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.
Rupert King [Photo: Minus5 Ice Bar]
Rupert King hails from Burlington, Vt., so the frigid 23-degree temperatures inside Minus5 Ice Bar at the Monte Carlo are downright balmy for him. The general manager of the coolest spot on the Strip headed to the heat of the desert the moment he turned legal, becoming a flair bartender at Kahunaville, Fitzgeralds and the Red Room Saloon. Then a friend started working at Minus5, King followed and now he runs the joint. King was good enough to not only tell Eater Vegas where he likes to dine when he’s not working, but where he drinks during his off hours as well. Chilling.
Where do you enjoy eating when you’re not working?
Hash House A Go Go, Todd English’s Olives at the Bellagio and Egg Works.
What dishes are most memorable?
At Hash House A Go Go, I love their Chili Crusted Indian Maple Leaf Farm Duck Breasts. I am from Vermont, and yes, we put maple syrup on EVERYTHING. I am also a sucker for duck. I grew up hunting duck with my father and uncle. Anytime I see it on the menu, I try it. From the maple barbecue glaze to the prosciutto mashed yams and goat cheese, this dish rocks! It is also a huge portion, which makes a big guy like me very happy, and the presentation is killer.
At Todd English’s Olives at the Bellagio, I love their Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread. I was introduced to this dish by a good friend of mine, Zach. This flatbread is worth the wait to sit at the bar. The sweet and sour fig jam goes perfectly with gorgonzola cheese and the saltiness of the prosciutto. Try this with a 1944 Trader Vic Mai Tai and your afternoon is complete, along with a great view of the Fountains at Bellagio.
At Egg Works, I love their biscuits and gravy. For those of us in this city who work the late shift, what is more satisfying than breakfast for dinner after a long shift on Saturday night? I am allergic to eggs, an issue with breakfast at most places, but not here. The sausage gravy is peppery and just floats on top of the fist-sized biscuits. The biscuits themselves are light and the entire meal is accompanied by the best home fries ever. The service is always stellar and what goes better with biscuits and gravy than one of their perfect Blood Marys? Everything goes into that thing, including a heaping portion of vodka.
Why do you enjoy going there?
At Hash House A Go Go, the food is great, the portions are big and I get to try a wide variety of food.
Todd English’s Olives at the Bellagio is a place I frequent when I have family in town, or am out on a date with my wife. The service is excellent and as much I would like to try other items on the menu, I can’t get away from the Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread accompanied with a Mai Tai.
I rarely get a chance to go out and eat for breakfast. When I am afforded the luxury to do so, I want to know that I am going to get consistent food and great service. Egg Works provides both.
Where do you enjoy drinking when you’re not working?
Hogs & Heifers Saloon, iBar at the Rio and Public House at the Venetian.
What cocktails are most memorable?
At Hogs & Heifers, I enjoy the Dollar Shot. The best part of this bar is the people who work here. At first glimpse you would think that the tattoos, beards (on bouncers, not the bartenders!), leather, ripped jeans and megaphones would make for an intimidating night of drinking. You couldn’t be more wrong. If you make it to the bar belly up and order a Dollar Shot. The girls will give you an option of white or dark spirits. It doesn’t matter what you choose, you are in for a good time. They take the numbers off of the dollar that you hand them and create a cocktail from them. For example, 4782 would be the fourth bottle from the left, seven would be the seventh, etc. Sometimes the blend tastes great, sometimes?not so much. You always have a great story and a nice beer to chase it with.
At iBar at the Rio, I enjoy the The Darkness. I originally moved to Las Vegas and worked as a flair bartender. As I get older, I really enjoy the aspects and nuances of mixology. This is the place where I can get both. The combination of fresh berries and alcohol work perfectly in this drink. As much as I hate to muddle a drink, I love to drink a cocktail that has muddled elements to it. The bonus, I get a show each time I order.
At Public House at the Venetian, I enjoy Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere. This place has an extensive drink menu. I have tried myriad of them and have loved them all, but let’s be honest, I am here for the beer. They have a Cicerone on staff and he will guide you to a beer that you will love. This place just had a Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere on draft. I wait all year for Lee’s to carry this in the bottle and buy it as quickly as they can put it on their shelves. To have it on tap was a treat.
Why do you enjoy going there?
I love the atmosphere and the bartenders at iBar at the Rio. Each one has become a close friend of mine over the years and they always provide a great show and great drinks.
Hogs and Heifers is the exact opposite of the club scene in Las Vegas. I have been going to this bar since the night that they opened. I have a hundred stories from this bar and I love them all. If I am going out for the night and make it downtown, I will always pop my head inside and say hello.
Public House at the Venetian is a great gastropub. The décor is awesome and who can argue with a lot of beer, whisky and scotch? This is the newest of the places that I will visit if I find myself on the Strip. I could try three different beers a night and a three months later, still not have had a repeat.
· All Coverage of Minus5 Ice Bar [~ELV~]
· All Dining Confidentials [~ELV~]