In spite of the oppressive July heat, there continues to be lots of movement and innovation in our restaurants, especially those geared for locals. We are now at the very end of the Copper River (wild sockeye) salmon season, and if you?ve not experienced this fish—colored a deep orange from an abundance of omega-3s—you?re missing out on a rare treat.
Two of my favorite local places to eat this salmon are McCormick & Schmick?s (335 Hughes Center Dr.) and King?s Fish House in the District at Green Valley Ranch. At McCormick & Schmick?s, a chain founded in Portland, Oregon, the best way to eat such a wild Alaskan fish is to have it simply grilled and served with a Cara Cara orange relish, approximately 8 ounces for $34.99.
The price point is lower at King?s, by about $10, but the piece is slightly smaller, and although the options to cook it include having it saut?ed with a hazelnut crust or on a cedar plank with a dry spice rub, the one at McCormick & Schmick has better flavor.
King?s, however, is also having its annual Lobster Festival, which means live Maine lobster as well as soft-shell crab. I tried the tempura version, which was a mistake, if you are a purist like me, since the batter was overly heavy and sodden with oil. Still, this is a restaurant I like, with seemingly endless options.
Also happening right now is the return of McFadden?s Restaurant & Saloon, now at Town Square, a grand Irish pub that once held court in the Rio. McFadden?s features dozens of draft beers, absurdly large 80-ounce fishbowl cocktails and pubby dishes, such as the Pickle Back Burger, Lasagna Bun Burger and Dublin Rolls to go along with more traditional fare from a 24/7 menu spanning a full Irish breakfast to corned beef.
Over at the Shops at Crystals in City Center, Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina (238-1000) has launched new family-style dinners on Sunday evenings, which include antipasti, salad, a main dish and dessert for $28 per person, served to four or more guests. Among chef Dustin Lewandowski?s creations, look for his grand platter of artisanal Italian cold cuts, a mouthwatering tomato-braised pork ragu with tagliatelle pasta and zeppole, warm doughnuts served with an array of sauces. Dinners are offered from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. And for $28 extra, they?ll throw in one of Puck?s own wines, either a bottle of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay or cabernet.
Finally, the World Food Championships announced today that the Fremont Street Experience and Fremont East District will be the official host venues of the highest-stakes food sport competition in the world. The event is set for November 7-10 and will feature almost 500 competitors seeking fame and fortune in Downtown Las Vegas. See more at WorldFoodChampionships.com/News.
Follow Max Jacobson?s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at VegasSeven.com/Blogs.