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 ly feature dubbed Dining Confidential. Know a chef who wants to share some top dining spots? The tipline is open.
Cory Harwell first met Kerry Simon while he was running Cana Tapas Kitchen & Bar at Town Square. Simon came in frequently, and the two became friends, then business partners when Harwell took over operations at Simon Restaurant & Lounge at Palms Place in 2012. The two became partners in Simon Hospitality Group in 2013. Now the duo have opened Chuck's: A Kerry Simon Kitchen at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago, Simon Mansion at the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and most recently, Carson Kitchen in Downtown Las Vegas. The two plan to open a sexy gastropub in Henderson as well.
Harwell worked at a small mom-and-pop restaurant in Woodstock, Ga., washing dishes as a kid. His career took off when he worked with restaurateur Marc Packer on the opening of the Harley-Davidson Cafe, Rue 57 and Angelo & Maxie's in New York City back in 1993. Then he helped oversee the opening of the new Harley-Davidson Cafe on the Strip. Harwell went on to New York-New York to help develop Nine Fine Irishmen. He founded Uber Hospitality Group in 2009 and developed Cana Tapas Kitchen & Bar in Town Square.
Here he talks about three of his favorite restaurants in Las Vegas.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you’re not working?
Portofino by Michael LaPlaca at the Mirage, Herbs & Rye and MTO Café.
Why do you like to go there? What dishes are most memorable?
The burrata agnolotti and the crab cake arancini are brilliant at Portofino. I simply love what chef Michael LaPlaca has done with this restaurant.
Herbs & Rye, because sometimes I want to drink my dinner. Great vibe, cool people and a true classic cocktail made by Nectaly Mendoza. What more do you need?
Love what chef Johnny Church built at MTO Cafe and since he opened in Downtown Summerlin, there is no other place I’d rather be for breakfast. The signature MTO breakfast is my go to. I just wish I could actually finish it sometime.