Food & Drink

Las Vegas Restaurants' Secret Menu Items You Need to Try

Published On 09/06/2016 Published On 09/06/2016
Heritage Steak
Grilled Eggplant | Courtesy of Heritage Steak

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...

Courtesy of Della's Kitchen

Ramen bowl

Della's Kitchen

Address and Info

Delano

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.

Grilled eggplant

Heritage Steak

Address and Info

Mirage

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.

Courtesy of The Barrymore

Oscar-Style Poutine

The Barrymore

Address and Info

Royal Resort

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.

Courtesy of Le Cirque

Surf & Turf

Le Cirque

Address and Info

Bellagio

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

Edge Steakhouse

Address and Info

Westgate

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.

Courtesy of Carmine's

The Tugboat

Carmine's

Address and Info

Forum Shops at Caesars

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.

Jon Estrada

Lobster Milanese

Portofino

Address and Info

The Mirage

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

Blossom

Address and Info

ARIA

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.

Chris Wessling

Molto Burger

B&B Burger & Beer

Address and Info

The Venetian

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.

Courtesy of Other Mama

Mizu Tako Carpaccio

Other Mama

Address and Info

West Valley

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

Address and Info

Caesars Palace

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.

Chelsea McManus

Prime rib special

Center Cut Steakhouse

Address and Info

Flamingo

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.

Courtesy of Carbone

Mario's meatballs

Carbone

Address and Info

ARIA

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.

Breakfast burger

Hash House A Go Go

Address and Info

Henderson (and other locations)

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.

Tomahawk chop

Jean Georges Steakhouse

Address and Info

ARIA

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.  

Haute Doggery

Mat Franco Dog

Haute Doggery

Address and Info

The LINQ

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.

Courtesy of Oyster Bar

Charbroiled oysters (and other dishes)

Oyster Bar

Address and Info

Sunset Station

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

The Steakhouse at Camelot

Address and Info

Excalibur

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.

Courtesy of Bacchanal Buffet

Dessert souffles

Bacchanal Buffet

Address and Info

Caesars Palace

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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Rob Kachelriess has been writing for Thrillist for nearly three years. He's thinking fried lobster is sounding pretty good right now. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.

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1. Della's Kitchen 3940 Las Vegas Blvd S, Vegas, NV 89119

Located in the south beach-inspired resort The Delano, Della's Kitchen serves rustic, responsibly-sourced dishes like a toasted cheese panini, and a burger made with grass-fed beef, aged cheddar, and smoked pork belly. In line with the menu, the spaces exudes a warm, farmhouse austerity via lime green chairs, warm lighting, and high ceilings that succeed in enabling intimate conversation.

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2. Heritage Steak 3400 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

The third restaurant from Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio, this 220-seat steakhouse housed inside The Mirage cooks up quality, antibiotic-free meats over an open flame. The lighting here is dim enough to make your table feel like a personal restaurant, and contemporary decor touches like glass vases and wood accents elevate your dry aged rib eye meal into a sleek and polished dining experience.

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3. The Barrymore 99 Convention Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Despite being located in the desolate north end of the Strip, the Barrymore rewards dedicated visitors with a casual spot with fire pits on the patio, plush seating across two intimate dining areas, and empty film reels lining the ceiling. The menu is heavy on steak and wine, but the cocktail program is among the best in Vegas. Just ask the bartender for a suggestion and go with it.

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4. Le Cirque 3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

The Vegas spin-off of the famous Manhattan restaurant by the same name, Le Cirque offers an authentic taste of France right on the Strip. Helmed by wunderkind Chef Wilfried Bergerhausen, the Michelin-star kitchen serves two different tasting menus -- the five-course dégustation and ten-course prestige, respectively -- that feature artfully plated, modern renditions of classic dishes like sautéed foie gras in a calvados-cider sauce and Japanese Wagyu beef striploin with braised oxtail and bordellaise sauce. The wine list boasts over 900 selections and emphasizes French varietals, which the on-site sommelier will be happy to discuss with you if you'd like a suggestion for pairings. Reservations are highly sought at this vibrant satin-laden spot, so be sure to call ahead and don't forget your classy attire -- the flavors here are boundless, but the dress code is strict.

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5. Edge Steakhouse Westgate, 3000 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas , NV 89109

Located inside Westgate Resort and Casino, Edge Steakhouse fuels carnivore fantasies with prime steaks, Snake River Farm Wagyu beef, and fresh fish. While the higher price points may be overwhelming, the experience of a white tablecloth meal in a marble- and chandelier-decked space, as well as starter options like pepper crusted beef carpaccio and spicy shrimp served in a sweet chile reduction, completely delineate this restaurant from your standard American eatery.

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6. Carmine's The Forum Shops at Caesars, , Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Based in NYC, this family-style Italian chain replicates its famously generous portions of antipastos and saucey pasta dishes in a massive Vegas outpost. Claiming the title of the largest non-nightclub restaurant on the Strip, Carmine's serves portions scaled to size, like wide platters of fried calamari, deep bowls of meatball spaghetti, and sinfully rich desserts.

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7. Portofino 3400 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

An alum of other Strip spots like Bouchon and Alex, Chef Michael LaPlaca brings his coastal Italian cuisine to the Mirage Resort & Casino with romantic Portofino, where he uses ingredients imported from Italy to create modern takes on traditional dishes, such as crab cake arancini and meatballs topped with cheese-stuffed squash blossoms. The Tuscan-influenced restaurant hand-crafts its pasta, too, which you can try in plates like pork-cheek ravioli and ripatelli with wild-boar bolognese. LaPlaca even keeps his gluten-free customers in mind with a separate menu of pasta made from arborio rice flour.

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8. Blossom 3730 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89158 (Strip)

Serving refined and modern Chinese fare in a luxuriant, posh environs, Blossom offers a dining experience like no other on the Strip. Located within the Aria, this curiously off-the-radar restaurant features both staples and rarities -- Peking duck with steamed buns, Jiuzhou-style chilled crystal crab (that needs to be ordered 24 hours in advance, so be sure to call ahead accordingly), and grilled shark fin or bird's nest soup from the premium menu. For first-timers, we suggest the signature tasting menu -- it boasts several menu highlights, and it's a bargain at $79 (pro tip: it's worth the additional $39 for the individual wine pairings from the house sommelier).

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9. B&B Burger & Beer 3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Chef Mario Batali continues his dominance of the Venetian and Palazzo by going casual with this burger- and beer-centric eatery. Though the space is colored in fast food shop-reminiscent washes of red and orange, a menu of burgers, heroes, and shakes that goes beyond the standard cheeseburger and fries fare shows off Batali's renowned kitchen experience. For a Vegas-unique burger experience, order the Really Good, a carnivorous combinatio, of heritage bacon, gorgonzola, chianti mustard, all on a dense potato bun.

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10. Other Mama 3655 S Durango Dr Ste 6, Las Vegas, NV 89147

Other Mama should be all the reason you need to head to Spring Valley, where this homey spot is serving an Asian-inspired menu of seafood specialties like sushi, ceviche, and oysters, plus inventive libations with house-infused spirits. Cool and casual without the frenzy of Downtown, it offers creations like a sashimi salad with thyme and honey, and a scallop carpaccio with blood orange and fennel. While the dishes are fresh and edgy, the cocktails are named after what could be your grandmother's closest group of friends, such as Shelby (bourbon, lemon, maple gastrique, mint), Ingrid (vodka, triple sec, strawberry balsamic shrub, cava), and Bea (cachaca, Drambuie, grapefruit, Aleppo-honey syrup, grapefruit bitters).

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11. Rao's Las Vegas 3570 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

This Vegas branch of the famously difficult-to-get-into NYC-based Italian restaurant is serving the same family recipes in a much larger space that features a replica of the 12-table original in Harlem. The classic dishes are all throwbacks to the family's Southern Italian roots, featuring pastas, risottos, and steak bistecca with desserts like classic tiramisu and cheesecake to finish.

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12. Center Cut Steakhouse 3555 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas , NV 89101 (Strip)

Located in the heart of the Strip, the Flamingo Hotel's Center Cut features classic vintage black and white decor, enormous leather booths cut into the wall that ensure a private dining experience, and plasmas screening old-school photo montages. The tables might be set with white tablecloths, but the restaurants escapes a stuffy steakhouse ambiance with a playful menu of appetizers like the bacon satay trio, sides like jalapeño bacon creamed corn, and more seafood and meat options than your brain could juggle.

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13. Carbone Italian Restaurant Aria Resort & Casino, Paradise, NV (Strip)

A reboot of the acclaimed NYC restaurant, Carbone in the Aria Resort and Casino is Las Vegas' model luxury Italian restaurant. From the bar counter glossed to a light-reflecting shine, to the classic black and white flooring, to white tableclothed tables perfectly spaced out to allow uniformed wait staff to dance gracefully in-between, the entire operation is dressed to a tee to fit the dictionary definition of upscale dining. Even the menu impresses with dishes that go beyond your mother's meatball marinara, with stunners like the veal marsala, lobster fra diavolo, and linguini vongole.

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14. Hash House A Go Go 12300 Las Vegas Blvd S, Henderson, NV 89044 (Strip)

Hash House gained its fame from its massive breakfasts: dishes like a house scramble with chuck roast, chipotle charred tomato, and fresh asparagus & mozzarella. They've also got a cocktail menu with killer bloody mary options, plus your standard bottles and cans.

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15. Jean Georges Steakhouse 3730 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

From Michelin-tri-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jean Georges Steakhouse is a gleaming temple of meat, that amuses and accommodates with a glazed lava rock bar, an elevated semi-private dining room with kitchen-viewing portholes, and an expansive main eating area with black marble floors. As far as the main culinary event, expect mains like wagyu tenderloin, tuna tartare, and veal milanese.

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16. Haute Doggery 3545 Las Vegas Blvd. Suite L-30, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Foie gras torchon, truffle mayo, port onion marmalade; or smoked bacon, garlic-chive aioli, and aged goat cheese -- these are just a few of the toppings you can expect from Haute Doggery, the LINQ's gourmet answer to a beloved American staple. The menu features pared down dogs with the usual accoutréments (sauerkraut, mustard, and chili-cheese, for example), gourmet dogs with artisanal ingredients, and street food classics like crinkle-cut fries, poutine, and burgers. It's yet another project from the team behind Public House and Holstein's, so don't be surprised if you see a few familiar favorites on the menu.

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17. Oyster Bar 1301 W Sunset Rd, Henderson, NV 89014 (Off Strip)

Located within the Sunset Station Casino, Oyster Bar offers more than predictable bivalves on the half-shell. The seafood-obsessed menu features New England or Manhattan-style clam chowder, steamed mussels, and an array of Southern-inspired dishes -- étoufée, bouillabaisse, Cajun gumbo, and jambalaya, to name a few. Its distance from the Strip makes it a popular haunt for both locals and visitors seeking a casual dinner option without the harried energy of Sin City proper; as an added bonus, the open kitchen makes for quite entertaining people watching.

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18. The Steakhouse at Camelot 3850 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Vegas is home to many, many steakhouses. Make sure you try a couple other ones before venturing to The Camelot. Besides the normal steak and seafood offerings, the Steakhouse also has a 3-course prix-fixe menu and a kids menu for the inner child in all of us. Or for the actual kids in your family.

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19. Bacchanal Buffet 3750 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las vegas, NV 89101 (Strip)

Bacchanal Buffet, located in the luxe Caesars Palace, offers more than 500 dishes made fresh from a team of 15 chefs each day. It's served in nine open interactive kitchens with add-ons that range from poached lobster to Sasanian Imperial caviar. If you want an entire fish grilled to order, go for it and don't hold back; Bacchanal Buffet is all about volume, not just in food, but also in service, averaging about a million guests each year.

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