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 feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Pastry chef Brigette Contreras from STK at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas was named the Pastry Chef of the Year by the Nevada Restaurant Association recently. The Southern California native graduated from The Kitchen Academy in Los Angeles, then worked in the kitchen at Blowfish Sushi before being asked to temporarily take over for the restaurant’s pastry chef. She moved on to Andrew Kirshner’s Wilshire Restaurant and then worked alongside Sherry Yard at Spago, The Peninsula in Beverly Hills, followed by the Sofitel Hotel, where she worked alongside chef Kerry Simon. She made stops at Providence restaurant, a two-time Michelin star recipient, and Villeta at Brentwood before landing at STK, first in Los Angeles and then the Cosmopolitan. Here she shares some of her favorite places to dine in Las Vegas.
"If you are going to cook and create for others, it’s important to taste what other amazing creations are out there to get inspired and stay ahead of the game," she says. "I truly love what I do and enjoying the many flavors of our city is what makes life — and my dishes — just a bit sweeter."
Which restaurants do you turn to when you’re not working?
One of my favorite restaurants that I frequent is Bardot Brasserie inside Aria. Not only is it a "treat yourself" kind of place, it’s the perfect restaurant to take friends or family when in town and indulge is some fine French cuisine. As a local, there are a couple places off the Strip I love to go for a more casual experience. Pho Annie is a small vietnamese restaurant located on South Rainbow that I enjoy and I also love the Korean barbecue at Hwaro in Chinatown on Spring Mountain.
What dishes are most memorable?
I could eat spoonfuls of the foie gras parfait at Bardot Brasserie. It’s served with an amazing ruby port gelee and grilled country bread. The flavors are smooth, warming and delicious and just the right amount of rich for any palette. It is truly a treat. My go-to at Pho Annie is a simple, classic beef pho because the broth is so flavorful and definitely a great dish to cure a hangover or a cold. Inside Hwaro there is a huge selection of meats which is how barbecue should be. I love the sliced ribeye and short rib cuts and their house marinade hits the spot. The kimchi, fishcake and boiled egg are my favorite sides and I finish the meal off with a delicious and creamy affogato espresso.
Why do you enjoy going there?
Working in the restaurant industry day-to-day, it’s nice to be on the other side of things and get treated to all the great food, service and experience this city has to offer. There’s nothing like treating yourself to a fine meal with a good glass of wine and Bardot Brasserie really nails what I look for in that overall experience. From the look and feel of the place to the comfort-driven dishes, everything really just comes together and allows you to relax and know you are in good hands. At STK in The Cosmopolitan, we are always striving to create that experience for our guests and it makes us even better when we take the time to sit down and experience what other chefs and teams are doing so we can continue to innovate and push for greatness.