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After taking a couple weeks off for our mid-summer vacation during the All Star break we are back with our column. This week I tried one of the new restaurants in town as we went to Chica located inside the Venetian Hotel and Casino.

Chica is a Latin restaurant from John Kunkel’s 50 Eggs Company. The menu was created by Chef Lorena Garcia, who took dishes from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina to create a wide array of choices, giving your taste buds a trip to Latin America. On this visit there were four in my party as we had been hearing good things about the restaurant and wanted to give it a try.

We started our dinner with a couple appetizers as we ordered the Chicken Chicharrones, which were crispy chicken wings smothered in mojo onions, with a Chile-lime crema. I have never tasted wings like this as the taste just exploded in your mouth. I was a big fan of these as a starter dish. We also order the Grilled Corn Lollipops, which was sweet corn with Chile piquin, lime, butter and Cotija cheese. This dish was the best Mexican street corn I have ever tasted and, again, a great light dish to share as a starter.

Now it was on to the entrée. I went with the Pepita Crusted Lamb. You received two double ribbed Lamb Chops, basically the same as four regular cut lamb chops, for $45. The lamb was Colorado lamb so it didn’t have a gamey taste you can sometimes have when ordering lamb chops. They had a herb pumpkin seed crust, mole verde crispy squash blossoms and grilled calbaza, which is pumpkin generally grown in the West Indies.

I love lamb chops and have ordered them all over Las Vegas. These were some of the best I have eaten. I highly recommend this dish.

My buddy went with the Strip Steak, which was a 12 ounce New York steak with Oaxacan black mole, charred wild mushroom quesadilla with Point Reyes blue cheese, huitlacoche, Oxacan string cheese, jalapeno pesto and pickled onions.

Prior to ordering, my buddy and I agreed to share our entrees so we could try both dishes. Although the strip steak was good, the lamb chops were much better.

The other two in our group ordered the same dish, a rookie mistake at a new restaurant as you should have different entrees to share to experience more of the offerings. They had the Porchetta with Crispy Yuca Hash. This was slow roasted suckling pig with crispy Brussels sprouts and fried yucca. Their exact take on this dish was it was good but it didn’t wow them.

For dessert I ordered the Arroz Con Leche, which was rice pudding with a caramelized crust and topped with dried apricots and candied pineapple. This was the perfect light dessert after a heavy meal and a very different take on a simple dish like rice pudding. I would order this dessert again in a heartbeat.

Our wait staff was very attentive but we did go on a Monday night so the restaurant wasn’t very busy. I give Chica a rating of 3.75 forks.

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