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these days is The Steakhouse. While the place boasts amazing bargains all the time, its daily 3-5 p.m. happy hour is particularly amazing. Nine different dishes are offered for $8 or less. But the best bargains are the prime rib, which you cook yourself on a hot stone, and the trio of chicken lettuce wraps, either of which is available for just $5. (AM)

9.

American Fish 3730 S. Las Vegas Blvd. (inside Aria at CityCenter) 877-230-2742, arialasvegas.com

Michael Mina’s Aria seafood house has a fairly extensive bar menu, with 10 items priced at $8 apiece. But visit Sunday through Friday during the 5-7 p.m. happy hour, and you can get them for just $5. Choices include Dungeness crab “poppers,” fish and chips, yellowtail sashimi and Mina’s famous lobster corn dogs. If you aren’t into seafood, they also offer a prime rib sandwich. And you can wash it down with a $4 beer. (AM)

11.

13.

Fausto’s Mexican Grill

Osaka Japanese Bistro

Mutiple locations

4205 W. Sahara Ave. (Central), 876-4988; 10920 S. Eastern Ave. (Henderson), 616-3788, lasvegas-sushi.com

Although you can’t go wrong with their carne asada or al pastor tacos ($2.25 each), the real low-priced gems on Fausto’s extensive menu are the breakfast burritos, served any time. These freshly made, tightly wrapped missiles of food are big as your forearm and packed with hearty goodness. The best is the chorizo and egg ($3.75). Whatever you order, be sure to stock up on limes, marinated carrots and sliced cucumbers at their complimentary salsa bar, turning your takeout into a full-fledged, multicourse meal. They even provide baggies! (JW)

Here’s what’ll happen: You’ll drop in after 10 p.m. and ask for the $5 ramen bowl (in three varieties), but in the meantime your eyes will roam over the late-night menu, and you’ll point and grunt in an ordering frenzy at octopus fritters ($4), salmon skin salad ($5), mugs of Kirin ($3), jalapeñostuffed yum yum poppers ($5), Japanese lasagna rolls ($4) and Lisa Lisas ($5), to name a few. You’ll feast to your content —

14.

Amena Bakery and Mediterranean Café 2101 S. Decatur Blvd. #10 (Central), 382-1010

Good falafel has the blissy texture of junk food but the savor, satisfaction and nutrition of something Dr. Oz won’t punch you in the conscience for eating. Amena nails it: Their falafel is crisp and firm — right up to the point when it yields to warm, crunchewy softness. And they’re just 50 cents apiece. The kibbeh — imagine a lamb-filled Middle Eastern hush puppy — is $1.79, and the savory thyme bread is $1.99. Of course, if you want the friendly faces behind the counter to do the heavy lifting, there’s also a full menu of sandwiches, kabobs, dips, plates and specialties. (AK)

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Pho Thanh Huong

10.

1131 E. Tropicana Ave., Suite D (University District), 739-8703

BFG Chicken Strips 873 S. Rainbow Blvd. (Central), 823-2835, bakedfriedgrilled.com

Hail to thee, O diamondheaded chicken god cleverly disguised as the BFG Chicken Strips logo. Praise to your tender, crispy, juicy trinity of baked, fried or grilled chicken strips that are only 85 cents apiece, as well as your dipping sauces, only 35 cents, that are sacramental injections of surprising flavor — we glory in your sweet chili, wasabi cream, spicy buffalo sauces and more. O diamond-headed chicken god, your church may look like a mere bland storefront wedged between a Home Depot and an Albertsons, but we of the faith know what holy deliciousness resides within. (AK)

and then that big, steaming bowl of ramen will arrive. And you know what you’ll do? You’ll find room. (AK)

Ice cream inside, waffle outside, happiness everywhere

Sweet deals The Lunch Box

4632 Maryland Pkwy. #20 (University District), 722-6400, lvlunchbox.com This hip little hangout dishes out tasty, creative hot dogs, but the real steal is dessert. For less than four bucks, you can splurge on the house-made cinnamon and chocolate chip waffle ice cream sandwich. It smells better than it sounds, and it tastes better than it smells. This might be the best thing about going to UNLV. (BR)

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Dealicious meals

Here’s another yourtongue-will-slap-your-brainsout lunch secret for under five clams: Family-owned Pho Thanh Huong, where the banh mi — Vietnamese sandwiches made with scrumptious French rolls — are excruciatingly yummy and each under three bucks. Start with the barbecue pork sandwich, which also boasts shredded daikon, cilantro, carrot and jalapeño peppers and makes for the perfect summer meal with just the right “kick.” (English isn’t the first language spoken here, so be patient and clear when ordering.) We could go on, but we’re too busy eating our way to nirvana right now. (JK)

Desert Companion - July 2011  

Your guide to living in Southern Nevada.

Desert Companion - July 2011  

Your guide to living in Southern Nevada.