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.
James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest Alan Ji began his career as part of the opening culinary team for Hakkasan in Miami, moving on to New York and then Las Vegas before becoming executive chef at the Beverly Hills outpost in 2014. By 2016, he returned to Las Vegas to lead the Wing Lei team at Wynn Las Vegas as chef de cuisine. He came on board at Mott 32 at the Palazzo to open the restaurant in late 2018, focusing on seasonal ingredients. Here he shares some of his favorite restaurants in Las Vegas, with a special focus on Chinese food.
Eater Vegas: Do you remember your first trip to Las Vegas? What happened that was memorable?
Alan Ji: I came to Las Vegas with four friends about 20 years ago. I remember looking at the beautiful luxury hotels that have been built here.
What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
I made the move to Las Vegas because the Hakkasan Group that I was formerly involved with. I opened a new Hakkasan restaurant here at an MGM property.
Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas?
I normally don’t eat breakfast; but, if I do, it’s something simple at like traditional Chinese congee with condiments at New Asian BBQ.
What about lunch?
I like noodles, like Vietnamese pho at Viet Noodle Bar or Japanese ramen at Jinya Ramen Bar.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
I like to eat spicy, so Sichuan food will be my first choice if I need to pick. Chengdu Taste is one of my favorite Sichuan restaurants in Chinatown. For example the boiling fish or the dry pot frog.
Are there any brunches in town you like to frequent?
The only brunch you have to try is the dim sum brunch at Wing Lei at the Wynn. It features dim sum, a carving station, a sushi station, hot station, and seafood station. Best deal in town.
Any off-Strip favorite restaurants that are neighborhood gems?
Like I said earlier, I like spicy food. So, those Sichuan restaurants like Chengdu Taste, or Taste on Rainbow Boulevard would be my first choices on the list.
Do you have any Chinese restaurants you like? Can you talk about them a little bit? What do you order?
SK Seafood on Spring Mountain is my other favorite Cantonese restaurant. They have all the fresh seafood right from the tank and some of the most flavorful food. It’s one of the best deals for what they offer.
Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?
Cool Bar is the place I go after work with friends. It’s also a Sichuan place that features Chinese barbecue skewers and grilled fish along with some karaoke rooms for entertainment. And they offer my favorite Japanese beer, Kirin. It’s a hidden gem that I would definitely recommend visiting.
• All Coverage of Mott 32 [ELV]
• All Dining Confidentials [ELV]