A brief over view of Nevada’s history will give a clue to how the state’s past is reflected in what is eaten. First colonized by miners, then by construction workers and finally by gamblers, the residents of the state have always had big appetites.
Considering that the most successful type of agriculture in the state is cattle ranching it is pretty obvious that beef has played a major part of cuisine in the region over the years. One of the most famous dishes is steak and perhaps one of the most famous steak houses is the Golden Steer.
Its specialty is the Rib Eyed New York and Fillet of Beef. The restaurant was opened in 1958 and some of its more famous customers have include Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. It is still as popular as ever and many diners make a visit on a trip to the region.
The state has its own version of the filling beef burger with the “awful awful” which is served by the Little Nugget restaurant in Reno. It comprises of half pound of beef accompanied by a pound of French fries. The Nugget has other outlets and the specialty is also sold at the Nugget Casino Resort and Carson Nugget in Carson City. Also found in Reno is Peg’s Glorified Ham N Eggs. This eatery specializes in serving eggs benedict and they have eight different versions of it. It can be either served with chorizo patties, steak, crab cakes, or even salmon.
As well as cattle being reared in the state sheep are also farmed and it is natural to find that lamb is a popular dish on many menus. The sheep were actually raised by Basque farmers so one of the most popular ways to eat it is roasted with thyme, rosemary and garlic.
The Mediterranean taste that emanates from the lamb is best tasted at the Martin Hotel in Winnemucca. First opened in 1898 the restaurant is one of a number of Basque restaurants found in the state and has preserved the American Basque cooking style that is in evidence in the region.
The European influence is also clearly in evidence at the BJ Bull Bakery in Elko. Cornish miners who were, working down the mines at Comstock Lode, introduced the locals to the Cornish pasty. Traditionally the pasty contained a savoury mixture of meat potatoes and seasoning, folded in a pastry casing and although the fillings have been modified over the years the recipe is still served today. Another relatively simple, but delicious meal, is served at Villas Basque Café in Carson City. Established in 1997 the café serves up a chorizo sandwich which contains French bread filled with hot chorizo, Ortega Chiles, and pimientos.
As well European food having an influence on the cuisine in Nevada so have Asia dishes. At the Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas the most popular dish is the Crispy Duck with Penang. Located in a strip mall the restaurant serves up the tender but crispy duck with a creamy red curry sauce.
In Las Vegas the casinos try and entice customers to the gambling tables by offering free buffets. This has now gone beyond simple buffet food as each establishment tries to win over more customers. There is no better buffet than the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace. The nine separate kitchens offer 500 dishes including king crab legs, smoked pork belly and extravagant deserts. The cuisine in Nevada is fairly simple but it has had enough different ethnic influence to create dishes that are both whole some and delicious.