When Herbs & Rye opened in 2010, owner/barman Nectaly Mendoza was determined to create the quintessential classic cocktail bar in an off-Strip Las Vegas location. That ambitious feat has been accomplished and surpassed. But in its earlier days, the food at Herbs & Rye—a somewhat Italian, inconsistent mish-mash—was greatly overshadowed by those great drinks. Today, the cuisine has evolved into a comfortable complementary role, holding onto popular appetizers and “flatbread” pizzas and adopting steady steaks and sides. If you haven’t shared a meal at Herbs & Rye lately, maybe it’s time to re-experience this colorful spot, now something like a speakeasy chophouse.
The beautiful mess of fried calamari, banana peppers and crispy prosciutto slathered in creamy aioli ($16) is still a favorite starter. I prefer to split a crisp Caesar or iceberg wedge and the hearty bistecca flatbread ($15), topped with bits of grilled flat iron, mushrooms, arugula and truffle vinaigrette.
You could skip the steak, surviving only on indulgent sides like garlicky spinach, jalapeño-laced cream corn or truffled macaroni and cheese (all $7.50). But after you’ve been romanced by numerous Brown Derbys or Lion’s Tails—is there another bar where your drink comes out so perfect every time?—it’s hard to resist a bone-in Kansas City strip, staring you down. Try to order during one of two happy hours, when it’s $16 instead of $32.
Herbs & Rye 3713 W. Sahara Ave., 982-8036. Sunday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5 p.m.-3 a.m.