Serving Northern-style Thai food in a Sin City strip mall, Lotus of Siam has been nominated twice for a James Beard Award and has been called by more than one critic the best Thai restaurant in America. Chef/owner Saipin Chutima began her career at the age of five under her grandmother’s tutelage and cooks such inspired cuisine today as charbroiled prawns in tamarind sauce and kao soi-braised short ribs.
A Pacific Northwestern landmark, open since 1950, serving fresh, seasonal dishes that are more polished than cutting edge, in a rustic-modern space whose use of native wood and stone evokes forests and streams. The Dungeness crab cakes and Wagyu steak tartare are definitive, and the grilled king salmon is about as good as it get.
Taking its inspiration from Northern Italy's Friuli region, but using locally-sourced ingredients, including organic meats, Frasca proposes a menu ranging from imported and domestic salumi to unusual zlikrofi pasta (stuffed with musetto sausage) to beef short ribs two ways. Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, the co-owners, are currently producing their own Friulian wine — but the wine list in general is superb.
Since Serious Eats founder and pizza maven Ed Levine named the pie at Pizzeria Bianco the best pizza in America (a judgment he recently repeated in Every Day with Rachael Ray), this desert classic has become a go-to destination for pizza fanatics. But Bronx-born owner Chris Bianco serves not only addictive thin crust pizzas, but also fantastic antipasto (involving wood oven-roasted vegetables), perfect salads, and homemade country bread. (Reservations are accepted only for six or more, so be prepared to wait.)
At the top of his profession in Paris, with a well-deserved three Michelin stars, Savoy has translated the best in contemporary ingredient-based French cooking to the world’s most famous gambling mecca without missing a beat. The artichoke and black truffle soup, John Dory in seaweed butter, roasted duck with turnips, and other such extravagances will remind you why French chefs got so famous in the first place.
The cooking is simply exquisite in this opulently furnished dining room in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. As the first restaurant opened in America by the famed, award-winning Robuchon, commonly considered the greatest of modern French chefs, it maintains the highest standards, from its superb service and impressive (and impressively pricey) wine list to such finely crafted dishes as truffled langoustine ravioli and guinea hen with roasted foie gras and braised potatoes. The 16-course tasting menu is a truly memorable experience—as well it ought to be at $385 a head, wine not included.
Located just outside of Seattle in a converted garage, The Herbfarm offers a seasonally-inspired dining experience that celebrates the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Each unique, nine-course meal features the freshest ingredients from forest, farm, and sea, and is paired with five or six wines; the themed menus change with the season about every two weeks.
Under the direction of James Beard-nominated chef Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon lures diners return to its communal tables for hearty, imaginative, locally-sourced entrées (chicken with spaetzle, blue cheese, and walnuts) and such standing-ovation-worthy desserts as honey, bacon, and apricot cornbread with maple ice cream and foie gras profiteroles. If it's a slaw-slathered burger you crave, get there early because Rucker serves up precisely five per night.
Much of the charm at Beast, apart from that provided by the wide-ranging modern American menu (need we add that it's local and sustainable in nature?), comes from the intimate atmosphere. Chef-owner Naoimi Pomeroy accepts just enough reservations for two seatings on each day, plus an extra seating for Sunday brunch. Guests dine at a pair of communal tables, where they are served the prix fixe menu of the day (no exceptions). Those who are lucky enough to snag a seat at the tables are sure to be treated like family.