Red Rock Resort’s new Mexican restaurant Mercadito is now open to the public, but I was able to get a few bites in during the spot’s pre-opening play days. Based on what I sampled—all of which was well-balanced, with interesting flavors and riffs on well-known dishes—Mercadito is a welcome addition to Las Vegas’ dining scene. The restaurant’s Toreado guacamole combines the familiar avocados with sautéed, pureed onions and Serrano chilies for heat. The addition of Maggi (a seasoning sauce similar to soy sauce) delivers an umami punch and a whole new level of flavor. Also, as a nacho aficionado, I am looking forward to Mercadito’s version, which has been created just for the first Las Vegas outpost, and promises to be properly constructed with even distribution of cheese and chipotle mojo so that no chip feels left out.
Meanwhile, on the Strip, the 90-second Neapolitan-style pizza cranked out by 800 Degrees (in Monte Carlo, 702-730-6800) comes in the traditional margherita style, topped with tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil that’s supposed to be an homage to the Italian flag. But I’m more interested in the bianca, or white version, that puts that creamy buffalo cheese right on the chewy, blistered crust along with pungent Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic, oregano and fruity olive oil. Add on any other toppings you have a taste for, but I’m partial to the Tartufo, the specialty pie that uses the bianca as a base and adds truffle cheese, mushrooms, roasted garlic and arugula.
Some of the best chicken wings in town are by Blue Ribbon, and while you can certainly order a bucket of them at the Cosmopolitan’s installation (702-736-0808), you can score them for half the price all summer at Brooklyn Bowl (in the Linq, 702-862-2695) from noon to 4 p.m. and again from midnight to close. The Bowl has also introduced a weekend brunch that includes challah French toast, a meat frittata and two dishes whose names alone have intrigued me to try them: the Jim Morrison, which involves a 10-inch pancake and more fried chicken, and the Sloppy Josephine, made with queso fresco, baked eggs, mashed potatoes and Sloppy Joe meat. Between the aforementioned dishes, the ice cream desserts benefiting Three Square, the bowling and, oh yeah, all the huge musical acts onstage nightly, it seems as if Brooklyn Bowl wants to become your summer destination.