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.
Chef Jason Olson learned his craft in some of the best kitchens in the country. The owner and chef at Paid in Full with Michael Plourd worked for chef Stephen Kalt at Fornelletto in Atlantic City and Spartina in Los Angeles. Before working with Kalt in New Jersey, Olson opened Corsa Cucina at the Wynn Las Vegas and worked with Micheal Mina at both Nobhill Tavern at the MGM Grand as executive chef and at Aqua in the Bellagio. Chef Olson has cooked multiple times at the James Beard House, and appeared on Iron Chef America to beat chef Guarnaschelli with Stephan Kalt in Battle Jerky. Here he shares his favorite places to dine in Las Vegas.
What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
I initially moved to Las Vegas at a time when celebrity chefs were opening new restaurants and hotel casinos were stepping up their food game. Bellagio had just opened and I got an opportunity to work at Michael Mina’s Aqua.
Where do you like to go out to lunch?
For lunch, I enjoy Esther’s Kitchen. The roasted porchetta sandwich, or any of James Trees’ pastas are outstanding. A nice casual place for a bite and a glass of wine on your day off.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
For dinner, Bazaar Meat by José Andrés is a great steakhouse choice. I enjoyed the tortilla sacromonte. It’s an omelet of farm eggs, kidneys, sweetbreads, and bone marrow. And, any of the wood-fired steaks that chef Alex Pitts recommends are outstanding as well. For dessert go to Rose. Rabbit. Lie. and get a chocolate terrarium. Prepared to be wowed and Instagram ready.
Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
Special occasions are meant to be spent at Michael Mina at the Bellagio. The caviar parfait is the showstopper. A glass of champagne is the only other thing you need.
Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?
After work I like to frequent Herbs & Rye. A great cocktail to unwind with is The Last Word. A great balance of green chartreuse, lime, maraschino, and gin.
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