MTO Goes Korean, Sinatra Goes All Out and Moonen Gets A Day of His Own

Sinatra-Sinatra Jack Daniels-Westley MylesAlthough chef John Church has been chugging away at his Sunday Night Supper Series for quite some time now, it’s nice to know he hasn’t run out of steam or creativity for the monthly pop-ups. The MTO Downtown shop transforms into a Korean brasserie on April 19 ($65, 500 S. Main St., 702-380-8229), and after looking at the lineup, even seasoned diners will look at a menu and exclaim, “Come on!” in disbelief. In addition to dishes from Church himself, an amuse from MTO talent Eduardo “Lalo” Saavedra and dessert from the soon-to-arrive Hapa Sweetery, the rest of the lineup will be a doozy. The recently displaced Daniel Ontiveros brings a gochujang (Korean red-pepper paste) pig ear terrine with white kimchee salad. Brian Howard of the highly anticipated Harvest & Larder will be daring as usual with heritage pork tartare tenders and heart. Yusho wunderkind Brian Lhee comes with his version of Korean barbecue short ribs with tofu cavatelli, sesame leaves and crispy anchovies. The event also ties up a long UNLVino weekend, when hearty, homey Korean food just might hit the spot.

Considering that Frank Sinatra’s birthday isn’t until December 12, April 9 seems a little early to celebrate his centennial, but not if we’re doing it at his namesake restaurant in Encore ($185, 702-770-3463). Especially if it involves signature cocktails made with Jack Daniel’s whiskeys, Ol’ Blue Eyes’ personal favorite (two fingers, three rocks and a splash of water). There’s even the Sinatra Select variety, bottled at 90 proof and aged in special “Sinatra barrels,” which have deep grooves inside to expose the spirit to more of the oak for a deeper, richer, smokier profile. Chef Theo Schoenegger has created a four-course menu to accompany the booze (because let’s face it, a meal in homage to this entertainer puts the drinks before the food), including a classic Italian hors d’oeuvres such as mini polpettini; prosciutto-wrapped grissini; crab salad with beets and suprémes of orange; and a meaty entrée of prime filet mignon with black truffle potato gratin.

If any chef deserves a day in his honor, it’s Rick Moonen, who celebrated 10 years in Las Vegas in February. Bump your usual pranks on April 1 for Rick Moonen Day, or as he likes to refer to it: Moonen No Foolin’ Day. The champion of sustainable seafood will receive a proclamation from Mayor Carolyn Goodman at 9 a.m. at City Hall, a small gesture thanking the owner of RM Seafood and Rx Boiler Room (both in Mandalay Bay, 702-632-9300) for his contributions to the city’s culinary and civic communities.

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