Somewhere on State Route 160, long after the neon lights of Las Vegas have faded in the rearview mirror but long before the wide open desert of Death Valley comes into view, there’s a moment where even the most seasoned traveler starts thinking about the words middle of nowhere. And then, just as the desire for a map appears, so does Pahrump.
At first glance, Pahrump may seem like a sun-bleached blip on the horizon where one stops for gas and then heads west to Death Valley or east to Las Vegas without a second thought, but the town with the funny name (which means “Water Rock,” by the way) is actually worthy of more than a pit-stop. In lieu of a traditional downtown, the restaurants of Pahrump are scattered all over the desert, but each one offers a culinary experience that’s only heightened by the effort it takes to find it.
From a fine dining restaurant at a hidden vineyard to a dive bar at a brothel, these five restaurants embody the rural Nevada spirit of Pahrump.
The ultimate off the beaten path experience
On the outskirts of a town that somehow feels entirely made up of outskirts, My Thai offers an experience that has to be tasted to be believed. Located next to a gas station, this intimate restaurant is staffed entirely by a mother and father who prepare the authentic Thai food and their son who serves it. All meals are custom made, but menu highlights include refreshing papaya salad with spicy lime dressing, creamy yellow curry and garlic and pepper beef.
My Thai, 5020 Pahrump Valley Blvd., 775-727-9888
Vineyard fine dining
Californians in Las Vegas who find themselves longing for Napa will be thrilled to find a little piece of wine country right on the other side of the Spring Mountains. Symphony’s Restaurant is located at the Pahrump Valley Winery and is in fact named after its gold medal winning wine. After a stroll through the vineyard and a glass of wine in the tasting room, guests can enjoy continental classics like blackened mahi mahi with cucumber relish and filet Oscar with Bearnaise.
Symphony’s Restaurant, 3810 Winery Road; 775-751-7800
An oasis of sushi
Raw fish in the desert can often seem like a gamble, but the sushi at Ohjah Japanese Steakhouse is fresh and flavorful. After a sun-drenched trip to Death Valley, maki rolls like the French Kiss, which is filled with tempura shrimp and topped with salmon and mango salsa, seem heaven-sent. Other menu favorites include vegetable tempura, chicken katsu and sparkling sake to wash it all down.
Ohjah Japanese Steakhouse, 20 NV-160; 775-751-7800
The finest steak in town
In striking contrast to the smoke-and-slot-machines vibe of the casino it’s located inside of, Stockman’s Steakhouse is quiet, cool and inviting. The restaurant, which was voted best steakhouse in rural Nevada, serves entrees that rival even the most famous establishments in Las Vegas. From slow-roasted prime rib accompanied by horseradish mashed potatoes to filet with lobster tail and drawn butter, Stockman’s Steakhouse is the real jackpot at the Pahrump Nugget Casino.
Stockman’s Steakhouse, 681 S. Hwy. 160; 866-751-6500
A burger at a brothel
Few things say Nevada road trip quite like stopping for a meal at a Pahrump brothel. Situated directly next to the brothel itself, Sheri’s Ranch Sports Bar & Restaurant serves fittingly decadent American menu items like the Gut Buster Burger, a two pound tower of beef complete with 12 strips of bacon. Settle in at the bar and order something from the extensive list of cocktails with risque names, like the Nympho, which is made with rum, peach schnapps and more than a decade of Nevada brothel secrets.
Sheri’s Ranch Sports Bar & Restaurant, 10551 Homestead Road, 866-820-9100