This is one of the more unique locations for an eatery — inside a hair salon. But, make no mistake, what you’ll find amid the massive space filled with hair products and styling stations is a tiny counter just past the reception desk that serves up some delicious food.
Don’t be scared. It’s ok to ignore the receptionist as you walk by her — although a smile might be nice. Make your way to the counter and what you’ll find is one of the nicest chefs in town, who also has an impressive resume. According to the bio on his web site he’s worked at Atelier at the Ritz Carlton in New York, David Myer’s restaurant Sona in LA, and a few places in Vegas, most notably Joel Robuchon, Social House, Wazuzu, and Comme Ca.
The intimate setting of the Great Bao café allows you to chat with the chef as he’s cooking up your order. Think of it as a personalized foodie experience unlike any other.
The sesame noodles ($6.48) with shredded chicken, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, lettuce, bean sprouts, and sesame vinaigrette is excellent and a hefty portion if you’re hungry.
The duck bao and tofu bao are very good but, the real show stopper is the pork belly. It’s as tender, succulent, sweet and savory as you’ll find. Together with the peanuts, cilantro, and greens it makes for a delicious dish that will make your mouth water. You can get three bao and a drink for $9.25.
They do have a couple two-tops in the salon you can eat at and they’re planning on getting additional outdoor seating soon.
4965 W Tropicana Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89103
— Updated below: 7/17/12 —
Sadly, as of 7/15/2012, the Great Bao café is closed permanently at their location within Touch Salon on Tropicana. According to other sites the new owner of the salon wasn’t crazy about the amount of traffic and congestion in the salon from everyone waiting to dine at the café and wanted Great Bao to leave. Hopefully chef Su will find a bigger and better spot worthy of his amazing food. Until then, I’ll have to rely on tracking down his food truck for some of the best bites in town.