I know the whole catfish looks like a big undertaking, but the BBQ version is light and perfect summer food to me.
If your DH loves the cumin lamb, he might like the Dongbei restaurants in Flushing that feature Muslim Lamb. I went through a phase where I was exploring this cuisine a lot, but haven't in a couple of years. Their fried fish is great, too.
If the family is interested in a fascinating excursion in Queens, or just want to get ideas, check out Joe here: http://chopsticksandmarrow.com/
Thanks for a great report. I'm headed to LV this week, for the national bridge tournament. I'm severely limited by logistical constraints, but hope to get some good meals in. A few comments:
I've heard the go-to dishes at the Nomad Bar are the burger and the hot dog, although maybe not the best option if you want to stay awake for your show!
LOS: I love catfish, and the whole BBQ catfish is one of my favorites at Lotus, but I agree that it isn't the best protein for larb. I've tried so many proteins, and still never found any variation I've liked better than pork.
Chengdu: "Unfortunately," I went with a group of only three, and we had the same fish and cumin lamb as you. We also took more food home than we consumed. As prosaic as it is, the ma po tofu is terrific here, as are the Sichuan potatoes, which I fantasize as home fries in Sichuan. I also love simple dishes like the cabbage with spicy chili pepper and cold cucumbers.
Thanks to all who recommended Chengdu Taste. It is now our favorite restaurant (so far). This last trip we had the “boiled fish with green peppers.” The tender fish was perfectly poached in a very flavorful broth (guessing it is some combination of chicken stock with maybe pork feet, but that is just a guess), what appeared to be sliced serranos and Thai bird chilis, and copious quantities of Sichuan peppercorns. This was the spiciest of our dishes, but more due to the mala of the peppercorns. The dish also included bean spouts and thinly sliced cucumbers. This was a huge dish. We ate all we could at the time, and still had 1.5 takeout containers to bring home. It reheated much better than I expected. I just removed the fish and veggies, brought the fragrant broth to a boil, and then added the fish over the lowest heat, and when that was hot, added the veggies and let it sit off heat for a bit. The leftovers of this dish alone provided dinner the next night for both us us, plus a lunch for me. There must have been at least 1.5 lb of fish in the dish. I think this is the single best dish we have had during our time in Las Vegas. We also could not resist the cumin lamb and dry fried green beans. All dishes 10 out of 10. As others have said, the flavors are very balanced, and while the dishes are somewhat rich, they are not at all oily. No atmosphere, and service is typical of Chinese restaurants, but one comes for the food.
What else should we not miss from Chengdu Taste? I don’t think I can ever pass up that fish, but I might be able to trade something for the lamb and green beans.
Had a very nice dinner last night at Pizzeria Monzu. Nice atmosphere and great service. Started with the squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta. Delicious combination of crispy exterior with warm creamy savory ricotta filling. Had the “small” antipasto salad. This was enormous, perfectly dressed fresh greens, with lots of tasty bits (ham, salami, olives, roasted peppers, chick peas, etc.). We then had the margarita pizza. The sauce was really good, and the pizza was not over sauced. The crust is delicious, so light, but it is quite a bit thicker than I expected. Probably the best thick crust pizza we have had, but our personal preference is for thin crust.
Lotus of Siam. Another wonderful dinner. Our guest is Mr. Tendermouth, so we had to order everything pretty mild. But the dishes were nevertheless still tasty umami bombs. We started with the fabulous crispy rice with sour sausage. The rice was so crispy, and this was just delicious. The drunken noodles with sea bass was also amazing. This dish is in a tie for second best dish we have had during our time in Las Vegas. The fish was perfectly cooked, and so tasty with the noodles. We also had the famous garlic shrimp. This is the first time I have eaten shrimp shells, and they were in fact good. The shrimp were tasty, but coming from a locale where we get fresh (never frozen) shrimp off the boats we can see from the beach, I have come to realize it may be best for us not to order shrimp in the desert. Some of the shells come off the shrimp in the frying process, and this means that the naked shrimp can be a little over cooked, in my opinion. We also had the catfish larb. The flavors were delicious, but I learned that I prefer the texture of pork or some type of meat rather than catfish in larb. Cocktails were very good.
Before a show at the Park MGM, we had drinks and appetizers at Nomad bar. As others have noted, the service starts out well, and deteriorates as the place gets crowded. They are understaffed for peak times. That said, the cocktails are very good, complex craft cocktails. The food was better than I expected. We had the hamachi ceviche (delicious), salmon rilletes (very light and delicious), and chicken liver mousse (served stone cold and with an overly salty topping, but very tasty once we scraped that off and it warmed up a bit). Interesting people watching, too.
Before a show at the Wynn, we had dinner at Wazuzu, and drinks at Parasol down. Unlike our prior experience, dinner at Wazuzu was a disaster. We had two chef specials. The lobster curry had badly over cooked lobster that had been battered and fried and left to sit in a pool of weak curry sauce. It was inedible. We also had the surf and turf fried rice that was supposed to have waygu beef and shrimp. We ate about 1/4 of it because we were hungry, and found four pieces of meat the size of a die, and two over cooked shrimp. To boot, both dishes had been sitting out for quite awhile before they were served, and were brought to us lukewarm. We are not the kind of people who complain or send things back, but we kicked ourselves for not doing so in this case. Upon leaving we asked for the manager who was “in a meeting”, and so we got her card. I followed up with an email and received a nice response. Mostly I just want the situation corrected so that no one else has their evening ruined. But I am hoping they will comp us drinks at Parasol Down. Love their cocktails, and it is amazing people watching!
Hope this is helpful to others!
Looking forward to brunch at Brassiere Bardot next weekend. Any dishes not to miss?
Great point. Will try hard to get to Monzu. It’s much closer to us than Pizza Rock, anyway. This is Steve Drucker who used to write in ATL? Thats a heck of a recommendation! I sure do miss his writing about the ATL ethnic restaurants.
Hope you like Tina’s.
I have not been to Pizza Rock. I confess to a little skepticism whether one place can serve so many styles of pizza -- personally, I've never had great pizza at such a place. Esteemed OG Chowhound Steve Drucker hosted a large private party at Monzu, and raved about the quality of the food and the professionalism of Chef Chris -- he had a feast, with only one course pizza.
Tina's sounds like a great find. Can't wait to go there!
Not TL at all! Thanks for the trip report, especially because some of your reviews were about restaurants I'm unfamiliar with.
What is thin crust Chicago-style pizza? I've had thin crust in Chicago, but didn't know there was a particular style there.
Is Tina's really 100% sausage? Do you know if they make all their sausages there?
I don't know how far south you are, but you might want to consider a trip to Pizzeria Monzu, which, despite its title, offers a lot more than [delicious] pizza. I knew from my first bite of a simple salad that this is a place that cares about quality. http://monzulv.com/index.html
Warning: TL; DR
Thanks to all the hounds who have been so kind in helping us figure out where to eat. We are fortunate enough to be able to spend a couple of months in Las Vegas. We are hampered by DH’s dietary restrictions, low protein and low sodium. This means we can have maybe one or at most two “splurge” restaurant meals a week. So every meal out is a precious experience, and we don’t want to waste a single one.
We are staying in SW Vegas, and only venture to the strip restaurants when we are going to a show, so that is also affecting our restaurant choices.
First stop was Chengdu Taste in Chinatown. Wontons in chili oil, cumin (toothpick) lamb, and dry fried green beans with a bit of pork. Eyes rolling to back of head deliciousness. Enough for another meal. If only they had cocktails..... I can not recommend this highly enough.
Jaleo at the Cosmopolitan before a show. Our server was fabulous. One of the best servers we have had in terms of guiding us, given our tastes. We started with the jamon iberico de bellota cinco jotas. This came with a half order of pan con tomate, so it was perfect for two. Melt in your mouth deliciousness. Absolutely worth the splurge. Throwing sodium concerns to the wind, we had the olives, stuffed and Ferran Adria’s way. These were fabulous, and even DH who eyes olives with great skepticism, loved them. I was torn between the green salad and the Russian salad. The green salad with the romesco and fried capers has gotten a lot of good press, but the Russian salad looked very good as well, and more unusual. The server told us that the green salad was less likely to be sent back (!), so we went with his suggestion. A green salad sounds boring, but this was not. Deliciousness again. We ended with the garlic shrimp. They were very nice, but at our primary residence we can get fresh, not frozen, shrimp straight off the boats that are shrimping within visible distance from the shore. Given what is available to us at home, the shrimp were just ok. DH had the signature Hendricks gin and tonics, and loved them. I loved the alcino cocktail. So all round, great service, great cocktails, and very good food. All at prices that are pretty reasonable for the strip.
Wazuzu at the Encore before a show. We had the roti panang, Cantonese BBQ plate (ribs, char siu, and duck), and nasi goreng. Good cocktails, but I cannot recall what they were. It was all very delicious, at least to our taste, and we had half to take home for another meal. A little pricey for what it was, but it’s the strip. And we could get in early before the show. Followed by wonderful cocktails at Parasol Down. Fabulous people watching, too. I could learn to live like this.....
Last night we had a show at Treasure Island, and we had dinner at Sushisamba. Given the mixed reviews, I was nervous, but we had an excellent meal. Thanks to Mr. Feldman for suggesting that the fusion dishes may be better than the sushi itself. It helped that we were there from 4-6 pm, and I can see that it could get unbearably loud and crowded later in the evening. Our server was fabulous, and very helpful. The caipirinha was delicious, not too sweet, and strong. (Unfortunately, their take on a pisco sour was waaaay sweet for our taste, and did not complement the food at all). Since I had read that they can rush you, we ordered one dish at a time, and the server quickly got that idea. We started with the crispy scallop in a lettuce cup. Three bites, even though it seemed to be only a half scallop. Party in your mouth. This was my second favorite dish of the night. Next up was the crispy yellowtail taquitos. Tiny tacos, but filled with a ceviche like mixture of yellowtail. DH complained that he would like them better if they were three times the size. LOL. We then had the yellowtail Tiradito with lemongrass and jalapeño. Four sashimi like slices of yellowtail on a delicious sauce. Next we had the sea bass miso anticuchos. Our server suggested getting 1.5 orders so we could each have a skewer. If I had known we could get 1.5 orders, we may have done that with the Tiraditos, which came with four slices of fish, and there were three of us. Anyway, the sea bass was beyond amazing. A bit sweet for my taste, but I have never had a better fin fish dish. So tender and perfectly cooked. Then we splurged on the hot stone waygu. The 5 Oz portion came with I think 10 slices of waygu, and small dishes of various salts, oils, and sauces. The server showed us how to oil the stone, and the best way to use the salts, oils, and sauces. I like my beef rare, and less than ten seconds per side was just right, OMG, this is perhaps the best thing I have ever eaten in my life. DH’s eyes rolled back in his head, and he said that this is the best piece of meat he has ever eaten. It was way expensive, of course, but we knew that going in, and given that we had literally not had steak in years, it was an amazing experience and so worth the splurge. We have another show in the area in a few weeks, and we will return for the hot stone waygu. I can see that the restaurant could be a zoo, and not worth it later in the evening, but for a very early dinner, it was fine.
Went to a show at the MGM Park, and had dinner at La La Noodle. The spicy cucumber salad was delicious. The lobster “dumplings” were more like fried lobster hush puppies. They were ok, but certainly not what I consider to be dumplings. We had gone for the Sichuan pork hand pulled noodles, but they are no longer on the menu. So we had something else, which was forgettable. Cocktails were weak, and service was rushed though they were not busy. I would not return. We had cocktails at NoMad bar. The server talked me into a drink I would not normally order, but it was very very good. We have another show at this venue, and we will have snacks and cocktails at NoMad rather than going to one of their restaurants,
Now for some thoughts about smaller restaurants in the SW part of Las Vegas. We had a very nice meal at Goong, which is a Korean BBQ place. DH had dolsot bibimbap (hot stone bowl). I had the spicy BBQ pork. The servers cooked the pork for us, and there were about 8-10 panchan, all very fresh and tasty. Again, enough for another meal. No doubt the Korean BBQ places in Chinatown are better, but this was as good as we can get within 150 miles of home,
Zabb Thai Spice Kitchen. A small family run place, with limited seating. We got takeout. Crispy rice and sausage (not much sausage), Laos papaya salad (less sweet and more funky than Thai papaya salad, so so good!), red chicken curry, and spicy basil pork. You won’t confuse this with LoS, but for a local place, it was very very good. Much better than we can get within 150 miles of home. The sweet guy taking the order asked what we liked, and how we liked it prepared. I asked for no added sugar, and while the basil pork was a tad sweeter than I prefer, it was all much better than we had any right to expect in the SW boonies. Enough for two dinners and a couple breakfasts for me. Inexpensive.
We got takeout dips and baklava from Great Greek. I normally make my own hummus, tzaziki, etc., and this was as good, if not better, than my own. Not cheap for what it was, but very fresh and delicious.
We also enjoyed las pupusas near Town Square. It is tiny hole in the wall, but freshly made pupusas, fresh curtido, and very tasty homemade hot sauce.
Amore: A taste of Chicago, the servers were great, but we learned that Chicago style “thin crust” pizza is not our thing.
If one has access to a kitchen, you cannot beat Tina’s Gourmet Sausage house. We got Portuguese sausage to make caldo verde, and Andouille for jambalaya. Both were among the best i have ever had, and I typically mail order Andouille from LA. The folks working there are so friendly, and give you too many samples! I can not recommend this highly enough.
Now if only I can persuade DH to sell up back east, and move to Vegas, all will be well, except that we will both weigh 200 lb!
Hope this long report helps someone, as I have benefitted from CH over the years.
45 minutes? You'll be fine. The biggest issue is noodles. If you let them know your "problem," LOS is kind enough to deconstruct dishes such as khao soi that won't work if taken out with noodles in the sauce. The egg noodles get gloppy and the crispy noodles on top get soggy.
I have ferried LOS food to Los Angeles by car and to NYC by plane but haven't tried carrying stuff ON the plane.