I'll start what I hope will become a useful database. The Las Vegas Metropolitan area, comprising Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Summerlin. I will not rate these in any order. Just an address, phone, website, and what they specialize in. I will include my shopping experiences in these stores, but it is just my opinion.
3459 S Jones Blvd (Chinatown)
Las Vegas, NV 89146
This is my go-to pan-Asian grocery. This is also my go-to for fish. It is my opinion that this store sells the best fish in town. They certainly sell the best lobsters -- fairly cheap (I usually buy four-pounders for $8 per pound). Shrimp, crabs and clams are sold live at reasonable prices. In addition, there are usually 20 varieties of whole fish for sale. Walk a little past the fish counter for pre-portioned fish for sushi -- always reasonably priced, but probably frozen at one time.
In the meat department, this store has one of the better selections of tripe and offal. But I would not shop here for steaks or chicken -- there are better stores for "normal" cuts of meat.
They also have a good produce section which includes the usual assortment of sprouts, ginger, fruits, lemongrass and even durian. "Normal" vegetables like onions and potatoes are better purchased at the Latin markets.
There is a nice little on-site lunch counter that sells excellent duck and noodles. They have recently added a bakery. I haven't tried it.
ALSO -- In this same plaza is Jones Market and Deli -- the largest Russian market in town. Good caviar at shocking prices, the cheapest gourmet coffee in town, and a dozen excellent cheap beers. Also excellent bread.
Nearby is the largest Halal meat market -- 6020 Spring Mountain Rd
5000 S Decatur Blvd (near Chinatown)
Las Vegas, NV 89118
My favorite market in all Las Vegas. They sell all ethnic specialties. Mentally running down the aisles, there are sections for: Moroccan, North African, Lebanese, Turkish, Greek, Italian, German, Eastern European, British, Scandinavian, South East Asian, Chinese and Japanese. There is a smattering of other cultures stuff tucked away -- often in odd places. For instance, Dutch foods are in the Indonesian section (because it was once a colony, and there are more Indonesians than Dutch in Las Vegas).
They also have an excellent fish department, decent produce, and a frozen food section in the center of the store that is worth a VERY LONG look.
This is where I buy bones for marrow and for stock. They also have all manner of tripe and offal. Just as good as 168 Market, perhaps better.
This place is unparalleled in their depth of Asian snack foods. I sometimes shop here JUST for the Japanese crispy snacks -- Pretz, Pocky, chips, you name it. I love this place for the snacks. The fact I can buy a Cornish pastie and garnish it with Thomy mustard in a toothpaste tube is icing on the cake.
But beware -- there are some real dogs here. The lamb is almost always freezer burnt. They'll sell frozen crab so old it resembles a mummified Discovery Channel subject. Also, read the ingredients on sausages, as much of it is loaded with MSG. Most meats and sausages can be purchased at Village Meat and Deli, fresh, for the same price.
And beware -- this is a "membership" store. Prices are 10% more unless the shopper purchases a $10 yearly membership. Seeing as I don't walk through the doors without expecting to spend at least a C-note, no big deal.
There is a nice little hole-in-the-wall Chinese lunch stand attached to the market, selling Hong Kong comfort food, cheap.
Village Meat and Wine
5025 S Eastern Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89119
This is the place for USDA prime beef. I'll save a few bucks on Rib-Eye purchasing Prime at Costco occasionally. But if I want a prime cut for carpaccio, or wagyu or even Kobe, this is where I go. They also have the best sausages in town -- made fresh on site. Why they don't make rillets or confit, I don't know. So I wouldn't call them a proper charcutiere. I wish they would get rid of the wines and cigars and devote themselves to snouts and livers.
This is also where I buy my Minor's base, Devonshire cream, horseradish and truffles. They have a lot of other stuff there, but I can usually find better prices.
Molto Vegas Farmer's Market
7485 Dean Martin Drive Suite #106
Las Vegas, NV, 89139
Thursday only 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (non-trade not allowed to shop until 11 a.m.)
This is hit-or-miss. When this little outpost for California farmers is on, it's ON. But sometimes there's not a lot of variety, pretty much as expected for a farmer's market. Prices are no bargain, but who can blame the vendors -- who drive 200 to 500 miles one-way to sell here every Thursday.
This is another venue that I hope takes off. It's good to get the fresh California produce here, if only two hours a week.
Valley Cheese and Wine
1770 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy
Henderson, NV 89012
I would call this place first before driving here. I don't shop here often. But when I do, I'm usually the only person in the store. I'm always afraid I'm going to pull in and they're going to be shuttered. I do hope this store hangs on.
This is the only place in Las Vegas to buy real Iberian jamon. It's expensive, but who cares? It's cheaper than a plane ticket to Spain. Also some interesting balsamics, oils and pastas. But I rarely buy, because I can do much better on the Internet. I really, really, really want to shop here more often, because I love what they sell. But most of their non-perishables are so expensive, I cannot bring myself to buy them.
Ste 6, 1775 East Tropicana Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89119-6556
A nice North African and pan-Arab market. I shop here often.
610 E Sahara Ave, Ste 2
Las Vegas, NV 89104
A small selection of good German sausages, cheese and bread. Worth a stop if you're on Sahara anyway.
The Latin Markets
Google the store name to find the closest
The main Latin markets are named King Ranch, Mercado Pueblo, El Super and Liberio. They are almost interchangeable. Although it's better to find one that proudly proclaims it's a tortilleria -- the chips and tortillas will be fresher that way.
King Ranch and Liberio have the best produce sections -- and great prices. For instance, I routinely get 10 pounds of potatoes for $1. Similar prices on onions, garlic and limes. These stores put out a flier every Wednesday advertising ridiculously low prices on some staple item for one day only. I pay close attention to these fliers.
The American Supermarkets
Google the store name to find the closest
I'm partial to Smith's supermarket. For me, at least, Smith's seems to the best best bang for the buck on the sorts of things I tend to buy.
Food 4 Less -- they seem to sell more packaged food and less fresh. At least near my house. I rarely shop here.
Albertson's -- Just too damned expensive.
Fresh & Easy -- Why, why, why didn't UK-based Tesco simply open up a chain of Tescos in America? I love Tesco. I hate Fresh & Easy. It makes Albertson's look reasonable, and doesn't sell any of the foods I loved when I shop at Tesco.
Costco and Sam's Club -- I prefer Costco to Sam's, so that's the membership card in my pocket. I buy the following at Costco:
* Coffee (They are currently selling 3 pounds of whole-bean Rwandan for less than $5 a pound)
* USDA Prime Ribeyes -- when I like the marbling, I spend the $10/pound for the prime
* Farm raised steelhead trout -- I prefer it to farm raised salmon. I make gravlax with it.
* Mussels -- if the sell-by date is far off and they don't smell like anything.
* Some produce
* Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and pistachios
Smart & Final is the local restaurant supply store. This is a good place to pick up a wet-packed beef tenderloin, a big pot of dijon mustard, 10-pounds of frozen chicken wings and other bulk items.
I always buy plastic wrap and aluminum foil here. I cannot abide paying grocery-store prices for tin-foil.
OK, that's installment one. Las Vegans, please add and amend. I hope that people in other metropolitan areas feel inspired to write up their own market reports.
Edited by ScoopKW, 15 March 2010 - 06:17 PM.