Las Vegas’ thriving restaurant scene just got better with new happy hour, fine dining and quick meal places popping up around town this year. To make dinner reservations a little easier, we’ve picked our favorite emerging restaurants to hit the Strip and downtown Las Vegas in 2015.
The Ogden Welcomes New Made-to-Order Ramen and Whiskey Concept
At first glance, this casual-chic, downtown Asian noodle house located on the ground floor of The Ogden is a bit out of the ordinary. Serving create-your-own ramen noodles and whiskey-infused cocktails, Itsy Bitsy Ramen and Whiskey is unique to Las Vegas’ epicurean scene.
Executive Chef Ricardo Romo carries his creative blends to the tables, where guests can create their own ramen bowls choosing from a variety of noodles, broths and toppings. The restaurant also offers a wide selection of small plates for starters, robata skewers, rice bowls and hand rolls.
The menu is complete with a signature cocktail list featuring sake, whiskey and vodka classics infused with surprising ingredients like jasmine, nigori, crème de cacao and even freshly brewed tea. Customers can also try Itsy Bitsy’s specialty drink, Japanese Highball, which is Japanese whiskey served with sparkling water, lemon and thyme.
Itsy Bitsy Ramen and Whiskey is open daily at The Ogden. For more information, visit itsybitsyramen.com.
Happy Hour Hub Opens on the Strip
New to Las Vegas’ lively Caesars Palace is Searsucker, an American restaurant specializing in happy hour bites, sweet treats and late night classics.
The restaurant’s interior design was the brainchild of Thomas Schoos, who sought to pair the menus’ comfort-style food with a retro interior. Open for happy hour from 4:30 to 6 pm daily, Searsucker serves a variety of American classics with a contemporary twist. For $4, restaurant goers can try the restaurant’s infamous duck fat fries with tomato jam or hot shishito peppers to pair with the bar’s wide selection of draft beers, wines and house-crafted cocktails.
After dinner, Searsucker offers a delectable dessert menu that guests can’t turn down. Some patron favorites include the “ermahgerd” sundae, a peanut butter dream loaded with peanut butter gelato, peanut coffee rocks, caramel, brownies and bruleed bananas. Searsucker’s s’mores bar also takes a childhood classic to the next level with graham cracker, salted caramel ganache, honey, chocolate mousse, mashmallows, chocolate ice cream and cookie crumble.
Searsucker’s gourmet late night menu is also what sets it apart from the rest of the Strip. Open Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday nights at 11 pm until the early hours of the morning, guests can order elaborate late night classics like pork belly bacon and eggs, wings-style “bird lollypops” or artichoke hearts and cheese dip.
To make a reservation, visit searsucker.com/las-vegas.
New French Restaurant Joins Aria Hotel & Casino
Michael Mina’s newest restaurant venture is the much-anticipated Bardot Brasserie opened this year at Aria Hotel & Casino. Complete with a sophisticated lounge and happy hour menu and a multi-course weekend brunch, Bardot Brasserie combines French cuisine with modern flavors for an elegant night out.
The restaurant’s mixologists use top ingredients to craft house cocktails that can be paired with any of the lounge’s gourmet bites. Hungry guests can order Le Prime Steakburger, which comes stacked with comte cheese, watercress, garlic aioli and bordelaise onions on a house-made prime rib patty.
Bardot’s brunch menu tops off the weekend with made-to-order omelets, quiches, French toast, croissants and a selection of house wines and cocktails. Served every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm, brunch goers can also choose among the menu’s raw bar selection, including a chilled shellfish tower, shrimp cocktail, oysters, Alaskan king crab and Maine lobster tail.
For reservations, visit aria.com/bardot-brasserie.
Italian Cuisine Comes to the Bellagio
Opened just last March under James Beard Award-winning chef Julian Serrano, Lago is the Strip’s newest Italian restaurant concept. Serving dinner daily, Lago offers a wide selection of Italian classics with the Bellagio’s luxury service in mind.
Critics choose the flavorful gnocchi with blue cheese, the crusty pizettes stuffed squid with chilled shrimp and the osso buco. The restaurant also offers a selection of vegetarian, seafood, shellfish, fish and meat dishes that appeal to all types of hungry diners.
While Lago’s menu works for separate meals, the staff also encourages sharing dishes to sample a variety of Italian cuisines. To compromise, the restaurant offers a baked whole-fish meal for two, three types of crostini, green olive, ricotta or fava bean focaccia breads and a selection of small pizzas perfect for group dinners.
Overlooking the Bellagio’s infamous fountains through the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows, Lago offers guests a sophisticated menu and atmosphere that speaks to its new age Italian flavors.
For more information on Lago, visit www.bellagio.com/lago.
Alex Stratta Launches Contemporary Tapas Restaurant
Celebrity chef Alex Stratta launched his newest restaurant earlier this year, Tapas by Alex Stratta. Introducing traditional Spanish dishes like paella, bomba rice, fresh seafood, meat and seasonal fruits and vegetables, the new restaurant is the perfect place to grab a quick meal or drink before exploring Las Vegas’ downtown.
The restaurant’s seasonal menu offers cold and warm tapas to start and four varieties of paella that serve up to four people. While Chef Stratta serves traditional tapas like manchego cheese, tortilla de patata and patatas bravas, he also fuses flavors of new favorites, like black kale fritters and roasted eggplant dip, to create an impressive Spanish menu.
Open daily for happy hour and dinner, Tapas by Alex Stratta also offers an extensive dessert menu featuring classic crowd pleasers like cinnamon churros, arroz con leche, flan, grilled crepes, chocolate and almond cake and a selection of ice creams and sorbets.
For menus and reservations, visit tapasalexstratta.com.