Welcome to EAT THIS CITY, your tour of the best restaurants in one of our favorite cities, as chosen by a world-class chef, celebrity, or local hero.
This week, we’re returning to the city that never sleeps to meet with renowned restaurateur and founder/ CEO of the restaurant development company Blau + Associates, Elizabeth Blau. A James Beard Award nominee, Blau’s client list includes New York’s beloved Rainbow Room and the esteemed Ritz Carlton Hotels and Resorts, while her personal projects include farm-to-table concept Honey Salt, and steakhouse Andiron Steak & Sea, both opened in partnership with her husband, chef Kim Canteenwalla, as well as Italian comfort food haven Buddy V’s Ristorante, opened in partnership with with TV’s Cake Boss Buddy Valastro.
In short: Blau keeps busy! You might also recognize her from her appearances as a judge on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, the Martha Stewart Show, and the Travel Channel. A big believer in giving back to the community, she also supports the local organization Three Square— Southern Nevada’s only food bank dedicated to creating the most complete solution to the problem of hunger — where she serves as the Culinary Council Chair.
Needless to say, we’re thrilled to have Blau as our guide to Las Vegas’ culinary scene! Let’s check out her fifteen favorite food experiences in Sin City!
I love the whole wood fired, Italian inspired, artisan pizza thing, but Shawn’s elevated take on the classic East Coast pizza joint is really my sweet spot. If you’re in Aria and in a rush you can grab a slice, but to best enjoy grab a seat at the bar and enjoy a small plate, salad, and a couple of pies with some great wines by the glass.
There are some great Mexican spots in Las Vegas, from hole-in-the-walls to fine dining, but I keep coming back to the superior ingredients and bright flavors of Border Grill. When the weather is nice, it’s hard to beat a seat on their patio overlooking the Mandalay Pool.
A lot of locals know that Las Vegas has a great Chinatown, but my favorite place is a tiny little Thai restaurant way on the edge of town called Penn’s Thai House. This little family run restaurant is a little light on ambiance but my husband swears it’s the best and most authentic Thai food he’s had in the States. I can’t get enough of their crab curry.
Sheridan Su has made his name in Las Vegas with hip and approachable Asian comfort food, from his first food truck to his Fat Choy diner at Eureka Casino, but his chicken spot in a little strip mall is my favorite. Sticky, funky wings, crispy chicken bao with pea shoots and a well-executed take on the SE Asian classic Hainanese chicken rice keeps us coming back.
I love donuts, and Pink Box offers infinite flavors, from classic to creative. They are my go to sweet fix.
Most people don’t think of Las Vegas as a mecca for sustainable seafood, but Rick has been working for years to bring carefully sourced fish to the Strip. His team does incredible work showcasing a wide variety of styles and species, and its always a treat to sit in his dining room.
Over the past couple of years, a new generation of neighborhood spots have been popping up all over Las Vegas, and I am so lucky to have Other Mama around the corner. Chef Dan Krohmer has the perfect blend of raw bar and comfort favorites with a great bar, fun soundtrack, and room that’s always full of chefs and industry people.
I love cold pressed juices and smoothies, but Fruits and Roots also has a great menu of wellness bowls and wraps for when I need something a little heartier. Their plant powered Caesar is the perfect healthy indulgence and a lunch go-to for me.
I can’t go through a whole list of recommendations without giving a little love to one of my own, and I firmly believe our suburban steakhouse, Andiron, does one of the best brunches in the city. We’ve got an incredible build your own bloody bar, a candy table for a sweet takeaway, and a craveable mix of breakfast favorites, lighter options, and lunchtime go-tos.
ICONIC FOOD OF THE CITY
There is no doubt in my mind that the iconic food of Las Vegas is steak, and my go to for the true Las Vegas steakhouse experience is SW at the Wynn. With the surreal backdrop that is the Lake of Dreams, the menu highlights an awesome selection of steaks, but also features incredible starters, creative sides, and plenty of options for non-steak eaters.
ODD CULINARY EXPERIENCE
Killer Indian food served by request out of the back of a poker bar off the Strip – not your everyday dining experience but one of the most exciting restaurants in Las Vegas right now, and a great use of a neglected kitchen.
These chewy, custardy, sweet little bites are one of my all time favorite indulgences, and Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery at the Venetian serves up some of the best in town. I’ve been known to make a detour when I’m down on the Strip just to pick up a few.
While bacon and eggs are always a good option, nothing smooths out a rough night on the town like a hot bowl of rich broth and noodles. Las Vegas has had a number of shops pop up in the past two years but Monta is always our favorite. Sometimes it’s easier to just get it to go, and they preserve the integrity of their signature dish by keeping the broth and noodles separate for you to cook at home.
You would think you were in Japan when you walk into this hidden gem of a sushi shop in Chinatown, where sushi master Gen flies in fresh fish straight from the Tsukiji market. His fish is always superb, only outdone by the personal service and intimate atmosphere, there are few places my husband and I would rather spend our nights.
RESTAURANT RUN BY A FRIEND
Wolfgang Puck was one of the first celebrity chefs in Las Vegas when he opened Spago in 1994 and over the years the core members of his team, Joe Essa, David Robins, and Tom Kaplan have become pillars of the culinary scene and also great friends.
Thank you, Elizabeth Blau, for taking us on a culinary tour of Las Vegas!
Stay tuned for more EAT THIS CITY — where each week we’ll feature a premier chef in a different city sharing their insider eating tips! Missed a week? Check out Upper Valley, Manhattan, Oakland, Paris, Portland, Tampa, Durham, Toronto, Baltimore, Monterey, Vail, Lexington, Bentonville, San Antonio, Warsaw, Kansas City, NYC, Washington DC, New Orleans, Cleveland, Miami, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Sydney, Portland, Chicago, Austin, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, New Orleans,Providence, Memphis, Orange County, Boston, and Detroit.
See you next week!