Carson Kitchen

John Courtney

Simon Hospitality Group

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John Courtney faces high expectations in his current role. As culinary director for the Simon Hospitality Group, he carries on the legacy of late celebrity chef Kerry Simon -- primarily as manager and executive chef for Carson Kitchen. He also helped shape one of the best new restaurants of the year -- Standard & Pour -- from the ground up in a joint venture with Titan Brands -- and there's some consulting work here and there for affiliated restaurants outside Vegas. Amazingly, Courtney got into the culinary business relatively late in the game. He originally planned to be a banker.

Portofino

Michael LaPlaca

Portofino

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This guy is always up for a challenge. A few years ago, Michael LaPlaca was brought in to revive the Onda Italian restaurant at the Mirage. His improvements to the menu were so dramatically good, the casino's management team decided they might as well give the place a whole new name and Portofino was born. Earlier this year, LaPlaca was given the additional task of revamping the Mirage's burger joint into LVB Burgers & Bar. The result is an ultra-creative menu with possibly the best burgers on the Strip and some awesomely boozy milkshakes.

Other Mama

Dan Krohmer

Other Mama

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At one point, Dan Krohmer got burned out on the restaurant grind, so he went on the road and made food for Metallica, Taylor Swift, and other big music acts.

Rob Kachelriess/Thrillist

Khai Vu

District One

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"At District One, we are a lot more Southeast Asian-inspired, where we get to play with different ideas and different types of cuisine and over at Le Pho, we do more authentic food -- but with a modern twist."

Rob Kachelriess/Thrillist

Matthew Piekarski

Hexx

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Hexx is the only single-origin chocolate producer in the state of Nevada. So what does that really mean?

Harvest

Roy Ellamar

Harvest

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You hear the phrase "farm to table" quite a bit these days, but Harvest at the Bellagio takes the philosophy far more seriously than most -- while offering a modern image that is a perfect fit for the Vegas Strip.