On the opposite side of the world, relief efforts are ongoing to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and that enabled me to meet the remarkable chef Maneet Chauhan, author of Flavors of My World ($21.95, Amazon.com), a culinary tour through 25 lands with an Indian slant to every recipe. The photos, by Quentin Bacon, are wonderful. Chef Maneet was here last month to host a dinner at Origin India, held to raise money for the typhoon victims. She’s based in New York, is opening a restaurant in Nashville, and is looking for a potential space on the Strip.
Meanwhile, Winter in Venice, put together by Sebastien Silvestri, the creative vice president of food and beverage at the Venetian, has concluded, and it was a great success. I was privileged to be a guest at the Grand Banquet, part of the La Cucina Italiana Food & Wine Festival, held to raise money for Keep Memory Alive, the charitable arm of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Mario Batali and Tuscany’s Dario Cecchini prepared an antipasto composed of meats by Batali’s father, Armandino, plus white-truffled risotto and an amazing porchetta by Cecchini, in addition to great wines. The dinner raised more than $100,000 for the charity.
Mix at the top of THEhotel (632-7200) also hosted a terrific dinner for Hartford Family Vineyards of Sonoma County, and served that winery’s top-drawer chardonnay, pinot noir and old-vines zinfandel. Chef Bruno Riou prepared a pressed foie gras and chicken terrine, slow-roasted cobia and Colorado lamb loin to match the wines, but I’d just as happily nosh on the complimentary canapés, the little cheese puffs called gougères and babajuan, a tiny Swiss chard-filled pastry served hot.
Asian dining in Vegas just keeps getting better. It took me awhile to get around to Gangnam, a Japanese/Korean ’cue joint near the Hard Rock Hotel, (4480 Paradise Rd., 802-5508), but it was worth the wait, even if the “Gangnam Style” craze is long forgotten. The restaurant is attractively done in pastel colors and dimly lit. Specialties such as Kobe beef sliced thin for grilling, premium brisket and prime kalbi short ribs highlight a menu that includes the Korean rice casserole bi bim bap, seafood pancake and firecracker shrimp.
And in Henderson, talented Japanese chef Hiro Miyoshi and his wife, Junko, have opened Tokyo Boys in a former ’50s-style diner housed in a stainless-steel caboose (375 N. Stephanie St., 834-5578). Don’t let the trompe l’oeil décor fool you: Miyoshi is a serious chef who cooked in Park City, Utah, for 15 years. In addition to a full-fledged sushi menu, the chef prepares dozens of dishes suited for the izakaya, or sake pub, among them, ankimo (creamy monkfish liver), tara saikyoyaki (miso-marinated black cod) and kampachi jalapeño. Lunch specials start at $5.95.