STRIPLVDINING - EAT by Vegas Food Nerd
Chef Natalie Young is a veteran of the Las Vegas dining scene – with a big-time upscale dining experience at some of the biggest hotels and casinos here in town. She and her breakfast and lunch spot, located just next to the newly opened Container Park, helped to move the footprint of DTLV farther down the Fremont trail than most expected. Young, along with Zappos trailblazer, Tony Hsieh, helped to get this Downtown resurgence going. Being one of the first to get funding from Tony’s now well-known Downtown project, Natalie sought out her small dining space, to give our city something it was really in need of: a simple, back-to-basics breakfast and lunch joint that feels like it is set in an entirely different location. It is no wonder that, after the hustle and bustle of working in the big casinos, when Natalie was finally at the helm of her own place, Eat, a straightforward comfort cuisine would be the driving force behind her restaurant.
The menu is divided up and states simply what it is. The first section is Sweet and Savory, followed by Savory, Soup, Salad, Sandwiches, Sides, and Beverages. I’ve overused the word, “simple,” now at this point, because there is nothing dumbed down about the flavors and food here. My friend and I decided that one of us would order a breakfast option, while the other would order lunch, giving us a good span of tasting on the menu. Now, before I get to the food, I have to talk about the interior of Eat. It is modern, yet relaxed, with plastic chairs (that are comfortable), sleek white tables, and a black and white wall mural, which reads: “I’ll see you in the flowers.” Its design was reminiscent of a trip I had recently taken to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It didn’t feel like Vegas, and that is a good thing. There are plenty of places that feel like Vegas, so this was a refreshing experience.
The rumor mill about Eat is that Chef Natalie Young makes the best Pancakes in town. So I will have to visit again soon, because we didn’t get to sample them or the homemade Beignets. Wait, why didn’t I try those? It was because the Chilaquiles on the menu were too tempting for me to pass up. And my friend had to have the childhood favorite: Grilled Cheese paired with Eat’s take on Tomato Soup. Let’s get back to those Chilaquiles. The plate was lined with crispy corn tortilla chips, then on top of that was a mixture of red and green New Mexico chilies and melted cheddar cheese. Then, to put the dish wonderfully over-the-top, scrambled eggs are heaped on, followed by a seared turkey, mango, and jalapeño sausage. My transportation back to the fine city of Santa Fe was complete. As for my friend’s selection, which he so nicely offered to share with me, it was just as killer-tasting, as what I ordered. The Grilled Cheese was big and fluffy, served on a Texas Toast type of bread and cooked to a gooey perfection. The Tomato Soup was creamy and seasoned just right. I think it effectively transported him back to his mother’s table for lunch as a kid. It is amazing when people create food that can do just that.
The other part of this restaurant that does not disappoint was the service. The staff was attentive and very friendly. If one of their servers walked by our table and thought that we might need a refill or a dish cleared, they stopped. It didn’t matter whose table was whose. It seemed as if all they cared about was that the diners were happy. And we were. In fact, the only thing that really bummed me out in the whole meal was that I couldn’t eat more. Just going to have to go back – again and again. The restaurant’s website describes Chef Natalie as driven by a lifelong passion for food, excellence, and giving back to her community. All we can say here at STRIPLV is that, “Chef Natalie, we could taste all three! Thanks for all you do.”
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