Q&A: Lanny Chin
Chef Lanny Chin hails from Cleveland and spent much of his cooking career there before relocating to Las Vegas a few years ago, although he did spend a year at the legendary Alinea in Chicago. He hasn’t been in Vegas long, but he’s found his way to some of the most popular local restaurants in the valley, including downtown favorite Eat. Chin established a scratch-cooking program at PKWY Tavern, helping to transform a beer-centric gaming saloon into a true dining destination. Now he’s taking his biggest shot yet with the new Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms, a hip venue with a dynamic street art theme and a menu stacked with crowd pleasers at one of the buzziest resorts in the city.
You’re working just off the Strip now with Clique Hospitality’s various venues at the Palms. What did you learn about Las Vegas and what locals want from your previous gigs?
It was a whole different world coming from Cleveland. There, the dining experience was based completely on food and then service. Coming into Vegas, you find a mix of food and service and throw gaming into the mix, and there’s definitely more showmanship involved. I would do beer-pairing dinners and I’m cooking and cooking but at the same time you’re coming out to talk to guests and building that rapport.
You just won big on Chopped, the popular but grueling cooking competition show. What was that experience like?
We were filming for about 16 hours and it was this emotional roller coaster. You spend the whole day cooking and being judged and there’s a bit of probing your personal life, too. It’s exhausting. The reward is amazing, way past the $10,000 prize, because the reach of that show is huge. People I know in Cleveland, Chicago, Alaska, all over were sending lots of texts and love.
You’ve been working with Clique Hospitality recently but Greene St. Kitchen is the company’s first food-centric venue at the Palms.
Absolutely. Camden Cocktail Lounge and Apex Social Club are great venues and a lot of fun but they’re not food-centric. And Greene St. Kitchen is a totally different concept. All the artwork and the décor is beyond interesting, so different than anything I’ve ever seen. And the food is different as well.
Greene St. Kitchen feels like a great fit among the other new Palms restaurants, too.
It is a melting pot. Scotch 80 Prime is a great steakhouse but then we have this 24-ounce wagyu ribeye and it’s amazing. We have Shark opening up soon with Bobby Flay but we have a sushi program we’re doing at Greene St. with a lot of hand rolls and specialty rolls. Everybody has their specialized thing at this hotel, but we’re the only place that’s pulling from everywhere to bring together this menu.
Any dishes you’re particularly excited about?
We do this really amazing lobster pasta that, when you look at it, it has a certain simplicity to it. It just looks like spaghetti and bacon and lobster meat, but a lot of time and effort goes into making the lobster cream sauce that’s the core of the dish. It’s rich and has such a strong lobster flavor. That’s a lot of what we’re doing on this menu, simplicity with a lot of effort behind the scenes. Another dish I love is just a side of patatas bravas, a potato with harissa aioli. We bake the potatoes in salt, rip them up by hand, double-fry them for a nice crispy texture and we make our own mayo and our own harissa paste to make this amazing aioli.