This had to happen. Ricardo Guerrero, the offbeat culinary professional, and the Bunkhouse Saloon, the offbeat Downtown venue, were bound to hook up, even if took this long.
Guerrero founded one of Las Vegas’s best-known food trucks, Slidin’ Thru, nearly a decade ago. (Full disclosure: Guerrero and I used to work together in the technology field.) When he talks, he talks a lot. So when I ask him about Gaucho’s Sacred Flavors, the new Bunkhouse eatery recently opened by Guerrero and business partner Gerardo Avalos, Guerrero lets loose: “My homey [Avalos] and I bonded over this spiritual experience. The zest for life. We really love this rustic, wood-fired cooking. We’re really into this primal, ancestral experience. We’re really good at making people catch a vibe.”
Notice how the word “experience” get repeated. Beyond choosing clean proteins and fresh vegetables, Guerrero wants—and needs—to make the canteen a destination for patrons beyond regular Bunkhouse concertgoers. He envisions an outdoor dining space—using descriptions like “boho” and “western chic”—where diners can enjoy plates of New York strip steak and Argentinian chorizo over cotija-lime salads accompanied by black beans and avocado. And he’s onto something. This is good, clean eating. I keep thinking about Guerrero’s crispy smashed sweet tater—a fried sweet potato with goat cheese and hot honey.
Citing open-fire Patagonian master chef Francis Mallman as an influence—“He’s the OG gaucho”—Guerrero and his team have plans for their own wood-fired style dinners. “At night, we have the opportunity to do communal dinners under the stars,” Guerrero says. “When I look back at the moments I feel the most grateful, you’re surrounded by all your best friends, awesome music and really good food.”
GAUCHO'S SACRED FLAVORS Bunkhouse Saloon, 124 S. 11th St., gauchoslv.com. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.