Dining Guide: Ethnic restaurants


Each week Neon spotlights a different cuisine in the Dining Guide, with ethnic restaurants this week. Restaurants are rated on a letter-grade scale, from A to F. Opinions by R-J critic Heidi Knapp Rinella (H.K.R.) are indicated by initials. Price symbols are based on the cost of an average entree: $ = entrees less than $10; $$ = entrees $10 to $20; $$$ = entrees $20 to $30; and $$$$ = entrees more than $30.

BAGUETTE CAFE

8359 W. Sunset Road; 269-4781

Fresh-baked baguettes would be a great start for any sandwich, and at Baguette Cafe things just get better from there. We loved our turkey with caramelized onions and Swiss cheese, our Blue Brie with chicken, apples and walnuts, and also a cup of gazpacho with basil-flecked cream and wondrous desserts, tiramisu and a pear-custard tart. (7/8/11 H.K.R.)

Overall: A-

$

BOUCHON

Venezia Tower at The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 414-6200

It still seems as incongruous among the Italianate trappings of The Venetian as on the day it opened, but Bouchon has worn very nicely, delivering French-bistro fare that’s as authentic as it gets. Notable were a charcuterie board, the Poulet Roti (roast chicken), Triute aux Amandes (trout almondine) and the silken-sin richness of the Mousse au Chocolate Noir, which requires no translation. (9/18/11 H.K.R.)

Overall: A

$$$

CAFE BERLIN

4850 W. Sunset Road; 875-4605

Although it seems natural we won’t make comparisons between Cafe Berlin and other once-and-future local German restaurants. This one is somewhat sparsely decorated and has a somewhat minimalist menu, but what’s there is mostly satisfying to lovers of all things Teutonic. We liked the pretzel with Obazter; the Wurstplatte with its authentic bratwurst, knockwurst and bockwurst, a slightly crispy Jaegerschnitzel; spaetzle; and apfelstrudel. (7/20/12 H.K.R.)

Overall: B+

$$

CARLITO’S BURRITOS

3345 E. Patrick Lane; 547-3592

It sure ain’t fancy, and it tends to get a little cramped, but Carlito’s Burritos is the only game in town when it comes to authentic New Mexican food. Although the margaritas were forgettable we needed them to put out the fire fueled by the traditionally seasoned chips with red and green salsas, steak combo burrito and pork verde stuffed sopapilla. (1/14/11 H.K.R.)

Overall: B+

$

COMME CA

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 698-7000

A name that’s a bit of a challenge for most of us to pronounce (say “comb sa”) is hopefully no obstacle for those wanting to try this streamlined, casual bistro. Among the rustic dishes on the menu were these that we truly enjoyed: duck confit, steak tartare, braised beef cheeks, Scottish salmon, moules frites and beignets au chocolat. (12/9/11 H.K.R.)

Overall: A

$$$$

COTTAGE CAFE

4647 Paradise Road; 650-3395

Signature dishes: Ethiopian-style meats, injera bread.

ENGLISH’S

Town Square, 6599 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 478-8080

English’s bills itself as a gastropub but the food is more reminiscent of a traditional, old-fashioned pub — not that there’s anything wrong with that. The cod and chips carried all of the crisp/moist goodness of the classic, and the steak and ale pie had hearty flavor and was accompanied by creamy whipped potatoes and some nice honeyed carrots. But we thought the Cornish pasty and Ploughman’s were lacking a little luster. (2/17/12 H.K.R.)

Overall: B

$$

THE FAT GREEK

4001 S. Decatur Blvd.; 222-0666

Despite a few dishes that we thought were too timidly seasoned — like an otherwise lovely pasticcio, with its rich, creamy top layer — there was a lot to like about The Fat Greek, from the pillowy grilled pita and crisp-crusted Italian bread to the assertively flavored, silken avgolemono; earthy lentil soup; saganaki; lemon-sauced dolmades; and lamb shish kebob. (10/28/11 H.K.R.)

Overall: B+

$$

GORDON RAMSAY PUB & GRILL

Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South; (877) 346-4642

Despite a design glitch that made us feel like we were eating at Papa Bear’s table we enjoyed the casual pub vibe of Gordon Ramsay’s place at Caesars Palace. Worthy of note: the salted pretzel-bread sticks and pub cheese brought to the table, a starter of heirloom tomato salad and traditional entrees of Yorkshire Ale Battered Fish and Chips and shepherd’s pie. But the seating kept us from staying for dessert. (6/7/13 H.K.R.)

Overall: A-

$$$

THE GREAT GREEK

1275 W. Warm Springs Road, Henderson; 547-2377

The Great Greek is a mom-and-pop with all of the personalized service that implies as well as top-notch gyros, the pillowy pita overflowing with meat and graced with a decorative swath of feta cheese, a whole pepperoncini perched atop. We also loved the hummus, Greek salad, souvlaki and baklava. (3/29/13 H.K.R.)

Overall: A-

$

INDIA MASALA BAR & GRILL

1040 E. Flamingo Road; 431-8313

Service was a little laggy at India Masala — we kind of felt like they were stuck in lunchtime-buffet mode — but we really liked the place for its gorgeous atmosphere and very good food that included tandoori chicken, lamb Madras curry and the cilantro-mint and tamarind chutneys served with the better-than-average pappadum. (3/15/13 H.K.R.)

Overall: B+

$$

ISLAND SUSHI & GRILL EXPRESS

Plaza, 1 S. Main St.; 386-1600

Island Sushi, a downtown spot from longtime local chef (and native Hawaiian) Terence Fong, brings the flavors of the eight islands here to the ninth one. It’s counter-service and service at the counter can get a little iffy (especially when customers wait until they’re first in line to start thinking about what they want) but the food, for the most part, is pretty good. Kamaboko may be an acquired taste but the Wonton Min had lots of other things to recommend it; we also liked the Hawaiian roll, the ahi poke and the plain and chocolate-filled malasadas. (7/5/13 H.K.R.)

Overall: B+

$

JALEO

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 698-7950

Jose Andres is considered the father of the tapas movement in the United States, making a splash with them on the East Coast, but although he was somewhat late to Las Vegas, his tapas, showing a fine balance between the classic and the innovative, are proof he deserves exalted status. We loved them all: a cone of La Serena cheese and quince paste, pan con tomate with Manchego, carne asada with poquillo pepper confit, chorizo wrapped with potato, dates wrapped with bacon, grilled asparagus with Romesco sauce and — most spectacularly — flan, and olives stuffed with anchovy and piquillo with Ferran Adria liquid olives. (2/3/12 H.K.R.)

Overall: A

$$$

JAMMIN’ JERK HUT

3333 S. Maryland Parkway; 433-3303

What’s jammin’ at the Jammin’ Jerk Hut? The food, primarily, like oxtails, slow-simmered, subtly seasoned and tender; Jammin’ Jerk Chicken that had many of the same attributes; and Curry Chicken that was the epitome of mellow. With a side of perfectly prepared plantains and the stew peas and rice that came with our entrees, we were jammin’ indeed. (4/26/13 H.K.R.)

Overall: B+

$$

JERUSALEM GRILL

4825 W. Flamingo Road; 341-5555

It’s all kosher at the Jerusalem Grill but even if you’re not, you may well enjoy it because the food is fabulous. That would include the complimentary cumin-laced warm garbanzos and cold marinated vegetables served before the main event, plus such innovative dishes as hummus centered with a mound of sauteed mushrooms and onions and classic ones such as a falafel platter and probably the best shawarma we’ve had anywhere. (5/3/13 H.K.R.)

Overall: A

$$

MARCHE BACCHUS

2620 Regatta Drive; 804-8008

An ownership shift launched Marche Bacchus through some turbulent waters a few years ago, but after a chef change and some tinkering, all is well. We loved the lakeside outdoor terrace and the extensive selection in the retail wine shop — and $10 corkage in the restaurant — but no less than the artisan cheese platter, beef tartare, rack of lamb, pork chop and flourless chocolate cake. (7/17/11 H.K.R.)

Overall: A-

$$$

MARKET GRILLE CAFE

7070 N. Durango Drive (also at 7175 W. Lake Mead Blvd.); 396-0070

We wondered how the Market Grille Cafe had made the transition from a counter-service to a full-service space (although the second location, on Lake Mead Boulevard, remains counter-service). The answer: swimmingly, in large part because the owners have been all about the details since the beginning. We loved our appetizer of kefredes meatballs, our lamb souvlaki and the Greek Trio Platter, although we thought the rice on the last a bit of carb overkill. (7/12/13 H.K.R.)

Overall: A-

$$

MINT INDIAN BISTRO

730 E. Flamingo Road; 894-9334

Mint proved the book-by-its-cover folly with a rather unwelcoming exterior that yielded to a cozy interior with plenty of charm. Inside we also found great food and drink such as the mango rum lassi, potato-pea samosas, naan with fire-roasted garlic, Rebel Curry, chicken biryani and gajar halwa, a creamy carrot pudding. (11/18/11 H.K.R.)

Overall: A-

$$

MOUNT EVEREST

3641 W. Sahara Ave.; 892-0950

Mount Everest definitely isn’t fancy — it’s in a former fast-food place, right in front of a supermercado — but that’s belied by soft lighting, crisp linen and polished service, and exemplary versions of dishes such as vegetable samosas, garlic naan, seekh kabab and all components of a vegetarian thali, including palak paneer, chana masala, raita, dal makhani, vegetable pakoras, naan and kheer. (2/4/11 H.K.R.)

Overall: A-

$$

QUEEN VICTORIA PUB

Riviera, 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 794-9260

You have to trudge through some faded surroundings to get there, but the Queen Victoria is a brick-lined diamond in the rough, serving authentic pub grub — the best kind of English food. We loved the British Sampler Platter with its Scotch egg and sausage roll, and liked the steak and mushroom pie and shepherd’s pie as well. (9/7/12 H.K.R.)

Overall: B+

$$

RI RA

Mandalay Place, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 632-7771

Ri Ra was a little late to the party in terms of Las Vegas Irish pubs, but it has much to contribute in the way of authenticity and great food. We weren’t particularly jazzed by the authentic curry chips, but we loved the brown bread, pan-seared scallops with braised fennel and roasted cherry tomatoes, leek-and-Irish-cheddar-stuffed chicken, Guinness sundae and a refreshing Dark & Stormy cocktail. (7/22/11 H.K.R.)

Overall: B+

$$

RHYTHM KITCHEN

6435 S. Decatur Blvd.; 767-8438

Signature dishes: chargrilled oysters, crawfish etouffee.

SHAKESPEARE’S GRILLE & PUB

790 Coronado Center, Henderson; 837-7900

Pub grub has always belied the notion that English food is necessarily an oxymoron, and nowhere is that more evident than at Shakespeare’s Grille & Pub. The Best Fish & Chips lived up to their name with a golden crust cloaking firm, mild cod, and we also liked the Traditional Bangers & Mash and All Day English Breakfast. (3/25/11 H.K.R.)

Overall: B+

$$

SULTAN’S GRILL

1910 Village Center Circle; 838-3221

Sultan’s Grill was somewhat of a mixed bag, with falafel that was dry and flavorless and a promising parsley-and-scallion green hummus that was a pasty disappointment. Those were balanced, though, by really good shawarma — carefully seasoned, well marinated and tender and juicy — and solid red and classic versions of hummus, and by friendly service and a clean and sleek, if somewhat plain, interior. (5/4/12 H.K.R.)

Overall: B-

$

SUSHISAMBA

The Shoppes at the Palazzo, 3326 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 607-0700

Japanese-Peruvian cuisine may seem offbeat but isn’t really new, Nobu having paved that road long ago. But Sushisamba gives it a fresh spin by doing things like putting Asian pear in its Pacific roll with king crab and avocado and rolling its Green Envy roll (tuna, salmon and asparagus) in a wasabi-pea crust. We also loved the smooth-as-silk sweet plantains, crisp green beans tempura, kicky tuna ceviche and, from the robata grill, a succulent lamb chop with red miso and yuzu. (9/30/11 H.K.R.)

Overall: A

$$$

TAJ PALACE

9530 S. Eastern Ave.; 685-0222

The mini-melting pot that is the Sansone Park Place has great Indian food thanks to the Taj Palace, which has a quietly elegant interior and vegetable samosas with an ultra flaky pastry casing. Also worthy of note: tender Paneer Pakoras, super tender Lamb Saag, zingy Chicken Kabab Adraki and mellow Good Ole Butter Chicken. (8/31/12 H.K.R.)

Overall: A

$$

 

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