I almost forgot to write about Tao at The Venetian because it’s always been such a vegetarian dinner staple for me in Vegas. But after enjoying yet another delicious meal there over the weekend, I reminded myself to share this vegetarian gem.
Tao is an “Asian Bistro”with a nightclub upstairs that opens around 11pm. (Go for a late dinner and you’ll get a stamp to enter the club for free.) But if “bistro” makes you think bird food, try again. The 4+ page menu is full of hot and cold bites to satisfy any type of diner, including vegetarians and vegans looking for a nice dinner in Vegas. It’s great for sharing, or to choose your own dishes.
Many of the appetizers are vegetarian as is, and so are a few main courses and sides. But here’s where it gets good: you can substitute tofu for just about any meat item. Ask your server for recommendations and which dishes can be made vegetarian or vegan; I’ve been there half a dozen times or more and every server has known exactly which items are vegetarian, which are vegan and which can be substituted without sacrificing flavor.
I tend to over-order at Tao, because it is literally some of the best vegetarian food I have ever had. The edamame is good and can be done hot or cold; I also like the sweet potato tempura and the spring rolls. I usually order a sushi course, either a chef’s pick vegetable roll or my standard avocado/cucumber/carrot roll with a side of spicy mayo. (Theirs has a kick without burning your mouth.) And my all-time favorite dish here, and probably anywhere, is the Kung Pao Tofu. It’s on the menu as a chicken dish but they will happily make it vegetarian for you. The tofu is crispy, the sauce sweet and tangy with just enough peanuts for crunch. I’ve never saved room for dessert, a fact I lament at the end of every meal.
I’ve never met anyone who didn’t enjoy Tao, so bring omnivores as well. There are so many delicious items to try, you’ll want to make sure you have people to share with. The “too cool for school” vibe can be intimidating at the host stand, but once inside it’s great. Make reservations because they do fill up early and you don’t want to miss out on this vegetarian feast.