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.
Brian Massie [Photo: Chelsea McManus]
Brian Massie's path to becoming the corporate executive chef for The Light Group started in 1999, when he helped Charlie Palmer open Aureole at Mandalay Bay. He moved on to become the executive chef at Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons. Then he jumped over to N9NE's group of restaurants in 2001. His move to The Light Group in 2003 put him in charge of opening Fix Restaurant & Bar at Bellagio, followed by Stack Restaurant & Bar at the Mirage, Diablo's Cantina and Brand Steakhouse at the Monte Carlo in 2007 and 2008 and Yellowtail Sushi Restaurant & Bar at the Bellagio in 2009. Now he's heading up Citizens Kitchen & Bar, which just opened last Friday at Mandalay Bay, taking him back to his Vegas roots.
Here he shares how he keeps his nights off close to home when he dines.
Where do you enjoy eating when you're not working?
My favorite restaurants to eat at when I'm not working is DW Bistro for brunch. The DW bowl of New Mexican-style slow-cooked pork simmered in New Mexican red chile with over-easy egg and served with rice is the perfect brunch dish. It's got the right amount of heat to help beat the hang over, while the pork is super tender and unctuous with a soft runny yolk.
There are a few reasons I go to DW. First, the owners are super cool and down to earth. Also, it's a local restaurant and I want to show support to local business. They have a dedication to making you feel welcome and the food is just good. And every time I go the Red Stripe is ice cold. Finally, I can ride my bike to the restaurant and be there in three minutes. Perfect Sunday.
Settebello has the best traditional Neapolitan style pizza in Vegas The chef is a certified pizzaiola which means he's the sh*t! The best part of the pizza is the dough — it's soft but slightly crispy and smokey. You can taste the fermentation, and the buffalo mozzarella just melts perfect. Oh and the tomatoes!
I'm a simplistic eater so I like the basic the most, simple margarita. They use D.O.P. tomatoes imported from Italy, real San Marzano which are so perfectly balance. They don't need sugar and all sort of other filers to enhance the flavor. Just simply a craving dish.
My third favorite restaurant is Casa Brian in my backyard. I have a fully blown built-out kitchen in my back yard. It's adobe-style, including an imported wood-burning brick oven, a deep fryer, open flame burners, a 50-inch grill, ice machine, outdoor garden and a passion-driven Craft Beer Program Keggorater.
I find myself going to the place three times a week, all hours of the day. I crave anything that's cooked A) outdoors, B) in my wood burning oven and C) a great beer program. From time to time I have a guest bartender over to create master mixology (such as Jack O'Brien from Nove Italiano) and play Rummy Cube or brainstorm new concepts or a challenge to cook something in the oven.
For brunch on Sunday, I love to make: sheared duck eggs from Pahrump with truffle toast, crispy pancetta caramelized. Perfect runny yolk!
On any given night (and I need two days head start to make and ferment the dough at the proper temp), I make my perfect pizza.
The key for me is the fire maintenance and the perfect dough. I use a starter from Ischia, Italy, that I feed weekly to help with the dough flavor and fermentation and leavening. I get the best D.O.P. tomatoes that money can buy, Sicilian sea salt, paper thin slices of garlic and basil from the garden. That's it for the sauce. And real Buffalo mozzarella. Simple.
· All Coverage of Citizens Kitchen & Bar [~ELV~]
· All Dining Confidentials [~ELV~]