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Obscure Joints for Lunch

  • j

Though I've visited Las Vegas many, many times over the years, I haven't been for two years - which, in effect, puts me out of the loop on current dining-out options. But I'll be back for a week next month and need advice. Not for dinner, mind. Browsing through recent posts on this board, I'm delighted to note that many of my favorites - Todd's Unique, Settebello, Lotus of Siam, Rosemary's, Table 34, the more recent Raku - can still deliver the goods. And I think my breakfast favorites - Blueberry Hill, Einstein Bagels and similar dives - are still performing respectably. It's at lunch that I need guidance from the cognoscenti on offbeat, even obscure - and often family-run - neighborhood joints that know how to do it up right. Only proviso: not on The Strip, thanks (though I doubt many of the kinds of spots I'd like could afford the rent). I long ago learned not to walk, drive, sniff the air or dine on The Strip if I wanted to maintain sanity and avoid bankruptcy.

The kind of joint I enjoy is like the one the omniscient, clearly omniverous Dave Feldman pointed me to on a thread a couple years back: Amena Organic Arab Bakery on S. Decatur. It was a winner, little more than a takeout with a few tables and stools, with some of the tastiest Middle East nosh I've experienced - and I trust it's still in action. Dave seems to have an uncanny knack for unearthing such obscure, price-friendly specimens, and for me Amena was his greatest triumph (after LOS). So if he or his fellow noshers know of others in this vein, kindly inform. I'm staying off The Strip, indeed considerably south of it, and will have a car - and am game to drive to just about anything reasonably edible.

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  1. Yikes, that's no pressure! But thanks for your kind words Let me think about it. And are you south as in Henderson or as in the South Point/M area? If I don't get back here, soon, feel free to bug me at the address in my profile.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dave Feldman

      I'll be lodged at the South Point Hotel, from which it's comparatively easy to get just about anywhere around Las Vegas in my rental car. I'll take a shot on pretty much anything. And if it doesn't work out - such idiosyncratic places don't often bat .1000 - hell, it's only lunch, and there's a good dinner to look forward to later that evening. Lunch time is the time to try something new and/or different. Dinner is when you lean to joints that have satisfied you before - like Todd's Unique, where I've never taken a bad mouthful.

      1. re: juno

        I usually stay at South Point, too. Some good places in the area are long gone. You might want to try Catfish Alley at 467 E Silverado. It's Southern/soul foodish. You need some chowish radar when you eat there, because some of the food is fresh and tasty, and others sometimes seems frozen. Definitely ask them what is fresh. There are often off-menu specials. Nice people. And definitely worth it if you like fried catfish.

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        Catfish Alley
        467 East Silverado, Las Vegas, NV 89183

    2. Have you tried any of the Michoacans? (Lindo and Bonito in LV, Viva in Henderson). Huge menu, good value, never had a bad dish.

      I'm also a fan of Florida Cafe, yummy Cuban housed in the Howard Johnson's on North LV Blvd.

      2 Replies
      1. re: GroovinGourmet

        I had an opportunity to try Catfish Alley this past month...it was terrific. Everything was cooked to perfection. I had the Oysters, Spicy Catfish, Greens. Black eyed peas and Hush Puppies...
        Service was great and the restaurant is immaculate! I will make a return visit. The other unique place not far from the South Point is Bachi Burger http://www.bachiburger.com/
        more than just a burger joint... many interesting combinations of Burgers, steamed buns, boba teas and more!!! Try the Shrimp Chips and the truffled fries!!!

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        Catfish Alley
        467 East Silverado, Las Vegas, NV 89183

        1. re: ciaogal

          I forgot that BB was so close to South Point. A great idea. Have they sorted out the service problems they had at the beginning? And glad to hear that Catfish Alley is still in good form.

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          Catfish Alley
          467 East Silverado, Las Vegas, NV 89183

      2. Fausto's Mexican Grill on Stephanie in Henderson.

        Elephant Bar in the District by the Green Valley Ranch casino.

        What-a-Sub in Henderson in the Black Mtn Industrial park 50 subs available, I believe the street is American Pacific.

        Kerry's sports Pub in the North end of the valley. Rancho, and Gowan. Thursday is all you can eat rib night, for around $14.

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        Fausto's Mexican Grill
        2654 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy, Henderson, NV 89052

        3 Replies
        1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

          This thread I started seems ready to poop out, so to those who offered suggestions on where to get a decent lunch at an offbeat, somewhat unheralded, preferably family-run spot during my week in Las Vegas next month, much thanks. Most intriguing: Catfish Alley, a short drive away from my lodgings. It sounds like my kinda lunch joint. Even better, there's no soul food resto of consequence in my home town. Also Bachi Burger. I normally avoid burger restos - they're about as boring as steak houses, in my view - but this one has enough of a twist to be worth investigating. Fausto's Mexican Grill was previously mentioned to me by a Las Vegas friend. I've been to one of the Michoacan restos - can't remember which one - and it was okay, if I recall. The only terrific Mexican place I've found in North America is in Chicago, and it spoiled me forever. I've tried the Florida Cafe twice in the past, but perhaps I ordered the wrong thing. No joint does everything right. You have to know what a resto does well. I've yet to discover it at Florida Cafe. Elephant Bar isn't quite a family-run spot, but worth a shot if I'm in the Green Valley neighborhood at lunch. Subs aren't for me. Nor, ordinarily, are sports pubs - especially on all-you-can-eat rib nights, which for sure would appeal to younger fressers. I'm an older fresser.

          All in all, I've made a good haul. The denizens of this board have always been among the most generous and informative on Chowhound, most especially to naive, clueless, repetitive queries from drop-in visitors like myself. You're all welcome to add more nominations to the question at hand, but already my cup runneth over.

          1. re: juno

            You might want to try La Mexicana. Although if you haven't found any Mexican you like in North America, it means you haven't found a Mexican restaurant up to your standards in Mexico! It might not be a revelation, but to me, it's a great lunch spot: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/543794

            1. re: Dave Feldman

              After reading the La Mexicana thread mentioned above, La Mexicana goes on my try-for-lunch list, along with the suggestions as to what to order there. I'm always game to test my acquired, often-too-rigid opinions, and La Mexicana seems like a good spot to give a workout to. I don't expect a revelation - just a shot at a good, satisfying lunch, which isn't so easy to find in Las Vegas without extensive rooting around. Happily, Dave Feldman and company are doing much of that heavy lifting. It's these offbeat suggestions, ones that dabbling visitors might never stumble upon, that make this particular board such a delight to browse through.

              And now, my dance card for one week of lunches in Las Vegas seems to be filled. If anything useful and/or revelatory transpires during my week of lunching around, I'll report back.

        2. A few family owned suggestions...although not located in the south:

          The Fat Greek - NW corner of Flaming & Decatur
          Kabob Korner - Downtown - LVB & East Fremont
          Los Antojos - SE corner of Sahara & Eastern
          TC's Rib Crib - Desert Inn & Durango

          1. the place i like for a good saturday lunch is Uncle Al's famous hot dogs on Craig & Jones. they have the best dogs ive tasted in a long time. the casing are natural and they have that great "snap" when you bite into them. they have some good themed dogs and the fries are crinkle cut. they also serve malt vinegar ( win ) for the fries as well as good size sammiches. they also have root beer on tap ( double win ) and it is by far way better than barq's or a & w.

            2 Replies
            1. re: AdamRichmanJr

              Uncle Al's will always have a spot soft in my heart because it was the first place we ate at when we moved to Vegas several years ago. I liked the dogs there too. And I am glad to hear they are still in business (I don't live in that neighborhood anymore and never go up there unless I'm visiting friends and then I eat at their houses :-) So many places have closed down.

              1. re: AdamRichmanJr

                Supposedly Uncle Al still has the same owner and the same menu, but they have changed the name of the joint to G R E A T L I N K S .