House Bread, Butter
Funky Chicken Wings – Garlic, Peppers, Aioli, Parmigiano, Garlic Bread
Heart Shaped February Pizza – Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce, Pepperoni
Sicilian Pie –Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce, Pepperoni / Meatball, Mozzarella, Garlic Oil, Pesto, Ricotta, Pickled Chiles
Stella Pizza – Ricotta, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Burrata, Olive Oil
Tipo Uno-Caputo Americana Crust Margherita – Tomato Sauce, Basil, Mozzarella
Red Velvet Cheesecake with Whipped Cream
Coconut Gelato Affogato
They say that the highest form of praise comes from one’s peers, and if that is indeed the case it would be hard to find a more acclaimed pair of local Chefs than John Arena and Chris Decker, the former’s Metro Pizza steadily serving Las Vegas for over thirty-five years while the latter continues to forge an identity of his own, recently touted by another local Pizza maker plus one from New York as “the best hands I’ve ever seen – the guy can make 40 Pizzas in an hour and Every. Single. One. Is. Perfect.”
Easily forgotten in a city of Celebrity Chefs and continuous turnover, though six locations including one at McCarran Airport probably means “America’s Neighborhood Pizzeria” is not far away no matter where in The Valley one calls home, it was on Saturday evening that a stop was made at Metro’s Sky Pointe Drive location, Chef Decker present and as usual on the line cooking, coaching and mentoring his crew.
Considered to be Metro Pizza’s flagship location these days, a large piece of real estate up North allowing John and his partner Sam to build a sizable space for experimentation and production with Lulu’s Bread and Breakfast an added bonus next door, it was immediately on arrival at 6:30pm that three guests were greeted at the podium and swiftly led to a cozy booth with full view of the ovens plus Televisions in the Bar area.
Dining in specifically to taste some of Chef Decker’s recent Instagram specials, his @everythingbutanchovies account far more interesting to those in the know than any “influencer” being paid to visit a place where craft is as questionable as their motives, it was shortly after seating that Drinks were poured and Food ordered, a surge in traffic at 7:00pm suddenly packing the place though Decker shrugged it off as “the usual” in comparison to weekends prior during which #nationalpizzaday and The Superbowl happened.
Still hand-stretching every Pie and fermenting Dough for up to 72 hours in the era of DoughXpress, an adherence to doing things the right way with good ingredients meaning no $5 Hot n’ Ready specials loaded with Sugar and Oil, it was with complimentary housemade Bread arriving warm that dinner got ubderway, Chef’s ‘secret’ Chicken Wings hot on its heels in tribute to a long defunct local establishment and messy yet delicious with Peppers, Garlic Aioli and Cheese on a bed of Garlic Bread.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day the same way Metro has for decades, a month-long Heart Shaped Pizza featuring a robust Crust and lightly herbed Tomato Sauce beneath Mozzarella and Pepperoni, it is immediately the soft yeasty notes that remind diners why Metro’s Pies cost a few dollars more than the Chains, a medium-crunch giving way to a soft stretch that is further exampled by what remains the best Sicilian Pie found anywhere to date – ask for it as the 86th Street Square Pie on the Menu.
Offered a glimpse of what Chris has in store for The International Pizza Expo on one half of the squares, a bold yet balanced plan that might see those with a low tolerance for spice easily picking off Peppers, it was with several Slices already packed that the photogenic Stella arrived with corners folded around Ricotta Cheese and spreadable Burrata at the middle, each bite as creamy as it was pretty and the center’s texture not far off from a wood-oven Neapolitan Pizza.
Unable to end the tasting quite yet, John having stopped by earlier that day to test a new idea, it was with the simplest of toppings that a young blend of Tipo Uno and Caputo Americana Flour produced a Pie with big malty notes despite minimal charring, another five-days aging reportedly allowing the flavor to mature further and apparently to be the base for Metro’s upcoming March 3rd fundraiser.
Rounding out the evening with Dessert, a slice of Red Velvet Cheesecake ordered for the lady as there simply was not enough room to eat both that and Metro’s delicious Carrot Cake, it was with ‘one for the road’ in the form of Coffee poured over Coconut Gelato that the group bid farewell, the twenty-five minute drive having once again proven worthwhile.
FIVE STARS: Serving Las Vegas for 37+ years and continuously evolving the concept while slowly growing the brand it would be difficult to say anyone has contributed more to Sin City’s love of Pizza than John Arena, and although any brand featuring more than one space may suffer from inconsistency Metro sets a high standard by rewarding their old customer base with predictable greatness while Chris Decker’s creativity looks towards a new era and without ever neglecting the basics.
RECOMMENDED: As always, the 86th Street Square Pie is a destination-worthy dish, as too is the Stella when Chris features it.
AVOID: Missing out when Chris posts something delicious on Instagram as the item is usually only available that day in limited quantities on a first-come-first-serve basis.
TIP: From 2:00-4:30pm on 3/3/18 Metro Pizza on Sky Pointe will present a $20/person Charity event featuring Wood-fired Pizza, Brioche Ice Cream Sandwiches and Chasing Tail Golden Ale by Squatters Craft Beer. Foreclosed Upon Pets Inc. will receive 30% of the proceeds. For tickets call 702-256-3719.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.