Ever since Steve Wynn handpicked her to help develop his fine-dining vision at Bellagio, Elizabeth Blau has been responsible for bringing countless celebrity chefs, hot restaurants and a new approach to dining to our city. For the past 10 years she has helmed Elizabeth Blau & Associates, a boutique international restaurant development and consulting company that has worked with clients from Ritz-Carlton to Carnival Cruises to create unique dining and hospitality experiences. In 2012 she and her husband, chef Kim Canteenwalla, opened Honey Salt in Summerlin (see Best Neighborhood Restaurant).
Best “Fast Food”
Monta Ramen has freshness, simplicity and clean, bold flavors—all in a bowl. We love to take out and boil the noodles ourselves at home. The richness of the broth and the depth of flavors from the noodles and vegetables is the perfect Sunday-afternoon comfort food. Don’t miss the kimchi fried rice! 5030 Spring Mountain Rd., Suite 6, 367-4600, MontaRamen.com.
Best Sushi This Side of Tokyo
The pristine interiors, the extraordinary quality of the fish, the simplicity of the menu and the absolute professionalism of the staff—Kabuto is unrivaled in Las Vegas, and possibly the entire U.S. Gen-San is not only a sushi master; he also is hilarious and charming, and adds a refreshing and personal touch of warmth to the whole room. 5040 Spring Mountain Rd., 676-1044, KabutoLV.com.
Best Healthful Treats
After indulging in so many of Las Vegas’ fine dining options, Go Raw is our family’s go-to healthy spot, with fresh fruit smoothies and vegetables juices, raw salads and desserts that completely satisfy. And the hummus is incredible. 2910 Lake East Dr., 254-5382; 2381 E. Windmill Lane, 450-9007, GoRawCafe.com.
Best Reason to Leave Work Early on Friday
The Prickly Pear Margarita at La Comida. Bartending genius Johnny O’Donnell has channeled his inner Irish-Mexican and has come up with the best margarita in the Valley. The Prickly Pear Margarita can derail even the best-laid plans … $9, 100 Sixth St., 463-9900, Facebook.com/LaComidaLV.com.
Best Excuse for a U-Turn on Sahara
Megan Romano’s pies and assorted desserts at Chocolate & Spice Bakery are amazingly good—and dangerous for the diet. The breakfast and lunch menus are fresh and delicious, and she has been expanding her savory offerings to include some really wonderful dishes, such as a killer fried rice and a beautiful spring vegetable couscous salad. 7293 W. Sahara Ave., 527-7772, ChocolateNSpice.com.
Best Alternative Sunday Brunch
KJ Dim Sum & Seafood. Just park on the west side of the Rio to enter right into the dim sum oasis. The selection and freshness of the dim sum do not disappoint. 777-7777, RioLasVegas.com.
Jaleo by chef José Andrés is my go-to spot for entertaining out-of town guests and also for a special night out. The design, atmosphere and ambience can’t be beat. Right on the edge of all the action in the Cosmopolitan, it still has its very own unique feel. The cocktails and wine list rock, the small-plates menu makes for fun and lots of diversity, and the nightly paella made over a wood-fired stove never disappoints. Lobster paella remains a favorite—it’s worth the wait. In the Cosmopolitan, 698-7950, Jaleo.com.
Best Place to Eat When I Can’t Make Up My Mind, And Don’t Want To
Also by chef Andrés, China Poblano combines my two favorite cuisines—Chinese and Mexican—in an eclectic, unexpected but delectable manner. Start with a salt-foam pomegranate margarita and some guacamole, and then dive right into dim sum. Great for lunch or dinner, this casual fine dining on the Strip never disappoints—and you can’t find this concept anywhere else … yet. In the Cosmopolitan, 698-7900, ChinaPoblano.com.