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.
Stephen Barr embarked on his culinary career immediately after earning his degree from Florida Culinary Institute, then started as a line cook at Rachel’s Steakhouse in Palm Beach, Fla., where he was quickly promoted to executive chef. He moved on to House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, then Stefano’s at the Golden Nugget and later the Grand Buffet at MGM Grand. He soon moved on to be the executive chef at Studio Café, his first 24-hour venue, then Yard House and then the Riviera, where he oversaw the buffet, main kitchen, commissary and fine dining room. In 2013, Barr returned to the MGM Grand as executive chef of Avenue Café, where he helped create the menu. Now he’s the executive chef at TAP, the sports bar at the MGM Grand. Here he shares three of his favorite places to dine when he’s not cooking at TAP.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you’re not working?
Sin City Sushi, Gordon Ramsay Steak and Echo & Rig.
What dishes are most memorable?
I love the baked green mussels at Sin City Sushi. They are huge green lip mussels with a spicy chili mayonnaise and are baked to a golden brown. I have them fire up four orders right when I walk in the door.
At Gordon Ramsay Steak, besides the steak of course, the Kurobuta pork belly is amazing. It is so tender and the cheesy grits, onion jam and pork jus just accents the pork flavor so nicely.
My favorite dish at Echo & Rig is a toss up between the unique fried spinach salad with chili lim vinaigrette or the bone marrow carne asada. It is delicious and is fresh from the butcher shop that is located right downstairs which makes it that much more fresh and flavorful.
Why do you enjoy going there?
I like going to Sin City Sushi for the fact that it’s local, friendly, fun and fast. Gordon Ramsay Steak is a great place to celebrate a night out and I love the beer selection and the atmosphere. I love Echo & Rig for the butcher shop and open floor plan.
Anything else you want to share?
The place I love to eat the most out of anywhere is my home. I love cooking a nice dinner for my family, spending time with them and being able to see them enjoy it — that is what makes everything worth it.