The Vegas strip is not really my scene. But a strip mall Chinatown full of restaurants? I’m down. Here are a few restaurants and bars in Las Vegas that aren’t too cheesy or maybe just perfectly cheesy.
On the Strip
Bardot Brasserie at the Aria
For classic french food executed superbly, head to this bistro inside the Aria Hotel. I would tell you what to order, but I could eat everything a thousand times over (except that then I would be a very big person). If you like an aviation, you won’t be disappointed here.
Finding a good brunch on the strip that doesn’t cost $40 and up per person for a buffet (I don’t care how nice it is, a buffet is scary and grotesque to me)—or doesn’t seem like overpriced eggs was challenging. But chicken and waffles I don’t have everyday. Yardbird, originally from Miami, has got all the cliché upscale southern food decor: repurposed wood, black and white photos of wrinkly men, and walls of bourbon — but the food was tasty. Yardbird’s signature dish is their spiced chilled watermelon, cheddar waffle and 27-hour brined fried chicken with honey hot sauce and bourbon maple syrup. I didn’t love the waffle but the chicken was great, as were the biscuits. After a heavy french meal the night before, the grilled mango, butter lettuce, and smoked pecan salad was much appreciated.
Pressed Juicery at the Aria
Sometimes you just want a juice. Or some activated charcoal water that you hope will help your hangover. I don’t think Pressed is the best of all the LA juice companies but it’s got a ton of options.
Sushi Samba at the Venetian
Don’t sleep on this happy hour! From 4-7 pm Sun-Fri and 11 pm till close Sushi Samba offers a number of plates for $6 and a few cocktails at the same price. Go for the wagyu gyoza with kabocha squash, Japanese eggplant anticuchos, and the ezo, amazonia and tuna rolls. Everything was much more tasty than I expected.
Off the Strip
A 24 hour tiki bar in Chinatown? Sounds like just the right amount of quirky. The Vegas Chinatown is a series of strip malls with mostly a lot of different Asian restaurants. But pull in near the Lee’s Sandwiches and you’ll find a huge tiki bar with a dance floor, clam shell sofa, starry ceilings and a great selection of tiki drinks. If you really love tiki, Frankies is popular with locals.
Lee’s Sandwiches, Chinatown
This Vietnamese sandwich chain born in San Jose is a very dependable place to rest your weary wallet. $5 for a grilled chicken sandwich on a housemade baguette might be the best deal in Vegas. Full disclosure: I had a lot of special chocolate before I ate this sandwich so naturally it was the best thing ever.
The Griffin, Downtown
For a glimpse of downtown we headed to The Griffin which felt like we were somewhere on the east side of LA. A cave-like bar with fireplaces and dance music in the back.
Pho Kim Long, Chinatown
Why yes, I would like a bowl of noodles at 4 a.m. I was sober enough to marvel at the flavor-packed broth in the combo pho, with enough alcohol in my body to appreciate how important this giant bowl of noodles was for my survival the next morning. Open 24 hours.