An Inside Look
Everybody knows that Las Vegas hit the jackpot when it comes to restaurants - big-name chefs have opened outlets in all the top casinos. Less known, though, is that off the Strip, there are loads of great restaurants that offer lower prices, homier atmospheres, and fabulous food. Locals love them, and now you can as well.
THE EGG AND I
Ignore the slightly hokey decor (floral wallpaper) and focus instead on the friendly staff and signature dishes: frittatas, savory crepes, and overstuffed omelets. I usually opt for the Cincy omelet, which comes packed and piled with chili. My kids dig the banana pancakes.
4533 Sahara Avenue, Suite 5;
Lunch of the Day
LOTUS OF SIAM
A poker player first brought me here a few years ago, and I've been coming back ever since. Situated near a pool hall and a karaoke joint, this hole-in-the-wall serves intensely spiced, authentically prepared food from northern Thailand. I count red curry, whole grilled fish, and spicy beef among my favorite dishes. Ignore the buffet and order off the menu.
953 East Sahara Avenue
Dinner Is Served
Piero's is a magnet for old-Vegas high/low society (marquee-name entertainers as well as politicians are among the regulars). Mayor Oscar Goodman loves the kosher chicken. I prefer the osso buco. A wisecracking waiter once told me, "We'll take the bullet out before we cook it." You know you've arrived when bombastic owner Freddie Glusman starts busting your chops - right before he comps an appetizer.
355 Convention Center Drive
Elegant and sleek, Mayflower bills itself as offering Chinese food with French influences. I'm not sure that's exactly the case (it's always seemed more Chinese than French to me), but there's no question that the food here is stellar. As a certain sports-betting acquaintance of mine likes to say: "You've gotta get the baby back ribs, coconut shrimp, and grilled tenderloin of beef in Mongolian sauce. Those are a lock."
4750 West Sahara Avenue
Thanks to the meticulous cooking of its chefs (who are also the owners), this place would be a top restaurant in any American city. It's where I like to go for a good, long, relaxing dinner that is more about pleasure than about work. Rosemary's New American cuisine ranks among the best in town, and the Maytag-blue-cheese-glazed New York strip tops my list of favorite dishes here.
8125 West Sahara Avenue
THE BOOTLEGGER BISTRO
When it's four in the morning and I'm craving a plate of chicken parm, I hit the Strip, drive south of Mandalay Bay, and head for this sprawling spot, which has been in business since 1949. The current location is only six years old, but smoky lighting and red leather banquettes transport you back to the louche but cool Vegas of Lefty Rosenthal. And if you happen to be in the mood for eggs, order frittata di Maria with homemade Italian sausage.
7700 Las Vegas Boulevard South,