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 Paolo Bendez’u moved to Las Vegas to take lead as the executive chef of the new Water Grill at the Forum Shops at Caesars. He first joined King’s Seafood Co. in 2016 as the executive chef of the Michelin-starred Water Grill in Downtown Los Angeles. Bendez’u cultivated a love for seafood at an early age on the northern coast of Peru, visiting seafood markets, oyster farms, and fishing docks. His commitment to sustainable seafood earned him a semi-finalist nomination in the 2015 Eater Young Guns while he worked as the executive chef of Blue Plate Oysterette in Los Angeles. In his free time, Paolo can be found catching waves up and down the coast of Southern California or spending time spearfishing around the coves of Catalina Island. Here he shares some of his favorite places to dine in Las Vegas
Eater Vegas: Do you remember your first trip to Vegas? What happened that was memorable?
Paolo Bendez’u: It was my 25th birthday. We stayed at the Bellagio, and I’ll never forget our stone crab dinner at Joe’s.
What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
This is one of the top culinary destinations in the world. When I was presented with the opportunity to open a Water Grill restaurant here, I didn’t have to think twice.
What about lunch?
The escargot à la Bourguignon and moules au safran at Bouchon are something I deeply enjoy. They run an amazing program there and food is always fantastic. You can never go wrong with their fresh baked in-house mini baguettes and butter.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
I love the ambiance and decor at Bavette’s Steakhouse & Bar at Park MGM. I have fond memories of the original Bavette’s in River North, in Chicago. Steak tartare with confit egg yolk and Dijonnaise, baked crab cakes, and old school Martinis are always great.
Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand will be the place for a special celebration, the tasting menu is truly an amazing experience.
Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?
We love the hospitality and service at Sparrow & Wolf, a great local restaurant right outside of the madness of the Strip. They have a great cocktail program and a unique menu.
• All Dining Confidentials [ELV]
• All Coverage of Water Grill [ELV]