When Station Casinos executives contacted Mercadito Hospitality- owned and operated by brothers Alfredo, Felipe and Patricio Sandoval- to invite the group to open their flagship concept in multiple locations across the Las Vegas valley, they couldn’t pass up such a hot opportunity (pun intended).
The renowned restaurant group has expanded rapidly from its first New York City location in 2004, now running a number of bar and restaurant concepts across the country- including the recently opened space inside the Red Rock Resort in Summerlin. The popularity of the Sandoval brothers’ restaurants is attributed to innovative culinary interpretations of traditional Mexican fare, an extensive bar program designed by beverage partner, Tippling Bros, and its contemporary Mexican aesthetic with an industrial feel- offering a sophisticated experience with a nod to modern Mexican craft and artistry.
Upon opening its doors at Red Rock on June 23, Mercadito has quickly become the hot spot for casual, fresh, creative Mexican cuisine. Among its offerings, the tacos estilo baja (lightly fried mahi-mahi street tacos) are widely regarded as the best taco in the city, and one of the restaurant’s many claims to fame. Designed for sharing, Mercadito offers nuanced interpretations of guacamole and ceviche in “flight” form, a number of fresh-made salsas for every taste, and various street tacos served on house-made tortillas.
The Large Plates give flavorful twists to traditional fare. The carne asada is mouth-watering and the pollo a las brasas, an entire chicken perfectly marinated and crusted with morita chiles, can’t be beat! Each entrée is served with a portion of arroz y frijoles (a Sandoval home-style recipe of rice and black beans), which are almost too delicious to share.
Don’t pass up Mercadito’s side dish options, either. In addition to arroz y frijoles, the elote mexicano (Mexican-style corn-on-the-cob) is perfectly prepared with flavors and presentation reminiscent of southwestern Mexican markets, while the mac and cheese and nachos are items crafted specifically for Mercadito Red Rock and Las Vegas. All are a must try! For individuals with strict dietary concerns, not to worry, Mercadito offers vegetarian options across a majority of the menu.
If you have the opportunity, be sure to catch Mercadito’s Happy Hour (in the bar, lounge and patio only), Monday through Thursday from 4PM to 6PM. The Tippling Bros, New York-based beverage program consultancy founded by duo Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay, pulled out all the stops designing Mercadito’s bar program. Fresh ingredients comprise each of the “on tap” craft cocktails and infused waters. They explore creative variations on classic cocktails like the margarita, and offer an extensive tequila list- if the blue agave strikes your fancy. Try the pepino el pyu (a blended tequila cocktail with cucumber, hoja santa and cumin salt) or the turista (with black pepper syrup and barbecue bitters!) for some awesome flavor combinations.
Locals hail Mercadito as a destination to “fall in love with Mexican food” with “flavors you can’t find anywhere else in Las Vegas”. With the immediate success at Red Rock and a location in Green Valley Ranch Resort opening soon, it appears the brothers Sandoval will be heating up the valley for a long time.