Welcome to Bite & Switch, a food blog reviewing everything from food trucks to fine dining restaurants.

Manly burger ($12) - house beer-cheddar, bacon lardons, smoked salt onion strings, Umami house ketchup, mustard spread @ Umami Burger

Umami Burger, Beer Garden & Sports Book

By | 2.5 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

Umami, the California-based casual eatery, is part of the slowly sinking SLS Las Vegas. This typically empty hotel and casino was hopping when I stopped by several weeks ago for the NFL kick-off to see the Pats-Steelers game. Despite the unusually busy night, we managed to snag a booth. The room, with its industrial-looking exposed pipes and brick walls, has booths lining the walls, with tables and sofas filling out the center, and on this night a radio crew handing out gifts and prizes.

Several servers were walking around handing out free samples. Great for customers, but awful for the servers as many people probably didn’t order food or tip well because of all the freebies. I tried the skinny fries and sweet potato fries, both well seasoned and crispy. I also tried slider version of their truffle burger and hatch burger — the patties on both were juicy and cooked to about medium. The former only had subtle amounts of truffle in the aioli, cheese, and glaze, while the latter had just enough heat to enhance the flavor.

As for the food we ordered, the Korean fries had a mild kimchi flavor paired with sweet potato fries while the chicken wings had to be sent back because they only gave us five instead of the advertised six. They corrected the mistake and  sent out a correct order. Each with a crispy exterior coated in a spicy BBQ sauce. The lone full size burger sampled was the Manly burger ($12). A bit small but filling with a densely packed, overcooked patty topped with house beer-cheddar, bacon lardons, smoked salt onion strings, ketchup and mustard. The branded bun was a nice touch.

The quality and variety of burgers and appetizers lags behind the top burger joints in town, but it was a cool spot to watch the game thanks to the in-house sporting book, large TVs scattered throughout the room and the smaller TV right at our booth.

2.5 Stars

SLS Las Vegas
2535 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 761-7614

Umami Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Root beer float ($6) - with Oreo dusted churro garnish @ Divine Cafe

Divine Cafe at the Springs Preserve

By | 4 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

There aren’t many restaurants more “under the radar” than Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. It’s out of the way for most tourists visiting the Strip or Downtown and it’s a destination most locals don’t think of when looking for a meal, unless you’re also visiting the exhibits at Springs Preserve. Originally created as a catering and events company, Divine Events moved their kitchen and cafe from an industrial park in the southwest to the Springs Preserve space, formerly occupied by Wolfgang Puck. While catering is still the bulk of their business, the cafe is poised to make some noise. With a kitchen led by Steve Piamchuntar (former chef and owner of Nosh & Swig) they’re serving up some surprisingly good dishes for lunch and brunch.

Chef Steve has brought his refined skills and whimsical and modern touch to this cafe. With their recently changed menu they’re offering a diverse menu with plenty for adults and kids, alike. Standard American fare like caesar salads, burgers, and pizzas are available. While the burger ($9.50) was decent, non-typical dishes make this place shine compared to other cafes in town. Singapore chicken cups ($9.50) are lettuce wraps with balanced sweetness and savoriness, making it a great dish to start a meal. Following that was a chili mayo covered tuna tataki dish ($12) atop tatsoi greens and sesame coated crisps. Nicely constructed, it provided an early wake up call to the palate with its modest heat.

The pressed chicken milanese ($11) is a must. It eats like a sandwich but has flavors that are fitting for any larger meal. Arriving on a cutting board, with ingredients piled high, you can assemble the breaded chicken, prosciutto, and arugula between naan for some handheld enjoyment or go the knife and fork route.

For brunch the pan dulce french toast ($8) was great. More like a creamy bread pudding with bread soaked through with custard, it’s perfect for those wanting to satisfy their sweet tooth early in the day. And, to polish off a meal try the root beer float ($6). It’s accompanied by an Oreo dusted churro that’s as good as any you’ll find in town.

My meal was fully comped, but I did tip appropriately. They’re typically only open for lunch or brunch, but are open Thursday evenings and have happy hour specials along with live music. With views of both the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas in the distance, their patios make the space even more enjoyable. Fans of the chef may miss the edge he brought to his own restaurant, but there’s enough good eats here to satisfy. Their target demographic will appreciate the safe approach with a few eye-catching and palate pleasing dishes thrown in to make this place a destination and not just an afterthought after touring the Springs Preserve.

4 Stars

Springs Preserve
333 S Valley View Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89152
(702) 822-7700

Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pork katsu ($9.45) @ Japanese Curry Zen

Japanese Curry Zen

By | 4 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

At Japanese Curry Zen, you’ll find some good pork katsu lightly breaded and pounded thin. The housemade curry, created from over a dozen spices, has plenty of depth and quite a bit of heat, even when ordered at a gaijin-friendly level 2. White rice serves as a good blank canvas compliment to balance things out. Needing some sweetness after the heat, I ordered their mango cheesecake after finding out the green tea cheesecake was all out. The cheesecake was somewhat dry, lacking the creaminess of better versions. Japanese restaurants aren’t typically known for their desserts, so I’d pass next time but would recommend the katsu, especially if you enjoy a bit of spiciness to your curry.

Located in the ever-busy strip mall that houses Raku, it can be a challenge finding parking during peak dining hours. But, that’s a testament to the quality of dining in this plaza, Japanese Curry Zen included.

4 Stars

5020 Spring Mountain Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89146
(702) 985-1192

Japanese Curry & Toppings Zen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pork belly with country grits ($10.98) - crispy pork belly, creamy Cabot grits @ Pot Liquor CAS

Pot Liquor CAS

By | 2 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

I had such high hopes for this spot in Town Square. Named after the southern term for the liquid left behind after boiling greens such as collar, mustard and turnip greens, Flip Arbelaez and chef Doug Bell opened Pot Liquor just over a year ago. Unlike other barbecue places, this isn’t region specific, instead bringing the best from barbecue meccas Memphis, the Carolinas, Kansas City, and Texas under one roof. Awesome concept, right?

By now I had hoped that they would have perfected their craft. The menu sounds so good I was salivating reading it. I love the concept of a modern smokehouse. There’s so much potential for merging traditional Southern fare with dishes with a modern twist. At least the pork belly and country grits succeeded in doing so. A well caramelized, crispy exterior, rendered fat underneath, and tender meat below that made it an excellent dish that balanced sweet and savory.

Unfortunately, the other stuff I tried wasn’t as good. The mopped baby back ribs were not good at all. I liked the tangy sauce with hints of sweetness but the meat was anything but tender, as if cooked much earlier in the day and reheated for my order. I also wasn’t a fan of the cake-textured cornbread. The kale and cashew slaw was the lone saving grace to an otherwise awful platter.

There is a kids menu. My son ordered the chicken fingers, which were over salted. At least he liked the fries.

With so much promise, Pot Liquor was a let down with one of the biggest staples in barbecue. The uniqueness of this restaurant, and perhaps its strength, lies in the modern and creative appetizers. One can hope that the quality of its smoked proteins will improve to make this a restaurant worth visiting.

2 Stars

Town Square
6587 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 816-4600

Pot Liquor CAS Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rib platter ($24.99) - 3 babybacks, 2 St. Louis spare ribs, 1 beef rib, side of mac and cheese @ Rollin Smoke Barbeque

Rollin Smoke Barbeque

By | 5 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

I’ve had this place bookmarked forever and finally had a chance to go a while back. It’s got a “dive bar” feel thanks to it’s location off of Highland Drive (down the street from some strip clubs) and the old, weathered building it’s in. But, that just seems to solidify their reputation as the town’s best barbecue. No legitimate barbecue place could occupy a clean,modern building, right?

Inside you’ll find two connected rooms. One with the register, soda machines, and wooden picnic table benches. The other room is a larger dining area with several tables and chairs. The giant menu behind the register will have you drooling. There’s an all you can eat option for $34.99 that offers up everything on the menu. For those that aren’t that daring there are plenty of a la carte options like sandwiches, salads, and wraps. But it’s the barbecue platters that bring folks in.

For my first visit I had to try the rib platter ($22.99). With fall-off-the-bone tender baby back ribs with a good crust/bark and smokey flavor, thick and meaty spare ribs, and a massive, charred and fatty beef rib, this was a great option to try multiple proteins. For a side, I went with the mac ’n cheese. Made from elbow pasta and sitting in a thick, creamy cheese sauce topped with cheddar, it only served as a speed bump in my road to devouring the barbecue.

I’ll agree with many others in saying this is the city’s best ‘cue. No one else in town can beat their hickory smoked barbecue. Forget about the chain restaurants, this father and son team are cooking up food with passion that can’t be matched in the valley.

Locals get a 10% discount.

5 Stars

3185 S Highland Dr
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 836-3621

Rollin' Smoke Barbeque Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Carnitas combo plate ($8.75) @ Habaneros Taco Grill

Habaneros Taco Grill

By | 2 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

Quickie taco restaurants are a dime a dozen in this town with most serving below average food. I was hoping this relatively new spot on Ft. Apache Road would be different. Nope. After I ordered they told me they were running low on carnitas and ended up giving me what was left and filled out the rest of the order with carne asada. The carnitas weren’t bad — subtle sweetness, tender and savory. The carne asada, on the other hand, wasn’t very good. The quality of meat looked poor and it wasn’t seasoned enough making it very bland. Rice and beans were basic. Nothing that you couldn’t get at a million other Mexican joints. They do have a drive thru for those on the run.

2 Stars

4225 S Fort Apache Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89147
(702) 432-8225

Habaneros Taco Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chicken pesto panini ($6.75) @ Esspressions Cafe

Espression Cafe

By | 3 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

While some may loathe jury duty, I was looking forward to it. After all, it was a new experience for me and after making the cut I came back to the Regional Justice Center in Downtown Las Vegas the following day for the first (and what would be last) day of the trial. When it was time for lunch I bypassed the long lines at Capriotti’s on the ground floor and ventured across the street to Esspressions Cafe, just north of the justice center.

There’s a hot bar where you can grab food to go. Or you can order a number of sandwiches or salads at the register. I opted for a chicken pesto panini ($6.75), full of large chunks of white chicken in between crispy panini bread, lettuce and tomatoes and slathered with pesto. It dripped down my fingers with every bite, but I didn’t care. For a tiny cafe, it was pretty good, as were the fries which were extra. Both, a perfect way to recharge before going back to court.

3 Stars

321 Casino Center Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 366-0665

Espression Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chocolate chip cookies with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream @ Cream


By | 2.5 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

I dig the WU-Tang reference, in this case it stands for Cookies Rule Everything Around Me. I’m a fan of the concept as well. Who doesn’t love ice cream sandwiches? Plus you can mix and match cookies, which they have a  wide variety of, like chocolate chip, red velvet, white chocolate macadamia nut, and turtle.

I opted for chocolate chip cookies with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. They warm up the cookies to make them soft and pliable. It also softens up the ice cream, making it messy to eat. Ice cream will shoot out the back of the sandwich when taking a bite and tends to drip everywhere. Keep your sandwich close and your napkins closer.

The cookies were pretty good — soft chewy, but very thin. The ice cream was creamy and sweet, but nothing that really distinguishes it from other brands. It’s a decent product where the draw is the customization of your ice cream sandwich. If I come back I’d probably enjoy it more if I eat the ice cream and cookies separately. The sandwiches may be all the rage these days (as you see them in restaurants more frequently), but I prefer the old fashioned way to eat ice cream.

Lines at this Downtown Summerlin outpost can be long but it goes fairly quickly. Originally out of Berkeley, California, they’re quickly expanding their franchise with locations throughout the golden state and now two in Nevada. While their flavors aren’t as challenging to the palate as other ice cream or gelato shops around town kids will love this place.

2.5 Stars

Downtown Summerlin
1980 Festival Plz Dr, Ste 165
Las Vegas, NV 89135
(702) 272-0072

Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ringo - apple pie served with honey ice cream @ Sweets Raku

Sweets Raku

By | 5 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

Sweets Raku is a true gem, a special spot for dessert and wine where the food is as beautiful as it is delicious. Part of the appeal is watching dishes being created in front of you in the open kitchen. This sister restaurant to the nationally acclaimed Raku, located a few doors away in the same plaza, is a modern dessert heaven. A spot where you can sidle up to the bar, chat with the chef, and indulge in some of the most creative desserts in Las Vegas.

The interior is stark white, clean, modern and pristine. The chef’s work station is something to behold. It’s immaculate. Even on busy nights she darts from one station to another carefully crafting each dish while maintaining an organized and spotless kitchen.

Many have mentioned edible menus, but unfortunately they’re no longer in use. Instead a more traditional printed menu with pictures and descriptions is used. A 2 course dessert pairing ($15) is listed in place of the previous 3 course option. I inquired about the 3 courses and they gladly accommodated me.

To start was a smooth and light strawberry sorbet with jelly, followed by the perfectly light for summer Mt. Exotic. Its subtle sweetness and crispy base were topped with a spongey cake and mango cream with tartness and acidity added from a raspberry sauce. My wife ordered the Ringo ($12) a la carte. It’s a gorgeous and well crafted apple pie. The caramelized apples were covered by a crispy lattice crust, next to it was honey ice cream and an apple-shaped object made of sugar and filled with cream and caramel. It’s an absolute must when visiting this place and one of the better desserts I’ve had in town. Ending the meal was a delicate and flaky cream puff filled with a semi sweet chocolate cream and raspberry sauce.

For anyone with a sweet tooth, this is a local Vegas destination that shouldn’t be missed.

5 Stars

5040 W Spring Mountain Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89146
(702) 290-7181

Sweets Raku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Harami miso skirt steak ($8.95) - 21-day aged angus @ Gyu-Kaku

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

By | 4 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

There’s some decent barbecue here. I first tried them in Waikiki where I became a fan of this chain. The “cook it yourself” concept serves as a good vehicle for socializing while dining and the Vegas location, located off of Spring Mountain road, is perfect for date nights or gatherings with friends and family.

It’s better to order a la carte instead of going with the meal deals, in my opinion, and skip stuff you may not really want like salad, soup and edamame. Proteins like the harami miso skirt steak and kalbi short rib don’t take long to cook but can benefit from extra time on the grill to get crispy around the edges. Other items we tried were seasoned well like the garlic shrimp and vegetables. The garlic rice, arriving in a stone pot, will get crispy when left in there. It’s a larger portion that can be shared by two people. I loved the slivers of garlic mixed in with the rice.

The food isn’t groundbreaking, but it is good and perfect for meals that center around the company you’re with, rather than the food itself.

4 Stars

3550 S Decatur Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89103
(702) 816-5988

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fried jidori chicken and green chili cornbread waffles ($13) - bacon red eye gravy, maple syrup, fried egg @ Public School 702

Public School 702

By | 4 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

Public School 702 has the type of refined brand you’d expect from a chain restaurant, which it is, but manages to feel more like a small-scale, chef-driven spot thanks to a modern menu and great craft brews. As a gastropub, you’ll find pub and bar fare that will hit the spot like bangers and mash ($13) consisting of snappy chicken and herb sausages and a hearty bacon brussels mash. Other top dishes include chicken wings ($6 during happy hour) with a crackly, crispy exterior; adobo tacos ($7 during happy hour) that come with two roasted chicken and two short rib tacos; and the massive farro and brussels salad ($16) with pan seared scallops.

They serve brunch on weekends, too. Their French toast varies, but the blackberry lemon curd ($11) version I tried was equally sweet and tart. Even better was the fried jidori chicken and green chili cornbread waffles ($13). Well seasoned with a thin, crispy crust, the chicken sat atop mildly spiced, savory waffles covered in a gravy full of bacon bits. Topped with a fried egg, the brunch version differs from the one on their regular menu which has more chicken and no egg.

With a large menu, it’s not unexpected to have dishes that fall flat. I wasn’t a fan of the broccoli or salt and vinegar chips in the chorizo mac and cheese ($7). And, the grits in the shrimp and white cheddar grits dish ($15) was too soupy and runny for my liking. The fig and prosciutto pizza ($12) lacked enough prosciutto to balance out the overpowering sweetness of the figs. A better choice of flatbreads is the wild mushroom and taleggio with a more earthy and savory profile.

Their beer list changes frequently, but they’ve had some great ones on the menu like Jommegang by Ommegang (a Belgian style dark ale) and Parabloa by Firestone Walker (a Russian imperial stout).

Service has been solid the few times I’ve gone, but the restaurant is so large, with a long rectangular layout, that you can see servers struggling to race to the bar to pick up drinks, race to the kitchen on the other end to grab food, and race back to the tables. I think all the servers act as food runners and bussers too so the amount of work they have to do isn’t conducive to great customer service. It’s an issue with management and the layout more than anything, but often reflects poorly on the servers.

Despite a few minor hiccups, this California-based chain has shown that you can achieve local appeal with a diverse menu more typical of home grown gastropubs.

4 Stars

Downtown Summerlin
1850 Festival Plaza Dr
Las Vegas, NV 89135

Public School 702 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Japanese tebasaki chicken wings ($4.95 for 4) - sweet ginger soy and black pepper

Inyo Asian Variety Restaurant

By | 4 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

The buzz may have died down from their opening, but the food at Inyo is still better than most on Spring Mountain road. My unquestioned favorite items are the chicken wings. Flash fried, no breading, with hints of sweetness covering meaty wings, the Japanese tebasaki wings ($4.95 for 4) are superb. Kushi is always a safe bet as well, with the pork belly ($3.95) and wagyu ($5.95) skewers standouts in well executed simplicity. Skewers come with three types of salt — standard sea salt, togarashi, and curry salt. Try each to find your perfect flavor combo. Don’t overlook the crab fried rice ($7.95). Topped with a scramble of egg and chunks of snow crab, you’ll get good value for this bowl of deliciousness.

From the sea, you’ll find dishes that aren’t overworked. Dishes with minimal ingredients but maximum flavors. Kumamoto oysters ($4.95) started a touch sweet and briny but ended with a spicy finish. Silky tuna was clearly the star in the Maguro no zuke ($9.95) dish, with avocado and green onions only serving to enhance the main ingredient. The hamachi usuzukuri ($8.95) was excellent. Hints of heat balanced with the acidity from the ponzu created an excellent profile for the thinly sliced yellowtail and the textural contrast with the other ingredients made this dish shine.

Restaurants that feature such a wide range of cuisines — in this case Japanese, Thai, Korean, and Chinese — rarely execute at a high level. But, at Inyo well crafted dishes are standard. The spot may lack some of the hype and appeal of other restaurants in the valley, but you’ll rarely leave here disappointed.

4 Stars

6000 W Spring Mountain Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89146

Inyo Asian Variety Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vegas pork bullets ($16) - tender nuggets on the bone, marinated and slow cooked for 8 hours, grilled and caramelized, served with fries and coleslaw @ Ribs and Burgers

Ribs & Burgers

By | Las Vegas | No Comments

I was really hoping this place would have improved after all their bad early online reviews. I’m a fan of burgers and a fan of ribs. And, with this place, located in Downtown Summerlin, being close to home I was praying there would be a decent rib place by me. Unfortunately, this Australian chain import has some issues. The Vegas pork bullets ($16) are basically three ribs that are cut cross-section/perpendicular to the bone. The meat was tender, but incredibly oily with no hint of smoke. The chicken breasts ($14) are two small breasts pounded thin and overcooked as to render them almost inedible. The lone saving grace were the skinny fries. I’m all for casual eateries like this succeeding, but they’ll need to step up their game if they want to be here for the long haul.

2 Stars

Downtown Summerlin
2010 Festival Plaza Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89135

Ribs & Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Falafel platter ($9.99)

Shawarma Vegas

By | 2 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

I walked into this small kosher Israeli and Mediterranean spot near the corner of Ft. Apache and Sahara and a guy talking on his phone sitting at one of the tables got up and offered me a menu. I’m guessing he might be the owner? The same dude took my order. You get your money’s worth in quantity here. The falafel platter was huge! I walked out of there with two styrofoam containers full of stuff. The first was a baker’s dozen of small falafel and rice. In the second they give you your choice of salads and sides. The guy didn’t bother explaining how many the meal came with or if there was a limit. He just filled up the container as I pointed to three things, none of which were exceptional. The cucumber salad was bland, the hummus was thick and paste-like, and the red cabbage, with its hint of sweetness, was the best of the bunch. Even the falafel weren’t particularly memorable, except for a pronounced aftertaste that I quickly drowned out with beer when eating at home. I may have walked out with several pounds of food, but less than half was consumed.

2 Stars

2521 S Fort Apache Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89117

Shawarma Vegas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oreo cake @ Scandia Bakery

Scandia Bakery & Coffee Shop

By | 2.5 Stars, Laguna Beach | No Comments

Before heading back to Vegas after a short trip to Cali a while back, we made a short detour to Laguna Beach. Walking by all the downtown shops, we stopped by Scandia Bakery for a quick meal. Not just a bakery, they sell all sorts of items from desserts, pastries, hot food, salads, and sandwiches.

I’m not sure what possessed me to order lasagna from a bakery. Light on meat but heavy on sauce it was clumsily plated on paper plates and microwaved. Yikes! I should have gotten a sandwich instead.

Desserts fared slightly better. The oreo cake was filled with cloyingly sweet cream with thin layers of cake thrown in. Carrot cake was just above the quality you’d find at a grocery store. Lightly spiced, tiny slivers of carrots, and subtley sweet cream cheese layers made this a decent version but not one I’d probably get again.

Display cases filled with a wide variety of pastries and bakes goods made this an enticing stop. But one that proved to be more style than substance.

2.5 Stars

248 Forest Ave
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Scandia Bakery & Coffee Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

New York steak - charbroiled angus beef with a coffee crust and a whiskey sauce served with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetablesr @ Cedar Creek Inn

Cedar Creek Inn

By | 3 Stars, Brea | No Comments

My recent trip to California included a stop at Cedar Creek Inn, a family owned and operated business with two locations. Arriving in the early evening for a private party, I was pleasantly surprised by the well executed food, stellar service, and cozy atmosphere. Their private covered patio is spacious and airy, perfect for cool weather nights. If the weather turns to cold there’s a large gas fireplace to warm things up.

Our group’s prix-fixe menu was full of traditional American fare like a house salad with apples, spiced walnuts, blue cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette. Entrees consisted of a tender, honey-herb chicken with silky smooth mashed potatoes and vegetables and a bold coffee crusted charbroiled New York strip with a whiskey sauce, also with potatoes and vegetables. A creamy white chocolate raspberry cheesecake ended the meal.

This isn’t cutting edge food, but for what it is, it’s done right.

3 Stars

20 Pointe Dr
Brea, CA 92821

Cedar Creek Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato