Food

Choosing this year’s standout dishes

Jim Begley focuses on five most memorable bites

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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.

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Jim Begley

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

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  • Tender wrappers, each plumped up to the size of a playing card, swaddle a juicy pork/vegetable blend worthy of being trumpeted on the marquee.

  • La Monja will be a Mexican-style raw bar, while Hatsumi will offer a more elegant experience, focused on traditional robata and irori grilling.

  • Head to the bar for executive chef Mark Andelbradt’s counter-only menu and prepare for a range of explosive flavors.

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