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.
Yvonne Maatouk may smoke meats in house and cook up comfort foods as the executive chef of PBR Rock Bar & Grill at the Miracle Mile Shops, but she tends to keep healthy foods at home and cook meals in advance. Maatouk grew up in Tarpon Springs, Fla., working in her family’s diner, peeling potatoes and working the cash register. After studying music education in college, she decided to head to the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach. Taking a job at an armed forces recreation center in Germany gave her a chance to travel. Then she moved to Las Vegas, first working at the Golden Nugget, then South Point and the Hard Rock Hotel before landing at PBR. This is what she calls "the best of both worlds," serving tourists her twist on comfort classics such as Doritos-encrusted macaroni and cheese or chicken and waffle pizza. "Considering the type of food that I create at work I try to keep my meals simple, fresh and clean on my days off," she says. Here, three places Maatouk frequents when she’s not in the kitchen.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you’re not working?
Yassou Greek Grill, Pin Kaow and Hot n Juicy
What dishes are most memorable?
At Yassou Greek Grill, the Greek salad. That's comfort food to me. Their dressing and tzatziki are spot on for my taste buds. And I absolutely love how clean that place is. I rarely do it, but the baklava there is a worthwhile indulgence. It has the slightest hint of rosewater that gives it a very exotic essence.
At Pin Kaow, I'm obsessed with their green curry. The combination of sweet basil, coconut milk and heat from the chilis is very harmonious. I think their pad Thai is the best I've had and the pineapple fried rice is a new must have. They have so many delicious things on the menu but I am always pulled back to their green curry.
A Hot N Juicy, I love this place for its simplicity. You won't find me there without an order of garlic butter crab legs. One of the best parts is the atmosphere that the food creates. Everybody is forced to put their phones away, get messy and inevitably laugh at themselves. The restaurant always has a great vibe when you walk in.