It took considerable audacity for Wei Lee to open Big Wong in the same mall already home to Monta Japanese noodle house, a Korean barbecue joint, and Raku, our best Japanese restaurant. But Lee, who sports a black T-shirt with the Big Wong logo and has Cantonese and Brooklyn accents at the same time, isn’t intimidated in the least.
The transplanted New Yorker has posted a sign above the door (5040 W. Spring Mountain Road, 368-6808) that trumpets his beef ramen soup, but it’s nothing like Monta’s. First of all, there is soft brisket and chewy cartilage in the stock; this is authentic stuff. Second, it’s laced with green onion and bulked up with Chinese noodles—only a distant cousin to Japanese ramen. The choice is yours.
The rest of the menu is heady, intense and laughably cheap. There is an entire menu for $4.95, including pork chop rice, Hainan chicken or shrimp wonton soup. Order the fried shrimp wontons and get 10 perfectly fried pouches still gleaming from their oil bath, 100 percent shrimp inside.
September is also the month for one of my favorite food events of the year, the Las Vegas Greek Festival, now in its 39th year, Sept. 23-25 at St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church (5300 S. El Camino Road, LasVegasGreekFestival.com). In addition to the Greek music and dancing, there are raffles and other festivities. I come for the homemade Greek pastries such as the honey puffs called loukoumades and the buttery cookies called korambiedes. But this is also one of the only places in Las Vegas for roast lamb cooked on a spit, and the gyros and souvlaki are terrific, too. It’s big fun.
The always cutting-edge Innovative Dining Group rolled out a new menu this month at Sushi Roku in the Forum Shops at Caesars (733-7373). Items include smoked salmon carpaccio with black truffle shaved at table, Kobe meatballs in lettuce cups and Albacore tacos “Roku style.” Executive chef Hiroshi Shima is an experienced sushi master.
Finally, mark the dates Oct. 1-2 to attend the inaugural Asian Food Festival and Trade Show at the Orleans (LVAsianFoodFestival.com), expected to draw crowds of more than 40,000 people and to be the largest Asian community event Las Vegas has ever hosted. Visitors will choose from more than 30 food vendors from many Asian countries, enjoy cultural performances, shop for crafts and enjoy live entertainment.