Dining

Cafe Cortez and a matzo ball smackdown

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What is a matzo ball? A sponge. A brilliant, flavor-sucking sponge.
Photo: Beverly Poppe

So I was chatting with Downtown wunderkind Alex Epstein, and she laid down quite the challenge. She said the El Cortez’s classic, modest coffee shop serves the best matzo ball soup in town, even better than my beloved Bagel Cafe. Bold words, lady. I’ve had plenty of solid lunches at Cafe Cortez—I love the southwest burger, served open faced and topped with a heaping scoop of chili—but never this.

Restaurant Guide

At El Cortez, 600 E. Fremont St., 385-5200.
24/7.
Cafe Cortez

It’s a close call. The hearty Bagel Cafe version has noodles and quite a bit more chunky vegetables and juicy shards of chicken. But oy baby, the Cortez’s ball is melt-in-your-mouth perfect, a delicate flavor sponge soaking up all this savory, golden broth. Maybe it doesn’t have extra stuff because it doesn’t need extra stuff. That’s kinda the El Cortez way, no?

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Brock is an award-winning writer and reporter who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently ...

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