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STRIPLVDINING - PIERO'S

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STRIPLVDINING - PIERO’S

By Vegas Food Nerd

Located across from the Las Vegas convention center, Piero’s is a 36-year-old dining institution. This family-run, high-end dining experience has been stationed in its current location for 31 years, and the interior remains a classy old-school experience, the likes of which are a dwindling find here in Las Vegas. The glitz of the ultra-modern casinos that rise all around it coupled with a celebrity chef scene figuratively arm wrestling each other for the next corner of the foodie scene make Piero’s a welcome place to visit.

As much as I enjoy trying new and inventive cuisine, consistency and attention to the classics is a like a warm hug to your senses. Piero’s is legendary in many ways as well. It’s been patronized by over 500 celebrities— just go ahead and name one, and trust me they’ve probably been there. It was also used to film the classic Casino as well. It’s an iconic spot that offers up Northern Italian fare and is known nationwide for some of the freshest seafood dishes in the city.

The chef is Gilbert Fetaz. Trained in France, Gilbert worked in Canada, Bermuda, The Bahamas, Florida and then Chicago. While working in Chicago, Paul Anka dined in his restaurant and ate his cuisine. The iconic singer was so impressed with his skills that he hired him to come and work at his nightclub in Las Vegas. The club was very well received. When Piero’s was in the planning stages to open in 1982, they hired him to helm the kitchen, and he has been there ever since. Fetz’s philosophy on food is that it should be tested, fresh, and consistent. This simple mission statement of his has kept patrons coming back to Piero’s time and again for 36 years and counting.

The interior of the space is classic elegance with stone wall accents, rich dark woods, luxurious leather booths, and fine linens on all tables. The walls are adorned with artwork, antiques, and various memorabilia about the restaurants. While visiting, take a moment to walk around and tour the history of the place before or after you dine. Before dining, also take some time to get a pre-dinner drink at their iconic Monkey Bar. It’s a great place to sip on a cocktail before your meal. Piero’s features entertainment as well and Iconic Vegas performer Pia Zadora makes regular appearances that you can catch on weekends from time to time at the restaurant.

Now let’s talk about the food! They are known to sell between 80-100 plates of their classic take on Osso Bucco each night. The meat is meltingly tender served alongside their homemade fettuccini, accented with fresh porcini mushrooms. It’s an incredibly savory and satisfying dish. Visit from October to April, and you will get to indulge in their other famous offering: fresh, sweet, succulent stone crab. You won’t have to ask if they are in season, you will know the moment you walk up into the lobby, where they display the tempting shellfish on crushed ice, tempting you to start your meal with the delicacy.

We’ve been lucky to dine at Piero’s several times, and have many favorites on the menu, like their suprema di Pollo Vesuvio chicken breast with tomato, fried eggplant and topped with melted mozzarella or the veal saltimbocca with prosciutto, sage, and white wine or their agnolotti freschi alla crema fresh pasta stuffed with spinach and cheese and covered in a decadent cream sauce.

One of my favorite reasons to visit is their selection of fresh fish flown in daily. It’s a welcome surprise to hear the latest available specials. Chef Fetaz prides himself on his seafood creations as one of his specialties. Let your server guide you through them and then select the one that appeals to you. So far they have never let me down.

On a recent visit, my friend was so enamored by the sauce on her special that she asked for more of the savory mustard sauce and the waiter quickly obliged.

That leads me to the final reason that Piero’s always consistently delivers on, and it is their service. Many of the staff have worked at the restaurant for 20 years or more, and their attention to detail and keeping the customer happy is impeccable. It’s worth a visit on your next visit in Vegas. To make reservations at Piero’s visit pieroscuisine.com or call 702.369.2305

 

Holmstead Fines Chutney

Created by Le Cordon Bleu London grad and Alabama native Rebecca Williamson, Holmsted Fines is an all-natural line of chutneys grown in the south. Add this to your pantry because it compliments cheese boards, meats, bread and can add some zing to your sandwiches. The flavors include green tomato chutney, peach chutney and balsamic red onion chutney. Pour a jar over a bar of cream cheese for a party platter or top grilled meat or fish for a zing of flavor. The best part is that for each jar sold a portion goes to help fight hunger and human trafficking. Buy some for yourself at holmsteadfines.com.

STRIPLVDINING - MOTHERS DAY BRUNCH IN VEGAS

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STRIPLV DINING - MOTHERS DAY BRUNCH IN VEGAS

 

Bardot by Michael Mina

Located in the modern casino resort Aria, is Michael Mina’s Bardot. This French spin on brunch will score you some big brownie points with the moms in your world. His double-decker croquet Madam is noteworthy, as is his take on French toast, and his Nutella pastries. What begs many repeat visits to this Parisian-feeling place is his assortment of croissant benedicts— prosciutto, short rib bourguignon, smoked salmon, or avocado— all a decadent delight. Make your reservations at michaelmina.net.

Americana

Chef Stephen Blandino has created a waterfront oasis at his new restaurant, Americana. The former chef of Charlie Palmer at The Four Seasons has opened his gourmet dining destination for locals in the know, located right on the lakes in Summerlin. Some of his more notable brunch dishes include his bourbon glazed shrimp and grits, spiced lemongrass mussels, French toast with a berry compote, and his flat iron fries smothered in a creamy cheese sauce. The setting makes you feel as though you took a flight to another city in some remote resort town on the water. You can opt for a bottomless mimosa and/or Bloody Mary, and give Mom something to brag to her friends about. Make your reservations at americanalasvegas.com.

MOM-Osa Brunch at Chica

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and a unique afternoon brunch awaits at CHICA. Join Chef Lorena Garcia in celebrating the one-year anniversary of CHICA at the MOM-Osa Brunch on Sunday, May 13th. This special day will feature a stunning celebration of Latin American flavors from Sweet Corn Pancakes, Dulce de leche French Toast, Lemon Donuts with Blueberry Compote to Chicken Chicharonnes, Grilled Peruvian Octopus and more.  This lively brunch event is the perfect way to celebrate Mom with a “MOM-Osa” or two in hand alongside one of the most empowering female chef’s in the industry, Lorena Garcia. CHICA is located in The Venetian Las Vegas. Make reservations at venetian.com or call 702 805-8472.

STRIPLVDINING - CARSON KITCHEN

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CARSON KITCHEN

By Vegas Food Nerd

Carson Kitchen is the last restaurant concept brought to us by the late “Rock n’ Roll Chef” Kerry Simon. The restaurant, which is a casual eatery that serves dishes in the style of Kerry’s innovative take on American comfort food, continues to pay homage to the restaurant legend in their space, a portion of the re-purposed mid-century John E. Carson Hotel. The restaurant features two bars, one adjacent to the main dining room with a sleek swanky feel, and a roof-top bar that sometimes features musical acts. Guests can also take their libations out to the renovated courtyard with its outdoor fireplace and colorful murals. The head chef as of December is now Scott Simon, Kerry’s younger brother. He was personally mentored by the notorious chef and is proud to continue cooking in his honor.

Driving up to the restaurant, and finding the place is a little bit like finding a hidden speakeasy. The white building is very nondescript, as is the entrance. Blink too fast, and you will miss it. The signage is so subtle that it’s easy to drive by without seeing it. It’s like being let in on a very tasty gourmet Vegas secret. You will look like a foodie insider when you bring friends to Carson Kitchen, which has dark wood accents and open kitchen expo, offering real-time views of the kitchen preparing the food. There are exposed unfinished wood beams throughout, with modern, sleek accents, and eclectic hanging lanterns. They have high-top community tables on one end of the main room and cozy tables for two and four throughout. The staff is dressed casually, each wearing an iconic rock band t-shirt with names like Pink Floyd, and AC/DC a subtle nod to the heritage of the bistro. A motto tiled on one wall reminds us all to “Keep Calm and Kerry on.” The brick on the other walls warm up the modern space.

When we dined at Carson Kitchen, we started with a bottle of Cielo Pinot Grigio while we perused the menu. The menu is small but has enough variety to satisfy different tastes. We started with the young beets salad. The salad arrived on a bed of sweet regional honey, three herbed balls of creamy goat cheese, crushed pistachios, microgreens and mandarin orange segments. It was delicately delicious with the perfect complementing flavors. The plate was clean in record time. Next up, we shared veal meatballs bathed in a sherry foie gras cream sauce and dotted with peas. The outside of the meatballs were a crispy contrast to their meltingly tender centers, and the decadent cream sauce was spot-on. We finished our lunch with the short rib grilled cheese made on sourdough bread, with gouda cheese, served with their spicy tater tots. It tasted just as good as it sounded. The tender meat melted perfectly into this crispy, creamy treat of a sandwich. Just as we were finishing our meal and about to leave, a skillet of their bacon jam passed by our table. It comes out hot and sizzling in a cast iron dish with a strip of bubbling brie cheese down the center served with freshly toasted crusty bread. Ok, now I know exactly what I will be ordering on our next visit.

It was a perfect homage to the chef that we knew and loved. Kerry transformed our dining scene, and to see him living on with this inventive food is such a pleasure. His presence was felt throughout our meal with the flavor, and murals of his likeness located on the walls. Thank you, Chef. We genuinely miss you.

STRIPLVDINING - CHOW MEIN HOUSE

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STRIPLVDINING - CHOW MEIN HOUSE

By Vegas Food Nerd

When a chemical engineer longs for food that reminds him of his home, he does what most enterprising people do: he opens his own restaurant. China native Alan Zhenglan channeled his once after-work passion for cooking and entertaining friends into his restaurant, Chow Mein House. The restaurant, located in an unassuming strip mall, is small but polished, and has a sleek feel to it. The interior, full of marble and linens, gives a fine dining feel to this casual dining spot.

On this visit, we opted to try one of their family dinner specials. We picked our two entrees and added on an order of their pork and vegetable potstickers to start our meal. You can decide to have your potstickers steamed or pan-fried. We love the crunchy crust from the pan, so we opted for the fried version. They were a perfect start to our meal. They also put a couple of bowls of those addictive crunchy noodles on the table that you can’t help but dip in their sweet and sour sauce in between courses. We asked to have their wonton soup with our family dinner, and that came out next. It was a fresh tasting soup filled with perfectly stuffed noodles, a generous amount of veggies, and some shrimp too. The table was very happy with our soup, and we enjoyed our service from the very attentive waitstaff.

Next came our two chosen entrees: the cashew chicken and sweet and sour chicken. The cashew chicken was very tasty with nice crisp-tender vegetables, savory cashews, and a nice savory sauce. The sweet and sour chicken was also exactly what we were hoping for— a sweet delight with just the right amount of crisp to the flavorful chicken. Our menu selections might not have been the most exotic, but the goal was true comfort food, and it was.

Chow Mein House has a great menu that will definitely lure us back to try some of their other offerings. A neighboring table ordered a couple of their noodle dishes that looked very tempting.  It is unfortunate that we visited Chow Mein House 

and didn’t try their Chow Mein, but I always love a reason to return to a great establishment, so yes add that to the checklist for next time.

The restaurant is open seven days a week, but if you are looking for a little added value, they have a nice list of lunch specials that they offer Monday through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s a cozy neighborhood spot that lends itself to repeat visits. It’s a family-run place with a staff that graciously treats you like one of their own. Take it from me, I know the big chain establishment with horses out front is just up the road, but Chow Mein House will treat you like one of their own, and spoil you just like you deserve. Now eat something.

STRIPLVDINING - THE MUSTANG RANCH LOUNGE

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THE MUSTANG RANCH LOUNGE

By Vegas Food Nerd

On a recent road trip to Reno, Nevada, my husband and I decided to take a little side trip to visit one of Reno’s most historic spots. The world famous Mustang Ranch is a legal brothel, tucked away in a majestic mountain setting, and in the center of it all is the Mustang Ranch Lounge and The Wild Horse Saloon. Anyone can visit the Lounge and Saloon, and check out the legendary establishment.

We were first struck by how beautiful the Ranch was. Just moments off the freeway we were transported to this idyllic setting with warm wooden tones, and accents. As we walked in, we were greeted warmly by the staff and settled into their comfortable, luxurious leather seating. The lighting is romantically dim, and there was a pretty girl dancing on the pole giving my husband just the right amount of eye candy to enjoy while we dined.

The menu features a wide variety of selections with many options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was early evening, and we decided to try a few items from the dinner menu. My husband ordered the ribeye steak, and I decided to order the halibut encrusted with horseradish. I love anything horseradish related so I couldn’t resist ordering it. While we were waiting for the chef to prepare our meals, our gracious host made sure our drinks were cold and continued throughout the evening to give us some of the best service that we had in quite some time.

We started our meal with an order of The Mustang Lounge’s coconut shrimp, and the shrimp were sweet, savory and crunchy and were served alongside a dipping sauce that tasted like a Pi-ńa colada. They were delicious. Next came our salads (included with the dinner), which were fresh and tasty. Our meals came out shortly after we’d devoured the shrimp and salads. I ordered my halibut with their mashed potatoes instead of the rice pilaf. My husband opted for the baked potato to go with his steak as well. My fish was perfectly cooked. It had a nice crunch to the crust from being encrusted in panko as well as the horseradish. You could taste the horseradish, but it wasn’t overpowering at all. The vegetables served on the side were nicely seasoned, and my mashed potatoes were some of the best that I’d ever had at any restaurant. Even my husband whose steak was perfectly seared agreed that they were terrific. The food was served so quickly and was so hot that everything stayed warm the entire time we dined. The portions were generous, and we enjoyed every bite.

After you finish your meal, the staff invites you to take a tour of the rest of the resort, and I highly recommend you do. Don’t let a reality show from HBO influence you on what a legal brothel is. The world famous Mustang Ranch is beautifully maintained, and the different theme rooms are fun to check out. And a big bonus to me was that I could personally thank their chef for the delectable meal she prepared for us. After our visit, we talked about how much we enjoyed our meal and compared it to places in Las Vegas that are all too eager to over-charge the unsuspecting tourist. The experience we had at The Mustang Lounge in Sparks, Nevada rivaled some of Las Vegas’s top steakhouses, and the price is a fraction of what they charge here in Las Vegas. I look forward to our return visit and eating my way around the rest of their menu. It’s a sexy dining experience that every couple should experience.

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