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.
Noe Alcala got started cooking Mexican food as a youngster when his mother made him knead dough for her small catering business in Tepatitlan, Mexico. He left the country at 19 to work in local chain restaurants in California as everything from dishwasher to manager. After four years, he returned to his hometown to open his own restaurant. Then in 1999, the bright lights of Vegas beckoned, and Alcala came to the Hard Rock Hotel's Pink Taco, rising to corporate executive chef. After brief stints with Light Group and B.R. Guest, Alcala returned to his native roots by creating authentic and approachable Baja fare as the executive chef at Hussong's Cantina at the Shoppes at Mandalay Place. Now he also runs Slice of Vegas there as well. Here he shares his favorite off-Strip spots to dine when he's not juggling pizza and Mexican fare.
Where do you enjoy eating when you're not working?
I enjoy eating at Lotus of Siam, Xtreme Sushi and Hot N Juicy Crawfish.
What dishes are most memorable?
The Tom Kha Kai soup with shrimp at Lotus of Siam is awesome, and I cannot end my experience without the sticky rice and mango dessert. The combination of the warm sticky rice, the fresh mangoes, and the ice cream is just perfect.
The chef at Xtreme Sushi always prepares different specialty rolls for me new with unique items that are not on the normal menu. I love to be surprised and enjoy trying something new.
The shrimp at Hot N Juicy Crawfish that's served with a mild sauce does it for me every time. The fresh oysters are great too.
Why do you enjoy going there?
These places are all off of the Strip, which is a big plus for me. I love seafood, so Xtreme Sushi and Hot N Juicy Crawfish are perfect for my palate. Spice is a big factor in my culture's diet, so Lotus of Siam's flavorings offer a tasty common denominator.
My best advice is to not fear different cuisines and to always have an open to new and innovative combinations of flavors. Remember that food unites — share great moments around a great dish.
· All Coverage of Hussong's Cantina [~ELV~]
· All Coverage of Slice of Vegas [~ELV~]
· All Dining Confidentials [~ELV~]