Desert Companion

And Away We Go

Takeout, to-go, curbside, pick-up — whatever you call it, these 25 local gems do it right

Getting meals to go used to be for busy schedules and budget dining. Then, well, you know the rest. But one of the many upsides to living in a renowned dining destination: a restaurant community that can nimbly adapt to new realities. Takeout used to involve compromise: convenience at the expense of quality, expediency at the cost of a culinary experience. Not anymore. Whether you’ve got an appetite for quick comfort food or designs on a date-night dinner at home, these  25 restaurants  dish up amazing meals worth the drive.

 

Ferraro’s 

Adaptation and innovation are buzzy watchwords for restaurants in 2020, but I bet that the secret to the staying power of Ferraro’s — a family-owned Italian restaurant dishing up divine pasta for more than 30 years — is the opposite: An enduring devotion to the classic virtue of culinary excellence. They’re always just so on. I’m happy to report they, too, have adapted to the New Whatever This Is with expanded takeout and delivery options, including family dinners; getting their cuisine to go is still a lesson in freshness, discipline, and rigor. My go-tos have been their simple, impeccable, pastas and salads — comfort food done with class. (AK)

4480 Paradise Road,
702-364-5300,
ferraroslasvegas.com

 

Rooster Boy Café 

Tucked among the white-napkin restaurants of Desert Shores, the gingham pocket square of Rooster Boy Café puts all of its sprawl on the menu. With a mix of prepared foods, fresh-made items and a killer bakery, it’s the ideal stop to take out a weekend’s worth of meals. Many dishes lean towards breakfast-lunch comfort food — chilaquiles, shakshuka, fruit-dotted and sugar-dusted Dutch oven pancakes, food-coma-inducing Brisket hash — but there’s also a refrigerator filled with soups, sides and entrees for when you need something that’s drive-thru fast but tastes kitchen-fresh. Bonus: Rooster Boy’s bagels are among the best in town. (LTR)

2620 Regatta Drive #113, 702-560-2453,
roosterboycafe.com

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Makers & Finders 

Makers & Finders is old-school new-school DTLV. One of the early entrants into Downtown’s Main Street renaissance, it’s since settled comfortably into a status of sleeper mainstay. But they deserve some fresh hype for their solid takeout, brisk service, and easy access. As a devoted brunch hound, I’ve stuck to their decadent breakfast sammies — Croissant Sandwich 2.0 ftw! — but I suspect their entire menu is worthy of a sequel or two. (AK)

1120 S. Main St. #110; 2120 Festival Plaza Drive #140, 702-586-8255,
makerslv.com

 

Johnny C’s Diner 

Johnny C'sOpening a new restaurant in the midst of a pandemic might not make the most sense, but Johnny Church is a man of his word. While he was opening Johnny C’s Diner, COVID hit, throwing his plans into a tailspin. But instead of delaying the opening he forged onward, beginning as only a takeout joint while allowing himself the time to tweak recipes while easing staff into service. While Johnny C’s is open for dine-in now, Church continues to maintain the integrity of his dishes with packaging to minimize the soggy factor and by using only ChowNow for delivery. (They deliver direct to customers, minimizing travel time with no additional stops.) It’s the little things that matter. (JB)

johnnycsdiner.com

 

Lazeez Indian-Mediterranean Grill

One the lockdown’s silver linings has been my discovery of Lazeez Indian-Mediterranean Grill, a nondescript strip-mall restaurant with a diverse menu. Little did I know I’d been overlooking some of the valley’s best Indian food (with a touch of Pakistani flair) within walking distance of my house. Saucy dishes such as Pakistani nihari (beef stew) or an exemplary chicken makhani (butter chicken) are delivered piping hot and well-wrapped, ensuring no spillage on the drive home. And Lazeez can deliver your meal car-side, easily accommodated by the ample storefront parking. (JB)

8560 W. Desert Inn #D3, 702-778-1613,
lazeezgrill.org

 

Pasta Shop Ristorante & Gallery 

A fixture in the southeast Valley, Pasta Shop Ristorante has been serving exemplary, housemade Italian dishes for over three decades. The onset of COVID shifted business to a successful takeout/curbside model, which continues as in-house dining resumes, the restaurant taking care to package saucy dishes with extra protection from spillage while offering curbside service to those still a little hesitant about dining out. In addition to dishes ranging from classic lasagna to the seafood-laden salmon lobster ravioli, Pasta Shop also offers a haven to Italian-craving vegans. (JB)

2525 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, 702-451-1893, pastashop.com

 

Sparrow + Wolf 

For most of us, home cooking can get pretty dull after a while — but ordering takeout day after day doesn’t seem quite right, either. Enter the pantry: Restaurants like Sparrow + Wolf are now selling sauces, ferments and other prepped ingredients to elevate your next home-cooked meal. You can pick up a freshly baked baguette, house-made charcuterie, and a container of bright and pungent pickles for a picnic. Order some oysters and mignonette sauce for a briny starter, then follow up with the miso-rubbed porterhouse. Or opt for an entire burger kit, which comes with patties, buns and condiment for six. Everything is available for curbside pickup, but make sure to order pantry items a day ahead. (SS)

4480 Spring Mountain Rd #100, 702-790-2147,
sparrowandwolflv.com

 

Chengdu Taste 

While Chengdu has only recently reopened its dining room, their takeout game through the lockdown has been magnificent. A social-distanced doorway table arrangement with one-time-use pens and an ample supply of utensils make ordering the valley’s premier Szechuan a breeze. Favorites such as numb-taste wontons are packaged pre-assembled, with the otherworldly, Szechuan peppercorn-laden sauce separated from the steamy dumplings, minimizing sogginess, with most other offerings served in high-quality plastic containers not prone to dumping or seepage. It’s elevated Chinese takeout. (JB)

3950 Schiff Drive,
702-437-7888,
chengutastevegas.com

 

Valley Cheese and Wine

Valley Cheese and WineWorld-renowned cheesemonger Diana Brier took over the hallowed grounds of Henderson’s Valley Cheese and Wine during the pandemic, and continued with a successful curbside pickup program — choose any variety of cheeses, charcuterie, or wines, and have them delivered to your car by a masked and gloved employee. The program continues, though Brier now also offers safe browsing and sampling, enlightening you with the intricacies of her offerings. Trust me, it’s worth it. (JB)

1570 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, #140,
702-341-8191,
valleycheeseandwine.com

 

Carson Kitchen 

When the pando hit and we were all in Netflix detention for a month, I missed Carson Kitchen the most. They’ve since bounced back, hella. Under the new protocols, the usually clamorous dining room is decidedly more subdued (its lively social scene is the highlight of the meta-menu), so I’ve been sticking with curbside. You can usually nab a coveted storefront parking spot if you order in the early evening. My favorites (the stewy oxtail risotto, the hefty Butter Burger, the plump and loamy beets) are served in conscientiously stacked, sticker-sealed boxes, nice touches that say they understand takeout orders are just as deserving of Carson Kitchen’s lauded attention to detail. (AK)

124 S. 6th St.,
702-473-9523,
carsonkitchen.com

 

Tacos & Beer 

Since I’ve been self-diagnosed with sporadic but acute shrimp taco deficiency disorder, Tacos and Beer on Paradise has been my urgent-care clinic. The spacious strip-mall parking lot offers plenty of room to swoop in close and grab your supplies curbside. They haven’t compromised their namesake virtue for take-out customers, either: Twenty bucks gets you 32 ounces of margarita or a growler of any of their 19 draft beers. (AK)

3900 Paradise Road #A, 702-675-7572,
tacosandbeerlv.com

 

Shang Artisan Noodle 

Shang Artisan Noodle

A good noodle is hard to find; a good takeout noodle, even harder. It’s basic science: Water swells the starch granules in the noodles — so after a sweet spot of nice and al dente, it all starts to go to mush. This is why Shang Artisan Noodle’s workaround is a smart one: Order any noodle dish for takeout, and they’ll package your noodles separately. Key to this operation is the choice to have your noodles “cold” or “hot.” Hot means they’re cooked and ready to eat right away, cold means they’re par-cooked: You can either steam them, or pour a kettle of boiling water over them in a colander, as I did, and they’ll be perfectly springy, tender and ready to eat. (SS)

4983 W. Flamingo Road #B, 702-888-3292,
shangartisannoodle.com

 

Esther’s Kitchen 

My occasional weekend comfort ritual of late is carb-bombing my new-normal weltschmerz with pasta and wine until I’m in a state of glaze-eyed dopamine stupor. Esther’s Kitchen is my takeout candyman for that. Personal bests: the lasagna verde, a dense cube layered with spinach, ricotta, and bechamel; the simple spaghetti, a platonic ideal of the classic; the crisp gem salad they usually pack separately to keep cool for the trip home. They can also provide a nice bottle to go from their small set of versatile, pasta-perfect wines. Tip: I usually park at Vesta, walk around the corner, and pick up inside. (AK)

1130 S. Casino Center Blvd. #110, 702-570-7864,
estherslv.com

 

Secret Burger 

Secret Burger is like Schrödinger’s takeout: It is all restaurants, and it is no restaurant. Before the pandemic, it was primarily a way to allow foodies access to special dishes from favorite spots. But after dining rooms shuttered, its primary focus shifted to bringing restaurant experiences into the home, via traditional takeout meals or kits with videos allowing you to create your favorite dishes and cocktails at home. Marc Marrone of Graffiti Bao has guided people though lamb fried rice; Bruce Kalman taught a class in making meatballs; and James Trees of Esther’s Kitchen offered pasta clinics. Straight takeout has included full meals from China Poblano, Sparrow + Wolf, and La Strega. Takeout meals can be a meh substitute for the dining-room experience, but Secret Burger uses it as a way to put diners in the kitchen. (LTR)

secretburger.com

 

Vegenation 

Getting takeout with a pando partner in a different culinary headspace? Say, for instance, you want a stonerlicious comfort burger for the Love Island finale (Team Jaleb, represent!) and your bae’s in more of a dignified salad-and-edifying-documentary mode. Vegenation has split personalities covered. For the stoners: the Mac Daddy burger, a soft cylinder of slacker flavor with mac ‘n’ cheese and collard greens. For the staid and steady: the Torre Washington, a dense, leafy burrito-bowl salad that will fill you up without dragging you down. Daytime curbside is usually a cinch with street parking out front. (AK)

616 E. Carson Ave. #120, 702-366-8515,
vegenationlv.com

 

CraftHaus 

If the bar isn’t an option, then bring the bar home: Local brewery CraftHaus has made it easy to order 6-packs, growlers, and even small kegs of their brews online. If you order by 2 p.m., you can pick it up the same day. To keep things extra-sanitary, CraftHaus isn’t currently doing growler refills, but you’ll get a 20 percent off coupon with every online growler purchase to use for a fill when the taprooms reopen. Cheers! (SS)

197 E. California Ave. #130, 702-888-1026;
7350 Eastgate Road #110, 702-462-5934,
crafthausbrewery.com

 

Cornish Pasty 

Getting takeout is often a low-key race to get it home before it gets cold. Cornish Pasty lets you avoid this unpleasantness by offering their signature pasties par-baked. When you’re ready to eat, follow the directions, and they’ll pop out of your oven golden and steamy. There are dozens of pies, from salmon to Reuben to chicken Tikka, as well as abundant vegetarian and vegan options, from your straight eggplant Parmesan and balsamic portobello to the ultra-meta vegan Royale pasty. (The Royale is a wrapped-in-dough rendition of a Big Mac, so this is a version of a version but, dang, it’s tasty!) (LTR)

10 E. Charleston Blvd.,
702-862-4538,
cornishpastyco.com

 

Good Pie 

Pizza has long been the ultimate takeout meal. Given that Good Pie has always done pizza so very right, it follows they’d handle the technicalities of takeout in troubled times equally well. They were among the first to offer no-contact pickup (few things are as viscerally spirit-lifting as the home-kitchen warmth and garlic-tomato smell of pizza suddenly rising from the cardboard box on the backseat). But Good Pie goes further than just walking a pizza to your car. On Sundays, you can pick up a half-pan of take & bake lasagna or feed your entire family with one of their family dinners, which includes lasagna, pizza, meatballs, and cannoli. Proprietor Vincent Rotolo has also taken to the internet, offering kits and classes in how to make calzones, lasagna and, natch, pizza. With a new space opening soon on Main Street, dining in will become an option at Good Pie, but no doubt the takeout will still be stellar. (LTR)

725 Las Vegas Blvd. S., #140, 702-844-2700, goodpie.com

 

PublicUs 

PublicUsNot gonna lie, early in the shutdown I did a two-month grief stretch of PublicUs weekend brunch delivery, eating familiar favorites such as Brekkie Sandwiches, shakshuka, and salmon toasts like they were stable caloric flagstones levitating above the wailing bullshit reality maelstrom vortex below. Always fresh, perfectly packaged, and *sniiiiff* somehow always redolent of PublicUs’ lightly madcap twee millennial sitcom energy. (AK)

1126 Fremont Street, 702-331-5500, publicuslv.com

 

McMullan’s 

In the stark and unsettling days right after the stay-at-home came down, one of my favored coping mechanisms was a nighttime drive, rolling my aging muscle car down streets that hadn’t been this empty since the day they were paved, singing along to the radio. One of the few possible endpoints for this restless roaming was McMullan’s, where people no longer gathered to share pints or music or trivia or sports, but rather lined up their cars to wait for their food to come out. It was a warming reminder that there were other humans out in the world, wondering and worrying, coming together to scoop up bangers-and-mash or chicken Florentine before disappearing into the night. No matter how “not hungry” I was, something on the diner-sized menu always appealed and, no matter how emotionally and physically drained I was, halfway through a Limerick Cheddar burger, I’d start feeling like I could survive whatever was coming next — and, every now and then, a surprise bonus bread pudding would restore my faith in humanity. With eateries open again, you can now have a pint and plate in the dining room, but it’s good to know McMullan’s is still boxing up its soul-soothing fare to go. (LTR)

4650 W. Tropicana Ave., 702-247-7000, mcmullansirishpub.com

 

Every Grain 

Restaurateur Sheridan Su (Flock & Fowl, Fat Choy) has a new venture that's takeout-focused from the get-go. With items like their braised pork belly rice bowl or their Dan Dan noodles, it’s no more troublesome than keeping the complex flavors inside the bowl. Not so easy when it’s a crispy fried pork chop or Cornish hen, potentially turning soggy every moment it spends lying on their steaming signature mixed rice. Happily, the takeout items are packed in a neat little compartmentalized bento-box/school lunch tray hybrid, perfectly portioned and separated. With this, the Su family has created yet another stellar lunch concept. (MW)

1430 E. Charleston Blvd., eateverygrain.com

 

Sen of Japan 

Succeeding with takeout sushi/sashimi can be somewhat challenging, particularly when it comes to the sophisticated stylings of Sen of Japan co-owner and head sushi chef Shinji Shinchiri. Because while Shinji-san does straight-up naked fish, his forte lies in the delicate sauces and garnishes he uses in his presentations. Akin to the surgical precision on display in his sushi skills, he’s developed a detailed method to deliver an authentic sushi bar feel to your home. His preparations begin disassembled — sauces nestled aside their seafood in small plastic containers and each dish’s ingredients, from the fish itself to accompanying sauce and garnishes, detailed in Sharpie on your takeout container above each serving. Diners simply drizzle the sauce atop the fish in the viewer-participation portion of the meal to complete the experience. Best of all, the ample servings assure you’ll have leftover sauce to elevate other household meals afterwards! (JB)

8480 W. Desert Inn, 702-871-7781, senofjapan.com

 

Tacotarian 

TacotarianIt’s purely by happenstance that Downtown’s Tacotarian is optimally situated for pandemic-friendly pickup — a spacious corner spot on Casino Center and California where you can flip on your hazards for a few minutes hassle-free. But the small perk holds big appeal if the thought of crowded vestibules gives you the coronanoia shivers. The Tacotarians are budding talents at the emerging art of takeout packaging Jenga, and the curbside orders always taste promptly prepared. My go-to is the three-taco platter; the rich mushroom asada is a must, the jackfruit barbacoa an utterly umami indulgence. Jug margaritas, pricey but potent, are on tap for home drinking, too. (AK)

130 S. Casino Center Blvd. #170, 725-251-3853, tacotarianlv.com

 

Naked City Pizza

As of this writing, Chris Palmeri has yet to reopen his Paradise location dining room, so pickup or always-free delivery are the only ways to get his Buffalo-style offerings. His airy, thick-crusted pizzas are what he’s known for and, by adorning his pizza boxes with TSA-style security stickers, you need not be concerned someone is rifling through your pie. COVID has allowed him to display his prowess outside of pizza and wings, such as his recent unveiling of weekend BBQ, which immediately proved itself as some of the valley’s best. (JB)

4608 Paradise Rd., 702-722-2241, nakedcitylv.com

 

Other Mama 

Other Mama remained cautious through the shutdown, closing their doors pre-emptively as local cases spiked even after restaurants were allowed to reopen. Through it, they masterfully honed their takeout skills with daily to-go menus and environmentally friendly packaging for their top-flight, Asian-inspired offerings and sushi. But best of all, GM and co-owner Allen Holmes wanted to differentiate his takeout game by prepackaging their innovative cocktail mixers, such as the addictive, spice-laden Savannah that melds heat and sweet. It makes an authentic Other Mama experience in the comfort of your own home as close as your favorite cocktail glass. (JB)

3655 S. Durango Dr., #6, 702-463-8382 othermamalv.com

 

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