There was a time when a hot food trend took up to a year to cross the United States. Today, thanks to Twitter and other online tools, that journey can happen in a matter of weeks.
Not long ago, Kogi, a Los Angeles taco truck with a Korean twist, started an avalanche of national imitators. Now there is a food truck called Slidin’ Thru doing fancy burgers and sandwiches in Vegas that changes locations daily—all you do is follow its schedule on slidinthru.com.
On a recent Friday, I stopped by the parking lot at Shuffle Master, on Palms Airport Drive, at noon, and an overflow crowd was lined up at a food truck, prepared to wait for an hour. I can’t imagine waiting that long for any burger, but these folks did.
The people I spoke to gave high marks to the Yaya, a Greek-style burger with feta cheese and tzatziki sauce, and the Barbie, which is glommed up with cheddar, bacon, fried onions, jalapeño and barbecue sauce. Is it worth the wait? You call it.
Over at Crystals mall at CityCenter, the Puck team, led by chef David Robins and General Manager Matt Dickerson, decided to pull the plug on their new concept, Brasserie Puck, and replace it with Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina (238-1000). It was a wise decision. Business has doubled in no time flat.
So goodbye to onion soup and charcuterie, and hello fried calamari and pizza with Italian sausage. “We got tired of watching people read the menu and walk,” says the restaurant’s executive chef, Dustin Lewandowski.
For the record, the boy can cook. His osso buco, chicken piccata and penne carbonara with English peas, are excellent examples of popular Italian dishes.
More good Italian eating, meanwhile, awaits you at Valentino Las Vegas, which has just opened Vin Bar & Lounge at the Venetian (11:30 a.m. until past midnight daily, happy hour 2:30-5:30 p.m., 414-3000), the latest addition to the award-winning restaurant. “The addition offers guests another option for an extraordinary dining and wine experiences at Valentino Las Vegas,” executive chef Luciano Pellegrini says. “For guests that don’t have time to sit for a full meal at our grill or fine dining room, they can still enjoy the hospitality and cuisine that defines us.”
The area, in the front of the restaurant next to the casino floor, is furnished with designer sofas and flat-screen TVs. The small-bites menu features salumi such as prosciutto, speck and sopressata, plus an international cheese selection.
Small plates are priced competitively at three for $12, six for $24 or a la carte, and can be anything from blood orange lobster tail with peppery baby arugula, to green apple scallop with apple tartare.