On and Off the Strip: Once, Sparrow + Wolf and more
On the Strip: Once
If you’ve always believed the Las Vegas Strip offers every imaginable cuisine, you’ve never been more right. The rare and singular experience of Peruvian Nikkei—originated by Japanese immigrants cooking with South American ingredients in Lima and other cities in Peru—comes alive at Los Angeles chef Ricardo Zarate’s bold Once (The Palazzo, 702.607.3797).
Colorful combinations include some familiar flavors, like traditional lomo saltado done with tender filet mignon and just the right amount of soy sauce, as well as exotic adventures like a tiradito of the tropical corvina fish with sweet potato and crispy garlic in aji amarillo dressing. Once is the perfect place to share plates big and small, from a beautiful beet salad with burrata cheese to a tomato-based stew with grilled striped bass and rocoto pepper aioli.
This eclectic new restaurant is emblematic of the Strip’s diversifying style and flavor. But Once would be one of a kind no matter where it plants its roots. –Brock Radke
Off the Strip: Sparrow + Wolf
Wood-fired dishes are en vogue, and nowhere in Vegas is that more evident than at Sparrow + Wolf (4480 Spring Mountain Road, 702.790.2147), chef Brian Howard’s remarkable Chinatown restaurant that emphasizes his old world-style versatility: an Asian-Italian amalgam in his rich wood-fired lasagna; an upscale riff on the classic Philly cheesesteak with a wood-roasted bone marrow “beef n’ cheddah”; and smoky maitake mushrooms strewn atop an addictive Turkish hummus. The hearth-warmed hominess of this gem is a welcome comfort. –Jim Begley
Even though it was indoors, the patio at Spago’s original Forum Shops location was legendary, the preferred spot for power players closing deals over lunch or celebrating success at supper. Fast forward to now: Spago has moved to Bellagio (702.693.8181) and constructed a sleek, outdoor space with unparalleled views of the famous fountains, a regal destination for a new generation sharing mezze plates, seafood salads and basil-kissed spaghettini while making moves. The legend lives on. –BR