Morton plants a flag downtown, and Las Vegas gets a custard cluster

Mexican cooking meets American rock. How does that grab ya?

It bodes well for fans of the ever-livelier downtown food and bar scene, especially because the accomplished restaurateur Michael Morton of La Cave at the Wynn is behind the project.

Tamares Las Vegas Properties, owners of the Plaza and other properties, has announced that Morton will be opening a restaurant at 106 S. Sixth St., and it should be hot. (Think fancied-up Latin American-style street food a la La Cave’s chef Billy DeMarco and friends.) I’ll keep you posted.

July 14 was Bastille Day, and many restaurants put on their Sunday best. I stopped in at Comme Ça, where chef David Myers hosted a lavish buffet stocked with merguez, lamb sausage made in-house, “beer can” chicken and the best marinated mussels I’ve ever eaten in Las Vegas. This is going to be a yearly event, so mark your 2013 calendars.

Meanwhile, a host of other restaurant happenings around the Valley have captured my attention. Henderson has the new Noodle Cha-Cha (2021 W. Sunset Road, 567-3000) a pan-Asian noodle joint with excellent won ton soup, Vietnamese pho and dan dan mein, the Chinese version of spaghetti Bolognese, if you don’t mind a little tofu in your meat sauce. Dinner features items such as Peking duck sliders, Vietnamese-style spring rolls, pad Thai and pork chop rice, and the cooking here is solid, tasty and reasonably priced.

Eastern Avenue south of Interstate 215, it happens, is becoming a Mecca for frozen custard. Already home to Nielsen’s and Mr. D’s, now there’s Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers (9809 S. Eastern Ave., 434-3733, a national chain that serves, in my opinion, the best custard on the street. The custard has a rich, creamy texture, thanks to lots of egg, and the vanilla and chocolate are standouts. The chain also serves Chicago-style Vienna beef hot dogs and various incarnations of burgers. The grilled bread, cheese and onions on the patty melt were delicious, but the meat … Best stick to the custard.

Hungry, yet?

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I don’t have quite the same reaction to the jingle of an approaching ice-cream truck as I used to (break into a run, first to my dad for some change, then to the street for cherry or lemon Italian ices), but I do recall the pleasure that icon of Americana brought with it each trip through my neighborhood.

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