Meatball Banh Mi Sandwich – Pickled Vegetables, Sriracha Mayo, Cilantro, Cucumber / Dirty Fries – Pork Scraps, Marinated Peppers, Fried Herbs, Parmesan
Porchetta Sandwich – Gremolata, Caper Mayo, Parmesan, Arugula
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Launched as a food cart sometime around 2010 it was officially on August 31st 2018 that Rick Gencarelli’s Lardo finally left the Pacific Northwest, his two stores built on old-school technique, hard work and a love of Pork re-imagined by The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas as part of its new Block 16 Urban Food Hall.
Described as a “smash-mouth” Deli and garnering accolades since its inception, Chef Gencarelli’s journey taking him coast-to-coast before eventually settling in PDX during the city’s peak time as a culinary and cultural destination, guests visiting Lardo Las Vegas will find it situated along the far wall of Block 16 on The Cosmo’s second floor, a butcher’s diagram acting as the logo above a space selling just six Sandwiches, two styles of Fries plus Beverages and Cookies from a jar.
Not a place for shortcuts or teenaged “Sandwich Artists,” actual Chefs currently overseeing an operation that bakes its own Bread before piling it high with artisan Meats, Organic Produce and housemade Sauces, it was on the advice of staff members that Sandwiches were selected, a brief wait yielding two plus a $3 Cookie and $10 “Dirty Fries” that come extra crispy even though they are tossed with fatty bits of Pork plus Herbs, Cheese and Peppers.
Not an easy place to make decisions despite the brief menu, Bread that initially looks undercooked actually served warm and pleasantly crusty around a soft sponge that prevents Condiments from soaking through, it was immediately after snapping a few photos that teeth plunged into layers of warm Porchetta evenly spread with herbaceous Gremolata and crisp Arugula, each bite a little different from the last though none were ever “heavy” in the way that fattier cuts of Meat can sometimes tend to be.
Moving next to what may be Lardo’s most well-known item, a $14 composition titled Meatball Banh Mi that juxtaposes piping hot Vietnamese Pork Meatballs against cold Carrots, Daikon and Cilantro, suffice it to say that those shy of spice need not be scared of Sriracha Mayonnaise that comes across gently on the finish and doesn’t linger long which thus allows for full enjoyment of the aforementioned Cookie featuring a soft, buttery center and crisp edge.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Bringing a “do one thing and do it well” concept to Las Vegas seems like a big risk considering Sin City’s everything-to-everyone culture but with the right marketing Lardo could prove a sleeper hit for Block 16 thanks to both convenience and quality craftsmanship plus big flavors and fair prices.
RECOMMENDED: Meatball Banh Mi Sandwich, Porchetta Sandwich, Chocolate Chip Cookie.
AVOID: Currently Lardo Las Vegas offers less than half the options of its Portland parent. Hopefully that will change as the concept matures.
TIP: Open 11am till 10pm Sunday through Thursday and until 4am on Friday/Saturday with a rotating “Chefwich” currently featuring Buffalo Pig Ears inspired by Turkey & The Wolf in New Orleans.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.