Don’t miss Uncorked, First Food’s big wiener and a true Vegas classic

Food events are one of the real perks of living in Vegas.

If you haven’t already done so, you only have a few more days to start planning a strategy for what is undoubtedly the premier foodie event in this city, if not the Western world: Vegas Uncorked, sponsored by Bon Appetit. The festival takes place May 6-9, with the signature event being a “Grand Tasting” ($175) on May 7 at the Garden of the Gods in Caesars Palace.

Not everyone has the chance—or wherewithal—to dine at the restaurants of chefs such as Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Bobby Flay or François Payard, but they all will be there (along with about 60 other celebrated chefs) displaying their delicious wares. Among the events on May 8 are the Ultimate All-Star Interactive Luncheon ($195) at Encore; Culinary Theater: All the Kitchen’s a Stage ($95) at RM Seafood; and the Wine Immersion Experience ($75) at Bellagio. Tickets are going fast; go to for further information.

In mid-April, a throng of Las Vegans and wine enthusiasts “took a sip for scholarship” at the 36th annual UNLVino, a terrific three-day event sponsored by Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada. It kicked off with “Bubblicious” at the Caesars Palace pool, continued with “Sake Fever” at the Palms, and culminated with its own “Grand Tasting” at Bally’s, as it is every year. The food and wines were excellent, and the event was a big hit.

One of my favorite Vegas restaurants—and the home province of one of the most underappreciated chefs in the city, Sam DeMarco—is First Food and Bar at the Palazzo. The chef recently put a late-night dining menu together, and it is killer. Choices include chicken and waffles ($17), the unfortunately named Have You Seen My 12” Weiner? ($12) and a chicken parm lasagna ($24), a two-pound monstrosity that you’ll have to be a little hammered to finish. The menu is served from 1-4 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Finally, I can’t believe it took me 10 years to eat at Neros, the classic steak house on Cleopatra’s Way inside Caesars Palace. Dry-aged steak is a specialty here, including the whopping 30-ounce lollipop-cut bone-in rib-eye. Most of other dishes from executive chef Daniel Waked are exceptional, too, such as a gorgeous roasted bone-marrow appetizer and a fresh Dover sole, boned tableside.

Service at Neros is slick and professional; the room is managed by the beautiful and competent Tamany Silvestri, one of the Strip’s real charmers. For a table, call 731-7110.

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Chopped Liver at Weiss Deli

Master deli chef Mike Weiss makes everything from scratch at his small, friendly deli, even the breads. His chopped-liver appetizer might remind you of the one your Yiddish grandmother made—a suspension with egg, onion, chicken liver and schmaltz, a.k.a. chicken fat. Served with bagel chips, pickle and tomato, it is a filling treat. $7.50, 2744 N. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson, 454-0565.