Where All Those Famous Las Vegas Chefs Eat on Their Night Off (Slideshow)
April 22, 2016
Who wants to cook on their night off? We explore 9 restaurants where Vegas chefs are known to dine
Apparently Las Vegas chefs often get down with Japanese food, because chef Mitsuo Endo’s Aburiya Raku is a favorite of many. Count ubiquitous celebrity chef Mario Batali among the fans of the robata cuisine (which in Japanese means “fireside cuisine” — although I wish it meant “cooked by robots”) and has called Raku the best restaurant off the Strip. Paul Bartolotta cites the ever-growing menu (mostly containing small plates like kobe beef filet skewers, enoki mushroom wrapped with bacon, and steamed foie gras egg custard) as an aspect that lures him in. Guy Savoy likes that it’s open until 3 a.m., an opinion likely shared by countless Vegas night owls. The name means “Charcoal Grill House Enjoyment,” and according to the local chefs, that last word is quite fitting.
Honey Pig BBQ
Despite its shopping plaza location, Honey Pig BBQ offers a high-quality dining experience. Just ask Rick Moonen (of Rx Boiler Room), who claims the restaurant serves some of the best Korean barbecue in town. Unlike a lot of Korean BBQ joints, the staff here does most of the grilling for you, so order up your kimchi, pork belly, and octopi, and don’t worry too much about the prep. The mackerel here can’t be missed either, according to Moonen, who says he craves it. Obviously the guy knows his seafood; after all, he’s the “RM” in RM Seafood.
If you’re somehow still hungry after Aburiya Raku, the same strip mall also contains Kabuto Edomae Sushi (and Monta Japanese Noodle House), where you can often find chef Scott Conant (of Scarpetta). Chef Gen Mizoguchi sets himself apart from other sushi joints by not including maki or pressed sushi in any of his Edomae-style dishes — all of which are prepared right before your very eyes. As for Conant, he has raved about everything from the wakaremi (which Mizoguchi calls “tuna tenderloin”) to the rice. He claims sushi of this quality would cost six times as much in New York City. You might know Kabuto from its appearance on our best restaurants in Las Vegas list.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
As if you needed another reason to dine at the Vegas branch of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (the success of the Paris branch and other locations, the fact that it’s the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the city, our ranking of it as the sixth best restaurant in America for 2016…), it’s also the place chefs unanimously flock to. Paul Bartolotta loves the jambon Belloto, Julian Serrano (of Julian Serrano Tapas and Picasso) loves the 16-course Menu Dégustation, Alessandro Stratta (formerly of Tapas by Alex Stratta, now Prado at the Omni Hotel) loves everything. Plus, how could you go wrong with Joël Robuchon? The guy has so many Michelin stars (28 and counting) that they probably give him one when he cooks his eggs every morning.
Pho So 1
Just down the street from Aburiya Raku and Kabuto (and in the same complex as Honey Pig) is another chef favorite, Vietnamese noodle house Pho So 1. Alessandro Stratta loves the chicken and noodle pho so much that he’s been known to eat at PS1 five days a week for lunch, and sometimes twice in one day. Try the egg rolls, try the chin nam ve von (brisket and flank steak), try everything — and with off-Strip prices, you won’t break the bank in doing so!
Restaurant Guy Savoy
See? The love really does come full circle in Vegas. As Guy Savoy praised Aburiya Raku, he in turn receives praise from other famous chefs, like Joël Robuchon and Daniel Boulud. Boulud is a sucker for Restaurant Guy Savoy’s iconic artichoke and black truffle soup, and probably anything else on the black truffle menu (yes, that’s a thing), as he’s called the joint one of the finest restaurants in Vegas. Of course, one couldn’t go wrong ordering the poached wild Atlantic turbot with fennel and sea urchin, veal three ways, or crispy duck breast either. And, in case you missed it, we ranked Restaurant Guy Savoy as the seventh best restaurant in America for 2016.
Sen of Japan
By now you’ve probably realized chefs really love Asian food. I don’t have a follow-up to that; it’s just one of those “go figure” things. Anyway, here’s another: Sen of Japan, located way off the strip in Summerlin. If a Michelin recommendation doesn’t immediately hook you, maybe an endorsement by Matthew Silverman (formerly of Vintner Grill) will. He would often dine at Sen of Japan on his nights off, and is apparently a big fan of the wild white king salmon with jalapeño salsa. Other notable dishes include sautéed diver scallops with chile ginger garlic sauce, black cod soy (with optional foie gras), and pretty much any of the sushi and sashimi.
Déjà vu. The former chef at Vintner Grill used to dine at Sen of Japan, and now the current chef of Julian Serrano Tapas and Picasso (Julian Serrano, popping up again) dines here. And Serrano doesn’t just like it, he considers it the best off-Strip restaurant — citing the charcuterie and roasted chicken (with truffle honey-mustard glaze, capunti pasta “mac and cheese,” and broccolini) as favorite dishes. If it was us, we’d probably go with the braised lamb bolognese or falafel burger with shaved cucumbers and pea sprouts.