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.
Stephen LaSala moved to Las Vegas on a whim and ended up sticking around to rise to executive chef of Searsucker at Caesars Palace. He got a taste for the culinary industry while he was growing up in Northern California with his grandparents, cooking in the kitchen with his grandmother. After attending Lederwolff Culinary Academy in Sacramento, he moved to San Diego before joining the opening team at Fleming’s when it opened in Las Vegas. By 2007, he joined Mesa Grill, becoming the sous chef after four months. Stints at Novè Italiano and Brand Steakhouse came along before he joined Searsucker as a sous chef for its opening. In 2016, he became the executive chef. Here LaSala shares some of his favorite restaurants to frequent when he’s not creating Brian Malarkey’s vision of “Come Early, Stay Late” social dining.
Do you remember your first trip to Vegas? What happened that was memorable?
I used to come out here a lot when I lived in San Diego in the ’90s. Sometimes my friends and I would just take spontaneous day trips and hang out and walk around the casinos. It was just a fun way to escape San Diego and do something different.
What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
I moved to Vegas to open Fleming’s Steakhouse in Summerlin. A friend of mine who I lived with in San Diego was coming out here for the opening and needed a roommate. I didn’t have a ton going on at the time, so I decided to come with him and started there as a line cook. I’ve been here ever since for the most part.
Do you have any favorite places to eat lunch?
When my wife and I have a day off together, we love going to Capriotti’s. We grab a big Italian sub and share it. During the winter, my kids and I will go snowboarding up at Lee Canyon, so we’ll eat at the lodge and grab a burger and fries after being on the slopes all day.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent?
My family loves Stack. The kids love the hot rocks, so they always love going there. When I’m going out with friends, we like to go to Nobu at the Hard Rock Hotel. I like their spicy rock shrimp, and it’s a really cool, laid-back vibe.
Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
I celebrated my birthday at Beauty & Essex this year, which was really cool. It’s a huge venue and always super busy, and I like the vibe. They have really good bone marrow, and the French onion soup dumplings are one of my favorites.
Are there any brunches in town you like to frequent?
Herringbone at Aria is one of my favorite spots for brunch. I like to go there and see my boy Geno Bernardo. I love his food. My favorite dish from him is the bacon and egg ravioli. If you ever get a chance to try it, I highly recommend it.
Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?
Besides work, I love going to concerts. I go to a lot of shows at Brooklyn Bowl, House of Blues and the Joint. I like the smaller venues. I really want to try Blue Ribbon chicken at Brooklyn Bowl.
• All Coverage of Searsucker [ELV]
• All Dining Confidentials [ELV]