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.
Sterling Buckley just took over at executive chef of La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway at Wynn Las Vegas. The Los Angeles native has held nearly every position in the kitchen. He joined La Cave in 2010 as a line cook and has quickly worked his way up. Buckley’s culinary experience also includes positions at Michael Mina’s StripSteak at Mandalay Bay, Koi Restaurant at Planet Hollywood Resort and Silk Road at Vdara with chef Martin Heirling, as well as the New Sheridan Chop House in Telluride, Colo., with chef Erich Owen. Buckley received his degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Las Vegas in 2006. Here he shares three of his favorite off-Strip gems. "There are some many great places to dine in Vegas and so much talent here it's really hard just to select only a few. As a local, the off-Strip dining has really stepped up its game and rivals some of the on Strip venues."
Which restaurants do you turn to when you’re not working?
Echo & Rig, Yonaka Modern Japanese and Hot N Juicy Crawfish.
What dishes are most memorable?
At Echo & Rig, I love their pork belly grits. Yes, I know I shouldn't say that because I do grits at La Cave, but their grits are immaculate.
At Yonaka, I love the fat duck. Who doesn't love double glazed maple bacon, barbecued eel, Gruyere cheese, avocado wrapped in soy paper and topped with foie gras (I'm sweating thinking about it)? Plus their desserts are very outside the box and playful.
Now at Hot N Juicy, I always get a pound of shrimp, Hot & Juicy special sauce with potatoes and sausage. Totally allows me to just get medieval on my food and dig in with my hands (gloves on) and pound a beer or two and enjoy some conversation with my wife as we wipe food off each other's faces.
Why do you enjoy going there?
Let me start off with Echo & Rig — great dining room with a great patio and (what all chefs love to see), a view of the controlled chaos, the kitchen. I also love the butcher shop downstairs.
Second, Yonaka Modern Japanese is like right up my alley. I love Asian cuisine and cooking techniques and the way Yonaka executes is on point.
Last but not least Hot N Juicy Crawfish. This is more of a sentimental spot for me and Char, my wife. We love how it's just low key but high flavor, which makes it our favorite date-night spot.