Kitchen at Atomic in Las Vegas serves diverse, delicious fare

Updated July 15, 2018 - 9:45 pm

The Kitchen at Atomic, which anchors the far-eastern frontier of the Fremont East entertainment district, grew out of a bar, and honors the Atomic’s storied tradition with a selection of snacks perfect for sitting and sipping. But chef Justin Kingsley Hall’s time spent at upscale restaurants (notably Sparrow + Wolf and the late Comme Ca at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas) clearly informs his choice of ingredients, and he uses them to advantage in complex dishes with more sophisticated touches.

The snacks section of the menu starts with three simple tavern selections: Roasted Nuts n Such, Roasted Tomatoes, Olives & Peppers and Pickled Things. The first ($3) was a bowl of mostly cashews, peanuts and toasted shelled sunflower seeds with ancho chile, suitable to be served with a cocktail at the bar or to begin a meal.

But there are more complex starters on this list, too, such as grilled red-wine chicken hearts, harissa carrots and the Cheesemonger’s Special with honeycomb and toast. Elote Hushpuppies ($9) were an extension of the Mexican street-corn craze, not as messy but no less multi-dimensional. They were an improvement on the classic, with corn kernels for a gentle crunch and chiles for a bit of spark, the pillowy interiors surrounded by a crisp coating. The half-dozen golfball-sized hushpuppies rested on a pool of cilantro cream and were sprinkled with cilantro and crumbled queso fresco, with crisp slices of watermelon radish for a pastiche of colors, flavors and textures.

Another menu section is sandwiches and burgers, such as the East Charleston Torta and vegetarian eggplant and Moroccan lentil roti. The Cigar City sandwich ($16) is an ode to Tampa, Florida, where Hall earned his culinary degree. It’s a riff on the city’s Cuban sandwich, retaining the elements that made it famous — pork shoulder, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard — but improving on them with sumptuous pork belly instead of ham and sweeter and richer brioche instead of Cuban bread, thoroughly grilled until it acquires a burnished patina.

Entrees include a couple of steaks, a pork Porterhouse and poached Petrale sole, and Hall has a chicken dish that changes with the seasons. Currently it’s a half-bird ($31) fried with a slightly salty breading and served with smoky-sweet molasses barbecue sauce for an appealing counterpoint. A summery side of succotash was summery, corn sautéed with butter beans and chunks of sunchoke, all showered with field greens and more watermelon radishes.

There’s also a selection of plates and bowls, such as shrimp skewers and twice-cooked baby artichokes with kale, peas and onions. Desserts are whiskey bread pudding and roasted stonefruit with honeycomb and cheese. Hall also includes notes on provenance on the back of the menu.

Service was always on point, as was the interior. The designer mostly resisted the current ubiquity of industrial chic, save for some ductwork and roll-up doors that provide access to the patio. It has a minimalist feel, with whitewashed walls, black pendant lighting and tufted black-leather upholstery accented by black-and-white art, the only exception being the substantial dark-wood bar area. The near-total avoidance of the nuts and bolts is ironic considering that until a few years before its 2017 opening, the Kitchen at Atomic was a gas station and auto-repair garage that predated the adjacent bar.

The Atomic, which was granted the city’s first tavern license in 1952, found new life through renovations following its 2012 sale, securing its spot as a downtown landmark. It’s a heritage worth honoring and the Kitchen at Atomic, with Hall at the helm, does it justice.

The Kitchen at Atomic, 917 Fremont St.; 702-982-3000 or

The essence: Varied and well-conceived menu and great food provide for a variety of experiences.

Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella onTwitter.

Entertainment Videos
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of Las Vegas theater talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N interactive exhibit
The new exhibit features original and recreated props and plenty of interactive features. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas ice cream shop offers everything in the kitchen sink
Have you ever wanted to eat an ice cream sundae out of a kitchen sink? Who hasn't, right? At Sloan's, located inside the Venetian, you can do just that. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Maxie’s in Las Vegas puts eggs Benedict in a box
Chef David Mangual at Maxie’s in The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas makes his eggs Benedict in a brioche “box” layered with spinach, bacon and tomatoes and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caviar Twinkie Served at Stripsteak in Las Vegas
Stripsteak Executive Pastry Chef Vivian Chang and Chef Gerald Chin create a novel savory food item that looks like a familiar sweet treat at the restaurant in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
NAB attendees battle to qualify for Fortnite event
NAB is sponsoring an online video game event with Epic Games’ Fortnite allowing attendees to qualify to go head to head with top players. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Arctic Shrimp Sandwich at Saga near Las Vegas
Chef Gert Kvalsund, a native of Norway, founded Saga Pastry + Sandwich in Henderson to give Scandinavians a taste of home. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk UNLVino
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk about the upcoming UNLVino vent. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christie Brinkley at Smith & Wollensky
Christie Brinkley, in town for her run in “Chicago” at the Venetian Theatre, paid a visit to the Grand Canal Shoppes’ still-under-construction Smith Wollensky on Monday for a ceremonial first toast at the bar. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Two artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas
2 artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside Kaos nightclub and dayclub
A look at new club at Palms.
CinemaCon Brings Theater Professionals To Caesars
CinemaCon is not just celebs, it's also a place where theater owners can browse the latest in seats, projectors and concessions. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas restaurants provide a taste of ballpark food
The Las Vegas Ballpark, home to the Las Vegas Aviators, will serve food from Giada De Laurentiis and a team of favorite local restaurants. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Taste of the Town: Bobby Flay Opens Shark at the Palms - VIDEO
Bobby Flay opens Shark at the Palms; his first high-end restaurant in 15 years.
Chef Marc Marrone at T-Mobile Arena
Chef Marc Marrone has opened a bao cart at T-Mobile Arena. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio fountains celebrate 'Game of Thrones'
A medley of the theme for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the song “Winter Is Here” from the show premiered at the Bellagio Fountains water show on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, March 31, 2019. The new number will run in rotation through April 13. The series premieres its eighth and final series on April 14. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan Aunt Chippy talks about being on Jimmy Kimmel's show
Concetta Potenza, Aunt “Chippy” to Jimmy Kimmel, talks about her first time being featured on her nephew’s show. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro at Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro At Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cotton candy crowns pancakes in Las Vegas
At Maxie’s at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, executive chef David Mangual fills pancakes with fruit and cream cheese and piles on pastel cotton candy, which is melted in a stream of chocolate syrup. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Bananas Foster Pancakes go up in flames at The Stove near Las Vegas
Chef Antonio Nunez at The Stove in Henderson, near Las Vegas, flames the pancakes tableside for a fiery presentation. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
El Loco Rollercoaster at Circus Circus' Adventuredome
The El Loco rollercoaster opened at the Circus Circus' Adventuredome in February 2014. It features a 90-foot ascent, followed by a drop that produces a negative 1.5 "verticle G," a 180-degree turn, and reverse 240-degree roll that turns into an inverted drop. The coaster reaches a maximum speed of 45 mph and is the only indoor coaster of it's kind in the U.S., and is the second indoor El Loco coaster in the world, according to MGM Resorts.
Bartending flair competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show
Highlights from the ten contestants who competed for the Shake It Up Flair and Classic Competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Justin Kingsley Hall shares details on his next gig
Chef Justin Kinglsey hall shares some details about the newArts District restaurant he's developing with Kim Owens. (Al Mancini/Las Vegs Review-Journal)
Film prompted Carrie Hogan to found 2 farmers markets in Las Vegas
Carrie Hogan founded Fresh 52 Farmers and Artisan Market in Las Vegas after realizing she had to do something about the influence of factory farms on the food supply. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Seafood dishes being made at Pasta Shop near Las Vegas
Executive chef Edwin Martinez incorporates fresh pasta into Lobster Salmon and Saffron Shrimp Sauté at Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery in Henderson, near Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Home Front Page Footer Listing