Paula’s Supper Club at Naked City Pizza
Tableside Caesar Salad – Green Romaine, Brioche Croutons, Tableside Dresssing
Seafood Soup – Grilled Lobster, Scallops, Shrimp, Lobster Broth
Truffle Burrata – Warm San Marzano Tomato, Truffle-Basil Oil, Sea Salt, House Bread
Stuffed Banana Peppers – Three Cheese Stuffing, Roasted Sweet Pepper Cream Sauce
Porchetta – Spring Peas, Mushrooms
Crab Stuffed Shrimp – Preserved Lemon Cream, Capellini, Arugula
Cherry Jubilee – Vanilla Ice Cream, Whipped Cream
Bananas Foster – Vanilla Ice Cream, Cinnamon
To call Chris and Michael Palmeri ‘hustlers’ is unfortunately failed by modern utilization of the term, but to say the brothers have hustle could not be more accurate as they debuted Paula’s Supper Club on Tuesday May 1st to not only show off another aspect of their business but to honor their mother and several classic Las Vegas dishes.
The first installment of what Chef Christopher hopes to be a bi-monthly series at The El Cortez in Downtown Las Vegas, the Casino’s old-school vibe befitting an idea that targets locals at a price-point of just $40 before tax and tip, it was for a 6pm first seating that guests were led to the ballroom adjacent Naked City’s 4-month old Pizza Parlor, a Rat Pack soundtrack serenading guests given their choice of booths or tables.
Using outside help to serve the event, several members of Vegas’ ever-puzzling ‘food media’ present and presumably comped (or at least known) based on staff’s interaction with them versus others, it was with menus in place alongside silverware which was never swapped out that diners were seated, the complimentary soft-drinks not including Iced Tea which was inexplicably sold out across the property.
Offered as a four-course prix-fixe served on large trays by guys and gals who seemed to be hamming-up the old-school annunciation, a request to have Chefs send out whatever they felt best from each round somehow misinterpreted as wanting one of the waiters to make selections, it was as two men prepared a respectable Caesar Salad tableside that their female colleague splashed Soup both in and outside a bowl of Seafood, the process of obtaining separate bowls apparently on par with solving advanced calculus as it took quite a while thus leading to luke-warm Soup that was still good, though a bit more oily than versions tasted previously.
Served at a slow and intentional pace, the meal’s two-hour length thankfully filled by great conversation, it was approximately twenty minutes on the heels of Soup and Salad that plates of stuffed Banana Peppers and Burrata arrived, the latter not particularly ‘old-Vegas’ thanks to Truffle Oil and difficult to eat without requesting more of Michael’s housemade Bread while the Peppers were bright, tangy and not too hot as a result of the smooth Cream Sauce.
Oddly electing to order Porchetta for both diners, the fact that every previous plate had been shared apparently escaping notice considering repeated requests for plates, it was as a nice gesture that the server volunteered to add one complimentary dish to the meal, a plate of butterflied Shrimp stuffed with Crab and Breadcrumbs pleasant even though the Pasta was cool and a bit sweet while the Porchetta was supple and rich despite a lack of crackling Skin.
Definitely taking a step back in time for Dessert, Cherries Jubilee and Bananas Foster brought from the kitchen rather than flamed tableside a la Hugo’s Cellar, it was with thanks from Chris for coming out that the check was paid as Dean and Frank crooned on, a rare Tuesday out not as good as previous meals from the Naked City crew but still offering good value for the dollar and attesting to a desire to not get caught in a rut or ever stop trying to branch out and offer something new to the city of Las Vegas.
THREE STARS: Marred by service issues and Food that occasionally seemed to deviate from the theme it seems as though Paula’s Supper Club would have benefitted from a dress rehearsal, the fact that this was the first of what is intended to be a series giving one higher hopes for next time.
RECOMMENDED: Stuffed Banana Peppers, Crab-stuffed Shrimp, Bananas Foster.
AVOID: Iced Tea, Truffle Oil in high concentrations, Preserved Lemon Cream with cool Capellini, expectations of good service.
TIP: Watch @nakedcitylv for future dates and daily specials.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.