Hit up these seven off- 'the-strip' eateries while at ISA Expo 2013.
By Craig Miller
There are two ways to eat at Sen. One is to sit down at a table and order off the extensive dinner menu. If you choose this, I recommend the Omakase Special. This is a chef’s-choice, multi-course dinner that can be different every visit. Make sure you ask that the black cod is part of your dinner if they have it. It is amazing. The other dining option is to sit at the sushi bar. I can’t begin to describe how good Sen’s sushi is, but I’ll tell you the best way to enjoy the experience is to have one of the chefs recommend the best fish of the day and have them combine them into a sashimi platter.
Head off “The Strip” to another strip for the next two suggestions. Parma by Chef Mark (www.parmabychefmarc.com) is little strip-mall restaurant with a deli that was recently and aptly named Best Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year by the prestigious Desert Companion Magazine. They said, “Chef Marcus Sgrizzi is dishing out the valley’s best Italian cuisine this side of Rao’s in a manner unparalleled off-Strip.”
“Housemaid pastas, a hallmark of any good Italian kitchen, are only the beginning on the continually changing dinner menu. Both the pappardelle Bolognese and the butternut squash agnolotti in brown butter are normally available and highly recommended“
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Best of all the gregarious Chef Mark periodically leaves his kitchen to roam amongst the dinner guests to discuss what’s cooking that night and make recommendations for food and wine parings. Parma by Chef Mark is a “must visit” if you like great Italian food.
It is only a 10-minute drive to have dinner at Lotus of Siam, ((702) 735-3033) located in a dumpy old strip mall. This review can be short and simple: Lotus is arguably the best Thai restaurant in America. I have not eaten in every Thai restaurant in America, but I have eaten extensively in Bangkok and Chang Mai. I won’t be one of those arguing Lotus isn’t the best. The second thing you need to know is you MUST have reservations. Lotus of Siam isn’t cheap, but the best rarely is.
Nittaya’s Secret Kitchen (www.nittayassecretkitchen.com) is where you want to take that special person traveling with you for dinner. This is a romantic, classy, and intimate little Thai take on a tapas bar with lots of small plates. Everything on the moderately-priced menu is excellent, but you must start with the “World Famous Spinach Salad.” It is like nothing anything you have ever had or can imagine.
Crepes and Convertibles
On Saturday the ISA exhibit hall doesn’t open till 10 a.m. This gives you time for Breakfast at Crepe Expectations (www.crepeexpectations.com. Here is your adventure for Saturday morning. Leave for the restaurant a little before 8 a.m. Every Saturday morning there is an automotive event called Cars & Coffee that happens to be in the parking lot in front of Crepe Expectations. Along with a plethora of customs, exotics, muscle cars, and hot rods, I will be there with my wild Mustang complete with a brushed-metal wrap and D-Day P-51 graphics (www.trackmustang.com). Get to Crepe Expectations early to secure a curbside table to watch all the car action. All the crepes are wonderful, but make it an adventure and order a split of Cava with your breakfast – like I said, it’s Vegas, baby!.
I expect to see that red Camaro or Mustang convertible of yours at Cars and Coffee on April 6 with the top down.