The Venetian’s Asian Treasure, ’Cues to Take, and a Pleasing Vegas Uncork’d Preview

One of our best-and most overlooked-Asian restaurants is Noodle Asia in the Venetian (414-1000). I stopped by during a busy NCAA tournament weekend, and had a table by the panoramic windows facing the sportsbook, watching the frenzied crowds screaming for their teams.

The food was amazing: Red wontons—fragrant, yielding noodle skins stuffed with minced pork in a fiery broth—began the feast, along with tiny lamb chops grilled with an Asian spice rub, and shrimp and yellow chive dumplings with crisp skins. Later, we ate a delicious take on Szechuan beef noodle soup, Chinese sausage fried rice and hot braised shrimp. Wow! The restaurant is owned by Kevin and Karrie Wu, who you may know from their other two places, Ping Pang Pong and Noodle Exchange, both in the Gold Coast.

I had lots of barbecue last week, as well. First, I stopped in at Downtown’s Big Ern’s, which is open only from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Ernie Loya’s meats—especially the pulled chicken and tender ribs—are even better when slathered with his tangy homemade sauce. And his baked beans, shot through with shredded pork, are themselves worth a detour.

Then I hit the new Top Notch Barbecue at 9310 S. Eastern Ave. in Henderson, once a food truck and now a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Look for the signage that reads Doc Holliday’s. It’s slightly confusing, but the food is excellent, notably the fork-tender spare ribs and, when they don’t run out, the crusty, juicy brisket. Side dishes, including sloppy chili-cheese fries (Cincinnati-style, redolent of aromatic spices like the famous Skyline chili in that city) and a delicious sweet-potato casserole topped with pecans, will bring you back if the meats don’t. Call 883-1555 for hours and more info, or visit

The Country Club in Wynn is now offering happy hour from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Chef Carlos Guia has created a menu of savory happy-hour small bites, including maple-and-bourbon-cured candied bacon with Aleppo chile; oyster shooters with Creole-spiced Bloody Mary mix; and American wagyu beef skewers, peppadew pepper poppers and barbecue pulled-pork sliders. The New Orleans-trained chef is one of the best on the Strip. Reservations are not required.

Finally, I was at a preview luncheon for Vegas Uncork’d, our premier food event, May 9-12, sponsored by Bon Appetit magazine. It was in Bellagio’s Tuscany Kitchen, where chefs from Border Grill and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon—two restaurants that will participate in the event—dazzled a group with dishes, such as scallop carpaccio and pepita-crusted lamb chops. I can’t wait.

Hungry, yet?

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