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 readers to these potential discoveries, Eater Vegas enlisted some of the city's food players to share their recommendations for a feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Stephen Blandino went from chef under Charlie Palmer on the Strip to his own restaurant. The Staten Island, New York, native graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and went on to work for Palmer for 18 years, starting at Aureole in New York City and opening the version in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay in 2000. After working his way up the line to executive sous chef, Blandino became the executive chef of Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons in 2003. Last November, he opened Americana, his restaurant on Lake Jacqueline in Desert Shores with a menu of classic American fare with Italian and French influences. Here he shares his favorite places to dine in Las Vegas.
Do you remember your first trip to Vegas? What happened that was memorable?
I took my first trip to Las Vegas when Charlie Palmer opened at Aureole at Mandalay Bay. I was working in Manhattan at the time and figured it would be nice to see this beautiful city. I remember the amazing backdrop of the mountains and the sunshine.
Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas?
Two of my favorite spots are The Original House of Pancakes and CraftKitchen. The apple pancake and the Dutch Baby are two of my favorite dishes at The Original House of Pancakes. At CraftKitchen, I love to mix it up and try the specials. The chef there is very creative.
What about lunch?
Some of the best spots to spend lunchtime include Pizza Rock or Otto Enoteca Pizzeria. I also love the spicy miso ramen at Ramen Sora and the pad kee mao at Thai House.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent?
When dining out for dinner my go-to places are Izakaya Go, Raku and Umami Sushi & Grill.
What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
At Raku, I like to dine on the specials and foie chawanmushi, and at Izakaya Go the Japanese wagyu specials are always something fresh and new to try.
Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
When looking to celebrate something special, I look to chef Johnny Church and the team at Aureole because they are always on top of their game. I also love Julian Serrano’s work at Picasso.
Are there any brunches in town you like to frequent?
When I am not at Americana’s brunch I like to enjoy Mon Ami Gabi. I love that chef Vincent is always reintroducing French classics to the menu to keep it fresh.
Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?
A favorite of mine is the drunken noodles at Pho Kim Long. Don’t forget the cold beer!
• All Coverage of Americana [ELV]
• All Dining Confidentials [ELV]