Three new restaurants join the Las Vegas Strip’s lineup, including two with roots in Los Angeles: Kogi BBQ king Roy Choi’s first Vegas venture, Best Friend, and downtown Los Angeles’ Factory Kitchen.
The restaurant’s vibe, decorated with murals of his famous food trucks, is “a love letter to L.A.”
“It was like writing a new song with all the elements of old,” he said.
Longtime fans will find familiar items on the menu, but half of the choices on the Vegas menu are new. Slippery shrimp, for example, made with crispy rock shrimp along with chili mayo and walnuts ($16), proved particularly popular the first few days after opening.
“It’s a dish in Chinatown in L.A. at a restaurant called Yang Chow. So I’m paying homage to that,” Choi said.
“Our kimchi is probably the thing that this whole restaurant rests upon,” he said of the South Korean dietary staple. “We have a fermentation cooler, like a kimchi chamber, and we’re doing all of our pickling, all of our fermentation, in house.”
Kimchi fried rice bowl, served with a poached egg on top, costs $13. Kimchi jjiggae – a pot of stew with pork belly and tofu, designed to be shared – costs $42.
It’s open daily 5 p.m. to midnight.
Info and reservations: Best Friend, (702) 730-6770
The Factory Kitchen
Thanks to a larger kitchen, cooks in the location along the resort’s Restaurant Row are able to prepare a wider variety of dishes, such as risotto alla Milanese with roasted bone marrow and Grana Padano cheese ($28).
Guests can watch pasta being made at a station right in the dining room. The Vegas location also has a lounge, something the L.A. site doesn’t have.
The restaurant launched on New Year’s Eve and is now open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Info and reservations: The Factory Kitchen, (702) 414-1222.
The Las Vegas location is the group’s first in the U.S., with other restaurants in Hong Kong and Vancouver, Canada.
As in China, Peking Duck ($108 for two) is the signature dish in Las Vegas. Elegantly prepared table side, the duck must be ordered 48 hours in advance. Iberico Pork With Yellow Mountain Honey ($39) uses pork imported from Spain.
The restaurant serves dinner 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. nightly.