It’s an old problem in Las Vegas—where to meet for lunch? One person works in Summerlin, the other in Green Valley, and you’re both tired of the same old spots. This is one problem Google can’t fix.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the prospects are on the rise for the business lunch. In coming up with seven, I had to leave a number of places off the list. For example, maybe Mastro’s Ocean Club at Crystals should have made the cut, as I think it might quickly evolve into the power lunch place for casino executives—you tell me.
I chose the following places for their menu variety, quality and location, making sure that neither you nor whomever you’re meeting has to drive too far. They also all have good vibes—to ensure the ink on that contract will be dry before dessert.
The former Wild Sage Café doesn’t have the cache it once had, but the food here is still terrific, and it’s next to the airport. I always expect a smile from Laurie Kendrick, the lovely manager, and good food from the chef, her brother, Wes. His salami pizza, French dip, meatloaf and salads still rival any in town. Great desserts, too. 600 E. Warm Springs Road, 263-0034.
If you’re anywhere near Chinatown, take Horace Greeley’s advice and go west, young businessman, to this comely little café at the far end of the district (just north of Spring Mountain Road, on Jones Boulevard). China MaMa belongs to a woman from Taiwan, and the specialty here is juicy pork dumplings called xiao long bao, which spurt liquid when pierced. Shanghainese beef roll, green onion pancake and sliced fish in chili sauce also make great lunch fodder. 3420 S. Jones Blvd., 873-1977.
Sit by the lake at Desert Shores while lunching on the food of Emeril Lagasse alum Jean-Paul Labadie. You can buy any wine in the shop and drink it with your meal for only a $10 corkage, and choices are amazing. Labadie makes a mean gumbo, serves some of the best charcuterie in town, and does several classic French sandwiches. 2620 Regatta Dr., 804-8008.
This power breakfast and lunch spot is a pastel-hued room with excellent acoustics and free newspapers. There is the option to eat outside at the pool, or inside in the series of small alcoves. The cuisine is best described as Italianate with touches of California, from the accomplished hand of Executive Chef Michael Goodman, and the pastries and breads from Alsatian Jean-Luc Daul are masterful. In the Four Seasons Hotel, 632-5121.
Never mind the easy-in-easy-out parking valet, plush elevators or the fact that this restaurant isn’t terribly busy at lunch. If only for the food alone, this would be my choice for a power lunch at CityCenter. I love the tandoori platter, sushi made to order by a master chef, Shawn Armstrong, and the Chinese dim sum that complements traditional Western lunch fare. If there is a more eclectic, refined or sophisticated hotel restaurant in town, I haven’t found it. In the Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter, 590-8888.
Lola (call her Beth) Pokorny is a real down-home Louisiana girl, and it shows on her menu at this hot spot. Since the city lost Commander’s Palace, this is the most reliable place in town for Cajun cooking. Don’t miss the charbroiled oysters, crawfish pie, red beans and rice or a star bronzed catfish with grits and andouille. How ’bout dem Saints? In the Holsum Lofts, 241 W. Charleston Blvd., 227-5652.
Hash House a Go Go
If excess is your thing, this is the place. One-pound stuffed burgers, fried chicken and waffles, and a potpie large enough to hide a turkey in are wildly popular in this room, which is too crowded and noisy for my taste. But it must be crowded for a reason. 6800 W. Sahara Ave., 804-4646.