Chicken Matzo Ball Soup at Weiss Deli
Mike Weiss serves the best homemade matzo ball soup in town at his friendly neighborhood deli, a place that for many years was called Samueli’s. The matzo ball has the fluffy texture of the ones made by a Jewish grandmother; its rich broth is nicely stocked with chicken, carrots, celery and onion—comfort food at its best. $5.25 small, $7.25 large; 2744 N. Green Valley Parkway, 454-0565.
Paella Valenciana at Julian Serrano
The baked Spanish rice casserole called paella has been badly abused in this city, until now. Serrano, a Madrid native, is the chef at the highly acclaimed Picasso, and he knows his Spanish cuisine. His eponymous restaurant at Aria does it right. This one, redolent of saffron, is stocked with rabbit, chicken and chorizo, a tribute to authenticity. $40, In Aria, 590-7111.
Cinnamon Roll French Toast aft Black Bear Diner
Custom black bear sculptures greet you as you enter this cozy diner filled with—what else?—black bear decor. It is a perfect place to bring the kids, especially thanks to this fun breakfast dish. A cinnamon roll is sliced, dipped in egg batter, grilled to perfection, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with maple syrup. Mmm. Just don’t let the bears get to it before you do! $7.29, 6180 W. Tropicana Ave., 368-1077.
Triple Combo at Bagel Café
Back in the old days, a deli sandwich worth its salt required two hands to pick up, as this one does. Bagel Café, a popular place in a Summerlin office park, has a lot of great things, including smoked fish, but this gargantuan sandwich is the prize. You can select your own combination of machine-sliced meats from New York’s National Deli, such as beef brisket, corned beef and pastrami. $13.50, 301 N. Buffalo Dr., 255-3444.
Athens Fries at Paymon’s
This Mediterranean restaurant and lounge features Greek, Italian, Middle Eastern, Persian, Indian and vegetarian specialty dishes. Restaurant owner Paymon Raous, who developed this recipe many years ago, decided on the name because of the Greek seasoning. The fries have a combination of 16 spices, and the dipping sauce has a combination of 18 spices. They also cook the fries so they don’t become soggy and stay crisp throughout your whole meal. $2.95 side, $4.50 full order, 4147 S. Maryland Parkway, 731-6030.
Filet Nachos at John Cutter
This neighborhood restaurant has become a popular spot for a casual lunch, dinner or even late-night dining. Its biggest hit is this dish. The blue and red corn chips, which are made to order, are covered in a homemade cheese sauce, then loaded on top with pico de gallo, olives, jalapeños, guacamole and steak. However, if you prefer chicken it is “no sweat” to them. $15, 11770 W. Charleston Blvd., 309-6200.
Royal Tandoori Platter at MOzen Bistro
With its sushi chef, Chinese chef and American chef, Mandarin Oriental’s casual restaurant is as versatile as any restaurant in the city. But oddly enough, it is this platter of meats cooked in a cylindrical clay oven that really stands out. Lamb, chicken and salmon come coated in a yogurt-based marinade, zesty, crusted with spice and steamy moist under the surface. $36, In Mandarin Oriental, 590-8882.
Shrimp With Lobster Sauce at KJ Kitchen
Look for the red awning on the north side of Spring Mountain Road for this busy Cantonese eatery, a major favorite with visiting Chinese from California. While they eat fish maw, pork kidney and goose intestines, have this Cantonese-American classic: shrimp in an egg rich sauce laced with green peppers, minced pork and stewed onion. Don’t expect lobster; they’re in KJ’s live tank. $11.95, 5960 Spring Mountain Road, 221-0456.