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.
Mark LoRusso [Photo: Encore Las Vegas]
Mark LoRusso began his career as a student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., with a six-month internship at Trellis in Williamsburg, Va. In 1990, LoRusso moved to Los Angeles to work as a sauté cook at Checkers Hotel with Thomas Keller. There, LoRusso first discovered California cuisine. A weekend visit to San Francisco led to his first job there as a line cook at the Cypress Club. Three months later, LoRusso was promoted to sous chef. Then he moved on to Aqua from Michael Mina, Charlie Palmer's Aureole in New York City and finally Aqua when it opened in Las Vegas at the Bellagio. Before becoming the executive chef at Botero at Encore Las Vegas, LoRusso ran Tableau at Wynn Las Vegas. "What is exciting to me is to see really good restaurants on and especially off the Strip do well, which will truly make Las Vegas food city," LoRusso says about the local dining scene. Here, he shares three of his newest discoveries.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you're not working?
Honey Salt, Le Thai and 800 Degrees.
What dishes are most memorable?
At Honey Salt I don't necessarily have a favorite dish. The chef changes the menu periodically so I like to try the new dishes.
The Le Thai short rib fried rice is something I would have again and again. I love it. The short ribs are always perfectly braised and the fried egg on top really sets it off.
The pizza Bianca with meatballs at 800 Degrees I love. The crust is a favorite of mine. It has just the right amount of high quality ingredients.
Why do you enjoy going there?
When I dine at Honey Salt I can tell that the restaurant is operated by industry professionals and putting aside that chef Joe is a Red Sox fan the food is spot on.
Eating at Le Thai I feel like they put some love into they're cooking and the food is well executed. I also like to see a restaurant in downtown do really well.