If I haven’t gotten my Japanese fix, I head here. My team likes to go out for some beers and a bunch of small dishes after we close the kitchen at Comme Ça, a few miles away. We order pretty much the whole damn menu. I’ve always enjoyed the house-made tofu. The fried shrimp is great, too. It’s not breaded, and you eat the head and everything. I also like their specials, particularly sashimi or grilled fish. The bottled water is from springs in Japan and has different pH balances that are healthy for you. » 5030 W. Spring Mountain Rd., Ste. 2, Chinatown.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
This is Joël Robuchon’s French take on apanese kaiseki-style dining: You sit at a counter, and the chefs cook in front of you. They always have fantastic dishes—things like quail stuffed with foie gras (yes, it’s legal here)—and their technical proficiency is exceptional. » MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South, the Strip.
It’s a pizza restaurant from Sacramento that’s opening an outpost in downtown Vegas this summer. The co-owner, Tony Gemignani, won the Naples Cup for his margherita (they limit themselves to making only 73 margheritas a day, too). I’ve been to Naples. We serve a Neapolitan pizza at our Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa, and this is really good. » 201 N. 3rd St., downtown.
Sometimes my team and I will go here for a quick lunch to have traditional ramen. They make a shoyu ramen, which is good, but I like their classic ramen best. The gyoza has just the right amount of pork and vegetables. There shouldn’t be too much pork in a good gyoza. It should have a nice balance between the meat and vegetables. The wonton skin needs to be thin. » 5030 Spring Mountain Rd., Ste. 6, Chinatown.
You eat here when you want the ultimate French fine-dining experience. Jean-Michel Wilmotte designed the space; they have a towering bread cart, a huge list of big-name cognacs, and fun hors d’oeuvres. But it’s all about being taken care of from the moment you arrive while being inundated with course after course of culinary mastery. » Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South, the Strip.
Lotus of Siam
I would put Lotus up against anything I’ve had in the U.S. for Thai food. I’m blown away by the level of execution and consistency of their dishes. I get the green papaya salad. I get a curry. I get drunken noodles. And I always get a pad thai. » 953 E. Sahara Ave., Ste. A5, Commercial Center District.
It’s in a Chinatown strip mall and rowdy. The menu is constantly changing, but they have this incredible ika, or squid, dish that’s grilled and is fantastic with a little lemon. They serve another dish where they cut up the squid, take the guts, cure them, and mix it all together. It’s perfect with sake. » 4355 Spring Mountain Rd., Ste. 205, Chinatown.
E by José Andrés
A cool concept: a restaurant within a restaurant. You find it inside Jaleo, and as with L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, you sit at a bar while the chefs cook in front of you. I love Jaleo on its own: You get great Serrano and cheeses and wine, along with Andrés’s playful take on tapas. But é is inspired. It only offers a tasting menu that is constantly changing. The food is avant-garde and experimental, because that’s Andrés’s style. » The Cosmopolitan, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South, the Strip.
It’s a simple place a few miles from the Strip. Their Taiwanese-style beef stew noodle soup is the best. The beef is spicy and braised with a bit of a chew to it, which tends to be how they like it in Asia. You can get a bunch of other stuff—there’s various kinds of pig ear and dumplings—but you go for this dish.
» 3420 S. Jones Blvd., Chinatown.
I haven’t been yet, but it’s at the top of my list. The guy behind it, Sheridan Su, worked for me at Sona and Comme Ça, and he’s a terrific chef. He had a truck called Great Bao before opening this Asian American place. I’m going to get the roasted duck bao, which is a steamed bun, and pork belly bao, but he also has a massive burger and even a short-rib grilled cheese. » Eureka Casino, 595 E. Sahara Ave., downtown.