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.
Chris Keating just jumped over to Tbones Chophouse & Lounge at Red Rock Resort as executive chef. The former Border Grill at Mandalay Bay executive chef and then head of the Forum Shops at Caesars location went to culinary school at Johnson & Wales University. He worked as the executive sous chef at Marisol Bistro in Greensboro, N.C., then returned to Bert's Seafood Grill, where he had started his career. His career took him to the Revival Grill as the executive chef for three years before heading to the Sheraton Four Seasons in Greensboro as executive chef. He moved to Las Vegas to be the chef de cuisine at Caesars Palace. His success there led to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, where he became the executive chef at Mesa Grill at the Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas. Here he shares three of his favorite cheap eats in Las Vegas.
Which restaurants do you turn to for an inexpensive meal when you’re not working?
Lotus of Siam, In-N-Out Burger and MTO Cafe.
What dishes are most memorable?
I have never had anything I didn't like at Lotus of Siam and I have had most everything on the menu. But if I had to choose, I would select the crispy duck. Still the best duck dish I have ever had. Perfectly crispy and succulent and juicy and seasoned perfectly. It doesn't get much better that duck.
I love everything at MTO, I hate that Johnny Church is not there anymore, but the menu he created is excellent and is still executed very well. The stand out however is the lemon poppy seed pancakes with a blueberry ginger compote. The dish is buttery and rich, but lightened up with the acidity from the lemon, and then cut all the sweet tannins in the blueberry compote to balance it perfectly. The ginger really sets it off!
Why do you enjoy going there?
The Summerlin MTO is right next to my house, so I go often. I love the fast-casual concept and being able to get your food quickly. I also love the selection of fresh seasonal ingredients and unique flavor combinations. It’s like comfort food for serious foodies!
I go to Lotus of Siam for the food, plain and simple. There are a ton of phenomenal restaurants in Vegas but not many have better food than Lotus of Siam. The level of cooking paired with the simplicity and respect for ingredients sets them apart from most everyone else.
I go to In-N-Out (probably too often) because, hey, sometimes you just want a good burger and In-N-Out is still the best burger you can get on a budget.