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. Know a chef who wants to share some top dining spots? The tipline is open.
Joseph Kudrak [Photo: Chelsea McManus]
Joseph Kudrak started washing dishes back home in Derby, Conn., at a family-run Italian restaurant while attending a vocational technical school. He attended Paul Smith's College in upstate New York and graduated with a degree in culinary arts with a minor in baking. Kudrak's first Las Vegas job was to complete a six-month externship at Studio Cafe at the MGM Grand. In 2001, Kudrak began working for Station Casinos. From assistant room chef at Austin's Steakhouse at Texas Station to Sonoma Cellar at Sunset Station, and now assistant executive chef for Red Rock Resort, Kudrak has been part of Station Casinos for 13 years. Here, he goes deep with some neighborhood gems he frequents when he's not working at Red Rock.
Which Vegas restaurants do you turn to when you're not working?
I live in the Northwest part of town so I tend to stay in my neighborhood and support the local businesses when I can. My favorites include Novecento Pizzeria, Sushi Loca and Leticia's Mexican Cocina.
What dishes are most memorable?
For lunch, my new spot that I have been going to is Novecento Pizzeria on Centennial. Napoletana style pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven at 900 degrees. My favorites are the Margherita and the Roma, which starts off as a Margherita but then it gets pancetta, a brown egg, cracked pepper and romano cheese added to it. I always get the chopped salad that has romaine, Genoa salami, gorgonzola cheese, red wine vinaigrette, roasted red peppers and red onions. It has a great balance of sweet from the peppers, salty from the salami and gorgonzola and acidity from the vinaigrette. For dessert, don't forgot to try the cannoli! I love the fact that they don't fill them until you order them. Crispy shell, and a great filling.
Our daughter is a big sushi fan so when we want to go for sushi we go to Sushi Loca on Centennial Center. For appetizers, I like the grilled rib eye teriyaki and agedashi tofu. For sushi rolls we always get the Neptune Dazzler and Kiss of Fire. Both of these rolls have their spicy garlic ponzu sauce on it, which is my favorite with just the right amount of heat on it.
I enjoy visiting Leticia's Mexican Cocina. Their street tacos, el pastor or rib eye tacos are my favorites. I also enjoy their street corn. The bean dip they serve with their tortilla chips is the also one of my favorites.
Why do you enjoy going there?
Novecento Pizzeria is a great spot for lunch. Their pizzas always get a nice char on the bottom from the high heat, a little crisp and then soft inside.
The service at Sushi Loca is always good, the atmosphere is casual and relaxed, the sushi is fresh and the rolls are flavorful.