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.
Michael Rubinstein, whose friends call him Ruby, took over as chef de cuisine at Momofuku, David Chang’s Korean restaurant at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The Vegas native started his career working the breakfast buffet shift at Buffalo Bills Casino before he attended culinary school at the College of Southern Nevada. His career led him through stints a RM Seafood at Mandalay Place, Michael Mina at the Bellagio, and Twist at the Waldorf Astoria. He also opened The Goodwich with its roster of sandwiches. Here he shares some of his favorite places to dine in Las Vegas.
What made you decide to stay in Las Vegas?
I was born and raised here in Las Vegas and came up through its restaurant community, so this place means the world to me. I used to hate it when I was in high school, but I found a true home in the kitchens here. I’ve been tempted to leave a few times, but Vegas keeps getting better and better in a lot of ways, so I’ve decided to stay, and I love every minute of watching the city grow.
Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas?
I’m a huge fan of The Omelet House on Charleston. I’ve been going there since I was a kid, so I’ve had a lot of memories there, a lot of seriously massive omelets, and later in life, a share of soothed hangovers. It’s an old-school greasy-spoon in all the right ways, including the incredible wait staff — a real classic.
What about lunch?
For lunch, I’d grab a sandwich or a salad at The Goodwich. The patty melt, the falafel, and the Cobb-ish are hard to beat. Or I’d head to Bajamar for a ceviche tostada and an octopus taco. I think they serve some of the best and freshest mariscos in Las Vegas.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
I’m always trying new spots for dinner so I’m not exactly a regular anywhere, but recently I’ve become obsessed with Chengdu Taste on Spring Mountain. They set the standard for Sichuan food here with the toothpick lamb, red chili wontons, and boiled fish in green chili sauce. Other than that, I love Mt. Everest for Indian food and Other Mama for a great cocktail and a serious sashimi plate.
Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
I still think Raku might hold the crown as the best overall restaurant in town, and it’s got a unique vibe; so small and intimate, and they just keep bringing you these tiny plates of perfect food, one after the other. The hot and cold tofu may be the two best plates of food in the city. It truly takes you away from Vegas while you’re there, and that makes it perfect for a special dinner. I also recently went back to Twist by Pierre Gagnaire at the Waldorf for the first time after cooking there for years, and chefs John Miranda and Rob Meistrell are doing some incredible stuff in what’s probably the prettiest dining room in town.
Do you have any favorite brunches in twon?
For brunch, I keep it simple and you can probably find me somewhere low key like the Omelet House or the Coffee Pub on Sahara, but If I had to go somewhere fancy, I’d grab a coffee at Vesta Coffee Roasters and walk around the corner for brunch at Esther’s Kitchen. Both places are run by incredibly passionate crews that are producing something special in the Arts District.
Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?
After work I’ll usually head down Main Street to Jammyland. Never really thought I’d become a regular at a Jamaican-style reggae bar, but they’ve put together a bar with incredible cocktails, uniquely delicious food, a patio where I can hang out with my dog, and it’s run by the best people: Danielle and Alan. It’s a perfect place to relax after a long week. But if it’s been a really long week I’ll be at Frankie’s Tiki Room, nursing a drink or two with the best jukebox in town.
• All Coverage of Momofuku [ELV]
• All Dining Confidentials [ELV]
David Chang is producing shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.