Choosing this year’s standout dishes

Jim Begley focuses on five most memorable bites

Yusho’s addictive garlic-sesame drumsticks.

Cracklin’ Jacks at Sporting Life Bar My favorite dish at my favorite new restaurant? The simply great Cracklin’ Jacks are a play on the nostalgic Cracker Jack, substituting pork rinds for popcorn—a trade up if you ask me—tossed with roasted peanuts and doused in honey-chipotle sauce. Salt, heat and sweet intertwine in a crazily addictive app. 7770 S. Jones Blvd., 702-331-4647.

Pozole Rojo at El Menudazo While the menudo at this weekend-only North Las Vegas nook is exemplary, it’s the rich, short rib-rife pozole that draws me back on Saturday mornings. A hearty breakfast treat, it’s the cure for whatever ails you. 3100 E. Lake Mead Blvd., 702-944-9706.

The <em>pozole</em> at El Menudazo.

The pozole at El Menudazo.

Chicken Drummies at Yusho Chicken wings in a Japanese restaurant? Oh yeah. These miniature drumsticks, decorated with garlic and sesame seeds, are accompanied by a salty red miso paste tinged with funkiness, offering a foil to the chicken’s richness. One order is never enough. Monte Carlo, 702-730-6888.

Escargot and Mushroom Pie at Comme Ça Snails, smoked bacon and trumpet mushrooms are delivered in a latticed rosemary and sea salt crust, finished with a rich foie gras and Madeira sauce that helps the pastry deliver a flurry of umami. As part of chef Brian Howard’s final menu at Comme Ça, it exemplifies the creativity for which he has been heralded. Cosmopolitan, 702-698-7910.

Crispy Foie Gras Dumplings at Stripsteak It’s easy to serve foie gras. Chef Gerald Chin doesn’t do easy. He swaddles his foie in house-made dumplings accompanied by a huckleberry-umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum) sauce, a combination as well-balanced as it is surprisingly subdued. Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7200.

Tags: Dining, Food
Photo of Jim Begley

Jim Begley

Jim Begley is an avid food lover who began writing about his Las Vegas dining adventures to defray his obscene ...

Get more Jim Begley
  • Executive Chef Jainine Jaffer loves creating imaginative off-menu specials like paneer poutine and rooh afsza (rose syrup) tiramisu.

  • Berenjenas is one of the most distinct dishes at the restaurant—breaded golden baby eggplant served with chili-infused honey.

  • If you want to bring in the big-spending Asian clientele, you have to create an elegant experience and serve all the classics.

  • Get More Dining Stories
Top of Story