FOR THOSE OF us who have lived in Las Vegas over three years, we fondly remember Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill on Paradise Road south of Twain. It was a place were several cuisines featured with an emphasis on Southwestern flavors. The service was wonderful, the surroundings comfortable with a fun atmosphere to enhance the experience. When Z'Tejas opened their Summerlin restaurant on Sahara west of Durango, folks in the Northwest rejoiced. But with time comes change and the corporate headquarters of Z'Tejas chose to close its Paradise Road location. Thankfully, the Summerlin location remains open and the food is better than ever.
In fact, Z'Tejas is hosting its fourth annual Chile Festival through September 23 to introduce Las Vegas to the art of cooking with chiles. As an added incentive, Z'Tejas will contribute $1 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas for every item ordered off the Chile Fest Menu.
"I am thrilled to raise money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas through my passion for cooking," said Saul Garcia, executive chef at Z'Tejas. "This year we created a unique menu to illustrate the versatility of the chile pepper. Not only did we use the chile peppers as a hot and spicy ingredient, we also used them to sweeten, accentuate flavors and even tone down other spices for a flavorful twist."
Inspired by the original Chile Pepper Festival in Hatch, New Mexico, more than 1,000 pounds of famous Hatch, New Mexico green chile peppers, along with the freshest ingredients, are used in the special menu highlighting chile appetizers, entrées and dessert.
The new chile menu items being introduced at Z'Tejas Chile Festival include Green Chile Chicken Posole with green chilies, tomatillo, posole combined with stewed chicken ($5.99) and Chipotle Mint Shrimp Salad ($10.99) tossed with greens, oranges, red onions, goat cheese and served with chipotle-mint dressing as appetizers. Entrées include Beef Barbacoa Enchilada (10.99) with green chile sauce, Jack cheese with pickled green chilies and Citrus Thyme Mojo Fish (market price) with green chilie rice. When it comes to Margaritas, there is the Sauza Hornitos Jalapeno Mint Margarita which is house-made Jalapeno-mint syrup on the rocks ($7.95) and Sauza Hornitos Fresh Citrus Margarita made of Cointreau, fresh lemon, lime and orange on the rocks ($7.95).
For the serious dessert lover, the Mexican Chocolate Brownie Sundae ($5.99) is incredible. This delectable treat is created with a pumpkin seed brittle, ice cream and ancho dulce de leche sauce. The serving could have been a meal itself. The flavors just melt in your mouth with sweet and spicy tastes that enhances the rest of the meal.
These dishes were created by chefs working for Z'Tejas in different regions including Las Vegas, Austin, Texas, Orange County California, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Seattle. For example, the Green Chile Chicken Posole is from Chef Kirk Doyle of the 6th Street Austin location (home of the first Z'Tejas) who credits a strong Hispanic influence in his cooking style. The menu pays homage to the chefs who put their unique touch on menu items served during Z'Tejas Chile Festival.
Of course, the regular menu is available and there is the "Make Your Own Bloody Mary Bar" on Sundays with different vodkas, ingredients such as asparagus, celery, pickles and hot sauces ready to create the ultimate Bloody Mary.
Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill in Las Vegas is located in Summerlin at 9560 West Sahara Avenue. The Chile Fest menu is available for lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday 11 a.m.10 p.m., Friday through Saturday 11 a.m.11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.9 p.m. For additional information, the telephone number is (702) 638-0610 or visit www.ztejas.com.