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.
Bryan Forgione grew up with culinary royalty. His father Larry had An American Place in Manhattan, where Bryan learned how to run a kitchen and cook three star American cuisine. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and worked under Michael Romano at Union Square Café, Romano’s restaurant with Shake Shack’s Danny Meyer. After graduating Bryan worked his way through the kitchen and honed his passion — barbecue. He opened Swingbelly’s Beach Side BBQ on Long Island as head pitmaster and executive chef. His journey to Las Vegas started at Encore Las Vegas, where he worked under chef Kim Canteenwalla at Society Café. In 2012 Bryan won Food Network’s Iron Chef America, battling it out with his brother Marc Forgione against Joe and Lou Campanaro. In 2013, Bryan teamed up again with Blau & Associates to open Buddy V's Ristorante, Cake Boss Buddy Valastro’s very first restaurant at the Palazzo, where he's the executive chef. Want to know where he goes for cheap eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Read on.
Which restaurants do you turn to for an inexpensive meal when you’re not working?
I'm a big family man so when not working I spend a lot of meals with them, the wife and I like to hit up Pinkaow Thai Restaurant for their lunch special, the whole family loves The Cracked Egg for breakfast in Summerlin and for dinner you can't beat Made LV.
What dishes are most memorable?
At The Cracked Egg, they have a wide selection of items for both breakfast and lunch, but I always tend to get their Build Your Own Skillet: sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and breakfast sausage all crisped up together topped with two over easy eggs and Cholula. Getting hungry now thinking about it...it’s served with either toast or house-made coffee cake that changes flavors throughout the day, some damn good stuff no matter what the flavor.
Pinkaow serves up very simple and tasty Thai food that has an amazing valued lunch at $7.95. You pick your protein or vegetable, which can come in 10 different style dishes. You get a soup of the day, egg roll, fried wonton and rice. I eat a lot of meats overall so I like to balance out with their tofu pad Thai or vegetable red curry. Either one is a safe bet.
Made LV is a cool spot over in Tivoli Village. I was just there on a Monday and sat outside listening to live music and showing some smoked chicken wings in Sriracha who is boss. Chef Sean Mayhew does a great job with all the food over there. The smoked eggplant reuben is fantastic. I couldn't believe that I didn't miss the traditional beef pastrami. I'm a passionate barbecue enthusiast beside. Aside from great smoked wings, they do a solid job with their Carolina pulled pork sandwich and I can't leave without dropping a few quarters in their arcade and doing a few holes of Golden Tee. Hidden gem over there…
Why do you enjoy going there?
To keep me coming back, consistency is huge, for me all three nail that.
The Cracked Egg has great staff, good energy and has that casual homey kind of feeling to it that makes it a great place for the whole family.
Pinkaow is an incredible value and their lunch special has so many options that you can never get tired of it.
Made LV is the way a local tavern or pub should be: laid back, fun, good drinks and music, great food and a staff that makes you feel welcome. Not many places around that can pull all that off.