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Summer dining issue

Oggie Cornish Pasty

The Oggie at Cornish Pasty

You know what the universal language is? Soup. Also noodles. And sandwich — everyone speaks sandwich. In other words, whether it’s lahm bi ajeen, an oggie, a crêpe or a cachapa — all sandwich-like flavor bombs from various points of the globe — some forms of food are universal. And yet each particular dish is a unique expression of culture, history and geography. That’s the

theme of our 2017 summer dining feature: celebrating diversity through food. Now, cue up “We Are the World” and dive into some delicious global harmony!

Food Held Together with Other Food

Sandwiches and the sandwich-likeAdobada tacos

Sponsor Message

Tacos El Gordo

If you haven’t experienced the, uh, interesting ordering system at Tacos El Gordo, then you haven’t truly lived. One of the valley’s more confusing restaurant arrangements that involves three ordering lines — each specific to meat or dish — means picking the wrong line can be disastrous. Luckily, the best meat lies at the end of the first, and inevitably longest, line: adobada. This marinated rotisserie pork cooked by open flame is crispy, flavorful and tinged with cinnamon — and always worth the wait. JB

3049 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-982-5420; 1724 E. Charleston Blvd., 702-251-8226,


Lahm bi ajeenKhoury’s

Sponsor Message

Lahm bi ajeen is an iconic Lebanese street food, a popular staple of bustling street bazaars from Turkey to Egypt to Jordan, a meal truly engineered for eating on the go. Folded up like a calzone, it’s full of spiced, ground, grass-fed lamb, along with fresh tomato and onion. It’s intended to be eaten while walking, but I won’t blame you if you sit down to properly savor each bite of Khoury’s signature menu item. MW

9340 W. Sahara Ave. #106, 702-671-0005,


The OggieThe Cornish Pasty Co.

Hankering for some rutabaga? Who isn’t? You don’t have to be a miner to fork into “The Oggie” pasty, the mainstay pie at this popular Downtown establishment. Beyond the rutabaga, each crusty beauty is stuffed with hunks of steak, potatoes, and onion. Slather it all with the house red-wine gravy and wash down with a frosty pint of beer. GT 

Sponsor Message

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


GalettesLa Maison de Maggie

Galettes at La Maison de Maggie

Maggie Reb is a stickler for details. And at her westside crêperie, Reb specifically sources the buckwheat flour for her galettes (savory crêpes) directly from France. It’s more than just principle; the nuttiness of the buckwheat flour perfectly complements the quality cheeses and meats that go into each crêpe. That certain je ne sais nom you taste is authenticity. JB

3455 S. Durango Drive #112, 702-823-4455,


Cachapa con quesoViva Las Arepas

The cachapa con queso challenges a cardinal rule of mine: When a restaurant is named after a dish, you absolutely have to order the eponymous dish! And while Viva’s arepas are outstanding, the more obscure Venezuelan cachapa might be my favorite meal on their menu. Essentially a sweet corn pancake disguised as a quesadilla, the cachapa oozes with the mozzarella-like queso de mano, whose richness balances the corn’s sweetness. It’s practically dessert for dinner. JB

1140 S. Rainbow Blvd., 702-822-2116; 1616 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-366-9696,


Pâté baguette sandwichDelices Gourmands French Bakery

Pâté is a curious thing. The accent marks suggest a highbrow delicacy, but it’s really just good old dependable country food. (It is ground meat, after all.) At Delices Gourmands French Bakery, you can get savory slices of the viand with cornichons on some of the finest — and crustiest — baguette in town. Even better, it’s just $7.50 for a substantial baton. GT

3620 W. Sahara Ave., 702-331-2526,


Use Your Noodle

From pasta to pad see-yew

Pad see-yewDavid Wong’s Pan Asian

Pad Thai is a takeout staple. But pad see-yew is better. It’s all about surface area: Because pad see-yew is made with wide rice noodles (versus spaghetti-like pad Thai), they absorb more smoky, caramelized essence during their plunge into the superheated wok — a process David Wong has turned into an art. The result is Asian comfort food at its finest. JB

2980 S. Durango Drive #101, 702-629-7464;


Wild boar pappardelleNora’s Italian Cuisine

Many Las Vegans held the old Nora’s Italian Cuisine close to their hearts for Old Country dining, and the new, larger location is doubly impressive. So is this rich, nearly decadent pasta dish. Fresh ribbons of chewy pappardelle support a deeply porcine Bolognese sauce and await the twirl of tines. You can almost imagine yourself dining high in the verdant Apennine Mountains, not the sere Mojave Desert. GT

5780 W. Flamingo Road, 702-873-8990,


SpaetzleCafé Berlin

Eastern Bloc food is generally hearty to fortify you for harsh winter weather. So it’s no surprise that spaetzle — German pasta — is a meal in itself. Café Berlin’s wavy egg noodles can be ordered plain as a side. But why would you do that when they can be ordered swimming in melted cheese? Gooey with stringy goodness clinging to the bowl’s edge, it’s a delicious mess. JB

4850 W. Sunset Road #105, 702-875-4605,


Kao-Soi (Northern Thai curry noodles)Nittaya’s Secret Kitchen

Let’s leave the familiar land of typical Thai for a memorable bowl of kao-soi at the charming and snug Nittaya’s Secret Kitchen. The dusky dish is influenced by Burmese cuisine, and arrives as substantial slow-cooked pork shoulder in a spicy coconut curry sauce. Crispy egg noodles top off a hearty entrée. GT

2110 N. Rampart Blvd. #110, 702-360-8885,


Dip it Good

You’re gonna need a bigger chip

CevicheMariscos Playa Escondida

Hidden in a strip mall on Charleston and Maryland Parkway, Mariscos Playa Escondida is a splendidly authentic Mexican joint — not a single palabra of inglés on this menu. But words won’t matter anyway when you try their ceviche. Order the mixto (mixed) to get a little sampling of all they offer, including octopus, scallops, crab and shrimp. Acidic with a hint of heat, it’s the essence of the ocean, Baja style. JB

1203 E. Charleston Blvd., 702-906-1124


GuacamoleBonito Michoacan

Apparently, everyone on staff at Bonito can prepare a killer tableside guacamole because no matter who your server is, it’s always perfect. While it’s a simple dish, the clarity and freshness of Bonito’s guac is exceptional. It’s a lesson in the magic that happens when you let the ingredients speak for themselves — in the hands of a well-trained expert. JB

 3715 S. Decatur Blvd., 702-257-6810,


Mtabel Baba GhanoushKhoury’s

Khoury’s mtabel baba ghanoush exudes a rich, satisfying smokiness from the grilled eggplant. Coupled with pita hot from the oven, you’ve got an appetizer hearty enough to order on its own as a meal. JB

9340 W. Sahara Ave. #106, 702-671-0005,


ShakshukaOsi’s Kitchen

Shakshuka at Osi's Kitchen

If you haven’t tried shakshuka, the Israeli-via-North Africa egg-tomato-chili pepper stew, the kosher version at tiny Osi’s Kitchen is a vibrant introduction to the Mediterranean comfort food. Served in a small frying pan, the eggs come soft-poached, the sauce piquant but not fiery. On the side comes multiple bowls of pickled gherkins, carrots, cabbage and a side of puffy pita for sopping up all those savory drops. GT

4604 W. Sahara Ave. #6, 702-826-2727,


Soup's on!

Hot and hearty liquids sure to satisfy

Hot potChubby Cattle

Hot pot at Chubby Cattle

While this bustling Chinatown eatery describes itself as “conveyor-belt hot pot,” rest assured, there’s no factory food to be found at Chubby Cattle. Every hot pot dish starts with a choice of liquids that simmer in personal cooking stations. They come in flavor profiles with playful titles—“Heaven and Hell (Yin-Yang),” “Beautiful Tomato,” “Dragon King,” and “House Hellishly Spicy” — and are built with surprising ingredients that are far from industrial: Think goji berries, dates, angelica root, ginseng, and Tibetan cardamom. They’re nuanced, roiling baths that await your personalized additions, like Canadian geoduck, pork belly, fish balls, slices of Kobe beef, taro root, and wood-ear mushrooms. GT

3400 S. Jones Blvd. #15, 702-868-8808,


Pozole rojoEl Menudazo

El Menuzado

Anyone who tells you there’s no good Mexican food in town likely doesn’t venture into the barrios of East Lake Mead, mining strip malls for hidden gems. Once a weekend-only restaurant, El Menudazo has not only expanded to being open seven days a week, but also into an adjacent tenant space. That’s all the more opportunity to dine upon a hearty, unctuous staple of robust red broth generously stocked with short rib and hominy. Add crema and avocado, and you’ll be eating like a regular. JB

3100 E. Lake Mead #18 702-944-9706,


Udon with eggMarugame Monzo LV

Marugame Monzo LV’s handmade udon bowls might surprise first-
timers. If you order a soft-boiled egg addition, you can opt for a tempura-fried version. It’s sizzled with a light touch and served on the side, leaving just a gossamer coating and a wisp of texture when you plop it into your dashi. GT

3889 Spring Mountain Road, 702-202-1177


Raclette soupLe Cirque

For young chef Wilfried Bergerhausen, growing up in the Cannes region meant winter holidays at the many idyllic resorts nestled in the Alps. Whether at Chamrousse, Orcières-Merlette, or even as far north as the Swiss Eggli-La Videmanette, tradition calls for fondue, particularly using Raclette cheese. In this inventive rendition, Chef Bergerhausen puts dippable vegetables — as confit, purée or pickles — inside the silky, ripe cheese. MW

In the Bellagio, 702-693-8100


Mekong River-style noodle soupDistrict One

Chef Khai Vu came to the U.S. at age 11, and his restaurants District One and Le Pho have brought countless unique dishes to Las Vegas. One in particular, the Mekong River-style noodle soup, typifies deepest South Vietnam cuisine. So deep south that it’s really closer to Cambodian, this soup is almost like a bouillabaisse, with shrimp, pork, and fish balls swimming in super-savory broth heavy with minced Asian aromatics. MW

3400 S. Jones Blvd. #8, 702-413-6868,


Gamjatang (pork backbone soup)TangTangTang

TangTangTang may be known for its seolleongtang, or Korean ox bone soup, but we go for the pork backbone. As you probably guessed, the -tang suffix means soup, and this contender is a worthy challenger to brothy rivals such as Japanese ramen and Vietnamese pho. You have to navigate some tricky bones, but in return, you earn succulent pork bits swathed in a pungent broth sprinkled with anise-scented perilla leaves. And all for just $9.99. MY

6000 Spring Mountain Road, 702-464-5177


Go Team Protein

Meats from snout to tail

Truffled grits & beef grilladesMarché Bacchus French Bistro and Wine Shop

This morning menu extravaganza isn’t anything near an austere espresso-and-croissant Continental breakfast. But then, this is Nevada, not Nice. A selection of beef tenderloin slices nestled on a bed of creamy, truffle-infused grits with Parmesan cheese, mascarpone, poached egg, and red wine sauce, there’s more than a hint of South Carolina Lowcountry and Northern Italian influences in this brunch entrée. Devour it lakeside. GT

2620 Regatta Drive #106, 702-804-8008,


BarbacoaTacos El Rodeo

Barbacoa tacos at El Rodeo

On a stretch of North Decatur in a nondescript strip mall stands Tacos El Rodeo, where the marquee proudly exclaims “Barbacoa Estilo Hidalgo.” That means barbacoa in the style of Hidalgo, a state north of Mexico City. Their barbacoa is lamb cooked among hot rocks in a method akin to a pig roast. Swaddle the rich, cumin- and cinnamon-laced meat in handmade tortillas, garnish it with chopped onion and cilantro, and you, too, can partake of the Hildagoan experience. JB

2115 N. Decatur Blvd., 702-638-1100


Hainan chickenFlock & Fowl

It was a leap of faith that led chef Sheridan Su and his wife Jenny Wong into opening an effort of love in a restaurant centered around a relatively obscure Chinese poached-chicken dish. But crowds have overwhelmed the miniature spot as people flock to an incredibly subtle dish unfamiliar to American palates. The poached chicken is accompanied by a sublime schmaltz-infused rice, layering poultry upon poultry. Pro tip: Order a side of the complex broth to wash it all down. JB

380 W. Sahara Ave., 626-616-6632,


KabobsPro Kabob Persian Cuisine

Pro Kabob showcases an accessible introduction to a rather uncommon Middle Eastern cuisine: Afghani. With their namesake kabobs, your choice of protein (I suggest the beef) is skewered and skillfully grilled, arriving juicy and well-seasoned atop flavorful rice. Get the qalebi palao (the brown rice), sprinkle it all with sour grape powder, and finish the dish with the cilantro-laden chatni gashneez for a fully flavorful trip. JB

3854 W. Sahara Ave., 702-830-9495,


Lamb rogan joshTurmeric: Flavors of India

Turmeric bases most of its menu on Indian classics from both city and coast. But the most interesting are the specialties of the Kashmir region. With its rich, spicy red broth, lamb rogan josh is a dish beloved among Muslim and Hindu alike — proving that a love of spice knows no border. MW

700 E. Fremont Street, 702-906-2700,


Chicken curryParadise Place Jamaican Cuisine

The Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kingston used to serve goat curry because The Colonel knew: Curry is a Jamaican thing, too. The dish arrived with indentured East Indian laborers in 1845, and today East Indians are the largest ethnic minority in Jamaica. Unlike its Indian cousin, Jamaican curry is flavored with native pimenta berries, a.k.a. allspice, infusing it with warm, sweet notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Paradise Place does serve goat, but we can’t resist the stewed-’til-oh-so-tender chicken. MY

7365 W. Sahara Ave. #C, 702-834-8188


Crispy pataMax’s Restaurant

Max’s is a Filipino-cuisine chain restaurant that serves an outstanding crispy pata. Deep-fried trotters (i.e., pig knuckles) with crisped skin exteriors crack open to reveal juicy, fatty pork within. Cut the unctuousness with some strong garlic rice, another Filipino staple that completes this plunge into porky goodness. JB

1290 E. Flamingo Road, 702-433-4554,


CevapiPrince Restaurant

Pronounced cha-vapi, these thumb-sized Balkan sausages are made in-house at this Eastern European bar and social club. Hearty and smoky, the links are layered between the halves of a flaky, piping-hot housemade bun and served with kaymak, a rich butter/cream cheese amalgam. JB

6795 W. Flamingo Road #A, 702-220-8322


Colita de pavoJuarez Border Food

All Mexican restaurants have carnitas, and most have barbacoa. But very few have the regional specialty colita de pavo — turkey tail to you and me. Fried like carnitas, the shredded turkey is crispy and juicy in each bite. Stuff it in a burrito or, if you’re like me, go turkey torta by layering it between grilled bread slices slathered with mayo and guacamole. JB

412 N. Eastern Ave., 702-242-0055,


In the Raw

Sushi and other surprises



Essentially translated as “pressed,” battera is an Osakan style of sushi unlike the typical nigiri found at most sushi bars. At Chabuya, lightly cured mackerel topped with kombu paper is compressed atop sushi rice. The dish is intensely fishy, so it’s not for the faint of heart, but adventurous diners will be rewarded by a blast of umami. JB

3210 S. Decatur Blvd. #104, 702-220-6060,


Special kitfoAbyssinia

Westerners react strangely to raw meat; some who happily eat steak tartare steer clear of similar dishes from other geographies, such as Ethiopian kitfo. And that’s unfortunate, because Abyssinia’s special kitfo couldn’t be more, well, special. A serving of raw, diced beef stirred with spicy mitmita (an Ethiopian spice mix) and niter kibbeh (a clarified butter similar to ghee) is clean and filling. Mixed with mild ayibe (cottage cheese) and gomen (collard greens) on spongy injera makes for a dish that’s uncooked, yes, but very refined. JB

4780 W. Tropicana Ave. #108, 702-220-5304,


“Jewel Box” chirashi

Sushi Hiroyoshi

Sure, sushi and sashimi can be gorgeous, especially at this Japanese culinary gem. But the aptly named “Jewel Box” chirashi is a showpiece of some of the finest fresh fish, pickled vegetables, and seasoned rice served in town. While the chirashi translates to “scattered,” this selection is artfully composed. JB

5900 W. Charleston Blvd. #10 (702) 823-2110,


Fresh from the Ocean

The sea — it’s so full of meat!

Scungili al diavoloThe Blind Pig Pub & Restaurant

Of the many ingredients that Italian cuisine elevates to sublime heights, shellfish is among the most exciting. And that includes scungili, or sea snails. At this brick-lined establishment in the Panorama Towers, mollusk meat is paired in the traditionally fiery al diavolo red sauce for an oceanic delicacy. Enjoy with a glass of white wine and give a toast to “The Boot.” GT

4515 Dean Martin Drive #1, 702-430-4444,


“King Fish”Big Jerk Caribbean

It’s all irie at this new food truck that serves Jamaican recipes. And that means more than just jerk chicken, including the deep-fried “King Fish” cod sided with zippy escovitch, a vinegary condiment of onion, peppers, and carrots. Add traditional starches like rice and peas or plantains for a full island meal. GT

1830 N. Martin Luther King Blvd., 702-427-5267,


Kerala fish curryTurmeric:Flavors of India

For an enticing tropical dish, Turmeric’s Kerala fish curry unites fried sea bream with curry leaf and coconut milk. With a side of with sweet coconut rice, it’s a culinary passport from the neon-tinted East Fremont District to the verdant Western Ghats. GT

700 Fremont St., 702-906-2700,


Golden trout amandineAndre’s Bistro & Bar

The recently opened Andre’s Bistro & Bar is bringing classic French bistro fare to the ’burbs. Among such classics is the golden trout amandine, a filet finished with a brown butter sauce, nutty and slightly sweet. It’s a staple on bistro menus throughout France, but there’s nothing standard about this superbly prepared rendition at Andre’s, at once rich and delicate. JB

6115 S. Fort Apache Road #112, 702-798-7151,


In Which the 'Clever Categories' Premise Is Momentarily Confounded

Don’t put your labels on this food!

Yamaimo somenKyara

Obscure vegetables are the norm in global cuisine. In Japan, there’s yamaimo, a mountain yam not commonly found on valley menus. At Kyara, the tuber is shredded like pasta, julienned and served cold in a sharp dashi broth. Word of warning: Eat this dish quickly or risk the crisp yam devolving into sliminess which, in Japanese cuisine, is not a deterrent, but may challenge American palates. JB

6555 S. Jones Blvd. #20, 434-8856,


Bulgogi quesadillasKoMex Fusion

Some forms of fusion cuisine are a fascinating product of culinary cross-pollination. Korean and Mexican cuisines originally commingled in Los Angeles, where the two communities lived and worked next to each other; in the case of KoMex, the Yi family owned Mexican markets where they mixed Korean ingredients from home with those available at work. Those dishes, such as bulgogi quesadillas and daeji bulgogi tacos, now reflect their lives — and the diversity of our city — on KoMex’s menu. JB

633 N. Decatur Blvd., 702-646-1612; 4155 S. Buffalo Drive, 702-778-5566,


Tortilla SacromonteBazaar Meat by José Andrés

Bazaar Meat is so much more than a steakhouse. It’s a culinary cathedral, showcasing dishes that challenge the palate. A prime example is the tortilla Sacromonte, an homage to the Romani neighborhood in Granada of the same name, which delivers a trio of offal — crispy bits of kidney, sweetbreads and bone marrow — atop an omelet finished with a soft egg. Decadent and daring, this rich dish isn’t for the faint of heart. JB

Inside SLS, 702-761-7610


Spinach pieSultan’s Grill

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you can order the spinach pie at Sultan’s Grill in Summerlin’s Village Center. Blending culinary influences from Greece to Lebanon, the house specialty is golden-baked phyllo dough loaded with ricotta, feta, and spinach. The addition of green onions and fresh dill make it the most fragrant fatayer or savory spanakopita in town. GT

1910 Village Center Circle #7, 702-838-3221,


BanchanKkulmat Kitchen

Chef and owner Sung Hee Choi earned her “National Technical Qualification” in South Korea as a craftsman cook in four cuisines: Chinese, Japanese, Western and Korean. So, it’s no wonder her banchan, lovely little dishes featuring fermented and seasoned vegetables served with every Korean meal, are the best in town. In traditional Korean cuisine, you receive three, five or seven small bowls, but quantity is no matter because the sprouts, leafy vegetables, kimchi, and occasional sliced omelet include bottomless refills. MY

5600 Spring Mountain Road #A, 702-333-4845


Linguini uni tomato creamTrattoria Nakamura-Ya

Wafuu pasta highlights an amalgam of cuisines — a melding of Italian and Japanese dating back to the post-World War II era. It combines Italian pastas and sauces with traditional Japanese ingredients, resulting in some strange-sounding combinations that aren’t so strange when you taste them. Exhibit A: uni (sea urchin) and tomato cream sauce with linguini. The urchin’s brininess provides a foil for a rich tomato cream sauce — an early form of fusion cuisine that will delight modern palates. JB

5040 W. Spring Mountain Road #5, 702-251-0022,


Adjarski khachapuriForte Tapas

After a fateful Diners, Drive-ins and Dives appearance, Nina Manchev’s Forte has evolved from a dark, somewhat seedy space into a brightly lit venue with an expansive retail section. Thankfully, certain menu staples, such as the adjarski khachapuri, have remained constant. The national dish of Georgia is certainly befitting its accolade: canoe-shaped bread layered in a funky, feta-like suluguni cheese that serves as a vessel for an over-easy egg. The gooey combination is a cardiologist’s nightmare, but a diner’s dream. JB

4180 S. Rainbow Blvd. #806, 702-220-3876,


The Dumpling Gag

Wrapping it up in a package of pure flavor

PelmeniCafé Mayakovsky

Adjacent to the remnants of the Liberace Museum is the valley’s only Russian restaurant/nightclub, Café Mayakovsky. Among the hearty, cold-weather dishes meant to warm you during your Siberian countryside jaunts are pelmeni, a miniature meat-filled dumplings akin to ravioli. Finished with a dollop of smetna, a mild sour cream akin to crème fraîche, these tiny packages of flavor are a real treat no matter the weather. JB

1775 E. Tropicana Ave. #30, 702-848-1775,


Numb-taste wontonChengdu Taste

There are many good reasons to visit Chengdu Taste, a mecca of spicy Szechuan fare hidden in a corner of Chinatown, but the most memorable is the numb-taste wontons. Served in a fiery red oil spiked with Szechuan peppercorns, these dumplings seems to get more spicy with each bite, until your lips are tingling and numb. Spice hounds will find the rich flavor and intense sensation strangely compelling. JB

3950 Schiff Drive, 702-437-7888


Chicken blintzesTina’s Gourmet Sausage House

A bastion of all things Eastern European, Tina’s deals in a variety of both dry and prepared goods. Among the latter are some remarkable blintzes, pan-fried and stuffed with ground chicken hinting of dill; a crisped shell enwraps moist, juicy meat in a super-sized version of an eggroll. A limited number are available each day, so order early and often. JB

2101 S. Decatur Blvd. #22, 702-850-8333,


PierogisPierogi Café

It’s surprisingly hard to find good Polish food in the valley. But it’s worth the hunt — even if it takes you somewhere as unlikely as the Fantastic Indoor Swap Meet. That’s where the Pierogi Café serves up wonderful Eastern European dumplings. I recommend the Sweet Cheese, with its hints of vanilla — and be sure to get them pan-fried for texture and smokiness. Made in-house from scratch by a pair of friends from Poland, these pierogis bring a worthy taste of Warsaw to the valley. JB

1717 S. Decatur Blvd., 702-370-3493


Save Room for Dessert!

A sweet ending to a globetrotting meal

Flavor combosGelato Messina

In a sleek Downtown Summerlin space, chill out with a cool cup of upscale gelato at this Australian import emporium. Even better, you can watch staffers create inventive flavor combos like luxurious poached figs in Marsala and snappy pear with rhubarb. It’s July, so you might want to finish your scoops before venturing out into our very own triple-digit Outback. GT

2010 Festival Plaza Drive #130, 702-848-1688,


Saffron rice puddingStandard and Pour Kitchen + Bar

Persian cuisine drew from a culture that spanned the ancient world. This particular dish at Standard & Pour has more contemporary connections: Chef John Courtney uses the recipe of his wife, originally from Iran. This rich, slightly sweet, chilled pudding is flavored with rosewater and several classic spices (including saffron from Iran) and comes with sides of pomegranate, dates, and pistachios. This is a dessert worthy of Cyrus the Great, with ingredients plucked from across his kingdom, from the Nile to the Himalayas. MW

11261 S. Eastern Ave., #200. 702-629-5523,