Chica Restaurant Review
: If you watched the TV show “Top Chef Masters,” surely you’ll remember the beautiful and energetic chef Lorena Garcia from the fourth season. (It’s just one of many appearances she’s made on cooking shows and television over the years — it made her entrepreneur and television personality Randy Jackson’s protégée.) Travelers have been able to sample her food in the international airports serving Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth and Atlanta, but now she’s joined the ranks of celebrity chefs with restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip. Located on Restaurant Row in between The Venetian and The Palazzo, Chica encompasses a large space divided into various sections, including the cocktail bar, lounge and ceviche bar, with tables all around. The vibrant décor has a feminine touch. Garcia was born and raised in Venezuela, but has lived in Miami for years and embedded herself in the Latin American culinary sphere in the U.S. She is proud to say that everything here is made from scratch, including the sausages. Her menu is composed of dishes inspired by her native country, as well as Peru (ceviche — grab a seat at the ceviche bar), Brazil (beef tenderloin roasted on Brazilian rodizio) and Argentina (marinated churrasco steak). Standouts include the grilled corn lollipops from the small plates section, and the lentil and quinoa bowl with Argentinean shrimp, marinated corn poblano pico and Guayanés cheese from the mains. Garcia considers the Cubano sandwich to be a highlight from the lunch menu (served on weekdays, with brunch taking over on weekends). Lemon buñuelos (Venezuelan donuts) and churro fried ice cream pops are just a few of the temptations from the desserts. Cocktails step out of the box with options like a sweet and spicy margarita with watermelon juice, chili and cilantro.