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.
Michael LaPlaca [Photo: Mirage]
Portofino's Michael LaPlaca began working as a cook at AOP Restaurant in Cleveland, an experience that ignited his desire to become a chef. In 2006, he made the move to Las Vegas, where he landed a role as cook at Fiamma Trattoria & Bar at the MGM Grand. He decided to attend culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and earned an associate's degree in occupational science. After graduating in 2007, he went on to become chef de partie at Thomas Keller's Bouchon at the Venetian and later worked as chef de partie Sinatra and Alex at Wynn Las Vegas. LaPlaca then moved on to David Burke's restaurant group in New York City in November 2010 to be a sous chef. Six months later, LaPlaca returned to Las Vegas to become the executive sous chef at Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace. Then he became the executive chef at Due Forni. Now he's the executive chef at Portofino at the Mirage. Here, he talks about three of his favorite places to dine when he's not cooking Italian food.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you're not working?
Bouchon Bistro, Due Forni and Krung Siam.
What dishes are most memorable?
Bouchon Bistro — Poulet et des Gaufres (chicken and waffles). Half roasted chicken with cinnamon, bacon and chive waffles served with vanilla bean butter and Chasseur sauce. Hands down the greatest plate of food I have ever tasted. Goes amazingly well with the French 77 cocktail.
Due Forni — Roman-style Piccante pizza. Thin crispy crust topped with San Marzano tomatoes, bufala mozzarella, spicy Calabrese salami, Fresno peppers and chili oil. Definitely make sure to ask for a side of Calabrian condiment and enjoy with an ice cold Peroni draught.
Krung Siam — Everything on the menu is consistently great. My favorite Thai restaurant by far, but the star of the show is the Crying Tiger Sauce. You can pretty much put it on anything and it tastes amazing. I could shower in that sauce….
Why do you enjoy going there?
Bouchon Bistro — Brunch. Keller. Enough said.
Due Forni — Not just ridiculously great pizza but a ridiculously great restaurant. Everything — and I mean everything — is cooked using only the pizza ovens. The service is incomparable and there is also a fantastic wine list.
Krung Siam — The best after work spot for chefs or anyone who works late in the restaurant business. It is open late, has a fun atmosphere and who doesn't love a spicy bowl of Tom Ka Gai and a couple of drinks after a long day?
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