A call for more Cajun, a Thai discovery, and a new Japanese small-plates pub

While spending a few days in one of America’s great food cities, Charleston, S.C., I thought of a restaurant we had a few years ago at Town Square called Louis’. Chef Louis Osteen, aided by Carlos Guia (the former chef at Commander’s Palace, now at Wynn’s Country Club Grill) turned out the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever tasted, as well as many other terrific Low Country favorites.

Perhaps because of the recession, the restaurant—and its casual venue next door, Louis’ Fish Camp—closed after little over one year. Now, Town Square is thriving, but Osteen’s presence in Las Vegas feels like ancient history.

So Chef Guia, if you’re reading this, how ’bout bringing a few of his dishes back to Vegas at the Wynn? After all, you’re doing lots of Cajun stuff at your Weekend Jazz Brunch (and it’s terrific, by the way).

Hopefully, you’ve all seen MyPlate, the nutritional template from the USDA. It’s being used to replace the outdated Food Pyramid, and it is easy to understand. First Lady Michelle Obama says “even a child can use it.” Here’s a brief overview:

Picture a plate with four colored sections. Each one has a label: fruits, vegetables, protein, grains. Vegetables make up the largest sector, and together, vegetables and fruits make up half the plate. You can put whatever foods you like on that plate, and you don’t worry about portion size. Dairy foods—a discretionary group—are separate.

If you’re heading to the College of Southern Nevada Henderson campus, you might want to check out a cute new Thai place, Naga (76 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, 508-2008). The name means “water dragon” in Thai, according to owners Scott and Nan Janko. Nan is a Bangkok native, and the restaurant is decorated in pastels. The food is, Scott says, “slightly Westernized but still quite authentic.”

Several hard-to-find dishes I fancy are on the menu here. One is kra tong tong, little pastry cups filled with minced chicken and veggies. Another is crab fried rice with onion, lime, cilantro and fried egg, just like you’d eat on a beach facing the South China Sea.

Finally, the people who run the popular sushi restaurant Naked Fish have opened a Japanese izakaya, or small-plates pub, at 6555 S. Jones Blvd. It’s called Kyara, and it’s being overseen by Martin Koleff, who is also partly responsible for the all-you-can-eat venue Goyemon.

A few dishes to try include deep-fried yamaimo, a gooey potato, albacore jalapeño, and negi ma, broiled chicken with green onion. The restaurant, which is open from 5 p.m.-2 a.m., serves beer and wine.

Hungry, yet?

Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at WeeklySeven.com/blogs.

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