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 Debra Mitchell came on board at Treasure Island back in 1993 as the property’s inaugural executive pastry chef, a title she still holds today. Mitchell worked as the inaugural assistant pastry chef at the neighboring Mirage, worked for the Trump organization in Atlantic City, and at some of Philadelphia’s top hotels including the Adam’s Mark and the Bellevue-Stratford. Mitchell’s culinary awards include two Best of Show honors in Las Vegas Culinary Salons, and five awards for pastry, two of them gold, from the American Culinary Federation. She’s also the co-author of The Diabetes Holiday Cookbook. Here she shares some of her favorite places to dine in Las Vegas when she’s not creating sweet treats at TI.
Do you remember your first trip to Vegas? What happened that was memorable?
I took my first trip to Las Vegas at the end of August 1989. I was still working in Atlantic City and had already signed on as the assistant executive pastry chef for the Mirage opening. I came out to see the hotel and bake shop before the opening. I was in the back of the house with a hard hat on. I had never been to Vegas and flying in at night and seeing the Strip lit up was one of those “wow” moments.
The company put me up at the Golden Nugget. The first place I ate at in Las Vegas was at Stefano’s at the Nugget. It had a real, old-world charm and classic Italian cuisine.
What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
I originally planned to stay three years, but I had wonderful opportunities to work with great people and companies here. It has been very memorable.
Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas?
My favorite breakfast place is Mimosa Gourmet up on Durango near Dessert Inn. It has a nice neighborhood feel, great folks, and service. And the food is very good. My favorite breakfast is the skinny omelet, which includes egg whites, feta cheese, and lots of veggies, including asparagus.
What about lunch?
One of my favorite places for lunch is The Cornish Pasty Co. in the Arts District. I love the vegan and vegetarian dishes they serve, especially the balsamic Portobello and The Greek. It’s staffed with friendly bartenders and a good choice of beers on tap. My one comment is that they should bring back the Bluegrass Sunday afternoons. That was a lot of fun.
Also for lunch I like Flower Child, to either eat in or take out. They have fast service, friendly knowledgeable staff, and a comfortable atmosphere. I like the Mediterranean salad and their cauliflower side with Indian spices.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
I am pretty casual. I like a new place up on West Sahara — I.C. China Bistro. They have nicely prepared dishes, an interesting cocktail menu and very friendly staff. They have a pretty good salt and pepper fish.
Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?
My friends and I like to meet up for happy hours to enjoy light bites and drinks, and have good, funny conversations. We’ll often visit at Settebello Pizzeria in Village Square. They have individual happy hour pizzas — my favorite is the margherita with a little extra basil. And the salad grande it is enough for two people to share. They have a really good red sangria too. Their dessert pizza is fun to share. The staff there is fun and attentive.
• All Coverage of Treasure Island [ELV]
• All Dining Confidentials [ELV]