Quick Getaway: Tips for checking out ‘Top Chef’ related restaurants in Las Vegas

by Orange County Register

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Chef Tom Colicchio: Heritage Steak, The Mirage

Chef Tom Colicchio: Heritage Steak, The Mirage

Skipping the craps table and gathering around the dinner table is becoming an ever-attractive staple for my family during our annual jaunt to Las Vegas.

Having grown up in the restaurant business and knowing my parents’ foodie tastes, I happily hop into the car when I get their Sin City invite.

Visions of prix fixe menus and the hope that a special meal could crack my top five of all time danced in my head as I drove up I-15 a few days before Christmas.

As I traveled through the desert, I was reminded that even though we’re on opposite coasts – they’re in Maryland – one thing that binds us is the various versions of Bravo’s reality cooking competition “Top Chef.”

My father and I discuss what we would have done if we had been given one of the short, intense Quickfire Challenges, during which contestants have to do something like make a gourmet meal out of vending machine ingredients in 15 minutes. My mother and I talk about the chefs’ personalities and how the judges were right or wrong in whoever was told to pack their knives and go.

And inevitably, “Top Chef” works its way into our Las Vegas plans. Many of the best restaurants in town feature chefs who have at least been guest judges on the show.

Stephen Hopcraft: STK Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan

Hopcraft, who was on the unforgettable Washington, D.C., season of “Top Chef,” has routinely received praise for his executive chefdom at the Las Vegas location of STK. This spot is for people who love some music with their dinner – STK has its own DJ.