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5 matzo ball soups to celebrate Passover in Las Vegas

Updated April 5, 2023 - 10:41 am

Do you matzo or matzoh? Las Vegas restaurants (like restaurants everywhere) variously omit or include the “h.”

Whatever the spelling, a good matzo ball is a thing of beauty, fashioned from matzo meal, eggs, water, and a fat like oil or schmalz (rendered chicken fat). A sprinkle of salt or herbs might join. Some folks add baking powder for an airy dumpling, but that ingredient isn’t traditional.

A good matzo ball is also a Passover essential, taking its place in chicken soup to complete matzo ball soup, a staple of the holiday. The texture of the dumplings ranges from lighter to firmer, depending on preference and the recipe, but the matzo balls should never be so light they dissolve in the broth or so firm they’re tough.

Passover, which celebrates the deliverance of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, begins this year on Wednesday evening. To mark the holiday, we’re sharing five matzo ball soups served by restaurants across the valley, during Passover and throughout the year.

The Bagel Cafe, 301 N. Buffalo Drive, thebagelcafelv.com. The soup here sports two dumplings rising from a broth stocked with thick shreds of chicken, egg noodles, sliced carrots and celery, and occasional gusts of dill (always appreciated). A bagel with choice of schmear comes with a bowl of the soup, making for a filling meal.

Del Mar Deli in South Point, southpointcasino.com/dining/del-mar-deli. Del Mar is quick-casual: counter ordering, food served in plastic containers, plenty of takeout (or seat-yourself dine in). The large matzo ball is on the fluffier side. Del Mar is the sister restaurant of The Bagel Cafe.

Siegel’s Bagelmania, 252 Convention Center Drive, bagelmanialv.com. Just off the Strip, matzo balls on the softer side find themselves in the soup with the classic trio of chicken chunks, sliced carrots and sliced celery. The soup is served with bagel chips. After the slurp, there’s the deli to browse.

Siegel’s 1941 in El Cortez, elcortezhotelcasino.com/dining/siegels-1941. The matzo ball soup is served with a side of history. Siegel’s is named for mobster Bugsy Siegel, El Cortez’s onetime owner, and the year the hotel opened. The dumplings lean soft, just how Kenny Epstein, current owner of the property, said he likes them.

Weiss Restaurant Deli Bakery, 2744 N. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson, Facebook. The dumpling strikes a nice balance between soft and firm amid big chicken pieces, carrots, celery and a light yet substantial broth. Instead of the usual egg noodles, the soup features vermicelli-style pasta. It made for good leftovers, too.

Contact Johnathan L. Wright at jwright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ItsJLW on Twitter.

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