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Food & Dining // Heart-y Chef
Diana Helfand

Exploring Some New Vegas Eateries

Pub 1842 Peanut butter crunch burger. Gary FX LaMorte photo

Pub 1842 Peanut butter crunch burger. Gary FX LaMorte photo

Classic American pub fare kicked up to another level is Chef Michael Mina’s new offering, Pub 1842, at the MGM Grand Hotel.

This casual tavern style restaurant features great food, whimsical cocktails, beer, bar games and a high energy level which makes it the ideal stop before or after a show, or for late night fun.

The beer list features a wide range of American and international brews by the can, bottle or on tap, and there are more than 60 ales, pilsners, stouts and lagers. They also feature standard as well as their own creative cocktails.

Menu items include “Crab Louis” Deviled Eggs, Lobster Corn Dogs, and Heritage Pork Green Chili, a great selection of burger offerings such as The Peanut Butter Crunch Burger with bacon jam, potato chips and pimento cheese, and the Vegetarian Falafel Burger, which highlights Mina’s mother’s exclusive falafel recipe. Wood-fired steaks, farm to table salads, sandwiches, and hearty entrees add to the extensive menu, and all meats are smoked in house.

Executive chef Tony Schutz is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and is attentive to every detail of the menu. Assistant general manager Jenny Morinaka was a most gracious host, and says hello to her family here on Oahu.

Just down the strip at the Aria, executive chef Shawn McClain’s latest restaurant is the Five50 Pizza Bar (550 is the temperature of the wood-fired oven that makes his spectacular crusts, and also the price of a slice, $5.50).

Don’t let the name fool you. McClain, by the way, is a James Beard award winner, and the hand-tossed gourmet pizzas are not the only choices on the menu. This is not your typical pizza – the lengthy list of toppings make it fun to create your own pizza. The rest of the pizza menu includes: truffle, North Beach, the margherita, and meat lovers, with his toppings of in-house created sausage, salami, mozzarella, Grana Padano and imported pepperoni. The Heirloom tomato salad, was one of the best I have tasted, with tomatoes bursting with flavor, and plated attractively with soft Burrata cheese.

Some of the gourmet dishes on the menu include wild mushroom ravioli filled with braised veal breast and topped with some of the finest mushrooms I have eaten.

The Meat & Cheese Bar featuring artisanal charcuterie and international cheeses, and small plates which include Wood-Fired Clams and Linguica Sausage, Marinated Octopus Crostini, and Creamy Polenta and Farm Egg, to name a few. Salads featuring seasonal produce, pasta rolled daily, and delectable dessert choices make this a fun casual, yet gourmet dining experience. The bar features over 50 beers, including craft beers and seasonal offerings.

Bon appetit!

DIANA’S HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD

* 4 large Heirloom tomatoes of different colors
* 4 cups assorted greens
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 1/2 teaspoon sugar
* Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
* 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
* 3 ounces crumbled feta cheese

METHOD

Arrange greens on four plates. Core and slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices, and arrange on top of the greens, alternating colors. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Mix balsamic vinegar with sugar until combined and mix with olive oil to combine. Drizzle on top of salad. Top with crumbled feta cheese and pine nuts.

Makes 4 servings

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