Editor's Note: This is the third and final part of our dining section of the WSOP Primer series. You can view parts one and two below:
By CKBWoP, Rakeback.com Poker News Special Guest Columnist
Great food in Las Vegas is not limited to on-Strip dining. Here is a sampling of some of my favorite off-Strip restaurants. There is a significant bias toward Asian or Asian-inspired restaurants because there is too much competition in the on-Strip category for most other types of cuisine.
If you ask a group of poker players what is the best off-Strip sushi restaurant, chances are high that they’ll say either Sen of Japan or Naked Fish’s (just down the street at Flamingo / Durango). I give Sen of Japan the nod because of its minimalist presentation of amazing ingredients. Go for the omakase (tasting menu) to experience the best offerings.
Settebello is an authentic Napoli-style pizza restaurant, which means a wood fired oven, thin hand-worked dough crusts and fresh ingredients. I’m partial to the capricciosa (prosciutto, artichoke, mushrooms and olives), but you can build your own pizza.
Musashi is the teppanyaki destination of choice in Las Vegas. Order the yoshida special, and you’ll be feasting on ribeye, lobster tail and fried rice. Those who are in the know always make sure that Tiger is their chef.
Bachi Burger features Asian-inspired appetizers, burgers and steamed sandwiches. The bachi pickles and edamame stir fried with garlic, ginger and chili are great starters. Burgers range in style from Korean (kim chee and ko chu jang), to Japanese (Japanese cole slaw, miso goma dressing and katsu BBQ) and beyond.
Raku is a charcoal grill restaurant that I often describe as the Japanese version of tapas. Check out the fresh agedashi tofu and asparagus okaki appetizers, along with grilled delicacies such as kobe beef with wasabi, scallop with soy sauce and enoki mushroom wrapped with bacon.
Mint features a lunch buffet, but the best dishes are ordered from the menu. Some highlights include lamb korma, chicken makhani and mahakali mango chicken (a Himalayan dish).
Lotus is widely recognized as one of the top Thai restaurants in the country. Chef Saipin Chutima is the 2011 James Beard Foundation winner of Best Chef: Southwest (and was nominated in 2010 and 2008). Lotus features common Thai dishes (tom yum soup, curries and pad thai), but why settle for common when you can experience authentic Thai food that you’ll rarely find anywhere else.
If you’re hankering for Louisiana-style cooking, Hot N Juicy is the place to go. While this may be one of your messier dining experiences, there’s nothing like picking through some crawfish while nibbling on potatoes and corn.
Monta is a Japanese ramen restaurant where you choose your type of ramen (tonkotsu, miso or shoyu) and toppings. Most people have only experienced ramen in the form of the 3 for $1.00 prepackaged variety. Don’t let that stop you from trying true Japanese ramen.
There are a plethora of Vietnamese restaurants in the Chinatown area (Pho Saigon 8, Hue Thai, etc.), but my significant other prefers Pho Kim Long. It’s a typical pho restaurant with generous portions and flavorful broth.
Las Vegas has a burgeoning food truck scene. Some of the more popular trucks are Slidin’ Thru (www.slidinthru.com), Sloppi Jo’s (www.sloppijos.com), FukuBurger (www.fukuburger.com) and Han Shik Taco (www.hanshiktaco.com). Local poker players support these food trucks so much that some of them are working on setting up close to the Rio during the WSOP or doing deliveries during WSOP dinner breaks.
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