Following an Eater tradition, we asked a group of restaurant journalists, bloggers, and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Their answers to the annual Year in Eater survey will be revealed in several posts. Now, what was your best restaurant meal of 2021?
Philip Tzeng, social media food blogger at LasVegasFill — It was a ball out affair in the Mob Room, one of Golden Steer’s private dining rooms, this past June with wet-aged steaks, broiled Alaskan king crab legs, and multiple orders of their Jumbo Western Lobster Tails. I love the old-school vibe and their tableside presentations.
Scott Roeben, Vital Vegas — That one’s a toss-up! The chicken parm at Al Solito Posto in Tivoli Village is incredible, especially in combination with the chef’s focaccia bread. The absolute best dish in Las Vegas has to be the brisket fried rice at 8 East. I order it with chicken skewers mixed in, hold the sticks. There’s no logical reason why this is the best dish in Las Vegas, it’s fried rice, but that’s still the case. So many great meals in 2021, though. Somehow, all food has become comfort food during these nutty times.
Bob Barnes, Las Vegas writer for Gayot.com and freelance food and beverage writer — I was fortunate to be invited to chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s “A Taste of Nobu” at his Nobu Restaurant & Lounge inside Caesars Palace. The evening was an incredible dining experience featuring Nobu classics with unlimited servings of Japanese A5 wagyu cooked on the robata grill, miso black cod, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, an assortment of sushi, myriad desserts and live action stations such as Nobu’s signature ramen. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa visited with our table, posed for pictures and gifted each of us with a signed copy of his World of Nobu cookbook that features Nobu signature dishes and recipes created by Nobu Restaurant chefs from all over the world.
Louiie Victa, Eater Vegas photographer — I made it my priority to visit my friends who are still in the industry so first off the top of my head are Bazaar Meat and Zuma. I’ve also had a memorable meal at Brera Osteria.
Al Mancini — This is a tough question, because I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. My first meal at the re-launched Valencian Gold knocked me on my ass – it has completely transformed from one of the best quick-casual concepts I’ve ever encountered, to a high-energy party spot with some of the best Spanish food in town. Returning to Sparrow + Wolf for a chef’s tasting with good friends also made me very, very happy, as did having a romantic evening at Le Cirque with my wife.
Of course, there are few culinary experiences in my life that can hold a candle to dining one-on-one with Jose Andres at Bazaar Meat, after wrapping up an interview for my Food and Loathing podcast. While I’ve never been a big steakhouse guy, Bazaar has consistently landed on every Top 10 restaurant list I’ve compiled since it opened — usually in the top 5. And Andres is one of the most fascinating, brilliant, and genuinely nice people I’ve ever met. It’s impossible to overstate how mind-blowing that meal was.
Rob Kachelriess, Las Vegas Writer for Thrillist — Meals at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Le Cirque and Barry’s Downtown Prime stand out as highlights of the year, but there may not be a more rewarding overall dining experience in Las Vegas than EDO. A random dinner back in February was my favorite meal of the year. Chef Oscar Amador Edo and his team never allow themselves to coast while outpacing more expensive restaurants on the Strip in taste, presentation and quality of ingredients.
Emmy Kasten, Vegas Magazine — My best restaurant meal of 2021 was “A Taste of Nobu,” an exclusive reception-style dining experience at Nobu at Caesars Palace. From the Miso Black Cod, Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno, Japanese A5 Wagyu Beef Tacos and more, it was a Nobu lover’s dream. The free flowing Dom Perignon and caviar didn’t hurt either.
Ken Miller, Las Vegas Magazine — Le Cirque.
Susan Stapleton, editor of Eater Vegas — Brera Osteria at the Grand Canal Shoppes. Hands down.