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.
George Jacquez [Photo: Aliante Casino]
George Jacquez was born into a family of chefs. His parents were prominent chefs at the Los Angeles Convention Center and the Roosevelt Hotel. Jacquez's resume has taken him from 16 years at Cheesecake Factory, a year as a room chef at Mandalay Bay, four years as the executive chef of Warner Bros. Stage 16 Restaurant at the Venetian and seven years at Red Rock Resort before joining Aliante Casino in 2012 as the executive chef of the restaurants at the resort. He oversees the menus for MRKT Sea & Land, Bistro 57, The Salted Lime and Farm 24-7 while also traveling to local farms to hand-select herbs and a variety of vegetables for new menu ideas at Farm 24-7. Recently he introduced a vertical herb and vegetable garden inside MRKT. Here he talks about three of his favorite places to dine in Vegas, including a romantic spot, a first-date burger joint and a farm.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you're not working?
Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas, Burger Bar at Mandalay Place and Cowboy Trail Farms.
What dishes are most memorable?
The French onion soup at Mon Ami Gabi, the Kobe burger at Mandalay Place (I can get all the toppings I want!) and garden-grilled flatbreads at Cowboy Trail Farms.
Why do you enjoy going there?
It's always a special occasion when I go to Mon Ami Gabi, so the restaurant has greater meaning to me. It's an amazing place to celebrate with friends and family.
I had the best date here with a beautiful young woman who is now my wife (and also a chef). It was also the first time I paid $150 for two burgers and a drink… but it was well worth it!
At Cowboy Trail Farms, you can harvest the ingredients straight from the ground and the chefs will build a flatbread from it. It's like picking your own toppings, literally straight from the source. A very cool (and delicious) experience.
Anything you'd like to add?
I'm very proud of the hydroponic initiatives we're implementing at Aliante. GRDN, inside our signature steakhouse, MRKT Sea & Land, delivers fresh herbs and vegetables straight from vine to plate. Guests are able to watch us harvest and care for the plants, and our chefs snip only what they need to provide the freshest dishes and cocktails with nothing going to waste.
We are also in the process of partnering with two start-up aquaponic facilities here in Las Vegas and continue to partner with two local North Las Vegas farms. I understand first-hand the precarious nature of natural food in the valley, and am passionate about working with the producers to find innovative new ways for growth. No chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides will be used anywhere in our grow systems so all of the products will be 100 percent natural. Our goal is to foster a relationship between the food we serve, our customers and the providers to build a more connected community.
· All Dining Confidentials [~ELV~]