On and Off the Strip: Best Friend, Pizzeria Monzu and more
On the Strip: Best Friend
Have you ever found yourself yearning to wander through a convenience store, grabbing a Jameson and Coke Slurpee along the way while sneaking into a celebrity chef restaurant? As incredibly specific a wish as that might be, you’re in luck at Roy Choi’s whimsical new restaurant where a c-store façade leads to the L.A. chef’s first foray onto the Vegas Strip.
Best Friend (Park MGM, 702.730.6770) is a serious restaurant that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Tracksuit-clad servers deliver hits such as salinity-laden uni dynamite rice, umami-laced cucumbers and sizzling spicy pork from a menu strewn with high school pictures of Choi and his staff.
Don’t overlook the chili cheese spaghetti amid the lineup of Korean dishes. Choi’s ode to a favorite childhood dish from Bob’s Big Boy includes a high-end take on Cincinnati chili and interweaves heat-laden peppers and a hearty dose of onions and cheese heaped atop pasta. It’s comfort food at its finest. –Jim Begley
Off the Strip: Pizzeria Monzu
Pizzeria Monzú’s (6020 W. Flamingo Road, 702.749.5959) savory, rectangular sourdough crusts are topped with upscale ingredients from scamorza cheese and spreadable ‘Nduja sausage to apricots and arugula. The starters are standouts, including deep-fried squash blossoms and sweet and sour meatballs. For lunch, try a crispy porchetta sandwich with Parmesan-truffle fries. Fantastic cocktails are filled with hard-to-find European spirits, and weekends bring live jazz in the evenings and bottomless prosecco during Sunday brunch. –Greg Thilmont
#trending: Golden Tiki
Adam Rains is giving the Golden Tiki (3939 Spring Mountain Road, 702.222.3196) a cocktail menu makeover with creations that stay true to the classic tiki spirit. A great example is the Black Betty, which gets its color from activated charcoal. The main ingredients include sweet and spicy Betty Page Rum, Pusser’s Rum and a house-made ginger and spice cordial. It will soon be on the menu but is now offered on Tuesdays, when guests can enjoy rockabilly music and Betty Page Rum specials. –Rob Kachelriess