By Zeke Quezada
Michael Mina is an icon in the culinary world and his restaurants can be found all around the globe. Below we highlight a few of our favorites. Michael Mina has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, has been awarded a Michelin star as well as being named Chef of the year by Bon Appetit and San Francisco Magazine.
You might be at Pub 1842 for the house-made infusions or the barrel aged craft cocktails but you should be there for the beer. You should be there for the comfort food that pairs well with beer. In fact, you should watch a sporting event with great food to go along with one of their over 50 choices in beer. You get the point, the place has some decent beers but more importantly, it is the type of place where you can sit at the bar, have a big plate of nachos and feel like you never want to leave. It is comfort food mixed in with Vegas hospitality. Michael Mina usually does a fancy interpretation of a cuisine but in this case, he just cleans up your favorite pub fare and adds in his special touch. While you will definitely have a pretzel, you’ll have to focus on a well-crafted burger, the BBQ that is as smoky as you would have in Austin and of course, the 1842 nachos in a complete full order.
Las Vegas influences the classic French brasserie at Aria Las Vegas. Bardot captures the atmosphere of a comfortable café but it invokes its Vegas foundation with a lively atmosphere and a menu of classics. From the Foie Gras parfait and the Escargots Bardot to the Onion Soup straight through to the Loup de Mer the menu dazzles with Michael Mina’s interpretation of the comfortable but classy French approach to cuisine. The bar is stunning and is the ideal place for a quick snack and a cocktail and the show kitchen allows the dining room to view the energy of the people behind the magic of the menu.
Before you begin your meal you’ll be tempted to sample the scotch because they have a large collection, go ahead and do that and then prepare yourself for a journey through a steakhouse menu that is far from ordinary. You’ll start with the crispy rice poppers as well as the charred octopus and the roasted bone marrow. This initial tasting will get you going for the sampling of Colorado Lamb that comes with a mushroom risotto. The wine will be decanted and you’ll step into the main course of a dry aged ribeye or the Mishima rib cap. Yes, the rib cap because it is divine. You could choose a filet or the A5 but trust in the rib cap. If you feel like you need a side dish make sure that the spicy fried rice makes it to your table. Yes, that is pork belly in there lending all of that fatty happiness.
Also in Las Vegas, Michael Mina at Bellagio
The Handle Bar – Jackson Hole
If the Tram was still functional at Jackson Hole this is the bar where the tales would be swapped after a long day on the mountain. Since it is not, you can leave the slopes early and indulge in some Elk chili and a Trout Bahn Mi. If you need to warm up, The Jackson Wedding Soup will do just fine with wild game meatballs and a savory broth that will warm you up just enough to head back out into the Jackson Hole wind. Teton Village has never felt so alive. Don’t forget a few Snake River beers to end your stay.
The Clock Bar – San Francisco
Do you have a favorite bar? Well, it probably does not have bar bites quite like these.
Bourbon Steak (Miami, Nashville, SF, LA, Scottsdale)
A not so classic steakhouse doing steak the way Michael Mina does it right. Ask them if they do a butter poached rib-eye, if they do, order two!