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.
Flint, Mich., native Johnny Church certainly is getting accolades for his newest venture, the six-seat lunch-only restaurant inside Artisanal Foods that showcases the ingredients the high-end purveyor sells. Church spent times working through the kitchens of Bradley Ogden’s Root 246 in Solvang, Calif., Michael Mina’s XIV in Los Angeles, P.J. Clarke’s when it was at the Forum Shops at Caesars and Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood and Rx Boiler Room at Mandalay Place. He even went on to launch MTO Cafe with locations Downtown and at Downtown Summerlin. Here Church talks about some of his favorite restaurants, a diverse collection of places on and off the Strip.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you’re not working?
[I like] 35 Steaks & Martinis at the Hard Rock Hotel, Andre’s at the Monte Carlo and Taco y Taco on East Tropicana Avenue. I also get a lot of to-go orders at Lotus of Siam. Glutton for lunch is on point. And DW Bistro brunch!
What dishes are most memorable?
At Andre’s, I love the frog legs at the bar with escargot butter. At Taco y Taco, I like the mulas, which is like a taco and a quesadilla combined, with asada. I really like the Benedict at DW Bistro for brunch, too.
Why do you enjoy going there?
I’m really excited about what they’re doing at 35 Steaks & Martinis now that Mikey Van Staden is there with Marty Lopez in the kitchen. I love going to 35 because at one time when it was AJ’s steakhouse, my wife and I worked there. And Mario Gonzalez, the general manager, really makes you feel at home. Chris Bulen is really pushing things forward at Andre’s. At Taco y Taco, they just do everything right: handmade tortillas, all the meats and all the salsas.
I really like seeing chefs pushing their limits and taking risks and not holding back. Look for a lot of that in 2016. A whole lot.