Half Chorizo – Pork Sausage with Red Wine, Flame Grilled and finished tableside
Trinchado Chicken – Red Wine, Creamy Sauce, Olives, Toasted Bread
Halloumi Cheese – Goat Cheese, Sweet and Sour
Snails – Chardonnay White Wine Garlic Sauce, Mixed Cheese
Calamari Curry – Creamy Coconut Curry Sauce, Rice, Chutney
Bacalao “A Brass” – Salt Cod, Shredded and Cooked with Onions, Garlic, Potatoes, Eggs, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Located in a sprawling space at the corner of Tropicana and Jones where proprietor Lubka (Luby) greeted us with a smile at the door as her husband, Ross, tended to the kitchen it would be difficult to imagine a more charming first impression of a new restaurant than the one with which I walked away from Vila Algarve on Saturday afternoon. Empty save for one other table at our 2pm arrival and featuring a diverse menu anchored in rich Portuguese traditions with all stocks, sauces, and spice blends made in house it was with a small amount of experience in the region’s cuisine that our quartet perused the options but with staff more than willing to engage, discuss, and suggest despite significant language barriers the seven items selected all proved not only well prepared and presented, but also highly educational and thoroughly enjoyable. Skipping over seemingly out-of-place pizzas and pastas, though we were assured that these too are common to the cuisine, and focusing instead on the items favored by Luby as well as personal tastes it was with dense, warm milk bread that we began and with plates coursed out one-by-one appetizers commenced with lightly spiced Portuguese chorizo, ablaze on presentation and smoky with a snappy kielbasa-esque flavor, followed by squeaky griddled Halloumi with house-made sweet and sour serving to balance the brine. Moving next to tender snails in thick garlic cream it was fourth that the primary reason for my visit arrived and living up to high hopes the milk-soaked and shredded preserved cod was perfect as two large cylinders arrived featuring ample salinity balanced by smashed potatoes, eggs, and subdued aromatics to form something rich, rustic, and satisfying…something I routinely seek out elsewhere now done well in my own back yard. Rounding out the savories with two more richly sauced proteins including snappy squid in bright curry and tender chicken with notes of cumin, paprika, and something citrus perfuming the palate it was with full stomachs that Luby compelled us to order dessert, the tiramisu made by herself that morning, and whether ‘traditional’ or not I’m uncertain but either way the scoop of light mascarpone and bold coffee was much like the rest of the afternoon – delicious, comfortable, and served with gracious smiles and requests to come back soon, something I’ve no doubt the bacalao will compel.
6120 W Tropicana Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89103