Although winter takes on a different meaning in Las Vegas than in a place like Buffalo, the city’s best restaurants nonetheless change menus seasonally, and with the onset of spring a bounty of new plates have sprung up to tempt locals and tourists alike. Blessed by warm weather and a global array of ingredients delivered daily, including everything from produce to proteins from prestigious farms, diners are guaranteed to find something delicious no matter where they look. From the Strip to downtown and even out in the suburbs, vibrant flavors are in no short supply. Without further ado here’s what to eat in Vegas this spring, and where to find it, across five courses.
Appetizer: Top of the World’s Filet Mignon Tartare with Capers, Anchovies, Shallots, Roasted Garlic, Crispy Flat Bread
Best known as Sin City’s only rotating restaurant, there is no more lofty place in Las Vegas to eat than Top of the World. Open for lunch and dinner daily, guests seated 107 stories above Las Vegas Boulevard will find several new items built for warmer weather, but amongst the best is Chef’s steak tartare. Classic yet also clever, this plate begins with filet mignon cut by hand before adding condiments for taste and contrast. But what truly sets it apart is the crispy fried Pita, intended to be used as a means for delivery from table to taste buds.
Salad: Harvest by Roy Ellamar’s Grilled Asparagus Salad with Charred Cucumbers, Avocado, Crispy Chickpeas, Kale, Pickled Onions
Opened in the waning days of 2015 as an “homage to the origin of food,” Harvest by Roy Ellamar remains a beacon of quality and sustainability. Since the Chef is gifted with an innate ability to build rustic plates that show off the beauty of superior ingredients prepared simply, everything from starters to dessert at this Bellagio restaurant both looks and tastes marvelous. Unpretentious and focused on flavor, guests here will undoubtedly find something suitable for every appetite, but by using a combination of smoke and acid Chef Ellamar has built a truly stunning salad where no two bites are alike, save for the fact that each will have guests craving another.
Pasta: Bardot Brasserie’s Parisian Gnocchi, Tete de Moine Cheese, Morel Mushrooms, English Peas, Black Truffle, Nettle Pistou, Spring Onion Soubise
From the day Bardot Brasserie opened at Aria, the Las Vegas dining scene was changed for the better. Long a playground for the rich and those willing to spend hundreds on French cuisine from icons like Joel Robuchon or Guy Savoy, Bardot and Chef Josh Smith offered an alternative that tastes just as good at less than half the price. Loved by both locals and visitors, with brunch in particular being popular, it is by way of daily tweaks and unrivaled creativity that Bardot offers new dishes frequently. Always great and never stuffy, there is really no wrong choice across any part of Chef Smith’s menu, but for spring nothing shines quite so brightly as a plate of pan-seared pasta, topped with dainty florets of cheese that help to brighten earthy mushrooms and truffles, along with a duo of Provençal sauces.
Entrée: Carson Kitchen’s Chicken Thighs with Tagine Spice, Apricot Relish
A local favorite for nearly five years, and soon expanding to owner Cory Harwell’s home state of Georgia, there may be no better place to take out-of-town guests for dinner and cocktails than Carson Kitchen. Located in downtown Las Vegas and frequently packed, it is inside the former John E. Carson Hotel that Harwell and "Rock n' Roll Chef" Kerry Simon built a restaurant that physically helped change the city’s entire idea of what “off-Strip dining” could be. Currently cheffed by Kerry’s brother Scott, while Cory’s cousin Matthew oversees beverages, Carson’s Kitchen will introduce ten new dishes in spring 2019. Although all present big flavors and bargain prices, it is juicy dark-meat chicken, bright with turmeric, that steals the spotlight amidst a generous amount of tangy housemade relish.
Dessert: Craft + Community Bar and Grill’s Strawberry Lemonade Pudding Cake with Macerated Strawberries, Vanilla Bean Crème Fraiche, Almond Cookies
Recently opened inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Craft + Community looks to bring Las Vegas all the elements of a backyard party, from the seamless indoor-outdoor environment to live bands frequently playing while sports play on television. Developed by the Morton Group and focused on American fare, it is from a variety of sandwiches and items such as meatloaf and fried chicken that diners are invited to choose from 11:30 a.m. on weekdays and an hour earlier on Saturday or Sunday. Still a work in progress, it is nonetheless like the rest of Hard Rock in that breads and sweets shine thanks to Pastry Chef Mickey Harden. His Craft Box is perfect for sharing, but this jar, which is light and creamy when eaten on cookies or by big spoonfuls, is absolutely delightful.