Being on the west coast for the first time made me realize that I’ve been missing out on all kinds of food. That hurts my soul. I love food, don’t you? Well, let’s assume you do. When I search for restaurants sometimes it takes me hours to find the right one. I have to make sure that I’m going to get the best experience I possibly can while I’m in the city for the day or so that I’m there. For the year of 2017 I have goals, like I’m sure you all have, and one of my goals is to be cognizant of the type of restaurants I choose to dine at. What’s on the menu? Have I even this type of food before? Is it food that I’m actually going to like? What’s the quality? These are some of the things that run through my mind. Today, I would describe this restaurant as hitting the game winning shot in the NBA finals with 3 seconds left. Are you aware of the kind of feeling you would have if that happened? Another way to describe this experience is hitting the lottery after so many times playing. This restaurant that I’m going to describe as a “hidden gem” is District One Kitchen & Bar located in a shopping center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The restaurant focuses on bold flavors, creativity, and presentation with an extensive menu so even the most picky eater can find something to indulge.
The restaurant is led by manager Crystina Nguyen who focuses on the experience you’ll have along with the quality of the experience that will be provided to you. I challenge people at times with the notion that if you don’t have a good “captain” then it’s a high chance that your experience will be less amazing. Being a restaurant manager is a lot of pressure, dealing with attitudes of people you don’t know, or making sure your staff has the right attitude when coming into work. She is the epitome of what ever leaded should be and/or strive for. If you want to be in an area where your pockets aren’t shredded to pieces and the quality of the food is so amazing that you’d write your local congressman and/or woman to petition them to create space for such a great establishment then this is your go-to place. I challenge people often with the notion that a restaurant doesn’t have to “look” a certain way for you to be able to get a great experience out of. In my opinion it’s more about the flavors, quality, and hospitality that’s provided when you enter ANY restaurant establishment. The service that I received at this place was possibly the best service I’ve received since I started critiquing restaurants. What was so good about the service? Well for one, when you go into the restaurant you are treated with respect and like your family. You’d be surprised how many times you go into a restaurant and the hostess doesn’t engage in any conversation with you about, “Have you been here” or simply asking, “How are you doing?” It may not make a big difference to some people when they enter a restaurant but to me, I notice the little things that others don’t.
This establishment is Asian inspired that specializes in Pho. Have you ever had pho before? Well, I’ll give you some insights on what it is and show you some pictures to help salivate your mouth to force you to make a trip and go to this restaurant. Before I get into the pho however, I want to discuss about 8 dishes. Yes, EIGHT. And yes, I was hungry ☺ Please. Don’t judge me. I don’t get to travel to Nevada often so I wanted to make sure I was able to get a full experience on different items that I usually wouldn’t try anywhere else. The items that I’m going to give you some details about are the oysters, fish tacos, Vietnamese beef, ox tail fries, Squid, Lobster Fried Rice, and the main event Pho. That’s a s*** load of food, right? Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach, but I wouldn’t dare let that stop me from devouring this food. This restaurant is award-winning and it should be for the amount of time and effort they put into their customer service and their food.
Let’s start with the oysters shall we? An aphrodisiac. I’ll keep my post-rated PG for any of the kids out there reading this, but if you’re on a date with your loving partner, I suggest you order some. (Please Google aphrodisiac for the sake of this post being rated PG because I can’t describe what “feeling” you’re supposed to have without sounding authentic. Because of the kids of course…) The oysters that were ordered were the “chefs special” oysters. There are so many different oysters out there that range from blue point oysters to Stellar bay oysters which are big enough to fill the mouth. The oysters have different taste as well, ranging from sweet to more meaty. I’ll do a post regarding how to eat oysters and what to look for based off of your how you like your oysters. The oysters that were provided were the Stellar base topped with pickled onions, tobiko egg, ponsu, and microgreens. I typically eat my oysters with a little horseradish, hot sauce, and lemon juice, but today none of the mentioned was needed. The oysters were so fresh and the enhancements that the chef topped the oysters with put this dish over the top. The oysters were sweet, moist, and savory. If you’re on a date or if you want to try something you haven’t had before please try these. If you don’t like them, please contact me and I will personally refund you the amount of the oysters. That’s how confident I am that you will enjoy them. (Please read fine print that I will not actually refund you your money, but we can discuss what you didn’t like about them, HAHA.. Just kidding)
The next dish was the yellow tail fish tacos. If you’re into raw fish of any kind then this dish would be right up your alley. The yellowtail fish is raw, but with the consistency of the ingredients that are added with this dish you’d never be able to tell. They were topped with avocado, onions, peppers, and micro greens. The fish tacos were crunchy on the outside yet flavorful and sweet on the inside. If you love food as much as I do, I’m pretty sure you can eat one taco with one bite. But, if you’re on a date, please eat it in two bites, you don’t want to seem like you don’t have any table manners right? I would imagine the tacos to be a little salty but to my surprise these tacos were simply perfect. They provide you with three tacos so if you’re hungry, I suggest you order a little more before leaving this restaurant.
The third dish that was ordered was the Beef Carpaccio which is the best-selling item on the menu. It’s thinly sliced rib eye, citrus soy, sesame & truffle oil, and peanuts. If you’re into slightly cooked beef then this dish is for you. The consistency of the flavors mesh well together with this piece of meat. The beef wasn’t too oily or too salty. It had the perfect taste of something that is meaty, seasoned, and tender. Sometimes barely cooked meats scare people and I understand that for all of the health conscious individuals out there, but don’t let a dish like this scare you from trying something so amazing.
The fourth dish that was ordered was the Grilled Whole Squid. If you’re a seafood lover like me then you’ll appreciate this dish. The squid was grilled perfectly where it didn’t have a burnt taste to it and it was seasoned with togarashi pepper, and spicy aioli sauce. I usually order my squid fried and very seldom have it grilled, and that’s only because the restaurants that I go to don’t offer it grilled. Squid and calamari are two different creatures but similar taste. I’ll make a completely different post to explain the two differences. The spicy aioli sauce that came with it wasn’t too spicy where you need to sip a drink of water after every bite. The sauce was the perfect flavor to go along and help some of the salt that was cooked with the squid. This was no doubt one of my favorite appetizers of the day.
The fifth dish that was ordered… yes, fifth! Was the belly buns. Have you ever had a bun so soft and delicate that you wanted to love it with all of your heart? Well, if you haven’t you need to get in touch with your soft side! These buns were amazing. It covered braised pork belly, cilantro, and peanut. The pork belly was perfectly cooked and provided a smokiness to go with the steamed buns. Even though the dish contains peanuts you can hardly taste it or maybe not even at all. It also came with a house-made slaw that topped the pork belly. The house-made slaw was nice and crunchy so you had smokiness, softness, and a crunch all in one bite. How often do you have those combinations? If you’re hungry like I am, make sure you order another dish as they provide you with three belly buns.
The sixth dish that was ordered was the OxTail Fries. Let me say this a little louder. The next dish was the OXTAIL FRIES! OXTAIL FRIES!?! Have you ever had oxtail fries?! Oh, I didn’t mention it was topped with an egg! I’d like to say that whoever came up with this idea, may you live a happy and prosperous life, and may your children grow up to be the best people ever created in life. The oxtail fries were topped with pieces of oxtail, oxtail gravy, and a fried egg. I am literally drooling as I write this. I loved this dish so much that I’m thinking about making a separate blog post to provide you with different images and more explicit words to describe how well this dish was prepared. You would think that the oxtail gravy would make the fries soggy, but the fries were crispy, hot, flavorful, and tender. I could literally sit here and talk about how perfectly prepared this dish was. If you don’t order this dish when you go to this restaurant, we are no longer friends. (Yes, I am serious).
The seventh dish that was ordered was the lobster fried rice. No words can describe how well this dish was. (Please see pictures) But.. If I must, the lobster went perfectly with the fried rice and it was my first time having lobster fried rice. The restaurant isn’t stingy with the amount of meat they provide you with the fried rice either. The lobster was nice and buttery and went well with the different flavors the fried rice offered. This dish is big enough to order by itself, or if you’re with someone else it’s okay to share.
Last but not least we have the pho. The pho that was presented in front of me was a oxtail/bone marrow pho. I couldn’t decide on the bone marrow or the oxtail so I decided to have them both put into one dish. My decision-making skills are getting better and better everyday as I believe this is one of the best decisions I’ve made for the year of 2017. The pho came with one huge bone & marrow, oxtail, and rice noodle soup. The time and effort the chef puts into this dish can’t go unnoticed. I would wait an hour or more for this dish to be made. For some people, pho just might be any kind of soup that they eat everyday, but to have bone – marrow and oxtail included in this dish, we are not worthy. The pictures may or may not do this dish any type of justice but I can personally tell you that if you come here and don’t order what they specialize in then you’ll be missing out. There aren’t enough words that can describe this perfectly made soup. It wasn’t too salty, it was meaty, and if you’re sick this will clear that cold right up!
Sometimes the best restaurants aren’t in the nicest areas. I appreciate people who take the time out of their days to find what can possibly be the best restaurant(s) they’ve been to. I appreciate quality, taste, and respect when dining in any establishment. This restaurant exceeded all of my needs and wants. If you’re in Las Vegas and your on the strip then take a Uber/Lyft and go about 8-10 miles down the road to this establishment. You will feel as though you’ve made one of the best restaurant decisions of your life.