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[Chef Talk]

Chef Michael Chen is all about the late night nosh

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Chef Michael Chen has been in the kitchen at Yellowtail since the Bellagio sushi hot spot first opened.
Photo: Steve Marcus

Chef Michael Chen has been working in Las Vegas for 11 years, so he considers it his city. But like any hungry local, he acknowledges that our 24-hour dining options could be better. “If you need something to eat at 4:30 in the morning when you’re hungover and trying to clean off whatever vomit you have on your dress shirt, you can get it. But I want something with more quality.” His favorite after-hours eats include Fukuburger and Goyemon for sushi. But sometimes Chen gives in to the siren’s call of fast food, too.

Guilty Pleasure: Jack in the Box “You know, depending on the earlier festivities of the night, if you’re going to go to Jack in the Box on the way home. The Sourdough Jack is my favorite.”

Best Taco Stop: Tacos El Gordo “If you’ve eaten there, you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, you’re missing out. I’m selective about what I eat from where. I do Fuku for burgers and Tacos El Gordo for tacos and that’s it, I’m done.”

Home cooking: breakfast “I have a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old, and I like to make them waffles, pancakes, stuff like that, really simple things. Cooking to me is all about making somebody happy.”

All-time favorite meal: Grandma’s red roast “I grew up eating it, my grandma’s Chinese red roast stew. You pretty much chop up an entire animal—if you want to clean it up a little that’s fine, but we don’t do it like that—and it goes in a pot with a number of spices, and let it go for like 86 hours until everything is falling off the bone. It’s just sitting there in the broth and it’s so gelatinous, like a pot of pork Jell-O. It’s a slice of heaven.”

Tags: Dining
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Brock Radke is Las Vegas Weekly's food editor and author of the Strip-focused column The Incidental Tourist. He has written ...

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