Potato Knish at Cut
The famous oeuvre “Thin Cook, Fat Cook” makes me think of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, where David Robins and Lee Hefter square off on menu concepts. At Cut, arguably the best Las Vegas steak house, small potato knishes, a complimentary amuse, are dense, moist and filling. Better plan on a lesser cut of beef. At the Palazzo, 607-6300.
Market Chop Salad at Society Café
This dish can be ordered a la carte or as part of the restaurant’s new “Lunch Box” menu, catering to busy professionals with a taste for inventive American cuisine and a lively atmosphere. The salad consists of organic turkey, Havarti cheese, avocado, carrots, celery and pumpkin seeds tossed in a white balsamic-tarragon vinaigrette. Choose from a selection of sandwiches and for dessert, doughnut bites or fresh fruit, to complete this three-course lunch box for adults. $23 (lunch) and $16 (a la carte), Encore, 248-3463.
Morning Bun at Starbucks
For years I’ve been annoyed at the quality of the pastries at this ubiquitous chain, and it is cold comfort that they are equally bad all over the country. They now have panini heated up in a special microwave, though, and this delicious, yeasty bun pulls apart in layers. Have it heated with an overroasted cup of joe, the chain’s mainstay. $1.85, various locations, starbucks.com
Shrimp Pita at Crazy Pita
Mehdi Zarhloul does great rotisserie chicken, marinated in preserved lemon like the dish poulet m’chermel from his native Morocco. Pita sandwiches, stuffed with kabobs, dressed with hummus or baba ghannouj, topped with cucumber, onion and tomato, are wonderful here. His shrimp pita is filled with spiced, grilled shrimp and deliciously seasoned cauliflower. Bet you can’t eat just one. $7.95. The District at Green Valley Ranch, 896-7482.
Lobster Wontons at Tao
This award-winning Asian bistro/nightclub is a go-to spot for every celebrity who comes to Las Vegas. Tao’s pan-Asian cuisine is a big reason for its popularity. According to chef Nathan Henssler, the wontons are hand-folded every day, filled with Maine lobster and shrimp, and finished with a light shitake mushroom broth and scallions. $18, the Venetian, 388-8338.
Bananas Foster Pie at Texas de Brazil
Dining at this restaurant is an experience in itself, as you choose from a wide selection of meats carved at your table for a fixed price. Texas de Brazil also has the finest selection of desserts, and the Bananas Foster Pie is its leading reason to save room. The dish is layered with bananas, ladyfingers cake, fudge and nuts over a graham cracker crust and then topped with whipped cream and caramel. $7.50 per slice, Town Square, 614-0080.
Beef Carpaccio at Olives
Todd English, one of the most well-known and respected chefs in the country and creator of this Mediterranean restaurant, has many signature restaurants that run along the East and West coasts. His Las Vegas restaurant serves this tasty starter dish made with mixed greens, thinly sliced beef carpaccio, cippolini onions, garlic aioli and balsamic reduction over crispy polenta. $17, Bellagio, 693-7223.
Meat Loaf at Off the Strip
This wildly popular Southern Highlands café and restaurant specializes in retro red-sauce Italian, but the meat loaf is the menu’s best bargain. Two mammoth slabs of oven-baked ground meat come topped with thick brown gravy, flanked by a dome-shaped potato pie. It might be the most filling plate in town for the price, and it is certainly one of the best. $10, 10670 Southern Highlands Parkway, 202-2448.