Valencian Gold might just have the most extensive paella program in Las Vegas
The ever-changing menu at Valencian Gold hit its stride months ago and has since continued to impress with each new dish. Chef Jeffrey Weiss, who cooked under the supervision of many Spanish maestros including Dani Garcia and Jose Andres, brings a respect to the tradition of tapas and paella along with a creative streak that has him pushing his own limits in the kitchen. All of this goes into creating one of the most exciting restaurants to open in Las Vegas in a long time. The fact that it’s not on The Strip, but instead anchoring a strip mall complex in the Southwest part of town only adds to its odd charm.
Here are five dishes not to miss:
“Who doesn’t love fried fish? All over the world they [have] recipes for this stuff,” says Weiss.
For this version, he found inspiration from his time in Southern Spain at “Chiringuitos,” little beach shacks that specialize in fried seafood. While the chef has yet to use the shark meat that many of the seaside eateries rely upon, he does always cook this dish with a firm, white fish, which rotates depending on the season.
Also, keeping true to the roots of the area, he coats the fish in chickpea flour before frying it in olive oil. Served with a wedge of lemon and lemon garlic aioli, Weiss could likely upend this city’s fish and chips game if he added some potatoes to the plate. This is as good a fried fish dish as one can currently find in Vegas.
2. Catalan Mushrooms
There are certain broths that stay with the diner. Broths that, when finished with whatever they are surrounding, the diner wants to sop up with bread or even slurp. This broth is that broth. Here, Weiss is playing with the Catalonian concept of marymontana, bringing elements of the sea and land together to create something harmonious.
The earthy mushroom medley includes king trumpet, koshimenji, shimenji, shitake, and oyster, giving the chef multiple shapes and feels to play with. It’s all brought together with a compound uni butter and a sherry and lemon pan sauce. Meat eaters will miss nothing while broth hunters will celebrate the win.
3. Foie gras rice crispy treats
Weiss is a huge fan of Salvador Dali and while this dish isn’t dadaist, it does speak to an anything goes nature the two share. The name alone is alluring and the chef is able to deliver on a taste to match the whimsy of the concept. Weiss claims that making the actual treat with foie was the easy part; finding the perfect topper was what made it difficult:
“Every restaurant I’ve ever opened, there’s one dish that it comes down to the wire with. The day we open it might still not be working. Then we do one little thing. There’s some magic in the air. And suddenly it works. And that dish is always the best seller. With this restaurant, it was the foie gras rice crispy treats.”
The element that makes everything shine is the goat cheese brûlée on top, giving a tart counterpunch to the sweet treat. It’s both sophisticated and playful.
It would be foolish to tell the reader which of the many paellas to choose, but worth noting that Valencian Gold might just have the most extensive paella program currently in Las Vegas. The traditional side of things does not mess with the classics. There’s Paella Valenciana with rabbit, chicken, snails and gigante beans. There’s also the visually striking arroz negre which gets it dark color from squid ink.
Weiss states, “There’s no in between. If you don’t know what you’re getting and how seafood-y it is, you’re in a for a little surprise. You either love it or you hate it.”
Meanwhile the Vegan AF paella from the new school section of the paella menu showcases the chef’s ability to create flavors in the pan, building on technique and tradition, but not necessarily adhering to it.
Finally, The Seoul of Spain is exciting as it is delicious. Weiss’s riff on Korean BBQ meets paella features a gojijiang lathered short-rib, kimchi flavored rice and beautifully acidic pickled cucumbers.
5. Iberico Sliders
Why a burger, or in this case, two mini ones?
Weiss explains, “I’m a big believer that if anything is going on to the menu, it’s going to add to the conversation.” With that motivation, the chef takes Iberico ham trimmings and smashes them into a beef burger blend which contains short rib and brisket, among other beefiness. It’s fatty and rich. The Mahon cheese topper just takes all that luxury up to another level. It’s a bar bite that will likely create a devoted following.
Valencian Gold is located at 7960 S Rainbow Blvd Suite 8000A.
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