Naked City Tavern
Bottled Cocktail – Buffalo Trace, Fireball Apple Cider, Housemade Pecan Syrup
Pork and Cheese Board – Naked City Basil-Fontina Sweet Italian Sausage, Prosciutto-Peccorino Stuffed Cherry Peppers, Artisanal Foods Duck Proscuitto, Mortadella, Pork Smeared Crostini, Daily Cheese Selection, House Pickles and Peppers, Sweet Balsamic Mostarda
Black Truffle Burrata – Warm Tomato, Grilled Crostini, Pesto, Sweet Balsamic, Black Truffles
Crawfish ‘Popcorn’ – Crispy Crawfish Tails, Butter Dust, Naked City Seven Pepper Sauce Sidecar
Halibut Milanesa – Wild Alaskan Halibut, Bread Crumb Crust, Lemon-Pinot Grigio Sauce, Garlic-Spinach
Cassoulet – Slow Braised Cornish Game Hen, Root Vegetables, Cannellini Beans, Naked City Bacon, Naked City Basil-Fontina Sweet Italian Sausage
Shrimp and Grits – Geechie Boy Mills Jimmy Red Grits, White Shrimp, Naked City Bacon, Hon Shemiji Mushrooms, Fresh Herbs
Short Rib Wellington – Braised Beef Short Rib, Wild Mushroom Duxelle, Bay Spinach, Red Wine Demi Glace, Crispy Sea Beans
Potato Puree – Gold Potato, Perigord Truffle Butter
Goat Osso Bucco – Braised Goat, Rich Vegetable Laced Tomato Sauce, Garganelli, Toasted Bread Crumbs
Shisito Rellano – Five Cheese Stuffing, Cast Iron Cooked
Barley and Lentil – Cacio e Pepe Style
Originally getting a glimpse of Christopher Palmeri’s vision for Naked City Tavern over a year ago with plates exploring the boundaries of “bar food” at Naked City on Paradise, the full concept unfurled during a Chef Series event for over a dozen patrons several months later, it has been a pleasure to see the 24/7 spot on South Pecos continue to develop ever since its July 2016 opening, an invitation to be one of the first to experience the new Winter Chef’s menu truly an honor this Monday evening.
Still one of the hardest working Chefs in Sin City, his Buffalo-roots ever apparent as the Holiday décor and sounds of the Ravens and Patriots on Monday Night Football did little to hide a Bills mural or T-shirts in Blue and Red, it was at a long table with six other guests that myself and a Naked City First-timer sat for a multi-course meal the likes of which I’ve not seen in such a setting since Carlo Mirarchi’s early Roberta’s days, Manager Robert Chaney proving a gracious host with the assistance of two young ladies.
Long ago garnering national attention for food far better than it needed to be at Naked City Pizza Shop at Moondoggies, a combination of talent and tenacity plus a little bit of luck going a long way to allow for expansion including Naked City Tavern and a recent agreement to be the official Pizza purveyor for Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it was with a Cocktail of bottled Autumn that the meal got started, a Charcuterie Board offering good bang for the buck with fragrant and snappy Sausage served alongside stuffed Cherry Peppers, House-cured Pickles plus a duo of Artisanal Foods imported Meats and Cheeses.
Proudly listing his purveyors on a chalkboard in the dining room, something surely not seen at other all-day-and-all-night joints in town, course two featured a creamy ball of Burrata showered with Black Truffles at the center of a pool of crushed Tomatoes and Pesto, the Crawfish ‘Popcorn’ as clever as it was tasty with lightly battered Tails topped in Butter Powder alongside housemade Hot Sauce certainly not for the faint of heart or stomach.
No doubt a hearty seasonal menu, the Halibut a lone exception as each flaky Filet is lightly coated in just enough Bread Crumbs to sop up a touch of the vibrant Citrus Sauce, Palmeri’s Game Hen Cassoulet is only marred by the fact that the Garlic would have been better served roasted and smashed than as whole Cloves, the Shrimp and Grits, on the other hand, absolutely flawless with a smooth texture resulting from slow-cooking a perfect backdrop to tender Shrimp along with housemade Bacon and pan-seared Mushrooms.
Seeing other diners slowing down, even though the richest plates were yet to come, those favoring fork-tender Short Rib need look no further than Naked City Tavern’s Wellington, the Wild Mushroom Duxelle a bit salty but well matched by Bay Spinach, Sea Beans and the Red Wine Demi while the Ragout of Goat Osso Bucco layered nicely with rolled pasta despite a few bones found amidst the Garden-fresh Red Sauce.
Rounding out the main course with three sides, Palmeri’s time spent studying “Chef of the Century” Joel Robuchon clearly not wasted as evidenced by the creamy Potatoes topped in a knob of housemade Truffle Butter, another sophisticated bite is found in the soft Lentils served “Cacio e Pepe” style while the stuffed Shisitos were a Russian Roulette sort of dish with some blazing while others were quite mild.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Still holding out for a truly excellent dessert, but otherwise completely impressed by the constant creativity from Christopher and his team, Naked City Tavern’s recent nod as “Best Bar Food” was perhaps the most hilarious understatement of 2016, the plates being sent out far better than several ‘fine dining establishments’ both on and off The Strip, with better ingredients at a lower price point.
RECOMMENDED: Short Rib Wellington, Crawfish ‘Popcorn,’ Shrimp n’ Grits, Potato Puree, Cassoulet.
AVOID: Look out for bones in the Osso Bucco and for whole cloves of Garlic in the Cassoulet.
TIP: There is a Duck Confit Lasagna on the menu. I do remember making that recommendation when Chris put up a social media post looking for ideas. Just sayin’. Menu goes live 12/13/16.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.