From its 40 cozy seats to the giant mural to the rolling gin-and-tonic cart, EDO Gastro Tapas & Wine is a jewel box designed to make you fall in love with it the moment you enter. It arrived at the western end of Spring Mountain in midsummer, and announced its serious intentions from the get-go. Things may look unassuming from the front, but there’s quite a pedigree behind that door. Chef/owner Oscar Edo is a Strip veteran, as is partner Roberto Liendo. Between them, they have a strong sense of the food and service a place like this needs to appeal to gastronauts who demand the new over the tried and true. And while the whole small plates/tapas trend may seem like old hat, they freshen the genre by blending the traditional with more than just a wink and a nod to their Asian surroundings.
When it comes to choosing those tapas, just pick and point. Chunky Maine lobster comes salpicón-style — dressed with “tiger’s milk” — which lightens the richness of the crustacean, while croquetas get that Asian spin with kimchi pisto. After those, the hits just keep on coming: pulpo viajero (octopus with tamarind mole), buñelos de bacalao (salt cod fritters with squid ink and lime), and something called “Bikini” — a wafer-thin, crispy compression of sobrasada and Mahon cheese — which might be the last word in tiny toast. You really can’t go wrong with any of the plates here; some are just more spectacular than others. One of the more eye-popping ones is huevos estrellados, a riff on a Spanish staple — assembling olive-oil fried eggs, piquillo peppers, and a mélange of mushrooms atop fried potatoes. The menu is nicely balanced between meat and seafood offerings, and the paella is worth a trip all by itself.
By Las Vegas Strip standards, these three gems may seem like small fry, but what they represent for the future of our neighborhoods is a very big deal. Cooking this good, with serious cocktail and wine intentions, was unheard of five years ago outside of Strip hotels. By opening their doors, these operators announced that Italy, France and Spain — the gastronomic capitals of the Western world — have arrived in our backyard. Eating out in local Las Vegas will never be the same, and we have these three to thank.