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.
470 E. Windmill Lane; 242-2244 (also at 9410 W. Sahara Ave.)
Signature dishes: pork-belly steamed burgers, homemade pickles.
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.)
BARCELONA TAPAS BAR
10690 Southern Highlands Parkway; 483-5764
Signature dishes: Serrano and Manchego, Chocolate Tres Leches a la Mode.
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.)
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.)
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. While 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.)
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.)
4647 Paradise Road; 650-3395
Signature dishes: Ethiopian-style meats, injera bread.
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.)
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)
3824 Paradise Road; 369-3971 (also at 9560 W. Sahara Ave. and at 11261 S. Eastern Ave. in Henderson)
Tapas restaurants have been increasing popular in Las Vegas and for good reason, as they provide great flexibility and variety. And we liked everything we had at Firefly on Paradise: Tortilla a la Espanola, Manchego cheese and Serrano ham croquetas, albondigas, roast pork and red pepper empanadas, baked stuffed clams, Firefly fries, steak toasts, a Sangria-poached pear with vanilla ice cream, a Nutella-and-banana sandwich — even the garden-variety salad. (8/15/11 H.K.R.)
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.)
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.)
HOFBRAUHAUS LAS VEGAS
4510 Paradise Road; 853-2337
Signature dishes: schnitzels, pretzels.
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.)
ISLAND SUSHI &GRILL EXPRESS
Plaza, 1 S. Main St.; 702-386-1600
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 might 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.)
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 while 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.)
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.)
4825 W. Flamingo Road; 341-5555
It’s all kosher at the Jerusalem Grill but even if you’re not, you might 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 such classic ones as a falafel platter and probably the best shawarma we’ve had anywhere. (5/3/13 H.K.R.)
JULIAN SERRANO TAPAS
Aria at CityCenter, 3730 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 590-7111
Signature dishes: apple and Manchego salad, Huevos Estrallados.
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.)
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.)
MARRAKECH MOROCCAN RESTAURANT
3900 Paradise Road; 737-5611
Signature dishes: six-course dinner including beef kabob, chicken.
1450 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, Henderson; 220-4652
Signature dishes: Polla a la Brasa (roasted marinated chicken), deep-fried yuca root, Lomo Saltado (beef with tomatoes and onions), purple corn drink.
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.)
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 such dishes 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.)
4480 Paradise Road; 734-6342
Signature dishes: vegetable samosas, paneer tikka, lamb sheek kabob.
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.)
Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 632-7407
Signature dishes: caviar, Salmon Kulebyaka.
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 very 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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
TAMBA INDIAN CUISINE
3743 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 798-7889
Signature dishes: clay-oven creations, curries.
TVERSKAYA RUSSIAN RESTAURANT
4825 W. Flamingo Road
Tverskaya might not be as fancy as its predecessor in the same space, but it does a very good job of presenting fresh, colorful Russian fare. We loved the golubtsky (cabbage rolls), the borsch, the pork shashlik with marinated vegetables and the Langyet steak, with its meltingly soft sauteed onions. (6/10/11 H.K.R.)
VIA BRASIL STEAKHOUSE
1225 S. Fort Apache Road; 804-1400
Signature dishes: Churrascaria-style meats, salad/food bar.
YOLIE’S BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE
3900 Paradise Road; 794-0700
Signature dishes: Churrascaria-style meats, lamb.