GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

September 4, 2014

Las Vegas Weekly

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52 LASVEGASWEEKLY.COM SEPTEMBER 410, 2014 JINYA BY CHRISTOPHER DEVARGAS; E&N FAMILY TABLE RESTAURANT BY STEVE MARCUS FOOD Growing up in Chicago's South Suburbs, casual Greek restaurants dotted the landscape—family-run places serving standard American fare and a smatter- ing of Greek specialties. A staple Sunday afternoon family excursion, our favorite was J N Michael's Restaurant, where you were guaranteed to encounter an enter- taining symphony of "Opa!" accompany- ing a procession of the iconic laming cheese appetizer saganaki. Now Las Vegas has a joint like that, thanks to a Greek family by way of Georgia—the state, not the country—in E&N Family Table Restaurant. And while there's no saganaki to be found, there are other ethnic options. The breakfast menu is fairly standard, so drop by later in the day when more unique dishes are available. To begin, look no further than your tabletop where the duo of tiropita and spanakopita ($4 each) are listed. These phyllo dough-layered pastries brim with stu ing, the former a cheesy egg mixture and the latter con- taining spinach and feta. Either is worth a bite, but I prefer the sharpness of the tiropita to the milder spanakopita. The best dish on the menu—and one of the best dishes I've had this year—is the house specialty chicken souvlaki plate ($10). A pair of grilled chicken skew- ers arrives with rice pilaf, warm pita and creamy tzatziki. The fowl is well-seasoned with more than a hint of lemon. Light and lavorful, it's a simple dish that more than makes up for the lack of laming cheese. –Jim Begley SPANAKOPITA AND SOUVLAKI Greek favorites are the specialty at this new, casual west-side spot There is no understating Southern California's culi- nary infl uence on the Las Vegas Valley, a logical phe- nomenon further crystallized by the recent opening of SLS and its multitude of hip, LA-born restaurants. The development continues off the Strip, too; one of the tastiest transplants arrived in July at the restaurant- heavy intersection of Decatur and Flamingo. Jinya is more than just another entry into the expanding world of ramen bars; it may be the most complete and comfortable ver- sion of this style of restaurant we have, and the food is devastating- ly delicious. LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold called it "the best ramen Los Angeles had ever seen" last year, particularly praising the intense Tokyo-style ramen cur- rently on the Las Vegas menu as a special ($9.50). Its milky-rich pork broth is umamifi ed with a dose of dried fi sh dashi, topped with slic- es of chashu pork, seasoned soft- cooked egg, green onion, bonito fl akes and kikurage mushroom. Jinya's fantastic fl avors have also invaded New York, Texas, Seattle and Canada, and the Vegas landing has converted a former fast-food joint into a stylish space ideal for lunchtime escape, hap- py-hour revelry or lively dinner. Most local ramen spots don't have the balanced menu or crisp service to pull off that last one. There's a small bar and a huge, square, communal table in the middle of the room, making for an overall interesting environment. In addition to standard appetizers and small bites like pork gyoza ($4.80) and crispy morsels of fried chicken—splendid stuff available in orders of fi ve, 10 or 15 pieces—Jinya offers pork belly buns ($3.80), crispy rice topped with spicy tuna ($5.80) and addictively crunchy tempura Brussels sprouts ($5.80). There are a few sushi rolls, just for fun, plus crispy takoyaki balls ($4.80) studded with bits of octo- pus and a pleasant salad of kale, broccoli, quinoa, tomato and corn dressed in slightly sweet sesame. It's a perfectly fresh counterpoint to the rich noodle soup. Jinya has ramen to suit every taste. If that crazy-rich tonkotsu is too much for you, the vegetar- ian option ($9.55) is beautifully fl avored and stacked with thin noodles, baby lettuce, broccoli, spinach, caulifl ower, asparagus and more. You can also do soupless ramen. Tan tan men ($8.55) adds a spicy sauce to ground pork, vegetables and thicker, chewier noodles, or there's a cold version called hiyashi with lots of red ginger, bean sprouts and slices of chashu pork. There's chicken ramen, hybrid chicken-pork ramen, wonton ramen and spicy ramen, all satisfying, and then there's Jinya's tonkotsu black ($10.55) with black garlic oil, fried onions and garlic chips and seaweed. For those looking for the most savory slurpage, this is the place to begin, and possibly the only ramen shop you'll need. RAMEN RECALIBRATED Jinya aims for a new noodle standard BY BROCK RADKE > SOUP'S ON Jinya's options include fully-loaded vegetarian ramen and a scrumptious pork belly bun (below). E&N FAMILY TABLE RE STAURANT 4460 S. Durango Drive, 7023820051. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 8 a.m.- 9 p.m. JINYA 4860 W. Flamingo Road, 702- 8688877. Daily, 11:30 a.m.-3 a.m.

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