Taste
November 2019

Sumptuous Summerlin

Northwest Hotels’ Eateries Attract Locals and Visitors Alike

 

By Greg Thilmont

Las Vegas’ soaring skylines are glowing with multi-storied billboards proclaiming “Amazing Food Here!”

Since the 1950s, the famous Strip has been home to swanky restaurants in a kaleidoscope of cuisines. It’s a 4.2-mile-long world-class destination for lovers of fine food. Likewise, the neon-lit edifices of Downtown Las Vegas have also offered notable dining for decades, and in recent years, the funky zone has become a darling of foodies.

But, there’s a third skyline that doesn’t often get the same level of culinary attention as these two districts—it’s the shining hotel towers of Summerlin. That’s right. Punctuating the sky above a verdant palm-tree filled plateau, with the gorgeously serrated ridges of the Spring Mountains as a stunning backdrop, Rampart Casino, Suncoast, and Red Rock Resort are gastronomic destinations for locals and visitors alike.

In major Las Vegas resorts, there’s a tried-and-true formula for epicurean amenities: a classic steakhouse, a romantic Italian nook, and an upscale Asian establishment. Next comes a good old informal American diner. From there, eatery offerings expand out to meet the demographic tastes of different hotel clienteles. (And yes, there are definitely buffets, too—we’ll get to them in a bit.)

Summerlin’s hotel juggernauts follow this winning formula. Some call them “local casinos,” but they’re so much more than that limited description. So let’s take a look at Southern Nevada’s tastiest suburb.

Explore the Rampart

The first major hotel development on Las Vegas’ west side, Rampart Casino at The Resort at Summerlin, rose up in 1999 with a lovely, Spanish Mission-style design, and it’s one of the most verdant secrets in town to this day. It’s a joy to walk around the foliage-filled grounds, and the hotel is a favorite of golfers. In recent years, the resort has upped its culinary game. Hawthorn Grill, with al fresco seating adjacent to gurgling ponds, features fine steaks like Prime New York Strip topped by a supple Béarnaise amid an elegant menu with highlights including crab sweet potato gnocchi; oven-roasted salmon with farro and haricots verts; and Colorado rack of lamb with sautéed spinach, eggplant caponata, and pine nuts. It also offers a fun Sunday jazz brunch.

In the Italianate arena, Spiedini has been a gastronomic “secret” for years, with specialties including chicken limone with capers, butter sauce, and capellini pasta; beef short rib ravioli with creamy marjoram sauce and veal truffle glaze; and classic veal Marsala with mushrooms. Radiating a warm ambiance, it continues to be a dinner draw for Summerlinites and beyond.

Recently opened, the stunning Jade Asian Kitchen & Noodles offers astounding Pacific Rim culinary experiences like Wagyu beef, grilled over binchotan charcoal with bone marrow and yuzu butter blanc, as well as Chinese favorites like roast duck with five-spice seasoning, hoisin sauce, and steamed buns in an impressive architectural scene.

For relaxed dining, the Promenade Cafe offers comfort food from Belgian waffles and corned beef hash with eggs to Cobb salads and calf liver with onions. Need to fuel up before hitting the links? Stop by the Clubhouse Deli for a turkey club or a pastrami sandwich.

Indulge at the Suncoast

Notable from a distance for its shining, gold-toned windows, Suncoast was the second “locals” resort to rise above Summerlin’s manicured landscape. For big-shouldered beef cuts like 40 day dry-aged Creekstone Farms prime rib and delectable seafood like Chilean seabass with bok choy and white miso, the romantic glow of SC Prime Steakhouse & Bar is a must (ask for a window seat overlooking the shimmering north-to-south tableau of Viva Las Vegas). For flavors from Florence to Sicily, Salvatore’s is a friendly nook for stuffed artichokes, spaghetti with meatballs, lasagna, and chicken piccata. For some Chinese zing, step into the brightly decorated Peng Zu for fragrant delicacies including curry chicken clay pot, five-spice roast duck, and the unforgettable house noodle bowl.

In the diner category, dig into amazing flapjacks at Du-par’s—even for dinner. The new 90 NINETY Bar + Grill features gastropub-style eats and mixology—the huge pretzel with beer-cheese fondue and stoneground mustard is a head-turner. Longtime neighborhood fave Brigg’s Oyster Co. serves up hot and cold seafood with aplomb (hey there $1 oyster Thursdays). For a cheeseburger, a hearty beer, and a touchdown, get sporty at The Game. And, for hearty matzo ball soup, step into the Bagel Corner Deli & Bakery.

Astounding Eats at Red Rock

The newest vacation megalith in Summerlin, Red Rock Resort has been a staycation destination for a dozen years going strong. It’s a gorgeous construction that blends the natural beauty of the stony Southwest with artistic modern architectural flourishes. And, even though it’s the youngest kid on the Summerlin resort block, it’s also the biggest. It’s nearly a small city, and that means myriad options for delectable dining.

Few experiences are as super-Vegas as a steak dinner, and T-Bones Chophouse delivers the meaty goods. Starters include spicy Bigeye tuna tartare with artichokes, avocado, and calamansi vinaigrette as well as sherry-infused French onion soup. The Caesar and wedge salads are impressive, as is the tomato Caprese plate. For a toothsome splurge, knife into a huge Chateaubriand or a bison ribeye with grilled asparagus and creamed spinach on the side. Much to the delight of fans of upscale Italian cuisine, Terra Rossa recently returned to the property and serves up Old World specialties like Margherita pizza, risotto primavera, and an astoundingly huge veal Parmesan. For Japanese delights, the evocative Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill transports diners with handcrafted sushi and entrées like fried chicken with wasabi-hinted honey and oxtail fried rice.

This trio is just the start at sprawling Red Rock Station. For gastropub-style snacking, pour back some cold ones and dig into plates of charred shishito peppers and Buffalo chicken lollipops at friendly Hearthstone Kitchen. For casual Asian eats, vegetable pad Thai and beef chow fun are on the list at 8 Noodle Bar. For truffle fries, a lamb burger, or Korean beef street tacos, head to the boisterous Yard House. If downhome dining is on your mind, then the Texas-style beef brisket with greens and beans on the side at music-filled Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ is calling. Finally, sit back and relax with the wide-ranging menu at the popular Grand Café, There you’ll find everything from a California omelet with veggies and goat cheese to crispy fish and chips with coleslaw.

More Summerlin Dining to Enjoy

Finally, it’s time to talk buffets—the quintessence of Las Vegas dining. They’re perfect for gathering with family and friends to experience a wide assortment of different dishes. Recently, Rampart Resort opened its remarkably upgraded Market Place Buffet. Highlights include outdoor patio seating and Hawaiian-themed Wednesday dinner service. St. Tropez Buffet in Suncoast is a reliable option, and is known for its affordable specials, especially for seniors. And you can’t talk Summerlin spreads without mentioning the Feast Buffet at Red Rock Resort; it’s immense and the offerings span the globe. Of course, at all three of these eateries, long lines can be a challenge, especially on weekends and holidays; visiting during the week can often mean less waiting.

Another gourmet option available at Summerlin’s three major resorts—especially in the festive holiday season—is private dining. These curated experiences are excellent for family and business gatherings, and are offered at Hawthorn Grill, Spiedini, Jade Asian Kitchen & Noodles, SC Prime Steakhouse & Bar, T-Bones Chophouse, and Terra Rossa.

There’s also quick eats ready to be scarfed down at these entertainment megaplexes, especially for folks stopping by to take in a movie or bowl a few frames. At Rampart Casino, there’s a nice Starbucks with a leafy patio out back for lounging in the Mojave Desert sunshine. At Suncoast, you can grab an ice cream sundae at Java Vegas. And Red Rock features an extensive food court with options ranging from smoothies and burgers to burritos.

Branching Out (Nearby)

Summerlin’s dining scene is steadily expanding. Many options are anchored nearby to these three hotel resorts, making them ideal for exploring on a staycation.

Rampart Casino and Suncoast are just across Rampart Boulevard from the eye-catching Tivoli Village, a shopping and restaurant destination designed like a picturesque Italian community. Right now, some of the biggest foodie buzz in the Las Vegas Valley is centered on Ada’s, a fantastic pizza-and-pasta establishment that also serves some of the most delicious housemade ice cream in the American Southwest. Echo & Rig is a lively place for steaks and cocktails. El Dorado Cantina is known for its astounding guacamole. Hop Nuts Brewing pours local craft beers for thirsty Summerlinites. And, on weekends, the covered patio at Leone Café is a place to take in a bustling social scene.

Just up a scooch on Rampart Boulevard from Tivoli Village, Rampart Commons holds a trio of much-loved eateries. Flower Child brings on healthy eating with bowls and wraps brimming with ingredients like hummus, Brussels sprouts, quinoa, organic tofu, and grilled chicken. North Italia draws droves of pasta and wine lovers. And locally owned Honey Salt is famed for its savory monkey bread and buttermilk fried chicken sandwich.

Next to Red Rock Resort, Downtown Summerlin offers a wide tableau of dining options. Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill plates astounding dishes like Chinese chicken salad, smoked salmon pizza, and braised beef short ribs with polenta. The cheeseburger is out-of-this-world good, too. The newest restaurant on the block—True Food Kitchen—is an excellent option for the keto and paleo crowds, as its menu abounds with ingredients like beets, cauliflower, smoked tempeh, and chicken sausage. Makers & Finders specializes in exuberant Latin cuisine, like butternut squash tacos and chicken tinga empanadas, along with outstanding coffee creations. There are dozens of additional choices beyond this notable trio sprinkled throughout the palm tree-lined promenades of the attractive neighborhood gathering place.

There’s much more to savor throughout Summerlin than these options above, and it’s worthwhile to discover new eateries that aren’t close to hotels (hint: check out La Strega Trattoria, Ohlala French Bistro, and Eat). Happy exploring!

 

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