Lamar Moore is head chef at one of the Las Vegas Strip’s most exciting new restaurants, the eclectic Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse at the Flamingo. The dynamic eatery pays tribute to the hotel’s historical legacy in several ways, including a hidden speakeasy known as the Count Room and an old-school bakery façade. But the menu blends vintage Vegas favorites with fresh, modern flavors, and that’s where Moore comes in. He was awarded with his gig by winning the Food Network’s Vegas Chef Prizefight reality competition show, filmed right here on the Strip, and the experienced chef can’t wait to continue the momentum at the new restaurant and his own personal culinary evolution.

Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse was already one of the most anticipated new restaurants coming to the Strip, but with current circumstances, it seems like the opening is even more exciting.

I would agree. We’ve been able to take care of our guests one by one while social distancing and we’re pretty spread out in the kitchen as well, finding ways to maximize taking care of our food and beverage and service. As this thing comes to an end, I think some of these systems we’ve established will definitely stay in place. Bringing sanitary practices to a higher level heightens our ability to execute better.

You’re from Chicago and so is the restaurant’s design company, Studio K. Is there a little bit more of that city’s style influencing the experience here in Las Vegas?

I think so. As I get more acclimated to Las Vegas—we’ve only been open for about a month—there should be more additions to the menu that are more inclusive to myself and some things I can bring from Chicago that I think Vegas would like to see. And there are people looking for items they saw on the show that were successful during the competition so I’d like to integrate some of those items, too, and put a little more Chicago love on there.

Of course, you won Vegas Chef Prizefight to earn your spot on the Strip. What surprised you about that TV experience?

A lot of those shows have you going to some restaurants but competing more in one central place, which we did in every episode, but I was surprised at how many of the Caesars restaurants we were able to cook at. It was great and now that I’m (here) I realize that gave me a real bird’s-eye view of what we do as a company. It really gave me a heads-up of what Vegas is all about.

You knew you wanted to be a chef from a very young age, cooking and tasting food with your grandmother at home. Was there a moment in your career when you defined your own cooking style or discovered your own food?

That happened for me about five years ago (when) I took an opportunity to work at a barbecue restaurant as a partner and help that company change and get the food how I wanted it to be. That really helped me find my culinary point of view and where it was going because I started to hone in on dishes I grew up on. An example of that and one of the biggest dishes I did on the show was fried chicken, which I always enjoy cooking and do it very differently. I put rice flour in my mix which comes from time I spent in Peru, where they fry things a little lighter. It’s really about taking everything I’ve learned and honing in on my point of view.

What are some of your favorite dishes on the Bugsy & Meyer’s menu?

I really love the lobster mac and cheese and you can’t go wrong there. The crab cake is super light and has a summer feel to it. The shortrib is outstanding with gnocchi, wild mushrooms and a really great jus. And I’m a big fan of the tomahawk steak, especially if you’re looking to share something, and we like to do it with our bacon and eggs steak topper. I enjoy eggs day and night and this is like a cool little secret on the menu. We throw on some of our house dry-aged pork belly with maple glaze and a sunny side-up egg.

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