Fall Restaurant Week is upon us once again from August 22-28, when we can help others by dining out all across the Valley. The program has become so successful it’s expanded beyond affordable, prix fixe menus at posh spots such as Mesa Grill in Caesars Palace and Andre’s in Monte Carlo.
This go ’round, Three Square food bank has paired up with MGM Resorts to present cooking demos at the Whole Foods Green Valley and Town Square locations on August 14 and 21. The Henderson store (100 S. Green Valley Pkwy., 702-361-8183) features Julian Serrano’s chef Rafael Salinas and Hecho en Vegas’ Reed Osterholt showing hungry guests how to put together small plates with Spanish and Mexican influences. Aria property mixologist Craig Schoettler will be on hand with fun, handcrafted cocktails to pair with the dishes. The Las Vegas Boulevard locale (Town Square, 702-589-7711) features chefs Ben Jenkins and Anthony Schultz, both from Michael Mina’s arsenal of talent, demonstrating Mina’s signature refined American cuisine.
Also part of Restaurant Week, Vegas Seven Best of the City winner MTO Café will help out with a “Fly Me to the Moon” pop-up dinner August 24 ($65, 702-380-8229). The six-course, retro-inspired menu features dishes such as oysters Rockefeller by Chris Keating of Border Grill, pork chops and applesauce by MTO’s own Johnny Church and filet mignon Oscar style from Golden Gaming’s Joseph Romano.
Looking ahead, I’m excited at the prospect of another hat thrown into the Las Vegas barbecue ring with the September opening of Pot Liquor CAS—short for Contemporary American Smokehouse—at Town Square. Chef Doug Bell spent time at Heraea in the Palms, Stripsteak in Mandalay Bay and Sedona Restaurant & Lounge before touring the barbecue belt for six weeks on a knowledge quest. He made his way through Memphis, Nashville, the Carolinas, Kansas City and, of course, Texas, to eat the regions’ respective meats and build a solid foundation for his menu.
Pot Liquor CAS takes these local traditions and brings them together for a style all its own, with dishes such as grilled prawns with boudin noir, pork belly with grits and hangar steak with oxtail ragu. For those who aren’t up on their soul food terms, pot liquor is the juice created after stewing collard greens to death. To some, the earthy, almost meaty broth has restorative properties; the pot liquor that’s produced at this restaurant will be used in interesting ways, including as an addition to the Bloody Mary mix. It certainly can’t hurt.