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April 20, 2014

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Chef Talk:

Trop’s executive chef needs better Mexican food

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Beverly Poppe

Chef George Bargisen holds it down at Biscayne, Trop’s fresh new steakhouse.

George Bargisen arrived as executive chef at the Tropicana in August 2009, one month after the iconic casino came under new ownership committed to restoring its former glory. “I got to see the property completely transform into what it is now,” he says. “It’s been quite a ride.” Bargisen, tasked with supervising the vast majority of Trop’s food service (including the Biscayne steakhouse), made it his goal for the property to be recognized for great eats. “We’ve taken the steakhouse from nothing to one of the best on the Strip.”

Favorite diner: Weiss Deli (2744 N. Green Valley Parkway, 454-0565) Bargisen and his wife, a chef at MGM Grand, live in Henderson with their 9-month-old daughter, and when they want a cozy meal, Weiss is the place. “With so many people transplanted from the East Coast, you’d think there would be more great diners, but there’s not. How many places in town still their make their own corned beef hash? Everybody else is opening a can. Here, you get a great meal for a good price, and the wait staff remembers who you are.”

Missing from local dining: good Mexican food “There is a lack of really good Mexican restaurants in this town. Having spent six years in Scottsdale, I know there are a lot of traditional flavors down there. I think there used to be more stuff [in Las Vegas], but with the bad economy, a lot of the smaller guys went by the wayside.”

Favorite pho: Pho Saigon 8 (9055 S. Eastern Ave., 629-3100) “Nothing beats a good bowl of Vietnamese noodles and broth,” Bargisen says. Another convenient Henderson hot spot, this pho parlor expanded southeast from its original Chinatown location. “I still frequent Chinatown as much as I can, and I like to support local places because I know how difficult it is to have a successful restaurant.”

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