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.
Los Angeles-based chef Sam Marvin of Bottega Louie fame opened his Echo & Rig at Tivoli Village back in 2013 with a butcher shop replete with a shop featuring cutting boards, aprons, steak knives and cookbooks along with a bar downstairs and an exhibition kitchen overlooking the dining room on the second floor. Marvin enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris when he was 19, and moved on to work with Marc Meneau at L’Esperance in St-Pere-sur-Vezeley, as well as Georges Blanc. Back in Los Angeles, Marvin worked for Joachim Splichal at Patina and went on to open Modada. Here, the chef who commutes to Las Vegas weekly to run Echo & Rig spills the beans on all of his favorite restaurants in Las Vegas.
Do you remember your first trip to Vegas?
Absolutely, I was around 7 years old and it was the Grand opening of the MGM Grand hotel where Bally’s is today. It was our whole family and I remember playing at the pool.
What happened that was memorable?
I will never forget how impressionable it was when in the showroom they rolled a 747 on the stage to show how large it was.
What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
Well I actually didn’t move to Las Vegas; I commute weekly from the Los Angeles area where I live in Santa Clarita with my wife and two boys. My mom has lived here for the last 30 years. My sister and her family live here and are UNLV graduates and present students and my brother practiced medicine here for the past 20 years, so I am very tied to Las Vegas.
Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas?
BabyStacks on the Westside is surely one of my favorites. The Portuguese sausage and German chocolate pancakes are to die for. And being an LA guy, I like Eggslut at the Cosmopolitan. The Slut and the Gaucho are my favorites. For my classic breakfast joint I go to the Bagel Café. Great bagels lox, whitefish, spread, tomatoes onions and pickles, yum.
What about lunch?
Anytime I can get over to The Goodwich for lunch it makes for a good day. The Cobbish salad, Pig of the week and the Patty are some of my favorites, and I find myself eating lunch at Marugame Monzo every week lately. The udon noodles are amazing. Miso carbonara udon is a favorite. And lastly I could eat at SkinnyFats every day. T.A.T.S Sandwich, their version of a BLT, is fantastic. Smoke in the Bowl is a favorite salad of mine.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent?
I like Carson Kitchen downtown, great local vibe and sometimes the food is exceptional, it’s always good. The fried chicken skins with hot honey are epic. Lotus of Siam is another one of my regular spots. Always super consistent and fresh amazing seasonings and spices on the dishes. The whole Pompano with chilis and garlic sauce is cravable.
Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
Piero’s is my go to special occasion spot hands down. There is an intangible that is very tangible while dining at Piero’s. It’s more than just the really good food and service, it’s the history. You feel special when you dine there. I know people talk about the osso buco but that’s because it’s the best.
Are there any brunches in town you like to frequent?
So I really like the brunch experience at Herringbone in Aria. The patio ambiance is great and the music vibe is fantastic. I love the all you can drink Veuve Clicquot. I also like Bardot a lot with the real emphasis on the food, which was great, and the service, which is very attentive. The menu is great but there’s just something about a shellfish tower at brunch.
Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?
It’s usually pretty late when we get off work so we could end up at Herbs & Rye or Atomic downtown. Always a good local vibe. I think The Dorsey at the Venetian is one of my new favorite bars or we might end up in Chinatown eating Asian sandwiches at Lee’s. Really excited to try out at Sparrow & Wolf. It looks like they have some really cool late night stuff going on.
• All Coverage of Echo & Rig [ELV]
• All Dining Confidentials [ELV]