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.
Chef Jaret Blinn worked or Ritz-Carltons in Maui, San Francisco and at Lake Las Vegas before becoming the executive pastry chef at Le Cirque and Circo at the Bellagio and eventually Red Rock Resort. But his dream was to open his own restaurant, and now he has CraftKitchen in Henderson with dishes that represent his family's creative take on dining. Here he shares some of his favorite places to dine when he’s not mixing up brunch menus, changing his Friday night bites and serving breakfast and lunch.
Do you remember your first trip to Vegas? What happened that was memorable?
Like everyone's first trip to Vegas — pray you win big. I did OK on my first trip, and bought an autographed Barry Sanders football helmet at the Aladdin.
What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
Living many years in San Francisco, your money doesn't go as far. I had an opportunity to open a new hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, and work under an amazing pastry chef. My wife and I knew that Las Vegas would be better for our family in the future, and that there would be many new opportunities in a booming culinary city.
Where do you like to eat lunch in Las Vegas?
Trying to go healthier these days, and Greens & Protein is great for that. When in the mood for something else, noodles at Monta or a Hawaiian plate at Island Sushi & Grill. Some of my favorite dishes there include the eggplant fries, Kahlua pig and mochiko chicken.
If you're going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
My family and I definitely like Asian food since we always eat CraftKitchen's food. We like going to Island Sushi & Grill and Zenshin at the South Point. Zenshin’s sashimi platters, oxtail curry and miso black cod are all excellent dishes. We go to The Pasta Shop when feeling like some fresh pasta — they have the best gluten-free pasta in town, which is important because my wife, Tami, is gluten free. Settebello when we want to eat pizza — I love their Bianca pizza and the Nutella dessert pizza. Yonaka Modern Japanese’s sake steamed clams, Hokkaido scallops and unagi with foie gras are my picks.
Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
Joël Robuchon is by far the best dinner I have ever had. I have been to a lot of amazing places in the U.S. but they nailed it in every aspect. As for as a local place... Americana on the west side of town is doing some great food.
Let's say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?
Wherever you can get craft beers, I’m there. I enjoy World of Beer's selection. When I feel like something a little stronger and food with a bite, we go to Lindo Michoacán to eat carne asada tacos and fajitas. If it's just my wife and I, Standard & Pour does a great job with food and drinks.
• All Coverage of CraftKitchen [ELV]
• All Dining Confidentials [ELV]