Orange County, where I'm originally from, is blessed with so much good food of all different ethnic backgrounds and price points. And while some of the best food in the world can be found here in Las Vegas, I actually think Orange County's palette may be more mature. Why? Take a look at the neighborhoods.
Below is a comment I recently made at one of my fave local blogs, John Curtas' Eating Las Vegas. It arose out of a discussion on all the same ol' steakhouses that plague our town. If you agree with me, tell me about the dining options in your part of the valley. If you don't, then tell me what I'm missing.
I guess I was just too spoiled when I lived right in the heart of Orange County, between the fancy, schmancy South Coast Plaza fine dining scene, the Latino (Mexican, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, etc.) flavors in Downtown Santa Ana, and the many Asian choices in Garden Grove/Westminster (Vietnamese, Korean), Costa Mesa (Japanese), and Irvine (Indian, Korean, and Chinese). Like the rest of Southern California, OC isn’t so much a “melting pot” as it is a “tossed salad” of all sorts of ethnic flavors, “Casual California Cuisine”, and fine dining. Last week, it was nice to explore some of this again.In many ways, the culinary scene here in Las Vegas is more sophisticated than SoCal spots (away from LA) like Orange County, as the fine dining restaurants concentrated on The Strip and scattered in some spots Downtown, Summerlin, and here in Henderson are among the best in the nation. But on the other hand, I feel it isn’t as mature precisely because we don’t yet have the various unique holes in the wall thriving in neighborhoods all over the valley that Orange County takes for granted.Now yes, we’re starting to see this. “Chinatown” on Spring Mountain is a good start. So are the Mexican places on The East Side. So are the mom-and-pop shops that are scattered around town. I just hope that with economic recovery will come more of these, more neighborhood eateries that offer a unique experience and not more of the same Cheesecake Factory/Claim Jumper/Olive Garden/Chili’s/insert-other-national-chains-here monotony that makes so much of The ‘Burbs so boring to my palette.