Three foodies enjoy a grazing lunch at three restaurants on
The Las Vegas Strip in three hours.
We were looking to graze on The Strip, to try lots of dishes in a fun and relaxed manner. We were looking for inspired original innovative tastes, famous chefs, trendsetting ambiance, within walking distance of each other, menus that would fit harmoniously with each other, with items that we could all share. (And they had to be open for lunch, as many high-end restaurants are not).
Turns out we chose 3 very different and exciting restaurants with mostly Asian fare: Momofuku by David Chang with a menu that draws influence from the US, Korea, and Japan. China Poblano by José Andrés with dishes encompassing a global voyage that has connected the cuisines of the East and West. And the new Din Tai Fung, a world-renowned Taiwanese restaurant that specializes in soup dumplings and noodles.
Potato Crusted Salmon
Lemon Butter Sauce with Dill and Parsley
Coins of Carrot, Zucchini, Yellow Squash
It had been way too many years since we’ve enjoyed this fabulous potato crusted salmon dish. Our dear friends, Scott & Gina Lee, closed their super-popular Redondo Beach, California restaurant, Gina Lee’s Bistro, in 2014 after almost 19 years in business. Oh gosh, how the South Bay misses their brilliant original Cal-Asian fare!
Their Potato Crusted Salmon had been a favorite of my grandmother-in-law, Evelyn Dawn. She was always professing the benefits of salmon’s omega-3 fatty acids and ordered it every single time we dined there (which was very often).
After she passed away at 93 years of age in 2000, Scott & Gina graciously named this dish as a tribute to her: Evelyn Dawn’s Potato Crusted Salmon. It is such a wonderful recipe, it’s hard to believe it took me so long to recreate it and share on Taste With The Eyes again…it is every bit as delicious as we remember!
We’ve been enjoying Dynamite at sushi restaurants for decades, but had never thought to prepare it at home. Recently we enjoyed another fabulous meal at Roy Choi’s Best Friend on the Vegas Strip. Every single dish was intriguing, with bold delicious flavors. His Uni Dynamite Rice was no exception.
Now, the other day I made another fantastic platter of sockeye salmon crudo from my Sitka Salmon Shares, and had some leftover pieces of salmon after I had arranged the fish on the plate. Since receiving my shipment of sashimi-grade Alaskan salmon, I’ve been looking for more raw fish recipes. I pulled out Chef Sam Choy’s cookbook, Poke, and came across his recipe for Salmon Dynamite.
As a super-tasty use for my leftover salmon pieces and a way to reimagine Best Friend’s dish… the inspiration for my Salmon and Scallop Dynamite recipe comes from Chef Roy Choi and Chef Sam Choy. A Choi-Choy Dynamite you might say.
Sam Choy is a four-time nominee for the James Beard Best Pacific Regional chef award, winning in 2004. He is often credited as the “Godfather of Poke” and the Culinary Ambassador of the Big Island. Read my interview with him about poke and sustainability here.
Chef Roy Choi’s amazing Uni Dynamite Rice is pictured above with salmon roe, sriracha, yuzu, and sesame. All the dishes we have tried are unique and mind-blowing. On a previous visit to Best Friend we had an extraordinary vegetarian Eggplant Schnitzel, read about it here.
The Chef says of his restaurant at Park MGM, “It’s Koreatown in a capsule – a portal to the streets of LA, but also rooted in what makes Las Vegas… VEGAS.”
Turkey with Sweet Potato Noodles
Chili Oil Sauce, Celery, Fresh Herbs, Peanuts
Wow. We were so impressed with a version of this edgy recipe for leftover turkey from San Francisco Chef Brandon Jew. It’s the opposite of everything one thinks of Thanksgiving leftovers: spicy, cool, vinegary, vibrant, herby, even tingling…the Chef says it’s a nod to the Sichuan dish ma la ji pian that typically features chicken chunks in chili oil. Those looking for a leftover turkey recipe that is deliciously out-of-the-box will be extremely excited about this one.
Made only from sweet potato starch and water, sweet potato noodles are also known as Korean glass noodles. They do not contain wheat so these noodles are naturally gluten-free, and are slightly chewy and springy with a neutral flavor perfect for absorbing chili oil sauce.
My adaptation of Chef Jew’s recipe is below, using more readily available ingredients and it’s a bit less spicy to boot. If Sichuan peppercorns are not available, leaving them out will eliminate the tingling sensation, but this dish will still be worth making! His original recipe is here.
Turkey with Sweet Potato Noodles Recipe
Plus My “Do Nothing” Recipe for Cooking a Perfect Turkey
A couple months ago we had an absolutely delightful and completely unique meal at Roy Choi’s restaurant, Best Friend, at Park MGM on The Las Vegas Strip.
“Best Friend is… Koreatown in a capsule – a portal to the streets of LA, but also rooted in what makes Las Vegas… VEGAS. Hip hop-to-bibimbop. Kimchi-to-spaghetti. BBQ and late-night food. I want Best Friend to energize the minds of people looking to experience the best in life. Whether they are from Hollywood or Hong Kong, D.C. or Down Under, I hope all guests are licking their fingers with their mouths full saying ‘holy sh!t’ as they reach across the table for another bite. LA food in Las Vegas. Los Vegas. Best Friend. Forever.” – Roy Choi
Blown away by the KALBI Korean BBQ marinated bone-in short rib; SLIPPERY SHRIMP crispy rock shrimp, chili mayo, walnuts; ELOTES kewpie mayo, lime juice, tajín, cotija, cilantro; and EGGPLANT SCHNITZEL.
The eggplant was simple yet elevated with its silky interior and crunchy exterior. The sauce was intriguing, creamy, and mustardy. Fresh peppery green arugula provided the perfect balance to the fried eggplant. Brilliant.
In his endearing, personal, and somewhat irreverent cookbook L.A. Son, Chef Choi writes, “I make a mean schnitzel.” Yep, he sure does.