Some dim sum, a killer cuppa and a hidden dining triforce

Hark! There is good news for lovers of dim sum in Las Vegas. Cathay House (942-7777), our city’s most venerable establishment for the Cantonese snacks and savories, has recently opened at the Palms. Said resort owner George Maloof, “It’s something we tossed around in our heads for a long time. So many Chinese guests used to leave for their meals and head to nearby Chinatown. Now, they don’t have to.”

It’s a restaurant within a restaurant, if you will. It is situated in the back of the casino’s 24/7 café, heralded by a sign you might miss, perched high above the front entrance. Dim sum is eaten at lunchtime, but here, that menu will be available from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m., and until 4 a.m. weekends. (The dim sum menu shrinks after 3 p.m.)

Chef Ping Kwan Lam of Hong Kong, working with hotel executive chef Henry Garcia, is putting out favorites such as sticky rice dumplings, char siu barbecued pork, congee and wonderful pan-fried, deep-fried and baked pastries, all meant to be enjoyed with various types of Chinese tea. A complete Cantonese menu is served, dishes such as crab steamed with garlic and ginger, pea shoots, hot pots and Peking duck, all done with skill and authenticity. Chinatown? Who needs it?

Meanwhile, if coffee’s your thing, not tea, I recommend a sensational new brew at Sambalatte (750 S. Rampart Blvd., 272-2333) in Boca Park. Owner Luiz Oliveira is sourcing coffees from Brazil, but his newest import, a single-farm one, Fazenda Vicosa, has a honeyed acidity and a fruity complexity, making it ideal for both drip and espresso. Wow!

Finally, there is a mall behind a gas station just north of Interstate 215 on Sunset Road off Decatur Boulevard (4850 W. Sunset Road) where it’s possible to eat well at three different venues. Phat Phranks (247-6528) has Mexican beef barbacoa to die for, in big, tender chunks they use to stuff a sandwich called the Catota Roll. You won’t finish it.

Next door is Not Your Average Deli (367-2549), a New England-style seafood restaurant and one of few places in Vegas to get Ipswich clams, fried with the bellies on, available in a roll or on a plate. The deli also does a mean Maine lobster roll, and a rich, homey chowdah.

Finally, there is Asian Grill (248-0089). This is a fairly standard ‘burbs Chinese restaurant, but with a twist. There are Japanese dishes, too, such as seafood grilled on a hibachi, and assorted bento lunch boxes.

Hungry, yet?

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Crispy Zucchini at Farmer Boys

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Crispy Zucchini at Farmer Boys

Occasionally we get sick of eating hamburgers with a side of fries. Sometimes it’s variety we crave, and this California burger joint gives you just the right option with crispy zucchini. Served in batches of either four or seven pieces, freshly sliced zucchini is battered, fried and served with a side of ranch dressing. The only scary thing is the calorie count listed next to it on the menu. $3.45 for four pieces, $4.53 for seven pieces, 5847 S. Decatur Blvd., 871-8500.

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