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.
Ithaca, New York native Matthew Fresinski stood on stool to watch his mother and grandmother prepare meals in the family kitchen. He landed his first job in the kitchen at the age of 13 and went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America. In Las Vegas, Fresinski worked as assistant executive chef and corporate trainer at Gordon Biersch, assistant executive chef at Louis’ and Fish Camp, executive chef for Thomas Cuisine, chef de cuisine at Society Café and assistant executive chef at the Riviera. Now he’s the corporate executive chef at Café Americano at Caesars Palace and Mercato della Pescheria at the Grand Canal Shops through V&E Restaurant Group. Even in his spare time he finds time for baking breads and making cheese from scratch at home. Here he shares some of his favorite places to dine in Las Vegas.
Do you remember your first trip to Vegas? What happened that was memorable?
My first trip to Las Vegas was actually to try out for a job. I was a student at the Culinary Institute of America, and a requirement to graduate was to do an externship. I applied at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole, and I had to fly out from New York to try out for the job, which I got. The most memorable part of the trip was that my Dad came with me, and we spent the weekend living it up in Vegas, catching some shows, and eating some great food.
What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
I loved the potential that the city had to offer. It was in the earlier stages of the culinary boom, with great chefs carving a name for themselves along the Strip.
Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas?
I don’t get the chance to catch breakfast out too often, but when we do, there is a place in Henderson called the Kitchen Table. It as an amazing little restaurant with a great outdoor area. Their pork belly Benedict is amazing.
What about lunch?
For lunch, Taco Y Taco is a great standby. They have a huge variety of tacos. The al pastor is one of the best in town.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
Dinner options in Las Vegas are endless. That being said, my wife and I almost always settle on sushi, and we have our two favorites. Sumo Sushi and Island Sushi are two of the best sushi places in Vegas. At one point, early on in our relationship we would be at Sumo two to three times a week. They have sushi bombs, which are a spicy delicacy made with real wasabi, not the paste we are all familiar of. Island sushi has all of the traditional items, with some cool Hawaiian twists. Their hamachi kama is the best.
Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
For special occasions, we also have a couple of spots. Lotus of Siam is always perfect. You can never go wrong with the Khao Soi. It’s crispy duck over noodles with a perfectly balanced curry. My next favorite is District One. It’s a really cool Vietnamese spot, and they have the best oxtail fried rice this side of the Pacific.
Are there any brunches in town you like to frequent?
Brunches in Las Vegas have taken over at almost every restaurant. I really like the brunch at Border Grille. It’s all you can eat and they have some great dishes, all served small plate style. The egg sandwich is a great way to start; fried egg and bacon served on a toasty biscuit filled with Manchego cheese.
Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?
Although now having two small and amazing children, it is very difficult for me to grab a drink after work, but in my younger years, I could be found at the Double Down. They always had great punk bands, and simple drinks. After a long night, Roberto’s Taco Shop was always on the way home. The carne asada California burrito would fix everything.
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