From four-time James Beard Award winner Todd English, The Pepper Club located in English’s namesake hotel in the Las Vegas Arts District elevates Japanese-American fusion – and a daily brunch – to levels rarely seen.
Dining at The Pepper Club is a feast for all of your senses. Before you even enter the premises, you’re greeted by magnificent street art from various local artists. If entering the restaurant through The English Hotel, the bold artwork throughout the lobby stops you in your tracks. The restaurant opened in conjunction with the boutique hotel in the early months of 2022, so the seamless transition between the two is intentional. The Pepper Club has a stylish, contemporary ambiance with a sleek and modern interior. The overall effect is both sophisticated and inviting, making it an ideal destination for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends.
Once inside the restaurant, there are multiple options for seating, each with its own vibe. The patio that wraps around the back half of the restaurant has multiple flora-covered gazebos that create a more intimate dining experience as if each were their own miniature patio. The bar sits in the center of the dining room underneath a majestic chandelierlike fixture. It fills up throughout the morning with solo business travelers from around the world enjoying brunch and starting their workday and transitions as the day progresses to couples on getaways and hotel guests taking a break from the adjacent hotel pool for a cocktail or snack. Indoor seating has cozy burnt orange chairs – a color that English is fond of. There is also a counter by the sushi station that functions as a chef’s table/sushi bar.
As you would expect, the menu and atmosphere change dramatically from brunch to dinner. The mini breakfast tacos are wonderful, with a crispy, flavorful wonton shell that houses the smoked bacon, scrambled eggs and sharp cheddar. The accompanying Chiang Mai salsa adds the perfect amount of subtle heat. The Chef’s Choice Tofu Scramble Don includes seasonal vegetables, turmeric powder and lion’s mane powder. The oysters from the raw menu (available 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) are $3 a piece, are clean and fresh, and resulted in multiple reorders. The ube French toast is delicious as either a brunch dish or a dessert. One of the signature brunch cocktails is the Wake Up Martini, an espresso martini with Frangelico and vanilla vodka created along with Jen G., a Las Vegas content creator, in her search for the perfect espresso martini. It provides the caffeine kick you need, with just the right amount of sweetness.
Dinner at The Pepper Club is where Executive Chef Roman Allen Sarmiento and the kitchen staff shine. For many executive chefs, their kitchen and their food are a labor of love – akin to a tortured artist. Sarmiento knows he is going to blow your mind and your palate and relishes the challenge of doing justice to the Todd English name. The passion he displays for creating dishes that are both visually impressive and flavorful in every bite extends to the entire staff. They are clearly proud of their dishes and the stunning atmosphere in which they work.
The only difficult part of having dinner at The Pepper Club is narrowing your choices down. The menu is separated with one full page of sushi and raw options, then the opposite side with sharable options, sides, soups and salads, options served over rice, items from the robata, and entrees. The whimsical names of both the sections (Sharing is Caring, Side Piece, Domo Arigato, Mr. Robata) and the individual dishes help if you’re torn between options. How are you going to say no to a dish called, “Soba U Up Burger”? In addition to the standard menu, a sheet filled with weekly specials offers even more delicious options, often with selections that are difficult to find. One item from the specials that began the meal was the amberjack (kanpachi). The presentation was stunning. The premium yellowtail was extraordinarily delicate and served with pickled fennel, a light touch of ponzu and smoked sea salt. It had a touch of ginger taste that accentuated the dish.
The Asparagus + Burrata salad features locally sourced burrata with ikura (red caviar) and lemon juice. The creamy, rich cheese curds are refreshing and full of flavor. Another salad standout is the Cucumbae (see what we mean about the names?) salad. Simple cucumber piled with an ume vinaigrette and plum sea salt, it’s a dish you can return to throughout the meal as a palate cleanser.
The oysters were so good during brunch that it was exciting to see a round of Miyagi oysters brought to the table with a generous dollop of royal caviar and uni. Another flashback to brunch came in the form of the Taco Belle. The delicious hard shell from the breakfast tacos gets a second stint as the shell for pulled teriyaki short ribs. A second taco featured Chef Sarmiento’s take on a taco ceviche that was light and cleansing. The menu describes Groot’s Gyoza as, “i am groot, i am groot, i am groot, i am groot.” While that’s a wonderful description, it may not do justice to some of the best fried dumplings you’ll taste. These are the quality dumplings you normally only find in New York’s Chinatown or San Francisco and crave whenever dumplings from elsewhere fall short. The crispy rice features crisp coconut rice topped with spicy tuna, avocado and micro greens with a dusting of 23-karat edible gold flakes. It’s another beautiful dish, and the texture combination of crunch and stickiness from the rice allows it to linger in your mouth and appreciate all the different flavors.
There are certain dishes that if you have the opportunity to enjoy just once in a lifetime, you should be grateful. The A5 Japanese Wagyu falls into that category. It is served Ishiyaki style – a hot lava stone is presented to use for cooking and is accompanied by ponzu, sea salt, scallions and kizami wasabi. To say the beef melts in your mouth is an understatement. There are few culinary experiences that match this combination of sizzle, smell and taste.
Other highlights from both the specials and the dinner menu include the salmon belly carpaccio, which is about as savory and flavor as you will find in raw fish. The 14-oz. Kizami ribeye comes with a wonderful kizami chimichurri sauce and a side of creamy wasabi mashed potatoes. The Fancy Mushrooms are locally sourced from Desert Moon mushroom farm and are complemented with yuzu soy and chives. You may also take the decisions out of your hands by choosing one of the available omakase options.
The Pepper Club has a variety of signature cocktails like Odd Job, an orange-flavored take on a Vesper, and the Que Onda, a refreshing lychee margarita. The restaurant has wine and sake selections, dessert cocktails and local beers from downtown Las Vegas’ Brewery Row, which The Pepper Club and The English Hotel reside near.
The Pepper Club is open daily for breakfast/brunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m.; dinner from 5 to 10 p.m.; and the bar is open until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
For more information, visit thepepperclub.com.
921 S. Main St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101