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Nicole Grimes of Rao's Has a Weakness for Spicy Foods

Sin City is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Las Vegans aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food players to share their recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.

Nicole%20Grimes_500_Horizontal.jpgNicole Grimes of Rao's. [Photo: Rao's]

Chef Nicole Grimes has been part of the Rao’s at Caesars Palace since the day it opened its doors in 2006. Now she’s guiding the Italian eatery with a long history as the chef de cuisine. Grimes grew up in Pittsburgh, raised by her grandmother and Hungarian and Polish dishes. She eventually headed to Le Cordon Bleu for culinary school and landed an externship at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo., before heading to Vegas. She shares her favorite places to hit after work to grab a good bite to eat.

“When I go out to eat I like to relax, no fancy pantsy joints. My favorite places are the little ones tucked away. I try to frequent these three places at least once a month, and once I found what I  like that’s all I order. At Soyo Korean Restaurant, I always get the Korean rice cakes and their sweet corn with cheese. The rice cakes are in this spicy red sauce with veggies and fish cakes. So spicy it makes your eyes water half way through, but I can never stop half way! Then they have this sweet corn, topped with mozzarella cheese. The sweetness of the corn with the creaminess of the cheese?yum. At Raku, we usually get a little bit of everything there. I always get their Agedashi Tofu (made fresh, the broth is so light and the tofu so delicious and crunchy) then I have the Kobe skewers with garlic. The meat is so flavorful and tender it just melts in your mouth. I go to Ping Pang Pong once a month. We get eight to 10 people from our restaurant and go have “family dinner. We do Rao’s style there, order one of everything off the menu and share it all. I love their tofu with minced pork. So spicy, the tofu is so smooth. (I have a weakness for spicy foods) My other favorite is the orange beef. I’ve been to Scarpetta, D.O.C.G. and Il Mulino, all fabulous Italian spots!”

· All Dining Confidentials [~ELV~]


5030 Spring Mountain Road, , NV 89146 (702) 367-3511 Visit Website

D.O.C.G. Enoteca

3708 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-698-7920 Visit Website

Ping Pang Pong

4000 West Flamingo Road, , NV 89103 (702) 247-8136 Visit Website


3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South, , NV 89109 (702) 698-7960 Visit Website

Soyo Korean Barstaurant

7775 S Rainbow Boulevard Suite 105, Las Vegas, NV 89139 702-897–7696 Visit Website


3570 Las Vegas Bvd. S., Las Vegas, NV