Head to any casino in Las Vegas and some of the most famous names in cuisine find a home.
“Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro
“Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro sets the scene for his TLC show in Carlo’s Bake Shop (The Venetian, 702.607.2356). The patisserie shop carries the same sweet treats found in his original store in Hoboken, New Jersey. Ever since original owner Carlo Guastaffero opened the bakery in 1910, the bakery dished out lobster tails, an Americanized version of the Italian sfogiatelle pastry. Now it comes in flavors such as salted caramel, chocolate hazelnut and cookies and cream in addition to the original.
Nothing brings families together quite like food, at least according to Valastro. That means a big meal with the entire family on Sunday afternoons. Valastro recreated his Sunday gravy—tomato sauce for pasta—and then added platters of sausages and meatballs for his restaurant Buddy V’s Ristorante (The Venetian, 702.607.2355). Nearly every dish on the menu comes from a family recipe.
José Andrés explores the red meat side of life at his decadent Bazaar Meat (SLS, 702. 761.7610). Go Spanish with his Vaca Vieja rib eye tasting that features the European tradition of serving a more mature animal with more pronounced flavor, the Kobe eye of the rib with beef from Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, or the wagyu eye of the rib from Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.
Adventurous diners start with cotton candy foie gras. Andrés also has Spanish tapas at Jaleo (The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 702.698.7950), a meld of Chinese and Mexican dishes at China Poblano (The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 702.698.7900) and one of the toughest tables in town serving a prix-fixe menu of gastronomic fare at é by José Andrés (The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 702.698.7950)
Giada De Laurentiis
Everything Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis cooks at her eponymous restaurant at The Cromwell (855.442.3271) blends her Italian roots with her ever-so-light California touch, but the bucatini is something special. The pasta is fresh and light, hammering home the fact that one can eat healthily and still eat deliciously. The dining room is almost as glorious as the cuisine, and lets in the natural light. De Laurentiis wanted the restaurant to have the feel of a room in her own home. She also has her grab-and-go restaurant, wine bar and gift shop Pronto by Giada (Caesars Palace, 866. 227-5938).
Mediterranean-inspired fare tinged with Tinseltown glamour finds a home at Cleo (SLS, 702.761.7612). Chef Danny Elmaleh’s mezz, or smaller dishes, are a pivotal element to any Mediterranean-inspired meal. Try favorites such as babaganoush, lebaneh with feta, and hummus with tahini.
Lima, Peru, native Ricardo Zarate is dubbed the “the godfather of Peruvian cuisine,” serving Nikkei dishes that combine Peruvian ingredients prepared using Japanese techniques. His restaurant Once (Grand Canal Shoppes, 702. 607.3797), pronounced "on-seh" meaning 11 in Spanish, serves big-eye tuna sashimi, arroz chaufa with fried rice, snow crab, yuzu aioli and crispy calamari, and an oxtail bibimbap.
New York City’s Chris Santos is probably best known as a guest judge on “Chopped,” the Food Network Show. He opened Beauty & Essex (The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 702.737.0707) with a jewel box decor and a pawn shop at the front. This celebrity favorite serves grilled cheese smoked bacon and tomato soup dumplings, chicken meatballs and a 40-day dry-aged tomahawk rib-eye steak.
Never has it been so delightful to eat vegetarian. Hidden in plain sight on the Estiatorio Milos menu from restaurateur Costas Spiliadis (The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 702.698.7930) is the Milos Special, a stack of eggplant and zucchini, served with tzatziki sauce and kefalograviera cheese saganaki. Everything else pales in comparison.
“Restaurant Impossible” star Robert Irvine shows off the dishes he discovered on his worldwide travels at his Robert Irvine's Public House (Tropicana, 702.739.2307). Fish and chips, buttermilk fried chicken, braised lamb shank, and stone-fired shepherds pie make the meu.
The sleek and stunning Katsuya (SLS, 702.761.7611) features sushi, sashimi and other Japanese delicacies from chef Katsuya Uechi. Fans clamor for the yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño with its perfect balance of smooth and spicy, but you really can’t go wrong with anything on this menu.
Scott Conant’s modern take on Italian fare first caught diners’ attention, and then Food & Wine named him the best new chef in 2004. Now the “Chopped” judge keeps hungry diners satisfied at Masso Osteria (Red Rock Resort, 702.797.7097). His pasta al pomodoro and boneless veal chop Milanese join stromboli made in house and caramel budino for dessert.