s nothing like it in Las Vegas, and the food is damn impressive. I’m glad to see The Linq is bringing this kind of quality and uniqueness to the Strip, as a local, it is much appreciated.

Rating out
of 10
Description
10 Location

I rarely give a 10 for location, but it just is perfect. It's on the Strip but not "on the Strip", it has a lot going on around it, it's unassuming from the outside, and it has the world's largest sky wheel a couple hundred feet away!

9 The Décor

The walls are mostly brick, when indoors you feel somewhere else, and the patio is done well to represent NY to the fullest.

8 The Prices

The prices were actually better than I had anticipated. The quality of the food holds up the prices just fine.

7 The Drinks

With a fully stocked bar, sky's pretty much the limit, but I didn't see any real specialty cocktails.

10 The Food

Everything was great. I can't stop talking about the food.

8.8 Overall

A Sin City Foodie favorite!

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Honey Salt

Honey Salt- Napkin

Within the realm of Boca Park in Summerlin, Honey Salt shines as a beacon of originality whilst being surrounded by chain restaurants that have, over time, turned drab and predictable. Located on the North West section of the shopping Mecca, Honey Salt sits in the corner with a small entrance and a big heart. 

When approaching Honey Salt you immediately feel welcomed by their beautifully simple, detached patio. A wooden fence houses tables and chairs with a string of lights overhead illuminating the quaint area. A very warm feeling arises as you walk inside and see what else Honey Salt has to offer. 

Honey Salt- Patio

Although the entrance is no larger than a normal retail store, the interior space is quite open and large; Housing a full bar to the immediate left, and two sections of dining rooms to the left and right. The tables and chairs all have character to them and seem repurposed, the enormous white brick wall with the words “Honey Salt” scribed across it is subtle yet impressive at the same time, and both sides of the room have cushioned bench seating that rides along each wall that nicely frames the busy dining room.

After we were sat, we began our fast and furious meal with plates coming at us from every angle. We choose to dine “tasting menu” style and shared each plate between the two of us. 

Honey Salt- Table Bread

To start, the Table Bread. Now I know it seems mundane to mention table bread in a review, but I think it’s worth noting and also a big insight into each restaurant’s soul, because what you serve first sets the tone for the rest of your meal; And Honey Salt did not disappoint with their offering. The flat bread was nice and crisp with a slight kick of spice to it with a cheesy vibe overall. I helped myself to several blades of these. The other bread was decently sweet and was a perfect match for the black salted, honey butter that came along for the ride. The richness of the honey and butter was met with the salt well and blended with the slightly sweet bread. I believe we went through two servings of the table bread altogether, it was that good!

Honey Salt- Oyster

To begin the actual meal portion we were met with a palate starter. I’m not 100% I caught the name properly, but I believe it was called their French Kissed Oyster. The oyster was served on a bed of crushed ice and was of a decent size. The shooter was peppery, tangy, and had a nice touch of acidic zest to it. A great way to kick off this meal!

Tomatoes, cheese, and chocolate… Not your typical combination. But this is not your typical salad! The Burrata & Heirloom Tomatoes salad (Kim Style with Shaved Bittersweet Chocolate) is out of control. This salad has so much going on that your tongue doesn’t know where to start celebrating. First, all of the vegetables are super fresh and the tomatoes may be the best I’ve ever had in a restaurant. The burrata cheese that occupied the center was soft and fluffy and just had the perfect consistency to mesh with its surroundings. And the chocolate! Chocolate in a salad?! The bittersweet chocolate rounded out the savory plate in ways your brain can’t comprehend. The entire dish sounds ludicrous, yet it works so well. This is one the best composed dishes I’ve ever had.

Honey Salt- Burrta and Heirloom Tomatoes1
Honey Salt- Grain Power1

The “Grain Power” salad is a perfect example of “Farm to Table” ingredients. Each layer of this salad stands out on its own and really feels like it just came from an organic farm. The quinoa was the real powerhouse of this dish and held it all together nicely.

From the sea, the next dish was the Charred Octopus. I’m very fond of having octopi in my meals, and this one was no exception. The char was perfect and the cook was on point allowing the octopus to have a solid consistency but still be buttery soft. The avocado was a nice addition and the purée was savory with a hint of sweetness that rounded everything out perfectly. And although it looks like the contrary, this is really a very light dish.

Honey Salt- Charred Octopus
Honey Salt- Beef Short Rib

For the entrées, we started with the Braised Beef Short Rib. This short rib was very tender, had a good fattiness to it, and was lightly seasoned allowing the beef to really shine. The bed of polenta it sat on was also nice, but the sauce was the star of the show. It really brought everything together and had a beefy overtone that helped add depth to the simple short rib. I could have done without the shaved carrot salad though, it seemed a little superfluous to me.

Diving back into the sea we had their Mediterranean Sea Bass. I think my fiancée’s exact words were “This is the best piece of fish I’ve ever had.” That statement is pretty warranted. For such a simple dish, this really was a show stopper. The crust on the sea bass was absolutely perfect and the overall cook was as good as it gets. The seasoning was outstanding and the ratatouille underneath breathed some fun into an already amazing sea bass dish. This had the exact amount of saltiness you’d want from such a fish and it was so good we took our time finishing it because we didn’t want it to end!

Honey Salt- Sea Bass

As accompaniment to our entrées, we also had the Caramelized Sea Scallops. The usual menu version comes with more than one scallop, but the one scallop we had was phenomenal! Sitting in a vanilla bean cauliflower purée, this massive scallop was not only seared amazingly, it blended beautifully with the purée and truffle sauce surrounding it. And the charred cauliflower that came with it was almost just as delicious! I’d order a side of those by themselves they were so good!

Honey Salt- Sea Scallops1

Full yet? We still have three desserts to go! 

The aroma of the first dessert was ever so pleasing to my senses. The Warm Bread Pudding was the definition of comfort food. It was light, yet dense. Aromatic and flavorful. Each bite was like a thick cloud of goodness. The flavors were fun and inviting. This is how bread pudding should always be.

Honey Salt- Warm Bread Pudding1

The next dessert was two pairs of desserts that I don’t really know what they were other than delicious. I don’t see them on the menu, and I didn’t catch the names when they brought them out because it’s a little confusing when you get three desserts placed at your table at the same time! We’ll go with Lava Cake and Coconut Brittle Bite, sound good? Ok. The lava cakes were much lighter than they looked and the sprinkling of salt atop each was a smart addition. The chocolate was not overpowering and the salt cut the sweetness nicely. The coconut brittle bites were like dessert granola bars. I know that doesn’t sound appetizing but they were delicious. They had caramelized brittle with coconut flakes and chocolate drizzling on top. They were crunchy and different, but I liked them as well.

Honey Salt- Lava Cakes

And now a seasonal piece to close out our evening, Honey Salt’s Pumpkin Cheesecake. Now this ain’t your grandma’s cheesecake. This bad boy is baked in a water bath. That changes everything you know about cheesecake or pumpkin pie. This was like a whipped pumpkin pie in a jar. The consistency was crazy light and each bite was just heaven. The crumble and ice cream on top added a perfect complexity to an already eyebrow raising dessert. I know they only do this seasonally, but if you can, order this dessert! 

Honey Salt- Pumpkin Cheesecake1

I’ve heard nothing but good things before going to Honey Salt and I can now be one of those fans touting their quality. The prices may be a tad high for some, but the quality is worth it and the creativity is just the cherry on top. If you’re looking for a place that defines “Farm to Table” cuisine, then Honey Salt needs to be your next stop as soon as possible!

Rating out
of 10
Description
7 Location

Decently easy to get to, but can be hidden if you're not familiar with Boca Park.

10 The Décor

Subtleties abound, everything is well thought out and placed.

8 The Prices

Menu item prices may deter some, but the food and experience is well worth it.

N/A The Drinks

I know they have an eclectic cocktail menu, but we didn't try anything on this trip.

10 The Food

One of the best meals I've had, hands down.

8.75 Overall

A Sin City Foodie favorite!

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The Restaurant at Bonnie Springs Ranch

Bonnie Springs Ranch has always been a favorite of mine. I like that it's dated, different, and off the beaten path. Most tourists know not of Bonnie Springs, but the cool locals do! The old west town and zoo are fun for the most part; You can't complain when you can watch a hangin' mid day with a drink in your hand from the tavern and then go chill with llamas and wolves. No matter your age, Bonnie Springs has something for everyone, and if you're hungry…. they got grub too!

The Restaurant at Bonnie Springs Ranch is a small slice of Western Americana. Located in a log cabin next to a turtle and duck pond, it definitely has character. When first entering you are greeted by the bar inside, an enormous fire pit, and hundreds of dollar bills hanging from the ceiling from patrons of yonder years. Most of the light coming in is natural with some lanterns accompanying. The tables are made from slabs of trees with unfinished edges with matching wooden log chairs to boot. Being inside you'd never guess you were only 10 miles away from Sin City. 

Almost every single time I've eaten there I always get the same thing.... The Bison Burger. It's so hard to not get! But I held back and decided to try something different this time 'round. 

We started off with the Appetizer Sampler. The portion size was quite decent, we shared between three of us and still had some to take home! The sampler included chicken fingers, beer battered onion rings, and cheddar bacon potato wedges. The fangers were light, juicy, and held up on their own without any sauce dipping needed. The onion rings were very fresh and crispy. They had the right amount of crunch to them and were very light as well. The wedges though… albeit they looked amazing, actually were pretty bland. The cheese was just boring and not even the bacon helped to add flavor. I tried adding sour cream but it really didn't help. These need a little more love to be flavorful and worthwhile. But hey, 2 outta 3 ain't bad!

Bonnie Springs- Appetizer Sampler

My entrée was the BBQ Chicken Platter: Half a chicken, baked beans, biscuits, and corn. The chicken was very moist and tender with the BBQ sauce letting my tongue know it's there, but not beating it up like most. I really liked the fact that the chicken wasn't sitting in a pool of BBQ sauce, it was cooked properly and sauced to perfection. The sauce had a muted sweetness that allowed the chicken to do its thing while still showing off its BBQ prowess. The biscuits were fluffy in texture but didn't seem super fresh, they were probably made in the morning. Still good though! The baked beans almost stole the show. In fact, next time I'm there, I'll probably be ordering a bowl of baked beans and Bison burger. The beans were sweet, rich and had bits of apple cubes and bacon in it! Those two components really added a great dynamic to typical baked beans! Thumbs up from me! The corn…. not seasoned or buttered at all, thusly pretty bland. It's ok though, the beans made up for the lack of the corn's participation in the flavor category.

Bonnie Springs- BBQ Chicken Platter

The Restaurant at Bonnie Springs Ranch is worth the trip. You get to take a miniature train to the town, watch a gun fight and play, drink, pet animals, and enjoy a hearty meal. What more could you ask for? 

Rating out
of 10
Description
9 Location

Yeah it's a bit of a drive, but it's an amazing drive and you really feel away from it all.

8 The Décor

The interior is warm and inviting. The bathrooms aren't the best, but aside from them everything else is fun and old westerny.

9 The Prices

Prices are pretty good. Three of us ate with, two salads, a sampler platter, two entrées, and a beer for under $80!

8 The Drinks

A Full bar and a few craft beers to enjoy.

9 The Food

Almost perfect. A few things aren't quite up to par, but the main dishes are great and will make you go back again and again.

8.6 Overall

A Sin City Foodie favorite!

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The Peppermill

Of the many reasons I love Las Vegas, one that always stands out to me is it's ability to reinvent itself over time yet still have the feel and ambiance of yesteryear. There are an abundance of Sin City eateries that have been around for ages that I love to frequent and always commend on never really changing. There's something special about a place that has just gotten everything right and knows how to continue it's spirit throughout the years. The Peppermill is none of the above.

In being a Foodie and Reviewer I try many restaurants; The good, the bad, and the ugly. Some surprise me, some I knew were going to be terrible. It's just part of the job. Unfortunately, The Peppermill unleashed it's wrath upon me.

On a crisp January night, my girlfriend and I wanted to go somewhere we hadn't been (to eat) before and were also craving somewhere that had burgers. After bypassing a few of our favorite spots for a new one, we decided on The Peppermill. I've been to The Peppermill for drinks in the past but never to sit down and eat, so I was excited to finally taste what all the "buzz" has been about. 

Peppermill- Tequila Sunset.jpg

When I think of The Peppermill, I think of big stupid drinks, thusly because I've only been to the lounge portion of the establishment. So, while waiting for our food I ordered some tequila and fruit drink. When I ordered it the cocktail waitress immediately said "Do you want orange juice instead of grapefruit juice?" and I asked "Doesn't it come with grapefruit juice?" and she replied "Yes, but people like to switch it for orange juice instead.". I told her to stick with the grapefruit juice because I believe if you have something on your menu a certain way, it should come that way. If it's better a different way, change it. Well I certainly paid for that choice. Out comes my big stupid drink with a slice of orange and lime with a maraschino cherry on top. I take a sip and immediately regretted my decision. I'm pretty sure the ingredients for this drink were 2oz tequila, 8oz of grapefruit juice because that's all I tasted, it was beyond tart and had no reminisce of a cocktail whatsoever. I should have set it back it was so bad, but sometimes I'm just too nice to do so. 

Now to help put the rest of our meal into perspective, I'll let you know we were sitting at the diner counter and The Peppermill has an open kitchen, so we could pretty much watch everything go out and how some dishes were prepared.

For an appetizer I had the French Onion Goop, I mean French Onion Soup. It's hard for me to pass up ordering this anywhere that offers it. When I think of a classic french onion soup, I picture a golden cheesy top crust with a glorious, full bodied, oniony soup underneath with a delicious bread to soak it all up with. What I got served to me was pretty much the exact opposite. Just looking at the picture makes me dry heave. First, let's talk presentation. This is one of the dishes prepared by the servers at the counter in front of where we were sitting. I watched them make twenty of these throughout the night. Place bread, slap a slice of cheese on bread, splash soup into bowl and serve. Not only did it look disgusting but it was all over the rim of the bowl as well. And yes, it did taste how it looks. The soup was watery beyond belief, there was zero flavor, it was like I was spooning brown water into my mouth. I should have sent this back too, but I just didn't want to deal with it. Yuck.

Peppermill- French Onion Soup.jpg
Peppermill- Peppermill Burger.jpg

My girlfriend had the Peppermill Burger because she loves sourdough bread and a good juicy burger. Too bad! This thing was flat-out terrible. The burger had zero seasoning and tasted like thin air, the bread was bland and barely tasted like sourdough and the accompanying fries were like long yellow styrofoam sticks. After a few bites of each we finally did send this one back and got her a salad instead. A 4 year old could have made a better burger. 

 I'm always impressed when a restaurant somehow absolutely vanishes all flavors from a meal. It's pretty hard to make shitty Onion Rings but The Peppermill has achieved that feat. These onion rings threw me for a loop because they looked the part: Golden colored, crispy outside, decent size. But as for taste, it was like they were tossed in gluten free, sugar free, salt free breading. They had no taste. Nothing. I felt like my taste buds had taken a break and I was eating without them. I'd prefer greasy, over cooked onion rings from a bar than these tasteless oddities any day.

Peppermill- Onion Rings.jpg

Pastrami. I love pastrami. A good ol' pastrami on rye is one of my all-time favorites. So I figured pastrami on a burger would be exponentially better, right? Wrong. The Peppermill Pastrami Burger lacked all the pizzaz I thought it was going to have. The pretzel bun was dry and bland, the cheese was instantly lost, the mayo was too scarce to even taste, and the number one offense of all… the pastrami tasted like wet table scraps. Pastrami is supposed to be savory and salty, this was plain and boring. And as my burger had the same meat as my girlfriend's, it had zero taste as well. I didn't send this back because I was pretty much exhausted from dealing with terrible food, I honestly think we shouldn't have paid for anything.

Peppermill- Peppermill Pastrami Burger.jpg

As I said prior, we sat at the diner counter. This is what I noticed: The cook staff had no direction. There was no apparent head chef, there was no expediter, and no one communicating with each other. It seemed like the waitresses did the expediting but focused purely on what was supposed to be on the the dishes and not how they tasted or looked. The back of house was silent the entire time we were there, it seemed like an assembly line instead of a kitchen. And on top of that, the stations where the waitresses prepared the salads, soups, and such was a disaster. The counters were filthy with food everywhere and no cleanliness standards were shown. Look at the pictures, food, plates, sauces, soups, bins, crumbs, utensils, everything was on these counters! It was a horrible sight to see. 

Peppermill- Counter 1.jpg
Peppermill- Counter 2.jpg

I know The Peppermill has been around a long time. I know it used to be the "Bee's Knees". But my experience there with their food and how they handle the kitchen was the worst I've had in quite some time. You couldn't pay me to go back to The Peppermill anytime soon. I believe they need quite the overhaul in the kitchen and maybe the whole place. The way I see it, if the kitchen is that disorganized and dirty, imagine the rest of the place! When was the last time those fake plants sitting next to your booth were cleaned? Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Rating out
of 10
Description
9 Location

On the Strip but not hard to get to.

5 The Décor

Old, dated, probably filthy, and in dire need of an update.

4 The Prices

$11.50 for two slices of bread, onions, tomato, and a beef patty?
C'mon.

3 The Drinks

Selection is great. Execution is horrendous.

1 The Food

Breathtakingly bad. There is no pride in their food.

4.4 Overall

Awful.

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The Bagel Cafe (Buffalo Location)

The Bagel Cafe is awesome for many reasons; It has a full blown deli, bakery, and restaurant. It's slightly off the beaten path so you feel cool knowing about. And the food and staff is consistently amazing. I've been to The Bagel Cafe at least twelve times in the past year, here are my musings from my most recent visit.

Busy, busy, busy. The Bagel Cafe is always busy when we go there. That's always a good sign of a great place. We typically go for breakfast or brunch, but they are open late enough to catch a late lunch or a quick bite before dinner as well. For me though, the breakfast is where it's at!

By now, I've had most of their breakfast and lunch menu and this visit's particular breakfast was a memorable one. I ordered the Two Meat Omelet with Pastrami and Tongue with Pepper Jack Cheese. First off, those Home Fries you see there are epic. They have so much flavor and are cooked on point with the great addition of grilled onions hidden between fork fulls. I've had a lot of Home Fries in my day and these are hands down the best. As for the omelet, it feels home cooked. I pride myself in making a pretty mean omelet and The Bagel Cafe's makes me think of my own, just with better ingredients. The meat is abundant and very flavorful, the slightly salty meats works well with the savory eggs and cheese. And just like I do at home, their cheese was inside the omelet as well as on top, love that! The omelet itself is fluffy and tasty due to being cooked just right and the use of real eggs instead of egg beater. The price may shock some ($11ish) for this plate, but trust me, it is well worth it.

I have to order a bagel at The Bagel Cafe right?! This trip I got the Spinach and Feta Bagel with plain cream cheese. The bagel is toasted to perfection, yet still has a nice, soft, pillowy texture. Without the cream cheese I could get a hint of the spinach while the feta was a more constant flavor. With the cream cheese the feta kind of got lost, but it's still quite good. Of the bagels I've had there, my absolute favorite is the Jalepeño Cheddar. If you go to The Bagel Cafe, get that bagel!

If you haven't been to The Bagel Cafe, the next time you feel like eating out for breakfast or lunch you should take that opportunity to check them out. Their soups, overstuffed sandwiches, bagel pizzas, meat platters, and outstanding deli and bakery gives you reason after reason to go back again and again. I love me some Bagel Cafe!






Rating Description
out of 10
8 Location
There's two locations in Summerlin and they have the Del Mar Deli inside the SouthPoint, no matter where you live, you're within 15 mins of one.
8 The Décor
It's basic, it feels like a good ol' New York Deli. Even with a diner counter!
9 The Prices
Another perk to eating there, you could have a meal for two for under $15 or over $30, just depends on how hungry you are or how fancy you want to get. Our typical breakfast for two bill is around $16.
10 The Drinks
Egg Creams, Italian Sodas, Milk, Fresh Squeezed juices, fountain drinks, and gourmet coffe. Forgetaboutit!
10 The Food
I've never had a bad meal here. Ever. Everything is made with care and quality and it shows.
9
OVERALL
A Sin City Foodie favorite!
(out of 10)

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Ranch House Kitchen (Closed)

Let's start here: Ranch House Kitchen is not to be confused with Bob Taylor's Ranch House. Now that that's out of the way…

During a recent bar hop adventure in Town Square, a few friends and I got hungry and ventured into the Ranch House Kitchen to grab some grub. Ranch House Kitchen is in the location formally filled by the Cadillac Grill. "What did they change?" you may ask… Not much, it looks almost exactly the same, but the menu is different.

It was late night, so we sat at the bar and ordered. The bartender didn't seem too enthused to do anything food related. He took our drink orders fast and made our drinks fast, but once we wanted food he took forever to get back to us to take our order, but I'll get back to that a little later. 

We ordered the Texas Brisket Pizza and Loaded Mac & Cheese. After waiting a significant amount of time, our food finally came. The Texas Brisket Pizza looked fantastic when presented and had a good contrast of colors. The pizza consists of BBQ sauce, brisket, jalepeños, onions, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese. The cheeses work wonderfully with each other and really were the stars of this pie. The brisket was good but really took a back seat to the cheeses and BBQ sauce. The Jalepeños were good, but really just added heat with no real flavor. They almost ruin the pizza, their taste did not blend well with the rest of the ingredients and felt out of place. So, the pizza was pretty good if I forget about the peppers. 

The Loaded Mac & Cheese was a pretty dish as well but it didn't deliver so much on the taste side of things. The Loaded Mac & Cheese is made with grilled chicken, fresh broccoli, diced tomatoes, and apple wood smoked bacon. The bacon is the standout in this meal, the cheese is definitely the loser. The cheese just didn't scream cheesy and creamy. It was like a failed attempt at a forgotten recipe. The broccoli added a good crunch and flavors but other than that and the bacon, there's not much here to love. For $14 I'd expect this mac & cheese to blow my socks off, yet my shoes and socks stayed fully in place during consumption. "Loaded" should stand for loaded with flavor and quality ingredients. In this case, "Loaded" means "We don't know how to make a simple mac & cheese so we threw a bunch of shit in here and hoped it you didn't notice."

So, a decent pizza and a mediocre mac & cheese later, I was half finished with the pizza and we were completely done with the mac & cheese and our plates sat there for 30 minutes until the bartender even asked us if we wanted a "to go" box. That's just unacceptable. Especially for a place that very recently took over a restaurant that didn't cut it. That's a tough and large location to fill seats every day, with overall mediocre food and service, I don't see the Ranch House Kitchen lasting past the year.

Rating Description
out of 10
6 Location
Depends how you look at it; if you're already in Town Square or going to a movie, perfect location. If you're in the mood for some 'Merican Fare, it's a destination and a half.
5 The Décor
They really didn't even try to make it look different than Cadillac Ranch.
7 The Prices
A little high by normal restaurant standards, but on par with Town Square eateries.
5 The Drinks
The selection is definitely better downstairs at Yard House. And the drink I did have, wasn't that great.
7 The Food
The pizza without the peppers would have been great, but their consistency between dishes is apparently not there.
6
OVERALL
I wouldn't make the attempt to go again unless it was for an event or I was invited.
(out of 10)

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Kona Grill

In the bevy of big chain restaurants inside Boca Park lies Kona Grill, serving its purpose as an option of a viable place to eat and/or hang out casually. The latter has always been my reason for going, but this time around I actually went inside the dining room and had a meal. 

I've been to Kona Grill a handful of times, but always to meet friends at the bar, never to eat. I don't know why, it's just how it always ended up. I have always liked my experiences in their bar area; It's always packed with Summerlin's socialites and has a good energy and feel to it each time I go. So, of course, I figured that energy and spunk would carry over to the dining room side….

Not so much. We were seated in a booth towards the back of the restaurant with a view of the entire dining room. There were a few other tables with patrons, but for the most part the place was dead, on a Saturday night too. The bar area was hopping and packed while the dining room felt secluded from the fun and barren. The good parts of the main room are the giant fish tank, open kitchen, high ceiling, and huge HDR pictures on the walls. Visually, very well done.

For the grub, we started with some "Angry" Edamame. The Angry part being that it was spicy and kicked your tastebuds around a bit. The edamame was cooked well and was very tangy. The heat level of this dish is probably in the 7 out of 10 range, so it is not for the faint of heart. If you can't handle that spice level you should ask them for the "Slightly Perturbed" Edamame (Doesn't exist). Overall, they were a nice change from the usual sea salt edamame most places serve.

Our appetizer was the "Avocado Egg Roll". I'm always a little wary when places go and cook avocado in any way, but this dish is done with the proper finesse. The outside was very crispy and the avocados were fresh and still firm but not mushy. Each bite had a good mouth feel with great contrasts of the avocado and crispy, fried, egg noodle wrapper. Also, the honey cilantro dipping sauce it came with was very nice. Sweet, savory and not overpowering at all while adding good flavor depth to thusly dipped portions of the egg roll.

My entree was the "Miso-Saké" Sea Bass. Unfortunately, I think it was a misostake of mine ordering this. Let's examine this train wreck one item at a time. Firstly, you can tell by the picture that it was more a "Fried rice with a side of Sea Bass and veggies" dish, than a Sea Bass dish. As for the fried rice itself, it tasted like it was prepared hours beforehand and then microwaved when I ordered it. I've always said it's pretty hard to screw up fried rice, whelp, Kona Grill managed it. Also, it was shrimp and pork fried rice. Take a look at what they consider shrimp!(See Picture) I've seen bigger shrimp in Ramen Noodle packets! The pork was diced into cubes so small, there were like 50 cubes that totaled no more than an ounce or two of total hog. The fried rice was an absolute catastrophe. The Broccoli and Mushrooms didn't even make the cut, the broccoli was undercooked and I received a total of two mushrooms…two. And now to the "Miso-Saké" Sea Bass. The Sea Bass was cooked well and was very flakey and had a good consistency, but the Miso and Saké marinade was a disaster. It seemed as if once the Sea Bass was done cooking they just drizzled some sauce on the top of it and called it a day. There was neither a real Miso or Saké flavor in the Sea Bass, it was bland and disappointing. 

My girlfriend had a much less tragic meal. She had their Chicken Linguine that they call Basil Pesto Linguine. This dish was better prepared. The plating was a little messy, but the ingredients were spot on. The chicken was very tasty, the cherry tomatoes were sweet and cooked right, and the garlic bread was cheesy and fresh. The linguine was slightly al-dente, which is good, and the basil pesto sauce was good, but nothing to write home about.

For dessert we shared their Red Velvet Cupcake. This thing was huge! Visually, stunning. But the size of the cupcake doesn't always equal to taste. The frosting was good and very creamy, but the cake portion was pretty bland. At least it came with fresh fruit on the side.

I honestly think Kona Grill can create a better meal than what I experienced. The problem is, it wont change. If it were a mom and pop joint it would have to be awesome always, but since it's a major chain, I doubt my experience would be any different in the future. I still like their bar area and patio, but I'll probably stick to ordering fresh sushi and adult beverages in the future.

Rating Description
out of 10
8 Location
Located in Boca Park, there's shopping and other stuff to do other than just eat. Also not too far from the freeway.
8 The Décor
It's nothing over the top, but it is quaint on the inside. Almost undwhelming.
7 The Prices
The prices definitely have a little Boca Park "tax" on them, but it's not too bad. They do have a good Happy Hour at the bar!
N/A The Drinks
I'm going N/A on this trip because I just had water, but their cocktails are normally pretty top notch at the bar.
4 The Food
My meal as a whole, not so great. I don't know if ordering something else would have been any better.
6.75
OVERALL
Unless it was for a friend's birthday or something, I wouldn't go back to eat off the normal menu. I'll stick to their sushi and drinks for now on.
(out of 10)

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亞洲美食

Translation: Asian Cuisine

Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill

Being a restaurant inside of the Cosmopolitan has got to be stressful. Everything in the Cosmo is opulent and of quality; And their residing restaurants mostly match that level. Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill holds up well next to its Cosmo brethren despite some very minor issues.

My first impression after walking in Blue Ribbon was that it was quite small and the bar for alcohol was twice as large as the bar for sushi… I don’t really know what to think of that. But, the room had a good flow and vibe to it, the music was at a perfect level to be there but not overtake conversations, and the service was pretty good. My only issue was that the waitstaff had zero personality. We were a lively table of 6 twenty/thirty somethings for a birthday and the waitstaff could’ve cared less if we were all retired on social security. So, overall a good feel, just could use some tweaks to round out the experience.

Since we were at Blue Ribbon for a friend’s birthday I ordered a little differently than I normally would when out for sushi/Japanese. Instead of quantity, I went for quality.

I started my meal with their take on Miso Soup. I say "their take" because it was served a little differently than I’m used to. I was served Miso… and soup. Interesting, to say the least, but the gimmick presented better than it executed. The concept is purely that you mix your own miso soup. I spooned the miso into the broth and began mixing. What I ended up with was a very cloudy and veggie heavy miso soup. The taste was ok, but nowhere near outstanding. It was also served just above warm. I typically expect miso soup to be served at a decently hot temperature, and this just wasn’t quite there. I was a little a disappointed, with such a pretty presentation, the flavors and end product just didn’t equal up to a satisfying bowl for me.

Blue Ribbon Sushi- Miso Soup

My fiancé and I shared the Fried Chicken. Fried Chicken at a Sushi bar?! I know, right? Prior to venturing to Blue Ribbon, all anyone could tell me about was the chicken: “You have to try the Fried Chicken!” “It’ll change your life!” Well, we’ll see about that. Once again, the presentation was very pretty and the chicken looked amazing.  The chicken is breaded with a wasabi/honey mix and comes with a Asian Chili dipping sauce of the same concoction. The chicken itself was very tender and the cook on it was perfect. The breading was light and crispy and had an amazing aroma about it. The sauce on the side was almost a show stealer, I couldn’t stop dipping the chicken in it. The portion size was also pretty substantial (I’d hope so for $26!). So at the end of it, was it Earth shatteringly good? No. Is it a very different take and taste for fried chicken? Definitely. I would categorize it as different and good, but not life changing good. Is it worth trying for the price? Like I said at the beginning, go big or go home, it’s worth trying and seeing for yourself if it really is “that good”.

Blue Ribbon Sushi- Fried Chicken

Now for the Pièce de résistance! The Blue Ribbon Roll. Lets start here this roll is $30. Let that marinate for a sec OK, good? Here we go. The Blue Ribbon Roll consists of 1/2 of a lobster, shiso (cousin of mint leaf), and black caviar. And, although it doesn’t state it on the menu, I believe there to be some other fish egg inside as well. I’ve had a lot of sushi in my life, stuffed with every possible filler, one even with gold on it, but combining black caviar and lobster in one bite is a first for me. They did not specify which variety of black caviar this was, but I’d have to assume it’s the more pedestrian type given the cost of the roll and the amount used on the sushi. Aside from that, this is one hell of a roll. It’s beauty is really in its simplicity. The lobster is sweet and succulent and each roll is absolutely stuffed with the tasty meat. The caviar was literally like icing on the cake, it added a beautiful depth to the simple bites and added a great rich contrast in flavor to the sweet crustacean. And the addition of claw meat was a very welcomed touch. This roll is now in my memory as one of the best I’ve ever had. Who cares how much it costs when it tastes so good! If you go to Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, do yourself a favor and order this roll.

Blue Ribbon Sushi- Blue Ribbon Roll

My meal really was a good, better, best scenario. As a whole, the food was good and I’d like to try more. From what I can tell, they excel in the sushi department, but  there are a lot of other very tempting options I still need to try. I’m glad I finally tried them out and am looking forward to sampling more and more of their dishes over time.

Rating out
of 10
Description
7 Location

Technically it's pretty equidistant from every single person in Las Vegas, so that helps. Otherwise, it's obviously a destination being inside of a resort on the Strip.

9 The Décor

Refined and simple.

7 The Prices

There are definitely some pricey menu items, but if you don't go too crazy it's moderately priced for where it's located.

N/A The Drinks

They have a full bar, we did not partake on this particular journey.

8 The Food

It wasn't all perfect, but the sushi and the exoticness of the fried chicken kept it fun.

7.75 Overall

There are a lot of options for quality sushi on the Strip, Blue Ribbon is definitely one of the better ones.

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Fin

Fin- Logo

Firstly, I'd like to thank General Manager Connie Chin for her hospitality and graciousness. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

Fin is tucked away in a corner of the Mirage's forever busy casino floor. The entrance is very unassuming and subtle, yet refined with simplicity. Upon entering I felt as if I was walking into a very well decorated house in China. The walls are covered in simple designs that look like mountain ranges and clouds. From the ceiling hung strands of glass balls that add a nice flow to the room. Sheer materials are used to enclose two private dining rooms and the rest of the main room has a mixture of small tables, large family tables, and a few booths. We were sat in a (very comfortable) booth that allowed us to be able to view the entire dining room as we ate. I hadn't even eaten anything yet and was already very impressed.

For our dining experience we went with a tasting so I could try the most amount of dishes as possible. Our first dish entailed three appetizers.

Fin- Spring Roll

First was the Spring Roll (Vegetable Egg Roll). These rolls were a great starter to our meal. They had a great crunch to them and the ingredients were very fresh and the rolls were served at a perfect temperature. They are small in size but big in flavor.

Fin- Pork Potsticker


Second was the Pork Potstickers (Pan-Fried Pork Potstickers). I love potstickers and these are some of the best I've had. They were absolutely filled to the brim with pork and were very tender and flavorful all around. The wrapper was cooked perfectly and I liked that each bite had a little bit of spice on the front end. I could eat these all day long. 

Third was the Crisp Shiitake Mushrooms. Whether you're a fan of mushrooms or not, you must try these! They taste more like meat than mushrooms. They're coated in a sweet vinegar glaze and are stunning. These really took me by surprise and I've never had mushrooms taste like that. This is the type of dish I'll keep thinking about anytime I have shiitake mushrooms in the future. The bar has been set.

After our little starters we tried a few entrées. The first of these was the Crab with Asparagus. This isn't on the menu yet, but will be soon, and when it is, get it! The crab was so light and delicious it was like I was eating a cloud. The crab had an excellent mouth feel and was delectable in every way. The asparagus were cooked on point and were buttered expertly. This dish is simplicity at it's best. It is also quite generous in portion size, two people could split this easily if you wanted something light and amazing.


Next was the Orange Beef. Think orange chicken, but beef… and more flavorful. The beef was extremely tender and was a delight to eat. The orange flavoring was apparent but not in your face. I like that it took a back seat to the beef and just added what it needed to be different. The glaze also had a slight kick on the back end of each bite. Once again, a very simple dish with outstanding quality and flavor profiles.

Third was the Szechwan Shrimp (Prawns). These very large prawns were meaty and very filling. The sauce was good with a little spice to it, I just wish it had a little more of a kick. I typically think of Szechwan anything to be a little more garlicky and spicy. Otherwise they were very tasty. I especially liked that they were served with large lettuce leaves so I could use those as a vessel to scoop the prawns up with. (Who doesn't love eating with their hands?!)

Fin- Orange BeefFin- Szechwan Shrimp









And finally, the Pièce de Résitance was the Lemon Sea Bass. This dish is probably the best sea bass I've ever had. This is also not on the menu yet, but coming soon. The bake on the fish was just downright elegant. Each bite was light and fluffy and the fish just melted in my mouth. It was also served with a house made lemon sauce that was outstanding to dip in. If you're like me and have had your ups and downs with sea bass, this is as up as you can get. The Lemon Sea Bass is a winner for sure!

Fin- Lemon Sea Bass

For dessert I had their Mango Pudding and the meal pallet cleanser of a Pistachio and Bailey's shot with a house made Fortune Cookie. Pudding is a stretch of a  word for this dessert. I would more categorize it as a flan. Think mango flan, got it? Amazing right? The chunks of mango atop the succulent mango pudding/custard/flan added a great texture profile and gave an overall fun experience for my tongue to handle. And even though it looks so, it is not overly sweet at all. I really enjoyed this dessert. 

The pallet cleanser was also very fun. The shot was yummy and the fortune cookie really felt and tasted special. After eating metric tons of factory made fortune cookies in my life, it was quite nice to have a hand made, one off cookie just for me! 

Fin- Mango PuddingFin- Shot and Fortune Cookie













Fin is an experience. The décor, the staff, the food. Everything was top notch. Fin filled me up and left me joyful, as every meal should leave thee. 

Rating out
of 10
Description
7 Location

Tucked away in a corner of the Mirage, it's not hard to find, but you wouldn't know it was there if you kept to the casino floor's main path.

10 The Décor

Designed by the same fella who did Shibuya, Fin is beautiful and elegent in it's subtle designs.

8 The Prices

I've read quite a few reviews saying that Fin is overpriced. It's an upscale Chinese resteraunt inside of a casino. It's going to have a little bit of a premium on the price. The food is top notch and is worth paying for on top of the overall abiance and experience.

N/A The Drinks

I had one cocktail and it was stellar, see my Convivial Concoctions section for the review.

10 The Food

My meal was unforgettable. I'll be back for more to try new dishes and order again what I loved.

8.75 Overall

A Sin City Foodie favorite!

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Shibuya

Ever watch a modern movie that takes place in Japan and you always notice a "Times Square" style area? Well, that's called the Shibuya District located in Tokyo, Japan. Shibuya the restaurant inside of the MGM Grand shares it's name and much if it's styling from said area. Shibuya is very modern looking with a lot of eye candy that draws your gaze everywhere you look. The front is sections of all glass pieces that layer each other and give a somewhat bamboo look as you peer through. My fiancé and I were fortunate enough to get a table right next to the glass and were able to people watch as we enjoyed our meal.

Shibuya offers Teppanyaki tables, sushi, and traditional Japanese delights. For our journey, we had some sushi and shared a entrée.

Yet, with any place that has it, I'm going to order it; We started with Edamame. The edamame here had some small details that made it better than most I've had. To start, every single pod was huge! It really seemed like they filter what they serve to makes sure no runts make it to the table. Secondly, there were a ton of them. This picture was taken after we'd gone through some so you could see the third impressive part; the woven basket. I really appreciate when restaurants go the extra mile to make something as simple as a bowl be outstanding and different. All of the beans were meaty and the salting was just right. The bar has been set for my edamame consuming future. 

Shibuya- Edamame

Sushi was next on the table with the Shibuya Roll and RYU (Dragon) Roll

Shibuya- Shibuya and Dragon Roll

The Shibuya Roll consisted of soft shell crab, jalapeño, spicy albacore, and ponzu scallions. This roll falls into a kind of comfort food category for me, it was warm, delicious, not too heavy, and savory. The overall flavor was slightly tangy and was countered well by the excellent crab. 

Shibuya- Shibuya Roll

The RYU (Dragon) Roll was packed with freshwater eel, cucumber, mango, and avocado. I picked this one because you don't typically see mango in sushi and I wanted to see if it works. In short, it does! This is a very well conceived roll. The roll was very rich and filling and the mango really hits a home run! The sauce was decadent and the avocado was fresh and makes itself apparent but not overpowering. And for the protein, the eel was tender and flavorful to round it all out. This is one of the best rolls I've ever had.  

Shibuya- RYU (Dragon) Roll

Now after our sushi there was a significant amount of time before our main order came out. We weren't pressed for time, so I didn't sweat it as we were enjoying people watching so much, but our waiter did know and to make it up to us he brought us both the Kimiko Miso Soup. As a lover of miso soup, I had no complaints about this gesture.

The soup had much more flavor than your usual miso varieties. It had a good body to it and the tofu chunks were large and soaked up the flavors very well. It was tangy on the back end and was very good overall. Also served very hot, but not too hot to begin enjoying immediately.

Shibuya- Kimiko Miso Soup

The Jidori Chicken was the main course we were waiting for and for the most part, twas worth the wait. This dish included organic chicken breast and thigh skewers, satsumaimo croquettes, shishito pepper, and a lemon teriyaki sauce. The chicken was a little over cooked, but not enough to ruin it. The glaze on the chicken was on point and had a nutty and sweet quality to it. The thighs were leaps and bounds better than the breasts. I don't know why, but they were much juicier and tender. The shishito peppers were grilled and looked nice, but really had no flavor to them. The absolute star of this show was the satsumaimo croquettes. When I first bit into one of these I had not idea what flavors my mouth was tasting but I knew I liked it! I had to ask the waiter what exactly they were, he told me they were a bread crumb crusted ginger yam whip, but after looking it up, they're actually a Japanese sweet potato1 And they are awesome! If there was an appetizer of just these, I'd order it in a heart beat! The flavor is so damn interesting!

Shibuya- Jidori Chicken

In all, we enjoyed our experience at Shibuya. We definitely will go back and try some of the more extravagant options soon enough. If you want good Japanese on the South Strip, look no further! Shibuya is the place for you!

Rating out
of 10
Description
6 Location

Inside of the MGM Grand's restaurant row, it's not the easiest place to get to, but the people watching ability almost counter balances the walk and parking.

10 The Décor

The place is beautiful and keeps your eyes busy.

8 The Prices

Easily, you're looking at $50 a person at minimum. But the prices reflect the quality of ingredients properly.

N/A The Drinks

Their selection is quite amazing. They have an amazing varity of sake and Japanese beers. I did not have any on this trip

9 The Food

Everything we had was of top quality. Not one dish absolutely blew me away, but I'm sure they have others that will.

8.25 Overall

My meal makes we want to go back and try more. That's definitely a good thing.

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Chop Chop Wok

There really is nothing like a good ol' strip mall Chinese joint. Chop Chop Wok is a very unassuming place smack dab in the middle of the strip mall on the North West side of Cheyenne and Rainbow. Surrounded by terrible restaurant chains, Chop Chop Wok is a diamond in the rough. The décor is bland and nothing special, the service is decent and speedy, but the one thing that shines brightest is the food. (And the fact that 95% of the menu is under $10!)

Miso Soup FTW! Miso soup is simple, yet easy to screw up; Bad miso soups are watery and tasteless or overly salty and pungent. This bowl of deliciousness was right down the middle with a great balance of flavor and texture with the perfect amount of saltiness. Also a bonus for me was that it was served to me hot but not boiling hot. I hate waiting for soup to cool!

Chop Chop Wok- Miso Soup.jpg

My girlfriend ordered a "small" Chicken Lo Mein, but when it came to the table we realized we could definitely share it. The small order had to be a pound of chicken and noodles. As you can see, the noodles looked and were amazing. They were a little greasy, perfectly cooked, and were full of flavor. The chicken was very tender and also had great seasoning and sauces soaked into it. These noodles were legit! Just looking at the picture makes me want it again!

Chop Chop Wok- Chicken Lo Mein.jpg

I was pretty hungry on this outing so I also ordered a sampler platter that contained a California Roll, Tempura Shrimp, and Tempura Broccoli. This odd mash up of items was a little hit and miss. The sushi actually wasn't all that bad, it was nothing award winning, but better than expected. The Tempura Shrimp were very good, mainly because of the tempura batter. The shrimp were kind of small but the batter was light, crunchy, and added good flavoring to the shrimpy shrimps. The Tempura Broccoli were different… They were kind of bland on their own, but really good when dipped into soy sauce. The soy sauce added the right amount of saltiness and body that the broccoli needed to be better.

Chop Chop Wok- Sampler.jpg

For the grand finale I had the Deluxe Broiled Eel Combo. I always get eel when I can and this was one of the best preparations I've had. I know it doesn't look like much, but that slab of Anguilliforme was downright fantastic! The eel was very, very soft and melted in my mouth with each bite. The sauce it was drenched in was rich with a subtle smokiness and was also great with the rice it sat atop of. This is a dish I will go back specifically for. It was that good!

Chop Chop Wok- Eel.jpg

Chop Chop Wok is a hole in the wall worth trying if you're on the NW side of town. So far, it's the best Chinese cuisine I've had on this side of the city. 

Rating out
of 10
Description
9 Location

Right off the freeway, it's easy to park, and easy to find.

5 The Décor

Meh. Don't look at the walls, look at your food!

10 The Prices

I think our total meal price was like $26. That's pretty tough
to beat.

N/A The Drinks

N/A

9 The Food

The food was solid, cooked to order, and had some amazing
flavors.

8.25 Overall

This is my new Chinese "go to" for NW Sin City.

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Sushi Loca

This review is a combination of two trips to Sushi Loca. (No animals were harmed… well other than the fish obviously.)

Irrashaimase! I love hearing that walking into happening sushi joints. I especially love hearing it at Sushi Loca because the chefs really want to welcome you and make sure you have a good time. I've been to Sushi Loca several times for some late night antics and during regular hours and the chef staff is always exciting and intense no matter the hour. The other part of Sushi Loca that is also consistent is the food. They blow my mind each time with something new or strange that I just love. The sushi chefs really own the atmosphere of the place and wheather they're dishing out sake bombs or teaching you about their blades, there's always a good time to be had sitting at the sushi bar.

That being said, let's check out some of the amazing offerings from Sushi Loca. 


One of the latest rolls to knock my socks off was the Final Fantasy 2. Which, if you're a video game nerd, have to order just because. I ordered it because of said reason and the abundance of flavors described on the menu and the dipping sauce. The roll consists of: Inside- Spicy Soft Shell Crab, Shrimp Tempura, and Cucumber with the Outside- Assorted Fishes with Spicy Mayo Panzu Sauce. Doesn't that just make your mouth water?! It did for me and this roll was absolutely delicious! And the dipping sauce took it to another level (no pun intended). The roll is supremely rich and complex with the sauce adding just the right amount of zing to make you say "Wow" after every bite. This is now one of my favorite sushi rolls anywhere.

Just to mix things up, I wanted to try some noodles instead of all sushi on this trip. I make Udon noodles all the time at home, so I took a fancy to their Kake Udon Noodles. Served in a hot, chicken heavy broth, the noodles were very hearty and were cooked properly. Each noodle was thick and meaty and blended well with it's accompanying broth and seasonings. For a break from the norm, these noodles are worth ordering every now and then.

Locally themed, the Double Down is a solid choice on the "Extraordinary Rolls" portion of the menu. Consisting of: Inside- Spicy Soft Shell Crab, and Cucumber with the Outside- Salmon, Yellowtail and Sesame Mustard Sauce. This roll just melted in my mouth. Overall it had a great creamy feel with the cucumber doing its job adding the needed crunch with each bite. The sauce adds a slight kick to it with a bit of help from the spicy crab and the salmon/yellowtail combo on the outside was outstanding and really made the whole roll decadent and filling. If you're presented the option… you better Double Down!

My beautiful girlfriend ordered the Pearl Special as her first roll from Sushi Loca and she chose wisely. This roll has: Inside- Tempura Shrimp, Cream Cheese, Crab, Avocado, and Cucumber with the Outside- Smelt Eggs and "Crunch" with Special Sauce. As you notice, there are some ingredients that don't often make appearances in sushi, namely the cream cheese and avocado. Those ingredients make this special. The sauce is great, the smelt eggs add a great touch, but the out of nowhere flavors blasting from the cream cheese and avocado really take you by surprise in the best possible way! Each bite has lots of crunch to it with the cream cheese smoothing it out by the time you finish it. This really is a special roll that should be enjoyed by all.

The names of the rolls at Sushi Loca are eclectic as can be. There are "I Did your Girlfriend", "I Love my Ass", "68 and I owe you One", and my personal favorite "Oops she was 17". Oops she was 17 is just outright insane. Look at it! There's sushi under all of that craziness. But….that craziness is god damn delicious! I had to ask the chef what it was exactly, answer: Starch Fried Onions. These things are so good, I wouldn't mind just having a bowl of them with that sauce. I had to stop eating them to focus my efforts on the sushi buried beneath. The sushi was filled with Spicy Tuna, Spicy Yellowtail, Spicy everything! (This roll must be new because it's not on their online menu yet.) The sauce atop and inside was sweet and savory adding even more richness to the already baked and cheesy roll. The spicy tuna was the star inside by being buttery and feisty while still playing nice with the rest of the ingredients. This roll is practically a whole meal, but I cleaned that plate! This is a wild and crazy sushi dish that works in so many different ways, it really embodies Sushi Loca as a whole.

I know everyone has their favorite sushi spot and I'm no different. Sushi Loca is my local favorite, the food is always amazing, the atmosphere is fun and inviting, and after 11pm every night the music gets turned up and the drinks are 2 for 1! I dare you to try Sushi Loca and then say anywhere else is better in Sin City. I double down dare ya!


Rating Description
out of 10
6 Location
Eh, their only downfall. It's on the outskirts of the NW region and far for most, also the entire shopping center is a little confusing overall.
10 The Décor
I'm combining atmosphere with décor here. The décor is cute with red walls and hard wood touches. There are booths, tables, and a sushi bar as well. And the fun level is always at 10.
10 The Prices
Not bad actually. I don't think any roll is over $14. We had three rolls a lemonade and a beer for $51. Not bad for dinner for two.
10 The Drinks
A great sake list, a great Japanese beer list, fountain drinks, and if you order Sake Bombs, the chefs will do them with you!
10 The Food
You could pick blindly on the sushi menu and end up with something amazing.
9.2
OVERALL
A Sin City Foodie Favorite!
(out of 10)

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Bangkok 9: Thai-Chinese Restaurant (Rainbow Location)

舌頭可以描繪出肉眼無法看到。"The tongue can paint what the eye can't see."-Chinese Proverb. 

On a recent trip to Bangkok 9: Thai-Chinese Restaurant our tongues painted for us the source of the texture and flavor that our eyes couldn't see…the microwave in the kitchen that nuked our meals...

Tragedy is a nice word to describe our experience at Bangkok 9 (I really hope there aren't 8 other ones!). When we got there, there were two large groups of about 10 people each and most of the booths were full with patrons. A busy dining room normally is a good indicator of quality food and repeat business. This was not the case here. There was one server. One. She definitely tried to accommodate the entire dining room, but many things were caught in the wake of spinning too many plates. Mainly our time and the feel of the place. She had zero personality when we did see her at our table, but that was a rare occurance. It took about 15 minutes before we were even asked to order. Once we ordered, our food came out within 5 minutes. That scared me because I know that normally means Chef Mike is involved somehow, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt before eating my meal.

I had the Pad Thai Noodles. I love noodles of all kinds and Pad Thai has always been one of my favorites. These Pad Thai Noodles had stir-fry chicken and shrimp with egg, green onions, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts and Thai seasoning. At first glance, I could see my noodles were a little more shiny than I'd like, and that's normally an unfortunate sign of being microwaved. And after my first bite it was confirmed, Chef Mike had stricken! The entire dish seemed very uninspired; The chicken and shrimp were tasteless, the noodles were rubbery and sticky, and all of the greenery was wilted and sad. It's a pretty remarkable feat to make shrimp tasteless, no less chicken. The only good thing on the entire plate was the crushed peanuts! Probably because it seems dielectric heating does not effect their kind. And the Thai seasoning "sauce" was just a watery pool at the bottom of the plate. It was as if I was eating day old leftovers that had be reheated twice.

My girlfriend got the Curry Fried Rice which entailed stir-fried chicken, egg, tomatoes, onions, and scallions. Her dish at least had some flavor to it, but if you dump enough curry powder on anything it's going to have some sort of flavoring to it. And that was the only flavor we could taste, curry. This was a one note dish. The chicken was the same as my order and was absolutely void of any taste. Really a shame.

Other than reheated, horrible food, and terrible service, "What else could be bad about this place?" you may ask. I'll tell you, the water. Yes, they found a way to screw up water. Our two glasses of water shared probably an entire half a lemon. The wedge was so big, and served already inside the glass, that it tasted like watered down lemonade. "Why didn't you ask for a new glass with no lemon?" you may inquire, answer: it took 15 minutes just to get this glass, I didn't feel like dying from old age in this place. It also took 15 minutes after we were done eating to even be acknowledged to take our plates away and then another 10 minutes to get our bill. On top of all that, the place was filthy; The front windows were streaked of dirt, the large fish tank you encounter as you first walk in was filthy, and the carpet was pretty bad as well. 

I would almost put all the aside if the food was amazing. Trendy hole in the wall Chinese places are awesome. Unfortunately for Bangkok 9, they are just a tragic bore in a strip mall.

Rating Description
out of 10
4 Location
Located in a strip mall with lots of speedbumps and nothing else near it other than Pier 1.
4 The Décor
Laughable at best. A few Asian pictures on the wall and the filthy fish tank. There was a TV propped up above the entrance that seemed like it was there for the staff to enjoy.
6 The Prices
Our dishes were $8 each, for the portion size, not bad, for the horribleness of the plates, not good.
5 The Drinks
The usual Boba, Teas, and sodas. They showed they served beer up at the hostess counter, but there was no beer on the menu.
0 The Food
Just terrible. There's no excuse for microwaving food.
3.8
OVERALL
Stay clear of Bangkok 9.
(out of 10)

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Zine Noodles Dim Sum

First, I'd like to thank Executive Director of Paiza Club Operations, Ken Wong, for his hospitality and providing me the opportunity to try what Zine Noodles Dim Sum has to offer.

Zine Noodles Dim Sum is hidden gem inside the Palazzo. Honestly, I've been to the Palazzo hundreds of times and didn't even know Zine was there! But I'm sure glad I know now. Zine Noodles Dim Sum has a very simple entrance on the Southwest side of the casino floor. They recently opened it up a bit so it's much more noticeable and definitely worth looking for.

The dishes that were served to us were completely chosen by the chef, so each one was a pleasant surprise. (The pictures may not represent the entire dish when ordered regularly, as we were given a "chef's tasting") 

We started off with a bang with the Peking Duck (Oven-Roasted Duck on the menu). This appetizer was prepared and carved table-side. The duck was caramely brown and looked like the skin was going to be very crispy and amazing. I was excited because I love duck in all forms. This one was served in the form of a Bao. Laughingly, I've only had Bao before from food trucks, so it was quite an experience to see the duck prepared at the table and assembled to perfection at an authentic Chinese restaurant with it. The duck skin was as crispy as I had hoped, the bao was über fresh and doughy, and the sauce inside won my stomach over. This is one solid offering and a great way to start a meal!

Neon green soup? Sure! Next up was the Spinach Seafood Soup. One of my favorites of all time is egg drop soup. This was like a kicked up version of that old classic. Served nice and hot; The crab was very good, the spinach flavors were subtle but tasty, and the shrimp was great. The color contrast between the crab and the soup was very eye catching as well. If you enjoy egg drop soups like I do, this is definitely not one to sleep on.


See a trend yet? These dishes not only tasted great, but looked good too! The Potstickers (Pan-Fried Chicken Potstickers on the menu) were arranged in a star and were begging to be devoured. I think I may have eaten all but one of these. The potstickers had a great outer crunch to them and an overall good mouth-feel. And the sauce provided to dip them in added to their savoriness and was slightly tangy and matched perfectly with the delicate potstickers.


The Baked Sea Bass (Baked Chilean Sea Bass on the menu) was a gorgeous plate to look at. The fish had such an beautiful char and glaze to them I almost didn't want to eat it….but I did. And it was phenomenal! The bass melted in my mouth and had a stellar texture to it. I took my time with each bite because it was so good. And the mushrooms that were hiding under the fish were great and very hearty with the fried tofu also being a star with an orangey, mushy taste and texture. Everything on this plate works together and is one of the best Sea Bass dishes I have ever had.

As if I wasn't already blown away by the sea bass, it was not to be out done by the Beef Tenderloin (Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Golden Garlic Flakes on the menu). These little cubes of goodness were perfectly medium rare with a great char and were extremely tender. They were very flavorful and I wanted more!

I love walnuts. I don't know if that's a typical thing for 'Mericans, but I pretty much love all nuts (Insert joke here). Walnuts that have been honey glazed and paired with prawns? Now we're talkin'! The Walnut Prawns (Honey-Glazed Walnut Prawns on the menu) were golden morsels of delight. The crunch of the walnuts with the contrast of the soft and lightly battered prawns made for a great combination with the honey glaze really tying everything together. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

The Seafood Fried Rice was a nice rendition of one of my favorites too. The egg whites were plentiful and the little bits of seafood added a great sweetness to help cut the savory fried rice. I liked how light it felt compared to many places heavy/greasy fried rice. A very good choice if you like fried rice.



Two is better than one. Fact. So we had two desserts. First was the Mochi which came in chocolate and strawberry flavorings. Unfortunately, the Mochi is outsourced and not made in-house and it was apparent. They were good, but they just weren't anything special.

Our second dessert was one I've never seen before, Sesame Seed Balls (Crispy-Fried Sesame Balls on the menu). These were served hot and had an outer layer of crunch and and inside vastness of soft dough of sorts. They were very interesting overall and kind of tasted like a Chinese iteration of churros… 









This meal was fantastic. I loved pretty much everything. The funny thing to me though, was that at Zine Noodles Dim Sum, we were not given noodles nor dim sum! I guess the chef wasn't feeling it that day, fine with me, gives me something to look forward to the next time I go!

Rating Description
out of 10
7 Location
It's always hard for me to score restaurants inside of hotels. If you're staying there, it's convieient. If you're a local, it's a destination and a lot of walking. So it depends…
9 The Décor
High ceilings, red overtone, beautiful booths and scenery, definitely eye pleasing.
9 The Prices
It's an eclectic menu, you could easily just share a few appitizers and stay at a reasonable cost. Or you could go crazy and get all kinds of decident meals. I like the ability to do that.
10 The Drinks
Fully stocked bar and an extensive wine list. Also, Lychee drinks, soy milk, and even fresh carrot juice!
10 The Food
The Mochi aside, everything had great flavors, textures, aromas, and looked beautiful. The abundance of quality is also a good thing.
9
OVERALL
If you're looking for off the charts authentic Chinese cuisine, you've found your promise land.
(out of 10)

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Sushi Samba (At the Bar)

The best you've ever had. What image begins to form in your heard with such a sentence? A kiss? A night out? A car? I like to reminisce about bests all the time, and I do love when I can expand upon my lists. I can now update my sushi list with a recently experienced roll… 

I can rattle off all of the best meals I've ever had by price, genre, and location. What I can't do is expect when any meal will be trounced by a new champion. This particular evening I was pleasantly surprised by a roll called the Yamato.

The Yamato is a sushi roll that I believe was made for my pure entertainment. I love ordering ridiculous items off menus and when I see tuna, foie gras, ossetra caviar, and GOLD LEAF as ingredients for a roll, how do I not order that?! And to top it off, the bartender asks me if it's OK that the roll is only three bites… It has Gold on it! I don't care if it's one! 

For starters, it's just damn beautiful to behold. It's one of those plates that's such food porn, you don't want to touch it… but you do. You don't wan't to ruin its structure…but you must. The picture does not do this roll justice. The audaciousness of having Gold on your sushi does not translate to digital form. This is something to be witnessed in person. 

I picked up the first bite and placed it into my mouth like a gift being offered to an emperor; delicately and with full motivation to impress. The first taste was awe inspiring; rich, warm, smooth, and perfect. The flavors are so complex yet so simple. The sauce binds it and blows you away with its aroma and taste with absolutely no need for wasabi or soy sauce, this is perfection. Each layer presents its own texture and gusto to make this the best sushi I've ever tasted. I know there's some Japanese master out there making better sushi than this, but he's not in Las Vegas, he's not accessible, and he's not working seven days a week, but Sushi Samba is and does. The Yamato is now engraved in any of my "bests" conversations until proven otherwise.

I had the Pacific roll too, but who cares? It's better than most rolls and most sushi places in town, but it pales in comparison to the Yamato. Unfortunately for the Pacific roll, it's like driving a BMW M5 after driving a McLaren F1, sure it's nice, but it's not even in the same league.







Rating Description
out of 10
7 Location
It's a destination for sure. Sushi Samba is out of the way, yet a trendy out of the kind of out of the way.
8 The Décor
It's fun and fancy inside and out. The outer bar stools could use a once over though.
8 The Prices
For most items on the menu, the prices are actually pretty reasonable. The Yamato was $19… Go big or go home.
10 The Drinks
Amazing specialty cocktail selection with a full bar and Sake!
9 The Food
Just for ordering two sushi rolls at the bar, not bad. I will sit inside and give them a full course review in the future.
8.4
OVERALL
Even though it's a semi-chain joint, It's definitely a go to place on the Strip for great food and atmosphere.
(out of 10)

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Yummy Sushi (Lake Mead Location)

To put an adjective in your name describing your food is hard thing to do. I immediately think that Yummy Sushi is going to have yummy sushi when I walk in. What I ended up finding was Yummy Sushi has yummy sushi with a not so yummy atmosphere.

My friend and I sat at the sushi bar inside of Yummy Sushi's "dining room". I say "dining room" because it's more of a hallway that happens to have tables and chairs in it than a true dining room. But I digress… We were hungry. Promptly after we sat down the sushi chefs presented us with their Cucumber Salad with Crab, of which, I was surprised to see crab on as most places just give you the veggie alone. The sauce used on this small starter really worked for me. The cucumbers were fresh, and the crab was excellent, but I really want more of that sauce! So far, a great way to start our meal.

Along with the cucumber salad came a mystery starter. I tried asking what it was, but no one there could give me an answer I could quite grasp. I'm thinking it was some sort of flat bread, but it could have been fried tofu. It really was a strange consistency…..but it was great! They gave us a few slices of it and I wish I had an entire bowl of it. I still don't know what this scallion and sesame seed covered delight was, but I hope someone will help fill me in eventually.

Even though we had two small plates already, it's hard to not order Edamame at a sushi joint for me. We ordered it, it came, we ate some, it was ok. Nowhere near mind blowing, but overall it was good. 

Now for the rolls! The first roll we had was the Ichiban. This was one good roll. The avocado was great on it with a perfect temperature and consistency and went well with the sweet lobster that was also cooked just right. The eel sauce held everything together nicely and the rice was sticky and fresh. I would definitely order the Ichiban again.

Next up to bat was the Spider Man Roll. Stunning to look at, pretty damn good to consume. The soft shell crab was amazing and the yellowtail was very tasty. The many sauces on the roll didn't really do much for it though. I would rather it have less sauce on it to allow the crab and yellowtail to really shine. But other than that, this was equally as yummy as the Ichiban.

The food is the winner in this place. The loser? The atmosphere. The sushi chefs had zero personality, the panels in the drop ceiling were warped and discolored, and there was no energy at all inside the restaurant as a whole. I knew we were inside of a strip mall, but it felt like we were eating inside a cave with people forced to make sushi all day. 

I'm torn. I do like the food that was given to me at Yummy Sushi, but the overall look and feel of the place is depressing. They could use a remodel, or pep talk, or something… good thing their sushi is actually yummy.

Rating Description
out of 10
6 Location
It's in a strip mall. But easy to get to for anyone in the NW side of town in the mood for sushi.
4 The Décor
Hideous on the inside, and shows signs of aging.
10 The Prices
I don't think I saw one roll over $10.
7 The Drinks
Typical Japanese beer offerings, some cocktails, sake, and I think I saw a sign for boba.
8 The Food
The food was solid. Nothing really took my breath away, but it's good enough to back.
7
OVERALL
If I'm in the area and wanting sushi, I'll go, otherwise, there's better out there.
(out of 10)

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Teriyaki Boy "Healthy Grill"

Today I ventured into Teriyaki Boy kind of on a whim. I didn't bring a lunch to work and I've been curious to try this place. It is in a fairly new location; they replaced Bonzai Bob's that served essentially the same menu. 

The first thing I noticed when I walked in were the prices! The offerings, for the most part, are the same as any teriyaki bowl place, but $7-$9 for a rice or noodle bowl was not expected. I assume they're banking the premium prices on the "Healthy Grill" part, but if there's no MSG, salt, or frying oil, shouldn't the prices be lower? *shrugs shoulders* The usual suspects of rice or yaki soba noodles with chicken, veggie, and steak options are there with the nice addition of salmon and mahi mahi as well. They do have a good selection of sides like edemame and fried tofu also. The place was clean and simple. Chinese lanturns hanging from the ceiling and red walls for accent. The menu is large and ledgible. And they have the same TV on the wall from Bonzai Bob's just playing whatever.

I decided on the Mahi Mahi Yaki Soba Bowl despite it's $8.60 price just because in the back of my mind I was thinking of the $5 shake from Pulp Fiction; it's a regular menu item with a prestige on the price, it's gotta be amazing right?! Nope. I mean a total nope. Just look at the picture! Where are the noodles?! This "Large" (Only size option for Yaki Soba) was half filled with veggies, a quarter Mahi Mahi, and bearly a quarter of noodles underneath. The carrots, cucumber, broccoli, and cabbage were bearly steamed, and nowhere near cooked. The Mahi Mahi was probably the best part, it was cooked well and the teriyaki sauce they use isn't overbearing and salty like most. The fish was a little dry, but probably because it's frozen and not fresh. The noodles were subpar at best. They were cooked right, but there just wasn't enough. I expected much more noodle in my noodle bowl. For $8.60 I could go to Fresh & Easy and make 4 bowls like this with twice as much noodles and non-frozen fish.

Rating Description
out of 10
6 Location
It's a destination if you're not going to work out.
7 The Décor
Basic, but gets the job done.
3 The Prices
Prices are high for the offset portion sizes and ok flavors.
5 The Drinks
The boba tea option is the star. Otherwise it's just sodas.
4 The Food
Tastewise, it was nothing amazing. The portion size of the noodles was very lacking.
5
OVERALL
I've had better
(out of 10)

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