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.
Former information technology executive Leif Pearson launched Momenti Spirited Ice Cream in 2015 after he developed a white Russian-flavored ice cream. That spurred Pearson’s decision to mix alcohol and ice cream, and he made the leap from technology to food. Pearson worked with food scientists and industry insiders to develop his mix of alcohol and ice cream for a new style of dessert. Here the Las Vegas native shares some of his favorite restaurants on and off the Strip.
Which restaurants do you turn to when you’re not working?
Every once in a while, I find time to explore new restaurants. Some older spots make me sentimental for the Vegas where I grew up. Though I don't go to the Strip much, I've found some notable local places. I often do breakfast at Babystacks, lunch at Bernard’s Bistro when it was open, drinks and appetizers with the greatest view off the Strip at Divine Cafe's Thursday happy hour, and dinner at a hole-in-the-wall family-run Korean place called M Roll Sushi. When I'm going out with friends and for special occasions I frequent Spago and Nobu. Max's Restaurant gets me back to my Filipino roots every once in a while.
What dishes are most memorable?
For breakfast, Babystack's cinnabun pancakes are a Sunday Funday staple, with pancakes that are always fluffy and light delicately sprinkled with homemade frosting and just the right amount of cinnamon and brown sugar glazing each cake. At M Roll Sushi, I not only get great and reasonably priced home-made Korean food cooked by the charming Mr. Lee's wife, but very nicely marinated galbi served on a bed of cabbage. One time at Spago, I had a beef tartare mixed with toasted pine nuts, decorated with slivers of parmigiano-reggiano and topped with a quail egg that was rich and yet bursting with flavor. It is nicely complemented by palate-cleansing lemony frisee and served on crostinis. and that is JUST for starters. Of course I never skip dessert. At Max's for the adventurous sweet tooth, I recommend trying the Halo-Halo supreme. It is a traditional Filipino dessert with many elements and textures served with shaved ice and taro root ice cream.
Why do you enjoy going there?
Babystacks because whether you’re craving sweet or savory, they’ve got you covered. Divine Café for the view, innovative cocktails, and good value eats. I love going to M Sushi Roll because I'm truly getting a home cooked meal and know I'm helping out a local small business. Spago because it feels like a local forgotten jewel of contemporary cuisine, and Nobu because they are always innovative and continue to surprise me with how they prepare everything under the sea. Max’s satisfies a return to my culture and does justice to Halo Halo.