The 52nd annual World Series of Poker is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start prepping for your Las Vegas trip. Where will you stay? How will you get around town? Which of the 88 bracelet events are you going to enter? And where are the best places to eat?
Food options in Las Vegas are plentiful, including numerous spots inside the Rio or within a close proximity. Health-conscious poker players purchase meal plans from All-American Dave, a WSOP staple food truck that is back for the 2021 series. Others choose the delicious but expensive Voodoo Steakhouse at the Rio, and then of course there are plenty of fast-food and fine dining choices all over town. But if you’re looking for a little something different, a tasty spot that probably won’t show up on many “best restaurants in Las Vegas” blogs but are deserving of inclusion, this article is just for you.
Served Global Dining in Henderson
For those living in or staying in the suburb of Henderson during the 2021 WSOP, there’s an upscale but affordable hidden gem near the I-215 freeway that you’ve got to try. Served Global Dining, located at 1450 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Suite C-205, a few minutes east of Green Valley Ranch, is the perfect Sunday morning brunch spot, but also an excellent choice for lunch or dinner.
Chef Matt Meyer, a known and respected chef in town, created a casual upscale environment, which means there isn’t a dress code. What makes Served unique is every menu item is made-to-order using fresh ingredients, even the sauces. Served Global Dining is known for its global cuisine full of delicious menu items that you simply won’t find elsewhere (i.e. king crab benedict).
PokerNews Recommendation: Potato pancakes and candied bacon. You can thank us later.
We went back and forth on this one. Not because Umiya isn’t a delicious spot for sushi — it very much is. But considering it a “hidden gem” was a bit questionable given how busy the place gets. And then it occurred to us that so many other All-You-Can-Eat sushi bars in the area surrounding the Rio neighborhood seem to get more press. Thus, why we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give Umiya some love, especially considering how close it is to the Rio (couple blocks west of the Rio).
The clear-cut choice at Umiya is the AYCE — one fee for all the sushi and sides your heart desires. What makes Umiya, a favorite among the PokerNews crew, a must-visit spot is the consistency of the sushi and all menu items. A restaurant you know will always deliver the same delicious meal every time is a place we can get behind.
PokerNews Recommendation: Bacon-wrapped scallops.
Polaris Street Cafe
If you’re on your way to the Rio and want a hearty breakfast to fuel you up before a long day of poker, stop in to the Polaris Street Cafe. The improved breakfast spot is a short drive from the WSOP’s home. They have quick service and deliver a tasty hot meal every time.
Polaris Street Cafe received a makeover from acclaimed chef Robert Irvine on the show “Restaurant Impossible” earlier this year. The menu shifted from bland breakfast menu to a more creative and scrumptious full Mexican-inspired menu. The restaurant also has an interesting backstory. Owner Julissa Legasppy lost her husband and co-owner a couple years ago. Following the tragic event, the restaurant began to go downhill, and that’s when Irvine stepped in to save the day. Since then, business has picked up, the food has improved, and the Polaris Street Cafe is now a worthwhile visit for breakfast and lunch.
PokerNews Recommendation: Tacos De Carne Asada Plate (for lunch)
DeSimone’s Steakhouse at Railroad Pass Casino
Sometimes, there isn’t a better way to shake off a rough session at the poker table than to take a short drive away from the poker room and indulge in a juicy piece of USDA Prime steak. DeSimone’s Steakhouse in the furthest south part of Henderson is the perfect place to wash away your sorrows or celebrate a big win.
Located inside the Railroad Pass Casino, which doesn’t have much else to offer unless you’re into the penny slots, DeSimone’s is an upscale steakhouse with quality prime rib, filet mignon, and more, all for a more reasonable cost than what you’d pay on the Strip (expect to pay $100-$150 for dinner and drinks for two). The drive from the Rio takes about 30 minutes, which obviously won’t work for a tourist without a rental car. But if you have an automobile at your disposal, the lengthy drive is well worth it.
(Expert tip: Purchase a Groupon for DeSimone’s, which is almost always available, and will save you $24 off your check)
PokerNews Recommendation: 22-oz Cowboy Steak (or 12-oz Prime Rib if your appetite isn’t big enough).
The Front Yard at Ellis Island Casino
Ellis Island Casino, located behind Bally’s and the Strip, was once a hole-in-the-wall casino that has upped its game with some impressive renovations the past couple years. Within the newly remodeled property is a lively and delicious reasonably priced restaurant, The Front Yard. The two-story indoor/outdoor establishment features an 18-foot big screen TV, creative bar food, and craft beers brewed from its own Ellis Island Brewing Company.
The Front Yard is a great place to eat, drink, and watch some NFL games (you can bet on the games in the Ellis Island sportsbook). Start your day with bottomless mimosas and a brisket benedict for brunch, or stop in for dinner and devour a honey pig flatbread and some steak frites.
PokerNews Recommendation: Beer-brined chicken wings.