BLT Burger’s Juan Zuniga on his surf-and-turf haunts

Photo: Beverly Poppe

One of the more established and inventive burger joints on the Strip, BLT Burger at the Mirage is going on four years this June. Chef de cuisine Juan Zuniga has been manning the grill since its second month, holding things steady and serving up juicy burgers with “every condiment you can think of.” When he’s not in the kitchen, Zuniga likes to mix it up and try different places. For a restaurant to earn a regular visit from this busy chef, it needs to be open late, and serving some satisfying seafood helps, too.

The Oyster Bar at Palace Station (2411 W. Sahara Ave., 367-2411) “One of my co-workers told me I had to go try it, and he was right. It’s a great meal with great service, and it’s open 24 hours. The menu is small, but the pan roast (with shrimp, crab, chicken and Andouille sausage) comes in a really big bowl. It’s definitely enough for two people.”

Hot N Juicy Crawfish (4810 Spring Mountain Road, 891-8899) “I go there at least once every other week, and I’ve tried everything—shrimps, mussels, clams, everything. I haven’t had anything I don’t like. I get the [Hot N Juicy Special] seasoning, which is a combination of everything, get my little bib on and just [get] elbow deep. ... You just have to be ready to get messy. Wear a dark-colored shirt.”

STK (Cosmopolitan, 698-7940) “The steakhouse at the Cosmopolitan is a really fun place, with loud music and more of a younger, hip crowd than most steakhouses. But the food is fantastic. I get the bone-in ribeye and lobster mashed potatoes. Most people are used to a more old-fashioned steakhouse, dark colors, red wine and a big steak on the plate. This is something between a club, a lounge and a restaurant, and it’s open late.”

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