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.
Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar executive chef Lee Davidson grew up in Syracuse, New York, before he attended and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, in 2006. His career took him to Phoebes in New York before he moved to Las Vegas in 2011 to run the Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay and then training Foundation Room’s chefs around the United States. Here the chef at the Red Rock Resort staple 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?
Lee Davidson: My first trip to Las Vegas was when I was 13 years old. I came with my parents for a vacation. My mom and I would pool hop from hotel to hotel. It was great! I remember at the time the Luxor was the coolest hotel and Dive! was my favorite restaurant.
What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
I’m from Syracuse, New York. The food is all very local and fun there but, there is only so far you can take it. My wife and I decided to move here mainly for her schooling at UNLV but also to really push my culinary career to the next level.
Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas?
DW Bistro or The Bagel Cafe. Those are my two favorites.
What about lunch?
Rocco’s NY Pizza for sure! In North Vegas!
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
Thai Style Noodle House is the most authentic Thai cuisine in town. Their Pad See Yue and Pad Thai are amazing and dumplings are a must get every time.
Old School Pizzeria is a great pizza spot! Vegas Meets Italy pizza is the best!
John Mull’s Meats & Road Kill Grill is the best barbecue in town. Hands down.
Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
We usually go to a nice steakhouse, Prime Steakhouse at the Bellagio, StripSteak at Mandalay Bay, or The Steak House at Circus Circus.
Where do you like to dine that includes good wine, maybe off the Strip?
Nora’s Italian Cuisine has a great wine selection, and have amazing Italian food!
Are there any brunches in town you like to frequent?
Honestly, DW Bistro does a great job but, I’m always so busy doing our brunch at Hearthstone that I can’t get out to any of those!
Any off-Strip favorite restaurants that are neighborhood gems?
Thai Style Noodle House on Wynn and Spring Mountain. Best Thai food of all time, and I’ve been to Thailand.
• All Coverage of Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar [ELV]
• All Dining Confidentials [ELV]