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Half Bird Chicken & Beer debuts in Chinatown

Updated August 10, 2022 - 8:14 pm

Note to us: The early bird gets the hot chicken.

Restless and hungry around 9 p.m., as usual, we hauled our thighs over to Chinatown (3500 S. Wynn Road) for the opening day of Half Bird Chicken & Beer. Ah, me, poultry privation! Hundreds had stopped by; the restaurant had run out food. Chef-owner Brian Howard himself (he of Sparrow + Wolf renown) very nicely broke the news.

At Half Bird, rotisserie chicken is fundamental, the birds luxuriating for 12 hours in oil, lemon, garlic, thyme and sea salt. Rotisserie birds headline the menu, joined by family meals, sandwiches (like classic fried chicken), nuggs (with seven sauces), sides (like a mound of gravy fries), and desserts (daily limited-edition fresh cookies).

Tuck into your food on the Half Bird terrace, sip on house CockFight pilsner and rustle up a game of beer pong. Secret menu items, we’re told, are coming forthwith. Yet another reason for a (better-timed) return visit.

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Maybe our Uber driver will get a taco now.

The other evening, the driver seconded us in lamenting the crowds at Tacos El Gordo on the Strip at Convention Center Drive. No matter when you think about visiting — 2 a.m. on a Monday, say — customers always seem to fill the place. My driver wanted his lengua, but he couldn’t stop driving to wait in a long line.

The new Tacos El Gordo (2560 W. Sunset Road) across from Town Square should help. When he’s in the neighborhood, the driver can avail himself of its huge glass-walled space, multiple order lines and plenty of roomy seating. We did a solo stop about 10 the other evening, and the restaurant was lively but not crazy.

Our mission: sumptuous pastor tacos, sliced in fatty chunks from the upright spit, heaped on corn tortillas wet with oil from the grill, then topped with onions, cilantro and hot sauce. Spurts of lime juice? You could, but not essential. (Remember to ask for salsa when you order.)

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We received a missive to the effect that Bobby Flay could be launching more Bobby’s Burgers in Vegas. The chef already has three burger shops on the Strip, and the missive indicated he’s expanding nationwide. Some of that growth could be “in Vegas neighborhoods.” (For our purposes, we’ll assume the Strip is not a neighborhood, though we’d love to call Vdara home.)

Now, chef Flay has a portfolio that encompasses restaurants, TV shows, cookbooks, a podcast, food delivery services — even a cat food line showcasing his feline, Nacho. Given that, it’s likely the chef often thinks about expanding. For all we know, he’s thinking right now about expanding to the Cartwheel Galaxy (Interstellar by Bobby Flay).

We reached out to the missive makers for specifics on the Bobby burger bump; we haven’t received details.

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First ID, then filet. Through Aug. 30, Carversteak in Resorts World is offering locals (ID required) its Eat Your Way to Labor Day prix fixe deal. The end-of-summer menu is available Sunday through Thursday for $90 (plus tax and tip).

The menu consists of: choice of welcome sips (Champagne, premium cocktail, Singapore sling); choice of Caesar salad, lobster bisque or jumbo shrimp cocktail; choice of filet mignon or Faroe Islands salmon; and choice of warm cookies or butterscotch sundae for dessert.

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The Golden Tiki (3939 Spring Mountain Road) is linking arms with Kraken Rum to create the Sands at Dusk, the bar’s August Charity Cocktail of the Month.

This wingding of a drink, fashioned by beverage director Adam Rains, features Kraken Black Spiced Rum, Rhum Barbancourt aged four years, Cruzan Black Strap Rum, smoked palm seed and macadamia orgeat, Don’s Mix (grapefruit cinnamon syrup), lime and white grapefruit.

Well, now. The Sands at Dusk is $16, or $25 with souvenir tiki mug, and available through August. Proceeds benefit the Sierra Club.

On the Side runs in Sunday’s Taste section. Email tips, questions or feedback to ontheside@reviewjournal.com.

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