Today, I’m going to give you the food version of insider-trader information. I’m going to tell you where Elizabeth Blau eats for pleasure.
Blau isn’t famous, but she has been pivotal to the Strip food scene for a decade. She helped bring many celebrity chefs here, from Kerry Simon to Michael Mina, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Todd English, plus eateries as fine as Le Cirque, Fix and Society Cafe.
She did that as a VP for Steve Wynn and for MGM-Mirage and as head of Blau + Associates with her husband, Kim Canteenwalla.
Blau and Canteenwalla are partners at Simon at Palms Place, and they run their own acclaimed restaurant, Honey Salt in Summerlin. She told me Friday they will be the operating partners in restaurant concepts for TLC TV’s Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro.
Anyway, for helping turn Vegas into a chef mecca (and for her philanthropy), Blau tonight will be given the Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence at UNLVino’s fancy Grand Tasting in the Paris Champagne Ballroom. (Tickets cost $150.)
I tried to squeeze juicy chef stories out of her. But she is frustratingly tight-lipped.
“I’ve got good stories,” she told me and laughed, “but that would require lots of alcohol and an NDA” (a non disclosure agreement).
But this is more useful: Blau divulged her favorite suburban restaurants. Start licking your lips ... now.
■ Kabuto-edomae sushi, 5040 W. Spring Mountain Road.
“Kabuto — I’ll put it up with any of the best sushi restaurants in the country,” Blau says.
It’s in the same shopping center with the great Raku (Japanese) and Monta Ramen Japanese noodle house.
Kabuto’s food gets flown in “incredibly fresh” and fast from Tsukiji in Tokyo, and from Santa Monica, Calif., and Catalina Island, she says.
“If you go there after 8 o’clock, you risk not getting” what you want, she says.
At Kabuto: “I’ve probably had two dozen fish from Japan I’ve never even heard of.”
■ Monta Ramen, in the same shopping center.
“That pork broth is just extraordinary.”
■ Penn’s Thai House, 724 W. Sunset Road, Henderson.
It’s in a nondescript shopping center by Sunset Station, and it is run by a masterful woman named Penn.
“Penn is extraordinary, and I do not say that lightly,” Blau says.
“Get the crab curry and the sticky rice pudding with mango.”
■ Chocolate & Spice Bakery, 7293 W. Sahara Ave.
“That’s (chef) Megan Romano. For the last 13 years, she was Charlie Palmer’s pastry chef at Aureole before she went out on her own. She’s got a couple of cookbooks,” Blau says.
“She’s got the most amazing pies.”
■ Pink Box Doughnuts, at Lake Mead Boulevard and Buffalo Drive.
“That’s my dirty little secret, is that I’m a doughnut addict,” Blau says.
“They’re fresh. They’re only open till about 2 o’clock. And when they sell out, they sell out. They use really good quality ingredients. I didn’t think I would like a bacon doughnut, but it was really good.
“I like the apple fritter.”
When Blau eats at her own place Honey Salt (1031 S. Rampart Blvd.), she digs these dishes:
“When I’m indulging, we have the most delicious fried-chicken sandwich.
“When I’m not, we’ve got this salad called Grain Power. It’s two kinds of quinoa, beluga lentils and a citrus vinaigrette with avocado.
“And I’m all about desserts, so we have the most divine apple pie,” Blau says. “It comes with vanilla (bean) ice cream. But my trick is to order it with the salted caramel.
“Our ice creams — people flip out.”
Oh my god, I’m so hungry now.
Doug Elfman’s column appears Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.