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It’s no secret among diners that a fantastic atmosphere can elevate a good meal to great and an excellent one to sublime. And that’s never truer than when dining in the company of Lake Tahoe’s azure expanse and emerald mountain rim. Whether you crave simple, hearty pub grub after a hard day on the trails or a refined gustatory adventure, Tahoe’s chefs have a plate for you.
We have entered a new era in alcohol, one with drinks whose ingredient lists read like an intricate dessert recipe. While Japan may be the originator, Nevada has to be on the mixology map somewhere, I thought. We have Charlie Palmer and Bobby Flay for Pete’s sake. So I set out to see what Nevada has to offer.
As ironic as it sounds—eating raw, fresh fish in a desert environment—Nevada is hooked on sushi. Nearly 150 restaurants attest to the Silver State’s seemingly insatiable sushi appetite. Getting fresh fish to Las Vegas and Reno is simple. However, at more than 500 highway miles from the ocean and with all flights routed through Salt Lake City, Elko seems an exceedingly unlikely spot for sushi. That is, unless you’re Ed and Merrie O’Donnell.
Fondue restaurants around the state offer winter sports enthusiasts (and others, of course) a warm place to retreat from the cold, refill their hungry bellies, and enjoy a rewarding, social dining experience with family and friends. Fondue, French for “melted,” is a traditional Swiss dish made by melting Gruyere or Emmenthaler cheese and wine in a communal pot.
You can follow your heart or be led around by the nose, but no part of the anatomy provides such a strong navigational signal as the sweet tooth. Fortunately, visitors to the Las Vegas Strip have plenty of opportunities to indulge that insatiable incisor, and perhaps do some holiday shopping at the same time.
Virtually every big resort on the Las Vegas Strip can boast of a top-of-the-line gourmet restaurant run by a celebrity chef. The restaurant that has earned more awards than any other fine-dining establishment in the entertainment capital, however, is not on the Strip, but in a strip mall 10 miles from Las Vegas Boulevard. Rosemary’s Restaurant has been chosen Best Gourmet in the Las Vegas Review-Journal readers’ poll numerous times.
Although celebrity chefs on the Strip continue to be the big news on the Las Vegas food scene, an interesting trend is developing off the Strip. We all know that Emeril and Wolfgang don’t sauté onions in their namesake kitchens. We offer the following restaurants in Henderson run by chefs who may be a little less known but have the gusto to create their own dining traditions.
Dining options at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno already cover culinary standards spanning from Japan to Italy, and by June diners can have a taste of our own East Coast as well. The new 160-seat Manhattan Deli and Restaurant will serve New York-style sandwiches and other fare so reminiscent of the Big Apple, you might have to remind yourself that you aren’t at Midtown’s boisterous Carnegie Deli.
Brewing beer is as American as apple pie. After all, the Pilgrims and Founding Fathers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Samuel Adams engaged in this fruitful enterprise. Nevadans must be true patriots, evidenced by the medley of breweries that dot the Silver State. Three of Nevada’s earliest modern breweries—Big Dog’s, Great Basin, and Ruby Mountain—have set a precedent of excellence.
Dutch ovens are wide-bellied, cast-iron pots that have been around for centuries. The colonists brought the incredibly durable pots with them in the 1600s, and they were eventually toted to Nevada and other Western states by settlers such as the Mormons and Basques. Clint Combs, his wife, Elizabeth, and his sister, Tina Stallard, still practice this time-tested cooking technique.
When you buy your friends and family gifts this holiday season, it will surely come from the heart, but why not have it come from Nevada, too? Following are a sampling of Nevada items that might be perfect for Uncle Bob or Aunt Susie, whether it’s a taste, scent, or even symbol, of the Silver State.
Dollar bills pinned to the ceiling and a woodstove in the corner form the distinctive décor of the small-town Nevada saloon. The friendliness of the bartender matches the laid-back mood, and on warm days you’ll see gleaming motorcycles lined up in the parking lot, their owners talking bikes. Nevada’s back roads are dotted with such retro watering holes, or “sagebrush saloons.” Most are open from 10 a.m. until “whenever.”
When the smoke is billowing alongside Phred’z Restaurant and Catering in Elko, you know it’s Thursday. That’s the day owner Fred Smith barbecues outside—no matter what the weather. Phred’z meats—back ribs, pork loin, and sirloin-are slow cooked over mesquite charcoal on a smoker. Like they are at Phred’z, smoke and slow cooking are the hallmarks at Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que in Henderson.