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Anthony Zappola Goes for Oysters, Sushi and Pho

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.

The Mirage - Heritage Steak - Executive Chef Anothony Zappola (hires) (Photo Credit BiondoPhoto).jpgAnthony Zappola [Photo: Biondo Photo]

Even as a 15-year-old dishwasher, Anthony Zappola knew he wanted to be a chef, so when the salad station was short handed, he volunteered and landed some shifts at an Italian restaurant in Cleveland. He spent nine months in Florence taking classes at the Scuola di Arte "Cordon Bleu," a culinary school founded by graduates of the renowned Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. In 2000, Zappola began a year-long program at the Le Cordon Bleu outpost in London. Zappola returned to Cleveland and worked at a local restaurant, but during a weekend trip to Chicago, Zappola dined at NoMi and met chef de cuisine Sandro Gamba. Food & Wine magazine just named one of the Top 10 Best New Chefs of 2001, so when Gamba offered Zappola a job, he moved to Chicago to work as a garde manger and meat and fish cook. In September 2003, he headed to Alain Ducasse's newly opened New York restaurant Mix, then moved on to work with Damon Wise at Tom Colicchio's Craft New York and later Craft Dallas and Craft Los Angeles. Zappola later took a chef de cuisine position at The Royce Wood-Fired Steakhouse in early 2013 and then came back on board with Colicchio as his executive chef at Tom Colicchio's Heritage Steak at the Mirage. Here he shares three of his favorite places to dine when he's not working the wood-burning grills.

Which restaurants do you turn to when you're not working?
The Oyster Bar at Palace Station, Osaka Japanese Bistro on Sahara and Pho Kim Long.

What dishes are most memorable?
At the Oyster Bar, I always get the shrimp gumbo. It has a good amount of spice, is made with a dark roux and is really rich.

At Osaka Japanese Bistro, I usually get the Screaming "O" salad and large sashimi. The ginger dressing on the salad is spot-on and the fish is always fresh.

At Pho Kim Long I always order a large rare beef pho and crab rangoon.

Why do you enjoy going there?
The Oyster Bar at Palace Station is worth it any day of the week for me. I would wait in a line out the door for that place because of how great it is.

I usually go to Osaka Japanese Bistro because it is open late and they have good Japanese shochu. They also run specials.

I like to go to Pho Kim long because they are open late and I can go after work. They offer fast service and have some of the best pho I've ever had.
· All Coverage of Tom Colicchio's Heritage Steak [~ELV~]
· All Dining Confidentials [~ELV~]

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