Food delights including ONCE, NoMAD and Epicurean Affair

By Shelley Stepanek

ONCE, a one-of-a-kind fantastic restaurant located in the Grand Canal Shops at the Palazzo is the best Peruvian restaurant I have ever tried with a full- service bar, a terrific view of the strip, the service is impeccable. The room is rustic, with a beautiful wall of plants, and the interior design is totally native to Peru. There is a large patio which has five large communal tables to give an outdoor feel.  The menu is comprised of dishes I had never tried even though I have visited Peru.  The only thing I recognized at first glance was a favorite drink of many, the Pisco Sour.  Pisco is the local liquor of Peru, and most everyone drinks it daily.  So after a nice glass, I told the chef to bring us whatever he wanted and he graciously did. All the flavors combine in a fantastic ceviche, a braised fennel salad, and a dish I had never heard of before called Yuquita, which is stuffed Yuca with smoked mozzarella cheese in a jalapeno and cilantro sauce. There was also Arroz Chaufa, Peruvian fried rice, snow crab, yuzu aioli and crispy calamari, Ox Tail Bibimbap, with black mint stew, pan-fried scallops,  grilled shrimps with charred lime, albacore sashimi and a beautiful piece of seabass with pickled salsa.  For dessert, they showed off their mouth-watering flan and a grand sorbet.  Chef Alex Carrasco is the grand master and Leland Fischer, the general manager, was on hand for this special night for their one- year anniversary. Call 702-607-3797 for reservations.

NoMAD’s new jazz brunch on Sundays started last month at the Park MGM.  The food and beverage menu is designed by Award-winning Chef Daniel Humm and Bar Director Leo Robitscheck and has an acclaimed jazz sextet with the Hot Club group.  Some of the most popular dishes, all of which we tried, were the mushroom omelet, the avocado toast, tuna cobb salad, and griddled pancakes.  The restaurant is warm and comfortable, with plenty of seating and is open from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The bar also offers shareable plates, snack, and sandwiches, and serves a regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  NoMad opened in New York and Los Angeles and we are happy to welcome them to Las Vegas.

The fabulous EPICUREAN AFFAIR is back at Red Rock Resort this year on May 16.  Set poolside, this marvelous event offers guests the chance to see old and new favorites, serving up savory cuisine and cocktails from some of our best restaurants in town.  This is always a great evening to mix and mingle with friends and try plenty of new superb dishes.  The proceeds from the event go to the Nevada Restaurant Associations education and scholarship programs which lead high school culinary and restaurant management skill program programs.  Starting at 6 p.m. and continuing until 9 p.m., there will be over 30 restaurants participating.  So far restaurants committed this year is Carmines, Therapy, Hash House a Go Go, Tao Group, Smoked Burgers & BBQ along with Infinium, Capital Grill, Strip House, Maxies and a host of others.  Tickets include VIP early admission at 6 p.m. at $120, GA is $100. Buy before April 5 and pay $80.  There are also cabanas for rent and day beds.

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