Each morning, the chefs at North Forty Saloon and BBQ slow smoke chicken, pork, and brisket until they're tender and full of rich hickory flavor. These barbecue staples are served along with thick burgers and steaks hot off the grill. Family-style platters are piled high with enough ribs, pulled pork, and chicken to feed groups of up to six, or one and a half Paul Bunyans. Come evening, the saloon livens up as country bands occasionally jam and bartenders pour cold brews and cocktails.
As Dion Katsoris learned how to craft gyros and souvlaki from his Grecian-born parents on the north side of Chicago, Michael Mortensen mastered Mamma Calasse’s homemade meatball on Taylor Street, the main drag of Little Italy in Bridgeport. Though the Chicago natives relocated to Las Vegas as strangers, they bonded faster than crayons left in the sun over a shared love of the Windy City, particularly its sports teams. The duo remains divided on which baseball team reigns supreme—the White Sox or the Cubs—but, to local eaters’ delight, they agree on treating Sin City to a menu of their childhood eats at Taste A Chi-Town Eatery. They pay homage to their Midwestern hometown with deep-dish pizzas and hearty Vienna beef hot dogs on pretzel buns; a page of pitas and souvlaki plates is dedicated solely to Dion’s Greek roots and the Mount Olympus officials that frequent the eatery for business lunches.
Though Zhigang Wang mastered the art of sushi in Tokyo, he refined a second Japanese culinary art—hibachi—during an eight-year tenure at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Today, he showcases both cooking styles as head chef of Ohjah Japanese Steakhouse Rainbow.
Before they can assemble rolls from handpicked ingredients in Zhigang's kitchen, all Ohjah's sushi chefs must have at least six years of sushi-rolling experience. That training shines through on the menu's many specialties including the french kiss roll, a shrimp tempura, crab, and cucumber medley covered with mango-tomato salsa. They also cook elements that many chefs might usually keep raw, whether its deep-frying the casino roll's salmon and asparagus or baking the Japanese lasagna roll's crab and cream cheese.
Away from the sushi bar, Ohjah's hibachi chefs show off their culinary wizardry at the restaurant's teppanyaki tables. As flames shoot from the grills, chefs sear succulent cuts of everything from kobe beef to teriyaki-flavored scallop and halibut. More hot dishes emerge from Ohjah's kitchen, including "nachos" made from wonton chips smothered in avocado and spicy sautéed crab.
The spirit of friendly competition pervades throughout Crowbar. On a Saturday night, you’ll find the Crowbar Poker League vying for the champion jackpot of $2,000, as more casual gamers play rounds of steel-tip darts, pool, and arcade favorites such as Golden Tee. To fuel the rivalries, chefs whip up classic bar fare such as mozzarella sticks, mushroom burgers, and grilled chicken wraps. In addition to the weekend revelry, Crowbar keeps a calendar of special events and 15 gambling machines onsite for midweek statistics-class field trips.
At 808 Tapas, two island cuisines converge in a bounty of Japanese and Hawaiian dishes. The worldly palates of executive chef Yoshiyuki Kojima and sous chef Rex Ibanez don't stop there, either. Elements from global recipes influence every one of their dishes, whether it?s the eatery?s take on nachos?ahi tuna poke and avocado atop fried lotus root chips?or their potato-free fries, composed of Panko-crusted slabs of eggplant. Italy even gets its time in the sun with a caprese salad crowned in lomi-lomi salmon, a Hawaiian specialty. Inside the restaurant, diners ponder whether science will ever determine how many Hawaiian islands there are at long communal tables or at the sushi bar, where chefs craft more than 20 roll varieties.
Ten years ago, executive-chef Craig “Andy” Beardslee and pal Johnny Rivera set out to bring country-style cooking to an urban environment. Today, the duo’s award-winning eatery Hash House A Go Go has expanded from its original San Diego home into five Vegas locations, including a spot inside The M Resort Spa & Casino Las Vegas. Drawing from his work with agriculture and livestock, chef Beardslee kicks up house-made farm favorites, adding innovative flavors to fried chicken, french toast, and meatloaf recipes. The generously portioned entrees pair well with creative concoctions, such as a BLT bloody mary, a far more successful drink than its predecessor, the grilled-cheese martini.