Published April 11, 2012
Las Vegas – Move over cheeseburgers and rib-eye steaks, Las Vegas restaurants are starting to go vegan.
Well, not quite all of them. But if you're looking for a plant-based, meatless eating option, there are more choices cropping up in Sin City. At the high end, the Wynn and Encore hotels offer vegan items at every single restaurant, but there are plenty of other mid-range options.
"When people travel, they often look for healthier food options, which is hard to do when you travel," said Tal Ronnen, consulting vegan chef for the Wynn and Encore. "We're definitely meeting a need that's out there."
Offering upscale menu vegan choices is a rule at both hotels, imposed last year by owner and business magnate Steve Wynn. Wynn, who is reportedly a vegan himself, is a legend in Las Vegas who after rebuilding Mirage, Treasure Island, and Bellagio, sold those off those and built the Wynn and Encore hotels.
"(The Wynn and Encore hotels) have over 22 (vegan) menus, ranging from fine dining to casual dining to even the employee cafeteria," said Ronnen.
Some of the vegan items you'll find at both hotels include the Hearts of Palm Crab Cakes at Lakeside restaurant inside of the Wynn, topped with royal trumpet mushrooms and soy reduction. Executive chef David Walzog also serves up a vegan clam chowder, which is a mixture of a cashew cream base and smoked oyster mushrooms.
At Wing Lei restaurant at the Wynn chef Richard Chen offers a vegan version of dim sum. At the Sinatra restaurant inside the Encore, executive chef Theo Schoenegger creates pasta vegan-style made with a vegan agnolotti and vegan ricotta, herbs and asparagus sauce.
As for the chefs adjusting to to the unconventional way of cooking, Ronnen said the chefs "are at the top of their game" and if you're a chef at these hotels, "you're already used to cooking seasonally with fresh ingredients."
Even if you're a meat eater, Schonegger said the vegan items are not to be missed. "The flavors are right on," said Schonegger. "I mean that vegan pasta is no different than the regular pasta."
From vegan clam chowder to vegan crab cakes, you can now make that next trip to Las Vegas a meatless adventure.