Las Vegas Restaurants' Secret Menu Items You Need to Try
Let it be known that In-n-Out Burger doesn't have a monopoly on the world of secret menus. Some of the best restaurants in Las Vegas know how to have a little hush-hush fun, and have been serving up some excellent under-the-radar dishes of their own. You won't find any of these items listed on local menus, but don't worry, the chef will know what you're talking about when you try to order them...
Della's Kitchen serves American comfort food for breakfast and lunch in the lobby of the Delano, with a heavy emphasis on fresh and locally sourced ingredients. So while the ramen bowl may not seem like a natural fit alongside the chicken & waffles and blue crab Benedict, it's become popular with not only the restaurant's employees, but also customers who know to ask for it. A cooked pork shank and smoked pork bone simmer in a mushroom broth mixed with fresh vegetables that can change by the day. The dish is then served with fermented cabbage and a slow-poached egg.
It's not impossible to find some tasty vegan options at a Las Vegas steak joint (we're looking at you, SW Steakhouse), and while you may not have known it, you can add Heritage Steak to the list. Tom Colicchio's restaurant already makes health a priority, given his choice of ingredients and cooking methods, but he also offers grilled eggplant as an off-menu entree. The vegetable is marinated and grilled to a nice char, then topped with chimichurri sauce and a unique popcorn & cashew glaze. The idea started with a discussion about favorite snacks, and executive chef Matthew Chacho joked about creating a roasted popcorn sauce. The concept took hold and eventually became part of the eggplant dish, which is a delicious alternative for diners with strict dietary restrictions.
While poutine usually comes topped with gravy and cheese curds, this off-the-menu version from one of the best under-the-radar restaurants in Vegas serves up an "Oscar-Style" take on the Canadian snack, with hand-cut french fries buried underneath asparagus, lump crab, and bearnaise sauce.
Surf & Turf
After discussions and special requests, chef Wilfried Bergerhausen at Le Cirque finally created a play on the Surf & Turf... but naturally, he went with an over-the-top version, matching the inventive style of the French restaurant. In this iteration, Japanese wagyu steak is covered in a perigourdine truffle sauce and topped with foie gras. It comes paired with a 2lb butter-poached Maine lobster tail that's topped with lobster caviar and 24-karat gold leaf (naturally). If that wasn't enough, you'll also find deep-fried potato fondant atop a marrow-filled beef bone.
Bone marrow flatbread
Chef de cuisine Steven Young wanted to do something with bone marrow that hadn't been seen before and was easy to share. The rosemary and lemon flatbread is topped with bone marrow, a creamy sauce of smoked shallots, capers, radish, watercress, and a red onion jam that's simmered for hours with honey and brown sugar. It's kept off the regular menu because it's considered a little more "rustic" than the rest of the steakhouse fare at the restaurant.
The indulgent Italian restaurant is known for its massive Titanic Sundae, featuring a pound of ice cream on top of a giant brownie and loaded with whipped cream. But if that's too much, just ask for The Tugboat, a smaller version of the dessert made with two scoops of vanilla and one scoop of chocolate, and topped with bananas, strawberries, fudge, whipped cream, and a chocolate torte. Yes, this really is the smaller version.
Here's a good example of a classic Las Vegas dish brought back to life… and kept under wraps, like any good secret. The lobster Milanese was an old favorite for regulars at Kokomo's steakhouse inside the Mirage, but there was a turnover of chefs, and the dish was dropped. Kokomo's eventually closed, and chef Michael LaPlaca offered his own take on the lobster Milanese at Portofino after regulars kept talking about it. The dish is made the same way, with the lobster flattened, breaded, and fried with sauteed spinach and a white wine lemon butter, but with better ingredients and preparation. It may seem like a weird way to cook lobster, but it's delicious. Most people who know about it place an order in advance when making a reservation, since Portofino tends to run out quickly on any given night.
Spicy Water Fish
While on a trip to China, executive chef Chi Choi discovered a Szechuan-style boiled sea bass known as the Spicy Water Fish. He brought the entree to Blossom, but left it off the menu since the extreme heat and oil levels can be an acquired taste -- and he didn't want to change the traditional recipe. For diners who think they can handle the hot taste, the dish is available upon request.
The Molto Burger at B&B Burger & Beer is made with 90-day dry-aged beef ground from the same steaks that can be found at the awe-inspiring Carnevino restaurant. (Both places are part of Mario Batali's Las Vegas empire.) The beef comes topped with Parmesan mascarpone cream and red onion jam. The bold, well-rounded flavor makes it a distinctive burger that's only sometimes available… and often sells out before lunch is over.
Mizu Tako Carpaccio
The Mizu Tako is an uncommon type of live octopus, flown in from Tokyo's Tsukiji Market, sliced and seared with hot grapeseed and sesame oils. It's then topped with ginger, sweet onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and ponzu sauce. Chef Dan Krohmer only offers it when quality is at its peak, which is why it's absent from the regular menu.
Chicken cacciatore (and more... )
Rao's may have more off-menu dishes than any other restaurant on the Strip. That includes broccolini rabe & sausage, veal marsala, roasted peppers, and a frutti di mare combination of mussels, clams, calamari, and shrimp. But our favorite may be the chicken cacciatore. The bone-in chicken is sauteed with bell peppers, sweet peas, and button mushrooms, and is topped with a San Marzano tomato sauce. It's just one of the ways the Vegas version of Rao's is a worthy alternative to the wait-months-for-a-reservation original in New York.
Prime rib special
If you're looking for a good deal at a good steakhouse, Center Cut has a 12oz salt-crusted prime rib with a Caesar salad or onion soup Sunday-Thursday for $35. It's only been pushed via word of mouth and a small sign in front of the restaurant.
It may seem odd for an Italian restaurant, but the meatballs aren't actually listed on the menu at Carbone. Based on a family recipe that's been refined by chef Mario Carbone for his restaurants, they're made with ground beef, pork sausage, and veal. While not listed, Mario's meatballs are frequently offered by dining captains during service.
Can't decide between breakfast and lunch? Stop by Hash House A Go Go for the breakfast burger. The two Angus beef patties are stuffed with ham and melted cheese -- and topped with scrambled eggs, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onion. It will keep any ordinary human full for the rest of the day.
A 26oz grilled wagyu Tomahawk is one hefty option for steak lovers, but this one isn't on the regular menu, since the cut isn't available on a daily basis. It started as a special, but got such a good response that chef Sean Griffin chooses to keep it around as often as possible. When it's available, some regulars have been known to order it several times in the same week.
Mat Franco Dog
The Haute Doggery is full of fun and creative hot dogs at The LINQ outdoor promenade, but you won't find the Mat Franco Dog on the menu. It's a tribute to the America's Got Talent winner who now has his own magic show at The LINQ resort. The chargrilled frank comes with mustard, chili, onion, celery salt, and pepper.
Charbroiled oysters (and other dishes)
The Oyster Bar built its reputation at Palace Station, but has since spread to other Station Casinos properties. The version at Sunset Station has a few additional dishes that aren't on the regular menu, including charbroiled oysters with garlic and Parmesan, a crawfish pie made with Louisiana crawfish tail meat, and a voodoo pasta featuring a Cajun alfredo sauce.
Creamed summer corn
You're more likely to visit the Excalibur casino for shows like Thunder From Down Under or Tournament of Kings than the restaurant lineup, but The Steakhouse at Camelot has more than a few loyal fans. However, they may have missed the creamed summer corn, an off-menu side dish that comes with applewood bacon bits, which lend the bright taste of corn a smoky flavor.
Well, it's a buffet. So nothing is really on the menu, but the Bacchanal Buffet does have a sorta secret dish that is only available by request. The souffles are made to order at the dessert station with a wide variety of flavors that change with the season.
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