Two trends we can expect to see continue throughout 2011 are the proliferation of non-Chinese Asian restaurants on the Strip and a spate of new food trucks.
Sea: The Thai Experience recently opened at Bally’s. It’s a long, narrow space with an abundance of wood and a variety of menus, including vegetarian and gluten-free. Both Thai and Vietnamese cooks are toiling at the ranges. Expect nothing transcendent or terribly authentic, but good, solid Asian fare. Pad Thai noodles were workmanlike, but grilled lemongrass chicken tasted like it does in small ethnic spots. Vietnamese spring rolls and pho, the beef noodle soup, are also highlights, as well as the lychee martini. The one caveat applies to those who like extreme cuisine: We requested extra spicy and got a bland response. Call 967-3888 for a reservation.
Meanwhile, Sloppi Jo’s, our newest food truck, launched Dec. 30. The brainchild of a former server at Commander’s Palace and N9NE, Jolene Mannina, its menu features Hatch green chiles, with items including tacos, chicken stew and the flavorful Sloppi Jo, slow-roasted pork with red chile sauce and a fried egg served with a tortilla. Locations TBA on Twitter, @sloppijos.
Last week in Vegas was one that all foodies everywhere would have envied. The Three A’s—Spain’s José Andrés, Juan Maria Arzak and Ferran Adrià, chef/owner of El Bulli, the most famous restaurant in the world—were in town to check out Andrés’ two new restaurants at the Cosmo: Jaleo and China Poblano.
Arzak, a robust 68 years old, was the second man in Spain to have a three-Michelin-star restaurant, and Adrià, who plans to turn his epicurean shrine in Roses, Spain, into a foundation in July, is a legend. None of these three men, incidentally, takes kindly to calling what they do “molecular gastronomy.” To Andrés, it is “Spanish avant-garde cuisine,” something that was developed in Spain, by Spanish chefs, and today is imitated all over the globe. Me, just throw a paella pan at me and I’m a happy camper.
Finally, who ever thought that vegan dining could be fun? As you’ve heard, Steve Wynn has up and gone vegan on us, and his chefs are doing vegan dishes at all restaurants. Try the muffaletta sliders, or the tofu and avocado Napoleon at Botero, any Vegan noodle dish at Wazuzu, or the many Vegan pastas at Bartolotta, such as a farrotto, like a risotto, but made with spelt (farro in Italian). For dessert, pastry chef Kimberly Valdez does a vegan carrot cake at Lakeside Grill with a thick layer of frosting and candied pineapple that will amaze and astound you. For more information about what’s on the menu at Wynn, call the restaurants individually at 770-7000.