A few of our most memorable meals of 2012

Kabuto is one of the best new restaurants in the country, according to Bon Appétit.
Photo: Beverly Poppe

The wife and I decided to celebrate our anniversary with a trip to one of our favorite Vegas haunts, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (Forum Shops at Caesars, 792-9222). Our server recommended the bone-in ribeye, one of Joe's signature meals. It did not disappoint. Make sure to get this great cut of meat medium-rare, as it guarantees this dry-aged beauty gets better the closer you get to the bone. Plus, it looks fantastic, like something straight outta the Flintstones. And yeah, I went a little caveman on it toward the end, chucking the fork and knife and just gnawing away. When you try it, you won't wonder why. -Ken Miller

Kabuto (5040 Spring Mountain Road, 676-1044) is an experience as much as a meal. The super-minimal setting, the up-close view of the process, the interaction with a knowledgeable chef. But make no mistake, it’s the food I dream about between visits to this Chinatown gem. For a sushi nut like me, it’s raw-fish paradise, a parade of nigiri perfection, flavorful favorites like toro and uni plus tons of stuff I’ve never tasted (or heard of) before. When a restaurant makes you sad at the thought of returning to your reliable neighborhood hangout, you know it’s on a totally different level. -Spencer Patterson

Wolfgang Puck receives the key to the city from Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Spago Las Vegas inside The Forum Shops at Caesars on Tuesday, December 11, 2012.

I was in Detroit, in a strange kitchen, rolling sushi with a half-Japanese surgeon named Alesha with a thing for mustaches and laser discs. Every surface was splattered with rice. Tiny shrimp dumplings steamed on the stovetop, eel broiled in the oven, spam musubi chilled in the fridge, and on the counters and dining table, we piled glistening salmon, chewy octopus, sesame-oiled seaweed and mirin-pickled radish into logs that we cut into perfect little jewels with the dullest knives in all of Michigan. I ate the imperfect ends, the sushi “butts” that out even the most seasoned amateur. Alesha and I had just met, but we talked about fertility, candy addiction, sawing through bones. Before the menfolk returned to feast, the meal was already memorable. -Erin Ryan

My year was full of unforgettable restaurant experiences. I got to take my wife for romantic, delicious dinners at the ultracool L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon and on the fountain-fronting terrace at Bellagio’s Picasso. We hosted best-friend tourists for dinner at Nove Italiano and brunch at Border Grill, and I took my mom for her all-time favorite sushi-fest at Shibuya. I sampled 13 brilliant courses at Restaurant Guy Savoy, and joined Spago’s 20th anniversary dinner with Wolfgang Puck. I tried out tons of new restaurants and re-visited plenty of old favorites. 2012 was my most productive year as an eater-writer, and I’ve got the extra pounds and bylines to prove it. But the meals that stand out from all this culinary adventure are usually consumed quietly, solo lunch missions where I don’t have to take notes or iPhone pictures or even think about what I’m eating. There’s only simple, satisfying food and a endless opportunities to vanish into blissful Vegas contemplation. That happened a lot this year. A bowl of war wonton soup at Beijing Noodle No. 9. A pastrami sandwich at the counter at the Peppermill. A plate of white rice, barbecued pork and duck, and steamed Chinese greens with oyster sauce at Sam Woo. Four tacos adobadas and an icy can of Coke at Tacos el Gordo. That was the best stuff. -Brock Radke

Tags: Dining
Photo of Ken Miller

Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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Photo of Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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Photo of Brock Radke

Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for more than 15 years. He currently covers entertainment, music, nightlife, food ...

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