Chef Anthony Zappola has only been in town for a couple of years, since he came to Vegas to run Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak at the Mirage, but already he’s struck out on his own with a small neighborhood restaurant. Freshness, simplicity and satisfaction are the hallmarks of the brand new Rice Shop, located in the suddenly thriving Durango strip mall home to Other Mama and Zaytoon.
The mini-menu matches the small space, but these flavors are huge. The mochiko chicken ($9) is worth the trip alone, crunchy, sticky bliss coating big hunks of luscious dark meat. Simply put, this food shames the quickie teriyaki bowls we’ve been eating all these years. Good luck finding one with perfect pork belly ($9) plus honey-mustard kale and sour cream laced with sambal. And the Rice Shop’s shrimp bowl ($10) is actually gumbo, a beautiful broth with black beans and celery plus sharp, briny, pickled chilies and Thai-style aromatic shrimp. Here’s to talented chefs and their new culinary endeavors.
The Rice Shop 3655 S. Durango Drive #9, 702-889-0468. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.