Fast-food winners, a home-cooking bistro and Vegan vegan

Here is some info relevant to burger lovers: According to a fast-food survey by the Zagat people, the best burger comes from the Virginia-based chain Five Guys.

We don’t have Five Guys here, but take heart, we do have In-N-Out Burger, which took Top Food among large chains. We also have Dairy Queen, which ruled Best Milkshakes, McDonald’s (where else) for Best Fries, and Bonefish Grill, which won Top Regional Seafood. But wait … Bonefish just shut down its Henderson location.

Still, three outta five ain’t bad.

The survey, whose results were revealed live on NBC’s Today, covered 136 chains nationwide. Full results are available at

I write about the sprawling Sansome Park Place in Vegas Seven’s new dining feature, Neighborhood Epicurean, but I wanted to tell you a little bit more about Republic Kitchen & Bar (9470 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 110, 463-3500), which just opened there. It’s an American bistro with home cooking and a busy bar scene. It replaced the Irish pub Fado, and the revamped space has hard wood floors, a fireplace and a white brick wall, as well as an upstairs area they call The Loft.

The menu is based on comfort foods such as the Kobe Sloppy Joe ($11), with ground Kobe beef, Maui onions and ripe tomatoes, and the Vermont Cheddar Grilled Cheese ($10) on sourdough bread with soup. If that’s not nostalgic enough, you could order a “TV Dinner”: either the meat loaf with garlic mashed potatoes ($16) or the turkey with stuffing, corn and a mini cherry cobbler ($15)—both are served on a porcelain TV tray. Or you can splurge and get the fancy-dancy lobster potpie ($23).

Meanwhile, on the Strip, there are further menu developments as the result of Steve Wynn having gone vegan. His team of star chefs has introduced a vegan dining program for guests—a forward-thinking idea if there ever was one. Every fine dining and casual restaurant at Wynn and Encore now offers vegan items, the first place on the Strip to do so on a large scale.

Alex Stratta is doing fava-bean purée with hon shimeji mushrooms, snap-pea salad and aged balsamic vinegar at his eponymous Alex, while Kim Canteenwalla has responded with a chopped salad with avocado, carrots, celery, pumpkin seeds, edamame and tarragon vinaigrette at Encore’s Society Café. Mark Lo Russo has created Summer Vegetable Gratin at Botero; there is now risotto whipped with seasonal vegetables at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare; and Jet Tila has put a Vegan Crunch Roll with crispy asparagus, avocado, cucumber and arare on his menu at Wazuzu.

It’s almost enough to make a boy give up steak.

Hungry, yet?

Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at