Lemongrass Café, the diner-like Vietnamese restaurant in a mall on Eastern Avenue and Pebble Road in southeast Las Vegas (8820 S. Eastern Ave., 463-1300), has new owners, and the food is better and more diverse than ever. The 160-item menu has dishes such as the classic spicy soup bun bo Hue, stuffed calamari, grilled lemongrass beef, and several variations of pho, the meal-in-a-bowl rice noodle soup.
The Epicurean Charitable Foundation of Las Vegas (ECF) will host the organization’s 11th annual scholarship fundraiser, M.E.N.U.S. (Mentoring & Educating Nevada’s Upcoming Students), at the M Resort’s upscale Villaggio Del Sole Pool and Entertainment Piazza at 7 p.m. Sept. 28. Chefs from Gordon Ramsay’s steak house, Hubert Keller’s Fleur, Shawn McClain’s Sage, Carla Pellegrino’s Bratalian and others will participate. Counting Crows will provide entertainment. It should be a fun event, even more so for the students awarded scholarships for a full ride to attend UNLV’s hospitality school.
Meanwhile, beer lovers can head over to The Mirage for Hoptober, a monthlong beer fest that apes Munich’s Oktoberfest. The emphasis will be on craft beers, and a few of the resort’s restaurants will participate. Kokomo’s and Onda, for example, will offer $79 four-course menus with beer pairings throughout the month. In addition, seminars on selected Fridays and Saturdays in the Onda wine lounge will begin at 4 p.m.
Over at the MGM Grand, chef Michael Mina is doing a creative happy hour at Nobhill Tavern, and it lasts all night. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, the tavern is serving snacks and finger foods such as bangers and mash, fritto misto and crispy chicken wings with Korean barbecue sauce for $6. Nibble on those, and sip libations such as the Perfect Effen Drop—Effen Black Cherry, fresh sour mix and crème de cassis, shaken, not stirred.
Kudos to Bellagio for having been chosen as America’s Leading Casino Resort by the World Travel Awards in a ceremony Sept. 14 in the tiny Caribbean nation of Turks and Caicos. This is quite an honor. The WTA is like an Oscar in the travel industry, and senior tourism officials from more than 30 countries participate.
Finally, after I finish this column, I’m headed over to chef Natalie Young’s new downtown breakfast and lunch spot, Eat, which opened on Sept. 15. Sometimes, after days of fancy food, American comfort fare is the only thing that makes sense.