On the Strip: BBQ Mexicana

Celebrity chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have long maintained a dominant presence on the Strip’s Mexican food landscape with Border Grill at Mandalay Bay. This year they introduced a neat little package of bold flavors with BBQ Mexicana (702.632.7403), a takeout counter operation steps away from the restaurant and ideally situated for business travelers and conventioneers looking for a quick bite. It’s a fast-casual eatery with a low-and-slow philosophy: You know you’re close when the aroma of smoked meat strikes. Fill up with a pulled pork, avocado chicken or burnt ends brisket burrito, stuffed with hand-crafted ingredients like chipotle coleslaw, crispy jalepeños or barbecue mole sauce.

The smoked tofu bowl with cilantro lime rice, quinoa and charred corn relish offers a lighter bite without sacrificing deliciousness, and the chorizo and potato breakfast burrito is becoming a fast favorite for those on the go. Slow down and savor every bite. –Brock Radke

Off the Strip: Cleaver

Cleaver

Cleaver

Nine years after opening Herbs & Rye, Nectaly Mendoza is ready for round two with Cleaver (3900 Paradise Road, 702.538.9888), specializing in butchered meats, seafood and classic cocktails. Begin your meal with a delectable steak tartare atop buttery sourdough toast. Signature dishes include a sweet and robust squid ink pasta similar to carbonara and a seared sea bass served with pea and mint risotto. But the steaks are the real stars. The 16-ounce ribeye delivers a melt-in-your-mouth experience; go medium-rare to enjoy the rich marbling. –Leslie Ventura

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The newly constructed strip mall on the corner of Buffalo Drive and Warm Springs Road just off the 215 Beltway has quickly become the new local foodie hot spot. It’s anchored by the ubiquitous favorite tavern PT’s Gold and the Vegas-born, Asian-influenced burger spot Fukuburger. It also offers the first restaurant version of popular L.A. sushi burrito truck Jogasaki, the island-style Fist of Fusion Grill and a second, expanded store for The Goodwich, one of the city’s all-time great sandwich shops. –BR