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 food players to share their recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Serendipity 3 chef de cuisine Michael Wolf. [Photo: Chelsea McManus]
You know Michael Wolf is a little different from other chefs when you hear he joined the staff of Hunan Teaneck, a kosher Chinese restaurant, at age 15. And Wolf, now the chef de cuisine at Serendipity 3 at Caesars Palace, kept the kosher in his cooking, eventually becoming the head chef for Servbrite Foodservices, where he provided kosher meals to Jewish summer camps all over the country. An education at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and Ithaca College’s School of Business, followed by The French Culinary Institute led to stints with chefs Jacques Pepin, Andres Soltner and Alain Sailhac. Eventually he went on to work with Floyd Cardoz at Tabla, Danny Meyer, Lydia Bostianich at Felidia, Tom Valenti at Ouest and Brian Bistrong at The Harrison in New York, and moved on to manage the kitchen and assist with the research and development at Hillstone Restaurant Group’s Gulfstream in Los Angeles. He shares his favorite places to dine after hours in Las Vegas.
“I love to take advantage of all that the Strip has to offer, but some of my favorite meals are the hidden little gems that mostly only locals know about. One of my favorite places to visit on my days off is the Baguette Café. I enjoy going there to relax and fill my belly. It is a bit off the beaten path, but when I walk inside, it reminds me of the time I spent in France. It offers friendly service in a comfortable, quiet café — the perfect escape. The baguettes and ciabatta breads are fresh and crispy on the outside, while still soft on the inside. Homemade croissants and pain au chocolat are always buttery and flakey. I especially enjoy when they bring me a hot latte made from Illy coffee. The latte is served in a huge mug and is topped with the most perfect foam. All the sandwiches are excellent, but I find myself ordering the “Chipotle” over and over again — grilled chicken, avocado mousse, chipotle mayonnaise, crispy bacon and ooey gooey stringy melted Mexican cheese.
“Another one of my favorite “hole in the wall” food stops is the Diamond Bakery in Chinatown. For only $3, I can eat like a king. I always get the same two items — the authentic pork steamed buns and the pastries with red bean for dessert.
“When I’m feeling like big flavorful dishes, I default to authentic Indian food. The Samosa Factory offers exactly that, but served eloquently. Every time I go to Samosa Factory the same person greets me at the door, serves my table and I think even cooks the food. That person is Rick Aco, the owner. When Rick talks to his guests he tells of his experiences in India with Indian Food. He clearly has a love and passion for the cuisine. With a name like Samosa Factory, obviously the samosas are a must-have appetizer. My favorite main dish is the shrimp korma with a side of garlic naan. The naan is made to order in their tandoor. It always comes out crispy and hot. Korma is a sauce of coconut and almond. At Samosa Factory, the flavor is so delicious and it’s consistently perfect every time.”
· All Dining Confidentials [~ELV~]