When your people want to eat local Vegas, your recommendations play to our strengths: Japanese, pizza, Thai, that one great Italian joint in your neighborhood. And when they want to go big on the Strip, you remind them that no place does fine French cuisine, spectacular steakhouses or bold burgers better. We need to tack on another category—elite Chinese fine dining destinations. The Strip has six: Wing Lei, Blossom, Jasmine, Mr Chow, and at MGM Grand, Hakkasan and the brand-new China Tang.
The Hong Kong-based Lai Sun Group made its western hemisphere debut in February with China Tang, a vibrant and welcoming restaurant with splashes of European Art Deco, Old Hollywood-ish Shanghai glamour and, of course, Tang Dynasty influence. The energetic design removes any formality or stuffiness while keeping the politely regal service intact.
The cuisine is mostly Cantonese with some regional dabbling in Sichuan and Jing, but everything is familiar. The signature plates are big-baller dishes with tableside presentations—two courses of Beijing-style roasted duck ($138) or baked “hammer chicken” with pork and pickled cabbage ($108)—that should be ordered early to accommodate complicated preparations.
Start with dim sum, particularly the xiao long bao pork soup dumplings and steamed crab dumplings (both $15), memorably savory and delicate morsels. Barbecued pork ($22) and salt-and-pepper squid ($15) are popular appetizers, while an addictive order of wok-tossed chicken with Sichuan peppercorns ($28) is a spicy-crispy masterpiece worth planting in the center of the table and sharing.
If there’s a special, order it. I tried a mindblower of soft tofu, braised seabass and a pork-tomato relish in a chile oil broth—a spicy-sour melange of otheworldly textures, and reminiscent of the ma po tofu ($26). Also consider a plate of Angus beef filet in Cantonese sauce ($32), snow pea leaves in garlic ($20) and pork and shrimp fried rice ($22). Additionally, live lobster and other seasonal seafood can be prepared seven ways and will thrill your party. You can have it any way you want it at China Tang.
CHINA TANG MGM Grand, 702-891-3110. Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight.