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.
Just recently, the J.W. Marriott and Rampart Casino joined forces with their culinary outlets, giving executive chef Bruce Knapik a big job on his hands. Now he oversees Ceres, J.C. Wooloughan’s Irish Pub, Shizen, 221, The Carmel Room, Rampart Buffet, Waterside Café and Promenade Café. The Vancouver native shares his favorite places to dine in Vegas when he’s not wrapped up at work.
Where do you enjoy eating when you’re not working?
Lotus of Siam
What dishes are most memorable?
At Lotus of Siam, start with the Crispy Mussel Omelet, which is fried crisp with bean sprouts, green onions and spicy sweet sauce. Make sure to eat it while its really hot. The Drunken Noodle Seafood with fresh and dried chilis, Thai basil and wide noodles is a great dish. Any of their curries or the fresh fish they have that day will be great, too. I love the Roasted Duck Curry, a red-based curry with coconut milk, peppers and pineapples. Add a large bottle of Tiger Beer or a cold Riesling and you are set.
At Origin India, try the Lamb Seekh Kebab, a dish featuring ground lamb with spices formed on a skewer and cooked in the tandoor oven with a cucumber sauce. I also like the Chicken Tikka Makhani, a tomato based curry with fenugreek, and the Lamb Rajasthan with spices and baby spinach. The Naan breads are great, too, but we like the wild mushroom with truffle oil. Kingfisher is the beer I like here.
At Shizen, we like the Rock Shrimp crunch, a tempura-batter shrimp in a Asian-chili aioli. It's not on the menu, but ask the server if they have any Hamachi-Kama. It’s yellowtail grilled with sweet Thai chilis and served with ponzu sauce, and is a chef’s secret. The Vegas Roll with chef’s selection of four different fish is fantastic. Sapporo is the beer here.
Why do you enjoy going there?
I really enjoy Asian foods, so when eating out I tend to look to those restaurants first. Being from Vancouver, we have a number of great Asian restaurants there, but it took me a while to find my favorites in Las Vegas. Part of why I love these restaurants is because of the journey we took in finding them.
I continue visiting Lotus of Siam because the food is amazing. Origin India has an intimate atmosphere to go with the great food. With Shizen, while it may seem like I’m pushing my own restaurant, my wife generally picks where we go and has tried a lot of Japanese restaurants in this town. She says Shizen is the best, and who am I to challenge that?
· All Coverage of the J.W. Marriott [~ELV~]
· All Dining Confidentials [~ELV~]
Bruce Knapik [Photo: J.W. Marriott]