Live From JCK Las Vegas: Veg Out

Think vegetarian diners on the Strip are confined to salad bars and side dishes? Think again. “Eating vegetarian in Vegas has become a lot easier thanks to Steve Wynn,” says New York City–based chef/vegetarian expert Cindi Avila. “He became a vegan—no meat, dairy, or eggs—a couple years back, and then had each restaurant in his hotels put a separate vegetarian and vegan menu into place.” We asked Avila—a frequent Vegas visitor/diner (she chronicles her memorable meals at nomeatnoproblem.wordpress.com)—to dish on her favorite meat-free Sin City meals:

Switch (Encore, 702-770-5340): “Crisp oyster mushrooms coated in polenta-sesame, served with vegan mayonnaise. It’s reminiscent of fried clams.”

Botero (Wynn Las Vegas, 702-770-5310): “I love the quinoa pasta with sage pesto and cashews.”

Scarpetta (The Cosmopolitan, 702-698-7000): “It has a menu all dedicated to meat-free food as well. Their fried zucchini is the best I’ve had, and their agnolotti is perfect pillows of pasta.”

Michael Mina (Bellagio, 702-693-7223): “The vegetarian tasting menu…changes daily, but if you are lucky enough to get the heirloom beet salad, you are in for a treat. Their dishes all look like works of art.”

Fleur (Mandalay Bay, 702-632-9400): “Risotto is often made with chicken stock, but not this creamy concoction. Hubert Keller also features a dish you would never think could be made vegetarian: bouillabaisse, traditionally a fish stew. You don’t miss the seafood one bit.”