8 East’s chef/owner Dan Coughlin is an O.G. of the Fremont Street dining scene, who opened his restaurant Le Thai in what’s now known as the Fremont East District long before it was cool. So Circa owners Derek Stevens’ decision to add him to the dining collection at his ground-breaking new resort was a sign that he was serious about both food and the local community. Yet Le Thai and 8 East are very different places -- with the new sibling adding more pan-Asian touches to the chef’s dialed-in Thai repertoire, in a setting that has a bit more Las Vegas glitter.
The truth is, when we asked our panel of experts to name their favorite Fremont area restaurants, Le Thai fared a little better than 8 East. But the newer restaurant has its own loyal group of followers, including Thrillist’s Rob Kacehlriess and Vital Vegas’ Scott Roeben.
Roeben (perhaps the world’s foremost authority on this neighborhood) is particularly enamored with the brisket fried rice, with chicken skewers added -- so much so that the combination is now known as fried rice “Vital Vegas style.” Other standouts include pork belly bao, cumin lamb lollipops and dan dan noodles.