Healthy and Hungry in Las Vegas
By: Text by Brock Radke
Superstar chefs may have brought Gotham-level fine dining to Vegas, but the city has a lot more than $5,000 hedonistic hamburgers to offer. Yes, at Hubert Keller's Fleur, a patty of wagyu beef, foie gras, and truffle (served with a bottle of 1995 Chateau Petrus, mind you) will set you back five large. Decadent lures for high rollers aside, Las Vegas can be a surprisingly good eating town no matter how modestly your chips are stacked.
Although locals might refer to it as a collective "Chinatown," Las Vegas' version of this ethnic hub is a rich find indeed. Having rapidly evolved from a single commercial plaza into a vibrant, eclectic, 3-mile strip, it's now the choice local dining drag, hosting a colorful array of sushi and ramen bars, Vietnamese pho parlors, classic Chinese dim sum joints, and Korean barbecue spots. The most adored eatery—and the after-hours haunt of every industry pro and celebrity chef in town—is Raku, an artsy izakaya renowned for precision, presentation, and simple, clean Japanese flavors. The house-made soft tofu (pictured here) in a dazzling dashi broth is a favorite. (raku-grill.com)
Steve Wynn set a new standard when his twin Wynn and Encore resorts became the first on the Strip to introduce an extensive vegan culinary program. A collaboration with Chef Tal Ronnen helped hone vegan menus at each of the resorts' restaurants, which all boast not just an entrée or two, but full vegan offerings from starters to dessert. At Bartolotta, farro risotto is finished with porcini mushrooms and Tuscan kale, and diners cap off their meal with millefoglie, a vegan version of the Italian classic, with layers of pistachio phyllo, Manjari chocolate mousse, and warm amarena cherries. (wynnlasvegas.com)
Downtown Vegas is reborn, anchored by the Fremont East Entertainment District, the hottest bar crawl in the city. Setting the pace is Vanguard Lounge, boasting an award-winning cocktail menu of herb-infused concoctions like the House Corpse Reviver #2, featuring persimmon-infused gin and smoked thyme--infused lemon. This urban lounge also offers boutique beer and wine lists and a patio that serves up a wild, urban people-watching experience in a vintage Vegas setting. (vanguardlv.com)
Bread & Butter does classics like baguettes and croissants with delicious success, but it's the daily specials, like PB&J-filled brioche and lemon egg bread with citrus curd, that marry Chef Chris Herrin's superb technical skills with fun and whimsy. Lighter dishes, such as kale salad with strawberries and apricots, dot the menu, and the bakery's root beer bar, complete with bottles from across the country, make this a spot with something for everyone. (breadandbutterlv.com)