A Chef's Night out on the Town

Rick Moonen gets off the Strip

Penny de los Santos

It was the thrill of all the restaurants on the Strip that first drew me to Las Vegas, but it's the off-Strip places that keep me here. At least once a month, I head west to Chinatown to eat at one of my favorite places in the city: Honey Pig, a Korean barbecue joint. What do I order? Everything. Marinated beef short ribs, thick slabs of pork belly, octopus—you name it. It all gets put onto the round grill sizzling in the middle of the table, and we dive in with our chopsticks, picking out perfectly seared pieces of meat and wrapping them up in crisp green lettuce leaves with house-made kimchi and sliced jalapeño peppers and garlic, creating layer upon layer of flavor and texture. It's a chef's dream. Every time you take a handful, you can make it a little different: Spike this one up with bean paste, pile that one high with bean sprouts. It's simple, good, delicious comfort food, and after a day in chef's garb, I love how it's so hands-on, with everyone eating from the shared grill. Also (and I'm saying this as a man who knows from good fish), they do a breaded, baked mackerel here that really satisfies. It's not fancy—the fish was probably once frozen—but it is perfectly prepared, crunchy on the outside and flaky within, with a really clean, buttery flavor.

My son, Christopher, who spent a year teaching English in Seoul, South Korea, loves this place as much as I do. He and I work together (he's the manager at my restaurant, RM Seafood), but while we see each other all day, Honey Pig is where we come to eat together, catch up, and enjoy each other's company—along with anyone else who wants to break bread after work with the boss.

Honey Pig
4725 Spring Mountain Rd #K
Las Vegas, NV 89102
702/876-8308