I've discovered over the past week that Vegas has an awesome food scene I never knew about, and it is delicious. Now, before I hit you with my recommendations, let me be clear: There's no shortage of food in Vegas. The parties serve all the free egg rolls, chocolate fountains, cheese and crackers, and mini hamburgers you could ever want. There are hotel buffets, there are the hundreds of high-end gourmet restaurants that have been cropping up all over Vegas in the past few years, and there are hamburger joints galore, and every night in our hotel (across the street from the Convention Center), an intrepid army of people sneak around shoving pizza delivery fliers into the door jambs.
But you know what? You can only eat so many hamburgers, egg rolls, and slices of greasy pizza before you're desperate for a little variety. So my friends and I went hunting, and we turned up a little-known treasure trove of ethnic food. Over the past three nights, I've had Korean takeout, Ethiopian takeout, and Greek delivery. And all three of them were absolutely delicious! So, for current and future Las Vegas convention-goers, here's my must-dine list.
Kimchi Korean BBQ
Highlights: the pork bulgogi and the duk gook, but look out when you're ordering crab dishes. Ordering the takeout over the phone is slightly challenging, and from what I could understand, they don't make all the same dishes every night. The crab dish I wanted wasn't available and I somehow ended up ordering "spicy crab," which turned out to be a big pile of little tiny raw crabs in a very spicy sauce. (We have kitchens in our hotel rooms, so we just sauteed them up and sucked the meat out.) Downside: They don't deliver, but they're right off Convention Center Drive in the little plaza with the awesome sign that says, "Sports World Kimchi." That's them.
Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant and Market
This place was yummy, although the ordering over the phone is, again, a slight challenge (these dish names are even harder to pronounce than Kimchi BBQ's), but a language barrier is also the mark of delicious authenticity. We had the Sambusa (vegetarian), Yebeg Alicha (lamb stew), Yetsom Migb (vegetarian combo, which is outstanding), and Firfir (beef and injera). Note that there's really no need to order extra injera, which we made the mistake of doing, and the above order was more than enough for four people. Also, there's no honey wine on the menu, but if you ask, you can add it to your takeout order (and yes, you should).
Stephanos Greek and Mediterranean Grill (and hookah bar!!)
One word: delivery. And even if Stephanos didn't deliver, I'd still call it, possibly, the best meal of the week. Only two of us ordered, so we didn't get to sample as much as I would have liked, but we got the combo plate of gyro meat and chicken (yummy) and the shrimp kebab, which came with this insanely delicious rice. I know, rice. But it was so good! And they delivered it! Oh, and we got rice pudding, which I like to eat because it feels so weird and chewy.
Oh, and did I mention that all three of these places are incredibly reasonably priced and won't bust your per diem? Just budget extra for the honey wine. Bon appetit!