Sandra Burciaga Olinger at China Poblano

When in Las Vegas, you must eat at José Andrés’ China Poblano. Located inside of the artsy-chic Cosmopolitan — China Poblano — like many of Andrés restaurants, is a delectable multi-sensory experience. Combining the many robust flavors of China and Mexico, China Poblano is far from your basic Las Vegas mega-restaurants.

Sure, you can go have sushi at Blue Ribbon, or a juicy-ass NY Strip at Prime (which btw, I’ve done both and love them), but if you want something to write home about, you’d be wise to add China Poblano to your list of must-eat restaurants in Las Vegas.

You come to a José Andrés restaurant not just for some of the best foods your tast-buds have ever dove into, but for the all-around unique experience. You’re just as excited to see and feel the food, as you’re to taste it. Textures seduce, while aromas tickle your belly with the explosion of flavors that soon awaits.

China Poblano salt air margarita
Salt Air Margarita
José Andrés’ personal creation with fresh lime, salt”air”
Sandra burciaga Olinger

If you’re reading this via my other blog’s (Grimy Goods) socials, think of José Andrés as avant garde pop; his palpable creations are extraordinary, yet approachable as many of them are unique reimagined foods you might have had once before in their more basic form.

If you’re reading this via my modern mama life ‘gram, @GrimyDiapers — experiencing José Andrés tantalizing foods is like the best of all sensory play; and we all know how much sensory play makes the kids smile.

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What To Eat At China Poblano

When looking at the menu at China Poblano, you’ll probably be overwhelmed. I was! I wanted it ALL (said like Jabba The Hutt), but there is only so much my stomach could take. For our China Poblano experience, my husband and I went for plates that were out of our comfort zone, recommend by friends, and / or made us pretty much water at the mouth while reading their descriptions. With that said, here’s my food recommendations for dining at China Poblano.

First off, once you’re all settled at your table and ordered yourself a nice cocktail (I highly recommend the Salt Air Margarita, pictured above), you gotta walk over to the dumpling station and watch the dumpling magic unfold. They’re individually hand-crafted. The woman that was creating dumplings while we were there was an absolute charm. She had a warm smile and had a positive energy radiating about her. I kinda wanted to give her a hug.

China Poblano dumplings
This is where the dumpling magic happens
China Poblano chop sticks
Love when they serve up a fork and spoon, in addition to chopsticks.

To start off our dining experience. We opted for China Poblano’s tangy Beijing Glass salad, followed by their Young Coconut Ceviche. Both were refreshing, but that Young Coconut Ceviche was off the chain good! The juices were addicting. Truth be told, I pretty much licked the bowl clean.

China Poblano glass noodles salad
China Poblano’s Beijing Glass
Chilled glass noodles with sesame dressing with carrots, pickled Fresno chiles, bean sprouts, chives, napa cabbage, jicama and avocado
China Poblano ceviche
China Poblano’s Young Coconut Ceviche
Young coconut, avocado, teardrop peppers, red onion and cilantro are dressed with coconut water and fresh citrus juices

Another China Poblano favorite of mine was their traditional Siu Mai. I am very picky when it comes to dumplings, and China Poblano’s Siu Mai were the best I’ve ever had. I’m still salivating over them.

For our next plate I had to get a little out of my comfort zone and enter my husband’s fun zone. Ha! He loves bao buns, I do not. China Poblano’s unique spin on this classic was amazing. I would almost consider it a dessert. These steamed buns, generously filled with Chinese barbecue pork came with a side of velvety condensed milk. You dip your buns it it! My husband took the lion share of these but I definitely enjoyed every bite of mine.

China Poblano traditional sui mai
China Poblano’s Traditional Sui Mai
Shrimp, pork, jicama, mushrooms, peanuts
China Poblano bao buns sweet
Golden Pigs Dim Sum
Delicate steamed buns, Chinese barbecue pork, condensed milk
China Poblano flying pigs bao buns

By this point we were so full! Granted this was our third day in Las Vegas and we had eaten and drank our way through The Cosmopolitan. We next feasted on China Poblano’s nopales y queso taco, and girl was it delicious! So delish we didn’t get a snap of it! This unique taco is stuffed with seared queso fresco, salt-cured cactus, salsa molcajete, and pumpkin seeds. Again, out of my comfort zone. I normally would go for their carnitas or pollo a la parilla.

Last but not least, we had to experience one of China Poblano’s desserts. I love mango sticky rice, and I was intrigued by José Andrés version of it. Despite having our bellies full, I’m so glad we opted for the mango sticky rice because it was so light and refreshing! The deconstructed treat was full of fresh, cold mango chunks, a light whipped cream and crispy rice. I was so thankful it wasn’t the usual mound of sticky rice. Had it been, we might have needed a wheel barrow to cart us back to our room.

China Poblano mango sticky rice
China Poblano’s unique take on mango sticky rice

Our experience at China Poblano was so good that my husband made a second run for more tacos a few hours later. They have a cute take-out window where you can walk up and order your food to-go. I can’t recommend China Poblano enough. I’ve been craving it ever since. Guess I’ll just have to wait until our next Vegas adventure.

Shout out to my personal photographer (aka my husband Bryan Olinger) for taking these pretty pictures for me.

Check out China Poblano’s full menu and be sure to add this hot spot to your must-eats list when in Las Vegas.

Bryan Olinger eating at China Poblano Vegas
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