In mid-March due to fears over the spread of the novel coronavirus, restaurants throughout Las Vegas and southern Nevada closed their doors to patrons. In response, many dining locales (including those helmed by award-winning chefs) started offering take-out and delivery options. In May, Governor Sisolak lifted the stay-at-home order and, with the help of the Southern Nevada Health District, allowed dine-in service to continue. New restrictions have been put in place to protect public health. Employees must wear face masks, menus are disposable or posted for contactless viewing, utensils are either disposable or thoroughly sanitized between customers, and tables are all at least 6 feet apart. Bars that do not serve food, buffets, and nightclubs will remain closed until further notice.
The Best Kept Dine-In Secrets
Not all of the best restaurants are located on the Strip. Honey Salt offers farm-to-table cuisine in a homey atmosphere away from the glitz and glamor of the casinos. Two impressive women are at the helm, restauranteur Elizabeth Blaue and Chef Kim Canteenwalla, but their imposing resumes in no way hinder the warm environment and approachable menu. Lunch treats include a locally-sourced vegetable crudite, Grandma Rosie’s turkey meatballs, and a backyard burger. The dinner menu features brick chicken, filet mignon, and caramelized scallops in a vanilla bean truffle sauce. Epicurean families that are still avoiding crowds need not worry. Honey Salt is offering take away comfort meals that feed 4 including buttermilk fried chicken, meatloaf, BBQ ribs, and chicken parmesan. They are also open for brunch.
James Trees is a Las Vegas native and 2020 James Beard Award Finalist. His resume is a veritable who’s who of fine-dining (he’s worked for Eric Ripert and Michael Mina). However, he went solo in 2018 and Esther's Kitchen (named after his great-aunt and posthumous financial backer) is the fruit of his labors. The Roman-style trattoria has a thoughtfully curated Italian menu including vegetarian options, pizzas, and Trees’ famous pasta dishes. The menu highlights seasonal offerings and changes frequently but the chitarra cacio e pepe, spaghetti pomodoro, and nduja (a kind of sausage) are regular staples. Even their cocktails are seasonal and emphasize Italiani amari. The trattoria is open for both lunch and dinner daily and brunch on the weekends.
Sparrow + Wolf
Even though takeout is frequently used to “scratch an itch” for local restaurant cravings, Sparrow + Wolf’s presentation is a feast for the eyes as much as the stomach. Artfully prepared, they have just as many vegetable offerings as meaty entrees. Diners can compare coal roasted corn or smoked sunchoke tortellini with Jidori chicken skewers and Spanish octopus summer rolls. The restaurant emphasizes woodfires and hearth ovens. Chef Brian Howard is constantly rotating specials in his foodie destination nestled in Chinatown. Appreciative guests can add a round of cold ones for the kitchen staff to their tab.
Takeout Dining Favorites
Even without currently offering dine-in accommodation, Other Mama is a seafood lover’s dream. Japanese-inspired, though not technically a Japanese restaurant, this westside eatery has a takeout menu rich in raw, oceanic delights. Only 20 minutes from the strip, Other Mama’s takeout menu features a sushi bar spread, a poke bowl, soba salad, and ceviche. Diners that aren’t enthusiastic about seafood can order kimchi rice with a farm egg or Japanese fried chicken.
The Black Sheep
Daniel Boulud protege, Jamie Tran, opened The Black Sheep back in 2017 and critics are still trying to categorize the cuisine (exceptional isn’t considered a category, unfortunately). It gained notoriety as Eater’s Restaurant of the Year and Desert Companion’s Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year all within 12 months of opening. Tran’s Vietnamese background inspires her cuisine and the overall feel is both comforting and delightfully foreign. Her takeout spread currently features a three-course tasting menu. Vietnamese imperial rolls, lemongrass short ribs, and Siagon cinnamon rolls are some of the highlights.
Tough Choices Made Easy
Finger Licking Foodie Tours
There are over 165 restaurants reopening for dine-in service (and even more offering takeout); such a large number can be daunting for out-of-town foodies. Why not let Finger Licking Foodie Tours design a progressive dining experience for you? The tour company is currently offering two-and-a-half-hour tours in the Arts District, Downtown and the Strip. Basically, Finger Licking Tours reserves space at well-known and VIP restaurants for tour groups. The groups can choose from a small selection of predetermined plates at a given restaurant (with the option to order more as time allows) before moving on to the next stop. Tours consist of three or four stops. Most stops on the tours also have a bar and guests are encouraged to pair wine, cocktails or beer with their dining selections. Enjoy sampling Las Vegas neighborhoods and delicacies without doing any of the restaurant research or wasting time making reservations.