Many longtime Las Vegans have been pleasantly surprised to see one of their favorite restaurants reincarnated in the northwest. Vega’s Cafe, 7280 Azure Drive, opened last year in Centennial Hills and has been doing solid business thanks to regular customers who used to frequent the previous location, called El Calderon, in the Fast Break bar on North Decatur Boulevard, and before that, in its original spot on Charleston Boulevard and Arville Street.
Centennial Hills was hurting for good Mexican food until Vega’s saved the day, specifically with its signature chile relleno, always the most popular item on the menu. It’s a somewhat traditional version of the dish, with a pasilla chili pepper stuffed with cheese and cooked in a light tasting batter. The twist is the sauce: chef Celia Calderon covers her rellenos in a fresh white sauce with diced tomatoes.
A few miles away, a new restaurant with roots in Seattle serves more exotic versions of the relleno. Galerias Gourmet, 1780 N. Buffalo Drive, formerly the site of Coco’s Restaurant, has been open a few months. It’s not your ordinary Mexican restaurant, and the rellenos here are not battered and fried. The chilies are roasted and filled with flavorful, often healthy ingredients. Take for example, the Nogada: a poblano pepper filled with ground beef and pork, apples, almonds, raisins and peaches, and served with a nutty cheese sauce with a hint of sherry. Sounds weird? It is, but also delicious.
Both restaurants are open for lunch and dinner, and both are worth a visit.