Temptations in downtown Vegas

You might not expect to find farm-to-table dining in Las Vegas. But that’s exactly why tourists are lining up at a rundown corner a few blocks near the old casinos in the town’s seedy core.
It takes visitors arriving by cab a few minutes to locate the nouveau diner Eat on the ground floor of a motel-style apartment complex that rents rooms by the month and looks like a place where a down-on-his-luck crime caper hero might live.

But this is Las Vegas’ first neighborhood restaurant with an emphasis on freshness and locally sourced ingredients. Eat has been a favorite among locals since it opened two years ago, when more than 100 people lined up to get their first taste. Chef and owner Natalie Young temporarily closed the restaurant that first night to regroup.

She conceived the restaurant as an antidote to the caviar-drenched, truffle-infused upscale restaurants most commonly associated with Sin City. She spent more than a decade working at some of the Strip’s fanciest venues, including the restaurant at the top of the ersatz Eiffel Tower. At Eat, she’s kept the linen napkins, but chucked the overheated menu descriptions and steep prices.

“There’s enough Vegas in Vegas,” she said, raising her voice a little to be heard above the buzz of a typically packed morning at Eat.

The menu is small, with a Southern accent, and it’s closed for dinner. Breakfast offerings include buttery cinnamon biscuits served with berries piled on top, free-range eggs any way you like, and pillowy beignets with seasonal jam and mascarpone. For lunch, there are salads, sandwiches on thick toasted bread, shrimp and grits, and the best grilled cheese in town. There can be a two-hour wait for a table on weekends – though it’s more like 15 minutes on weekdays.

IF YOU GO
EAT: 707 Carson St, Las Vegas. 702-534-1515. http://eatdtlv.com.
LE THAI: 523 Fremont St, Las Vegas. 702-778-0888. http://www.lethaivegas.com.
MTO: 500 South Main St, Las Vegas. 702-380-8229. http://mtocafe.com.
PINCHES TACOS: 707 East Fremont St at Container Park, Las Vegas. 702-910-3100. http://pinchestacos.com.
WILD: 150 North Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas. 702-527-7717. http://eatdrinkwild.com.

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