No one gets worried when they see smoke rising from Top Notch Barbeque every morning. In fact, most people get rather excited. That’s because the smoke means that Owner Jimmy Cole and his team of grillmasters are already hard at work, preparing their signature barbecue dishes seasoned with the house’s secret dry rub. Once the cooks have slathered slabs of ribs, pork shoulders, and hot links with a thick coating of rub and homemade sauces, they let meat linger on the grill until the smoke gives it a flavor more complex than trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube made from mood rings. Once the cuts are tender enough to pull off the bone, they arrange meats atop buns or next to a range of sides.
Brando's combines all the sports-soaked trappings of a neighborhood pub or sports bar with a traditional pizzeria, serving piping-hot Chicago-style pizzas ($12/$15), stromboli ($9.50), and ricotta-rich calzones ($10.50). Build a mozzarella-stick log cabin for deep-fried settlers ($6.50), or complement the glow emitted from TVs during March Madness with a hearty handful of homemade potato chips ($5). A savory steak salad piles on blue cheese and thinly sliced flat-iron steak ($10), and the italian sausage ($8.50) or italian beef sandwich, with hot giardiniera pepper ($8), deliver Windy City standbys. Brando's also dishes out build-your-own burgers ($8, $0.50 per added topping), pastas ($9), and a full omelette ($6, $0.50 per added topping), and a breakfast menu for those who wake up early to watch soccer, cricket, and European baseball, which is also know as American tennis.
Tequila trains and lifeguard whistles herald a menu of Mexicali cuisine at Coconuts Beach Bar & Mexican Grill, where bartenders mix more than 100 specialty cocktails and milkshakes amid festive, tropical-themed surroundings. Ocean-fresh shrimp, scallops, and mahi-mahi swim in the ceviche’s fragrant lochs of citrus and tomato juice, priming palates alongside pots of guacamole mashed with avocadoes raised in California by a pack of wild tortillas. Tacos and burritos deck themselves in fresh cuts of chicken, fish, and asada accompanied by cabo sauce, fire-roasted salsa, and baja slaw. After marinating for 48 hours, the 12-ounce skirt steak careens across tongues on the kaleidoscopic waves of mojitos, martinis, and one of 20 house margaritas. Coconut vodka and banana rum anchor a slew of adult-rated milkshakes, providing a fruity alternative to the rubber cement that thickens the shakes of more old-fashioned ice-cream shops.
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.
The speedy service at Parsley Mediterranean Grill belies the care with which chefs prepare each meal. Owners Effie and Ygal marinate steak and chicken for the shawarma dishes daily before they’re grilled, yielding tender, rotisserie-style meats. These are then wrapped, like a Roman emperor after his bath, in toasty pita bread, which staffers customize to order with toppings such as fresh parsley, chopped onions, and Tahina dressing. Falafel wraps, crisp salads, and hummus provide options for vegetarians.