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.
Executive chef Eric Klein has been serving up Wolfgang Puck's California-inspired fare at Spago at the Forum Shops at Caesars since 2007. The native of Alsace, France, joined Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group soon after relocating to the United States in 1996 and spent seven years working alongside Puck at his California-based restaurants. At Spago in Beverly Hills, he worked as the sous tournant when it opened in 1997. He took on the head chef position at Maple Drive in Beverly Hills in 2004 and he was named one of the Top 10 Best Chefs in America by Food & Wine magazine. He moved on to SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas and later became executive chef of Fix at the Bellagio. In 2007, he returned to Spago to take on the executive chef. Here, Klein shares 10 of his favorite places to dine in Vegas.
Spicy sliced beef salad from Lotus of Siam
I love this dish because it's fresh, spicy unusual and just great. It's different from what I've had before. The salad comes with eggplant, chilies, lemongrass and herbs.
Ph? tái chín from Pho Kim Long
My favorite ph? is the #13, which has rare steak and brisket. The soup here is so simple yet so classic. You don't expect it, but something about the broth, noodles, and meat together in one bowl make it so delicious. What I like about this place is that they make Vietnamese food with Chinese influence. They keep their food authentic but aren't scared to do things differently. Plus, they remember their customers, which is awesome. They also have the best orange chicken ever, and their crispy calamari with salt and pepper is great, too.
Shoyu ramen from Monta Japanese Noodle House
What I love about this place is that you can see the chefs making the ramen in the back. There are two guys doing it — one preparing the meat, the other one prepping the soup — and they make you feel like you're having the best street food ever. All of the ramens are different and delicious, but I order it with shoyu broth. They are also open late, which is great for me since most restaurants are closed by the time I get out of work.
La caille from L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Chef Steve Benjamin and I come from the same region of France, so it's fun to go there and have him cook. I love his technique and style of cooking; it speaks well with where we came from and what we do. I especially love how he utilizes foie gras. He prepares it the way it should be prepared — simply and with a lot of soul. My favorite is the foie gras-stuffed quail with mashed potatoes. I also like the beef and foie sliders.
Diavola pizze from Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana
I really like Settebello because they have pizza specials. It depends on which chef is working that day, so it's always different and exciting. My favorite pizza on their everyday menu is the Diavola, which has crushed tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, peppered salami, garlic, and mozzarella. I also like the rucola salad, simply made of arugula, lemon, sea salt, olive oil, and pepper.
Raku's tofu from Abriya Raku
I love Raku for many of their dishes, one being the housemade tofu, a cold appetizer dish. All the food there is very authentic, and it feels like they are cooking just for you. The Wagyu beef and fried baby eel are great, too.
Frozen custard from Luv-It Frozen Custard
This place has been here forever! They always change the flavors and they carry only two different types a day, but they're all delicious. I recently had one with pineapple and coconut that was just awesome.
Tandoori butter chicken curry from Sensi
Whenever I go out to eat, I like to order a lot of food, so Sensi is a good choice since it offers a lot of different cuisines to try — Italian, Asian, seafood, etc. I of course love the food I cook at Spago, where we also do a lot of Asian- and Californian-influenced cooking as well, but it's nice to go out and try another menu with a lot of variety. The last time I was there, I had the tandoori chicken with basmati rice and raita from their Asian entrée menu.
Pastelitos empanada from Viva Las Arepas
Viva Las Arepas is a small restaurant that makes a bunch of different things, and its location on the corner of South Las Vegas Boulevard makes it so authentic. It's a different style of Mexican food, so my sous chef and I will go and order one of everything. Their arepas are made out of cornmeal, so they're gluten-free. Their tortas, arepas and hallacas are all good, but I recommend the pastelitos with ground beef and rice.
Pork and chive potstickers from Beijing Noodle Cafe
This place is known for their hand-drawn noodles; you can see the guy form the pasta and slap it against the table in the back, and it always comes out so well. One of favorite things to order are the potstickers. It's unlike anything you've ever seen — they mix rice flour and water together and then pour it in a pan with the potstickers inside, creating a crêpe-like veil over the potstickers. It's very impressive.
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