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.
Jason Smith [Photo: Bellagio]
Only 135 people in the United States can be called a master sommelier, and one is right here in Las Vegas. Jason Smith is the director of wine for the Bellagio, where he oversees all wine operations for the resort, a job that includes wine sales and service in 32 venues. Smith also manages the inventory and cost control of more than 60,000 bottles spanning approximately 5,000 selections. Before taking on this role, Smith was the head sommelier for Michael Mina at the Bellagio. He wanted to be a chef, and even enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., but a required course in wine education changed his career course. He worked as the cellar master at New York City's 21 Club and worked at places such as The Little Nell in Aspen, Colo., and Charlie Trotter's in Chicago. Here, Smith shares three of his favorite restaurants to not only dine, but to enjoy wine.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you're not working?
Sensi at the Bellagio, Chada Thai and StripSteak at Mandalay Bay.
What dishes are most memorable?
At Sensi, I love the crispy shrimp that has a rice flake crust, citrus mayonnaise and a seaweed salad.
The duck with Panang curry at Chada Thai has an amazing balance of spicy heat and sweetness that is perfect with any great Riesling.
Any of the butter poached beef that is then finished on the wood fired grill is my go to at StripSteak. Everything is always cooked to perfection.
Why do you enjoy going there?
Sensi has one of the most knowledgeable and likeable service staffs in the city and they make dining there a joy every time.
Chada Thai has one of the top wine lists in Las Vegas. It is a list that is thoughtfully put together with excellent value.