Angelo Sosa is officially a Las Vegas chef. Though he opened his neighborhood Asian bistro Poppy Den at Tivoli Village one year ago, he only recently became a full-time resident. “I was in New York City for 12 years, and when I came here, I’ll admit I still had that New York mentality,” Sosa says. “In the last three months we’ve really dialed in to what we believe locals want here. We’re not on the Strip, we’re a neighborhood joint. We are making humble food and treating our guests with a lot of respect.”
He’s revamped the Poppy Den menu, not simplifying as much as intensifying his focus on familiar flavors balanced with his modern, informed perspective. “I’ve worked and traveled extensively throughout Asia. Our food needs to be approachable but also tell the story of those travels.”
This week is a great time to get a taste of those authentic flavors. Poppy Den is serving a five-course Chinese New Year meal on January 31 for $48. It starts with sugar snap pea and water chestnut salad in soy-ginger vinaigrette, then aromatic steamed fish with black mushrooms and soy-braised pork belly before the main event—Peking duck, served traditionally with scallion pancakes, pickles and hoisin. “Our duck is one of the best in Las Vegas,” says Sosa, the former Top Chef contestant who returns to TV in March to compete on Iron Chef America. “Everyone understands Peking duck, but hopefully when you taste this it’s a euphoric experience.”
Poppy Den Tivoli Village, 802-2480. Sunday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 4-11 p.m.