Fiamma Trattoria & Bar [2,] Las Vegas NV


Fiamma Trattoria & Bar

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Focaccia and Soft Rolls with Tomato Basil Butter and Unsalted Cow’s Milk Butter

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Grilled Mediterranean Octopus – Pee Wee Potatoes, Kalamata Olives, Red Pepper Romesco, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Frisee

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Beef Carpaccio – Shaved Fennel and Celery Hearts, Classic Cipriani and Citonette Dressing, Shaved Parmigiano, Brioche Croutons

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San Danelle Prosciutto – Apricot Jam, Bleu Cheese Mousse, Mixed Greens, Grilled Flat Bread

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Caprese Salad – Fresh Bufala Mozzarella, Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil Pesto, Aged Balsamic, Roasted Peppers

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Red Pepper Risotto – Lobster, Cream, Garden Peas, Fresh Basil


Spicy Broccolini – Roasted Garlic, Chili Flakes

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Raviolini – ShortRib Ravioli, Black Truffle Cream, Vegetable Confetti, Red Wine Demi-glace

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Lasagna Bolognese – Three Meat Ragu, Parmigiano, Mozzarella, Ricotta Cheese

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Spaghetti Chitarra – San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Basil, Parmigiano

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Fiamma Linguini and Clams – White Wine Garlic Sauce, Manilla Clams, Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, Chili Flakes

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Beef Tenderloin Marsala – Fresh Tagliatelle Pasta, Sliced Beef Tenderloin, Mushroom Marsala Sauce

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Strawberries & Cream – Yogurt Mousse, Crème Fraiche Sponge, Strawberry Coulis, Yogurt Sorbetti, Strawberry Lime Sauce

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Peach Bellini – Prosecco and Vanilla Panna Cotta, Caramel Peach Infusion, Peach Sorbetti, White Chocolate Pearls, Bellini Macarons

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Classic Crème Brulee – Vanilla Brulee, Mixed Berries, Cookie Tuille

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Nutella Tiramisu – Nutella Mascarpone Mousse, Frangelico Lady Fingers, Coffee whipped Cream, Caramelized Hazelnuts


Tempted by Chef Pawan Pinisetti’s daily Instagram updates to take a look at some more of what MGM’s Fiamma Trattoria & Bar has to offer, it was with two others plus a late addition that dinner took place at one of the spacious four-tops in the restaurant’s second level, a total of fifteen plates served in three courses one again showing the work of a skilled kitchen staff using really good ingredients.


Overlooked by critics and locals despite a heritage dating back to Michael White with several of the city’s most respected Italian Chefs having spent time in the kitchen, Fiamma’s 2016 Summer Menu shows subtle updates from the previous season and although the room may at first seem enormous and brooding, the feel is actually far more intimate, largely in-part to a service staff offering great attention to detail and a noise level conducive to *talking* rather than shouting.


Requesting the kitchen to approach the evening Carte Blanche with a focus on Pasta, each noodle and sauce scratch-made in-house beginning at 4:00am, course one featured a total of five Antipasti, all but the vibrant Red Pepper Risotto teaming with Lobster experienced during a prior visit, though the Caprese has been reworked around a new Heirloom variety of Tomato that comes across sweet with assertive acidity while Apricot Jam has replaced the Fig Marmalada served with Prosciutto.


Fully engaged in conversations ranging from food to mortality to cinema, it was with great patience that the staff kept watch and slowly cleared plates before preparing the table for round two, and with Chef Pinisetti personally describing each dish as options overflowed to a sideboard the only questions were where to start and how much stomach real-estate to mortgage for each, the Linguini and Clams a little lost in the Garlic and Salt for my tastes while the Raviolini remains famous for a reason, as too should be the Spaghetti Chitarra that uses a thicker, more springy noodle than many as a backbone beneath crushed San Marzano’s, shredded Basil and a touch of Parmigiano.


More than a bit impressed by the Broccolini cooked tender in a bath of confit Garlic and spicy Chili Flakes, one of the city’s loudest voices in produce sourcing going back to this dish more than once, Fiamma’s Lasagna nearly matches the high standard set by Portofino without being quite as rich in the meat department, the Beef Tenderloin Marsala more than making up for that with thin slices of Tenderloin atop ribbons of Tagliatelle in an aromatic Sauce of Mushrooms plus a whole lot of reduced Marsala.


Completely retooling the dessert menu while also reining in the number of options slightly, Fiamma’s pastry program remains the very best Italian option in the city thanks to the sort of thinking more commonly found at Joel Robuchon or other French kitchens, the Crème Brulee a textbook example safe for the unadventurous while the Tiramisu is benefitted by both Nutella and the aromatics of Frangelico, the tableside preparations of Strawberries & Cream as well as Bellini a pleasant but unnecessary step since the flavors and textures of each are as elegant as they are delicious, the Prosecco’s juxtaposition to Buttermilk particularly impressive in the Stonefruit Parfait with delicate Macarons hidden at the bottom.


FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Doing far more than they have to considering the space and nightly number of covers, Fiamma Trattoria & Bar continues to shine outside the eyes of local writers and publications with Chef Pinisetti’s commitment to teamwork and impressive work ethic evident in every aspect of the evening.


RECOMMENDED: Beef Carpaccio, Spicy Broccolini, Spaghetti Chitarra, Raviolini, Beef Tenderloin Marsala, Peach Bellini, Strawberries & Cream.

AVOID: Linguini & Clams needed something to help round out the salt.


TIP: Currently offering a Summer Prix-Fixe, the website menu offers only a glimpse of what this kitchen can do. Stop by, call or follow Pawan on Instagram for more information as well as daily specials.


WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Fiamma Trattoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Fiamma, Fiamma Trattoria, Fiamma Trattoria & Bar, Fiamma Trattoria and Bar, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Lobster, Macaron, Macaroon, Nevada, Octopus, Pork, Tasting Menu, Tiramisu, Truffle, Truffles

Amena Mediterranean Café & Bakery, Las Vegas NV


Amena Mediterranean Café & Bakery

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Lamb and Beef Gyro with Yogurt Sauce

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Veggie Combo – Falafel, Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Tabbuleh, Dolmades, Greek Salad

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House Made Warm Pita

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Kunaffe with Cheese

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Date Cookie

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Walnut Cookie

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Chocolate Quickers

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Tucked away in a shopping plaza on South Decatur Boulevard, Amena Mediterranean Café & Bakery focuses on Mediterranean Food “cooked with love,” and although the restaurant, bakery and specialty goods store may not appear to be much from the outside those venturing through the doors are in for something quite special served by a team that really does seem to pour a lot of passion into what they do.

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Owned and operated by Amer Hamed, the native Nazarene originally looking to fill a niche based on the foods of his homeland and a focus on Halal Meats and dietary traditions, entrance to Amena Café is much like many other similar styled eateries with a counter to the right and tables spread leftward, patrons eyes diverted to a pictorial menu board hanging overhead without prices while both laminated and carryout menus tell the full story with costs very affordable.

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Just under a quarter filled during the early lunch hour, many of those present speaking in Hebrew clearly regulars, it was with warm greetings from one of two women that patrons were greeted and after a quick perusal of the options the decision to invest in the “Veggie Combo” and Gyro proved a great way to take a wide look at the options with six styles of Mezze plus the Sandwich and warm Pita making for a fairly substantial meal.

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Offering take-out and catering, in addition to table service, it was with the kitchen slightly backed up by a few large orders that perhaps a dozen minutes passed listening to the ethnic music above, and although the warm water with Lemon had a slightly ‘off’ taste in desperate need of softening the food itself showed no signs of compromise, first bites of the Chickpea Croquettes showing a golden shell give way to pillowy insides nicely tinged with Salt, the tiny Dolmades amongst the very best of the genre without overwhelming bitterness from the Grape Leaf while Salads were merely decent, though Tabbuleh has admittedly never been a dish that I’ve enjoyed much.


Spreading both the creamy Hummus and smoky Eggplant puree on warm Pita and briefly pondering whether better versions of either can be found in Sin City, first bites of the Gyro showed signs of a kitchen willing to let the richness of Lamb shine despite the addition of Cucumbers, Tomatoes and tangy Yogurt dressing, the $8.99 pocket probably big enough to be shared by most diners, though it also holds up well for leftovers to be enjoyed later.


A bit more spendy on sweets than savories, cookies and baklava ranging $2.00-3.50 each with all pleasant enough, though none prone to wow when compared to others in the city, a better investment is found in the $9.99 Kunaffe with Cheese, a Honey soaked take on Palestinian Kanafah with soft white Cheese cooked stretchy beneath crumbled Pistachios and Semolina threads that is as rich as it is delicious and also still great when reheated.


THREE AND A HALF STARS: Obviously investing a lot of time and effort into the concept while carving out a niche that has been widely embraced by descendants of Israel and other nearby lands, Amena Mediterranean Café & Bakery is a great place for lunch where one can eat as healthy or heavily as they choose to, some items better than others but all-in-all certainly a good choice for the genre and area.

RECOMMENDED: Falafel, Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Pita, Kunaffe.

AVOID: Water, Walnut Cookies, Tabbuleh.

TIP: Kunaffe is available in several sizes, call to inquire about this and catering options which seemed quite popular.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Amena Bakery & Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Amena, Amena Mediterranean Café, Amena Mediterranean Café & Bakery, Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada

Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge [3,] Las Vegas NV


Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge


Bitter Two-Thymer – Bombay East Gin, Elderflower Liqueur, Housemade Thyme Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice, Lemon Bitters

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Baguette and Butter

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Charcuterie Board – Foie Gras Terrine with Lingonberry Compote, Pheasant Terrine with Mushroom Duxelle and Duck Bacon, Sauccison D’Alsace, Pork Rillettes, Mustard, Pickles, Brioche

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Burrata Cheese Salad – Heirloom Tomato and Melon Tartare, Banyuls Vinaigrette, Cracked Pepper

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Fried Frog Legs – Rosemary and Parsley Persillade, Brown Butter

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Chilled Grilled Asparagus Tonatto – Crispy Shallots, Preserved Lemon

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Pan Seared Duck Foie Gras – Granola Streusel, Poached Peach, Crème Fraiche, Southern Comfort

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Duck Confit Cassoulet – White Cannellini Beans, Bread Crumbs

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PEI Mussels – White Wine, Saffron and Housemade Chorizo

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Pheasant en Croute – Golden Chanterelles, Sauteed Arugula, Fig Jus

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Sweet Corn Risotto – Grilled Baby Corn, Green Garlic Butter

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Roasted Artichoke and Tomatoes

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14oz Bison T-Bone – Medium Rare with House Steak Sauce

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Cassis Sorbet on Honey Tuille

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Hazelnut Praline Gateau – Milk Chocolate Mascarpone, Orange and Fig Ice Cream

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Dark Chocolate Fondant – Earl Grey Ice Cream and Smoked Cocoa Nibs

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Lime Basque Cake – Blackberry Jam and Apricot Sorbet

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Carmel Macchiato Bonet – Espresso Crisps and Condensed Milk Froth

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Banana Ice Cream Profiteroles – Guava and Caramelized Chips

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Raspberry and White Chocolate Souffle




Brandied Cherries


Announcing its pending October 5th closure on August 11th, just a few days after making a reservation for the coming weekend, it was with a bit of sadness that dinner took place at Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge in The Monte Carlo this past Saturday, something newer and flashier no doubt on the way in a city always willing to mortgage its past in search of higher profits, though this choice seems more shortsighted than others.


Opened at The Monte Carlo twenty years ago, outgrowing an original downtown space before the first “celebrity chef” arrived in Sin City, Andre Rochat has been instrumental in training some of Las Vegas greatest Chefs, Servers and General Managers, the current kitchen headed by Chris Bulen and Tammy Alana continuing the strong culinary tradition while Joe Marsco leads a gracious and pleasant staff as Director of Operations at both Andre’s and Alize at the top of The Palms Resort & Casino.


As classic a dining room as one will find in Las Vegas, alcove booths, chandelier lighting, Sinatra and lush fabrics all present and accounted for, it was with Carte Blanche given to the team that a party of two was greeted at the hostess podium just prior to 6:00pm by Marc Boutiron, the man leading the service staff exuding professionalism at all turns, yet at the same time as affable as they come.


Seated at a sizable two-top, the same as prior with lighting well suited for photos, no menu was presented based on personal request, a Bread Basket with good Butter soon to arrive along with a “Bitter Two-Thymer,” the Gin-based drink with an herbal edge proving a fortuitous pairing with several of the bold courses to follow.


Hearing stories from various Chefs around the city about Andre Rochat’s passion for technique, many French classics still present on a menu full of seasonal inspirations from Chef Bulen, tasting began with a large Charcuterie board replete with imported Salami plus housemade Terrines, Rillettes and Garnishes – both the mi cuit Liver and Duck-bacon wrapped Pheasant equally splendid whether eaten on their own or spread liberally on Brioche warm from the griddle.


Turning to the current Summer menu for courses two and three, the Burrata Salad and garlicky Frog Legs Persillade both flawlessly executed classics, Bulen’s “Chilled Grilled Asparagus Tonatto” took an entirely novel approach to the boldly flavored sauce traditionally served with Veal Carpaccio, instead offering it over fork-tender stalk with crispy Shallots adding texture.


Joking that he would not leave the table hungry course four was offered as two takes on Duck, a large steak of seared Grade A Foie Gras served over creamy Granola with boozy Peaches as perfect a specimen as can be found on this side of the Atlantic while the piping hot Cassoulet presented an-off menu display of exactly the sort of food Las Vegas’ ever-trendy dining scene is sorely lacking.


Lightening things up a bit with Mussels from Prince Edward Island served in a Saffron broth enlivened by spicy housemade Pork Sausage, course six dove right back into the sort of food seen in Larousse Gastronomique by way of Pheasant en Croute with tender Mushrooms and sauteed Arugula all resting in a pool of Fig-infused pan-sauce, the follow-up of a Bison T-Bone grilled just-past rare showing great texture for something so lean while the Sweet Corn Risotto with Garlic Butter was itself good enough to be offered as an entrée to both omnivorous and vegetarians.


Turning now to Tammy Alana, a talent that still does not get the recognition deserved as one of Las Vegas’ finest pastry Chefs, a small Ice Cream Cone of Cassis helped transition palates from savory to sweet, a showcase of four all-new desserts soon to arrive along with the classic Chocolate Fondant followed by Coffee, an ethereal Raspberry Soufflé and Mignardises.


Always impressed by the fact that Chef Alana oversees pastry and bread at two restaurants while still managing to innovate and reinvent each menu seasonally, one would be hard-pressed to name a *best* from Andre’s current assemblage of flavors and textures, the cupped Bonet and Hazelnut Gateau each eating lightly without sacrificing richness while the White Chocolate encircled Lime Basque Cake sandwiched between Blackberry Jam and Apricot Sorbet is rivaled closely for “wow-factor” by Banana Ice Cream Profiteroles with candied Fruit Chips and a dusting of Guava.


FIVE STARS: Executing French classics, seasonal whims and desserts on par with any restaurant in the city, this meal at Andre’s will hold a special place in the memory bank for some time to come, another visit before closure already in the early stages of planning with my strongest recommendation for those who’ve not been to go soon if they place any value in fine dining.

RECOMMENDED: Charcuterie, Fried Frog Legs, Pan Seared Foie Gras, Pheasant en Croute, Sweet Corn Risotto, Lime Basque Cake, Banana Profiteroles.

AVOID: The Roasted Artichoke and Tomatoes side dish felt a little flat on its own, though going bite-for-bite with the Bison put it into better context as the acid helped clean the palate when transitioning to the Risotto.

TIP: For those still not ‘sold’ on a full night at Andre’s, the bar menu and Happy Hour offerings include some great bites including the Frog Legs, Rillettes and a really great Caponata.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Andre's Restaurant - Monte Carlo Resort and Casino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Andre's, Andre's Restaurant & Lounge, Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Souffle, Tasting Menu

B&B Burgers & Beer, Las Vegas NV


B&B Burgers & Beer

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Pastrami Sandwich – Rye Bread, Swiss Cheese, Sauerkraut, Line Cook Ale Mustard

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Eggplant Parmigiano – Ciabatta, Fried Eggplant, Marinara, Fresh Mozzarella, Provolone, Basil Pesto

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Crispy Cod – Sesame Seed Bun, Iceberg Slaw, Jalapeno Tartar

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French Fries – House Ketchup

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Nutella Shake – Vanilla Gelato, Nutella, Candied Hazelnuts

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Bourbon Cherry – Vanilla Gelato, Bourbon, Amarena Cherry


Briefly known as Rattlecan and subsequently rebranded to another Celebrity Chef spot in late 2013 when Mario Batali and partner Joe Bastianich launched B&B Burgers & Beer, there is little doubt that the odd corner near the Venetian Poker Room and Sports Book remains a marketing challenge no matter how big the name on the signage, ongoing construction in the vicinity and outdoor temperatures topping 105°F making the idea of a visit even more of a chore.


Best accessed from the outside patio, a pleasant view of the Gondolas with some seclusion from Strip traffic a bonus compared to other eateries jutting out onto Las Vegas Boulevard, B&B Burgers & Beer is not to be confused with B&B Ristorante located along Restaurant Row connecting The Venetian to The Palazzo, price points far lower with a stripped down orange decor and a vibe far more casual.


Still marching to the beat of Chef Batali’s drum, the music intentionally a touch too loud as muted screens displayed The 2016 Olympic Games, it was just past 2pm that way was made to the hostess podium, reservations quickly confirmed with a smile and the young lady beckoning “right this way.”


Faulted by some for the steel barstools, other qualms raised about a lack of desserts plus a menu that seems resistant to change, it was at a booth large enough for eight that seating was selected during the Restaurant’s off-hour, a brief look at the menu showing prices for most sandwiches to range $12-20 with Appetizers hovering in the upper-single digits along with four types of Shakes.


Higher priced than some places, though not any different from a spot like Holsteins or Gordon Ramsay Burgr, it was with an eye on Sandwiches moreso than seared Beef that the visit was focused upon, a total of three far more than one should attempt to eat in one sitting, a single selection actually a substantial lunch for one when paired with an appetizer, salad or side.


Described at length by the Server and Chef, Batali’s dedication to product sourcing evidenced by House-cured Pastrami, Line-caught Cod, Imported Cheeses, and Organic Produce on Fresh Baked Breads, the tasting began with a handful of crispy fries with a coarse-salt adding an extra bit of crunch, a follow-up bite of the Eggplant Parmigiano showing the lightly grilled rounds perfectly complimented by melty Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce and aromatic Pesto atop Carnevino’s signature Ciabatta, still one of Las Vegas’ best breads whether topped as it is here or liberally slathered with Lardo.


Having heard that the Lobster Roll would soon be making an exit and instead turning to the Fish Sandwich for a seafood fix, suffice it to say that the fresh Atlantic Cod finds a new level beneath Jalapeno Tartar nestled into a Bun rich with Sesame Seeds, the fatty cuts of Black and Green Peppercorn Pastrami subjectively better than that remembered from World-Famous Langer’s in Los Angeles on Rye Bread with a light touch of house-ground Mustard and particularly pungent Swiss Cheese.


Drinking bottled water with most of the meal, but surely not planning to leave without a Shake, fans of Nutella will be happy to know that the Italian Hazelnut Spread is so thick amidst Vanilla Gelato that a spoon is a far better tool than a straw for its consumption, the boozed up Amarena Cherry a slightly more sipable option, though no less creamy in its constitution with several whole cherries to be discovered at the bottom.

THREE AND A HALF STARS: Doing what Batali & Bastianich have done at Carnevino or New York’s Casa Mono, taking something outside their traditional scope of “Italian” food and nonetheless crafting a unique experience featuring memorable food, B&B Burgers & Beer warrants no less acclaim than its Strip-based bretheren, though return visits may indeed be limited by a menu that has not changed much in over thirty months and a disappointing lack of desserts.

RECOMMENDED: Pastrami Sandwich, Crispy Cod, Bourbon Cherry Shake.

AVOID: The Eggplant Parmigiano could have been warmer, and a sidecar of Marinara for dunking would have also been nice (though I admittedly neglected to ask.)

TIP: Having mentioned the limitations of the menu it should be noted that monthly specials are often featured in Social Media, most recently a Lamb Burger offered in July.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


B&B Burger & Beer - The Palzazzo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in B&B, B&B Burgers & Beer, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada

House of Pizza, Las Vegas NV


House of Pizza

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Garlic Knots with Marinara

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New York Slice with Pepperoni

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Sicilian Slice

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Grandma Slice

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Recently brought up in conversation as one of the “Top 10” pizzas in the city, House of Pizza – New York Style on West Lake Meade Boulevard clearly warranted a look considering its proximity to home and the assertion of transplants that a “good slice” was nowhere locally to be found, the results far from justifying any such accolades while the scene itself was undeniably one of the most bizarre in town.


Located in the same small shopping plaza as the amusingly named New York Chinese Restaurant, House of Pizza is immediately identifiable due to the blaring voice of Frank Sinatra emitted from an outdoor speaker and not-so-subtle window painted signage, entry just past 11:15am seeing music give way to equally loud CNN political discourse as wall-to-wall Yankees memorabilia quickly flooded the visual field.


Just opened at 11am, a few pies already cooling on racks as a small menu hangs overhead, it was with greetings from the lone clerk that the ordering process was sorted, the owner and a friend sitting idly at a table, talking over the television before pulling out a wad of money and counting it in the dining room as though there was no one but the two of them to be bothered.


Offering several “deals” for slices plus beverages, none of which applied to a $1.59 bottle of water that was offered as the only option in the face of a request for a cup from the tap, further financial insult was added when the clerk neglected to add a 10% Social Media discount before running the credit card despite fully acknowledging it twenty seconds earlier, an offer to cancel and reprocess refused as $2.54 hardly seemed worth the hassle and potential double charge.


Taking a seat amidst the ongoing Mob-like scene of bills being filed into white envelopes it was at most five minutes before the two plastic clamshells were delivered tableside, a $4 filled-to-order Cannoli joining Tiramisu from the refrigerator with each pleasant, though nothing worth writing home about, the rest of the order emerging from the kitchen after just a few more moments.


At this point frankly amused by the fact that one person was acting as cashier, clerk, prep-cook and server the scene grew even more perplexing when the young lady was charged with the task of driving down to Starbucks to buy the owner “a Caramel Macchiato – the biggest one they got,” the four-part order quickly discovered to be vastly underheated as relates to the Grandma Square and Sicilian while the Knots and Pepperoni Slice were both hot.


Now left with just the owner and his counting, a question of “you good?” offered before he returned to the back, first bites of the slice showed a complete lack of char but generally good crust structure and Tomato Sauce, the Garlic Knots featuring a pleasant bit of “chew” compared to most while the aforementioned lack of heat significantly compromised both of the thicker wedges, though even if well-cooked they’d have fallen far short of the quality at Metro Pizza, Cugino’s, Pizza Rock and many more.


ONE AND A HALF STARS: Perhaps not their best showing, though not really excusable as I was not only the first customer of the day but also the only one present throughout my stay, House of Pizza falls far short in almost every way possible, particularly in a city with so much great Pizza to be found at a variety of price ranges.

RECOMMENDED: Garlic Knots.

AVOID: Grandma Slice.

TIP: Look for coupons in various mailers and publications, or try your luck with the 10%-off Yelp! coupon if you like.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

House of Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, House of Pizza, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pizza, Pork, Tiramisu

Dave & Buster’s, Las Vegas NV


Dave & Buster’s Downtown Summerlin


Perfect Patron Margarita – Patron Silver Tequila and Patron Citronge


Walk the Plank – Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, Malibu Coconut Rum, DeKuyper Peachtree Peach Schnapps, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice and Pomegranate Syrup


Original Snow Cone – DeKuyper Watermelon Pucker, Malibu Coconut Rum, Pinnacle Cherry Vodka, DeKuyper Blue Curacao, Sprite, Pomegranate Syrup

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Three Cheese Grilled Cheese Sticks – Manchego, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses melted between giant slices of sourdough bread with a cheddar and Manchego cheese crust. This gigantic sandwich is griddled to a crispy, golden brown, cut into 8 individual sticks, and served with warm tomato basil dipping sauce

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Crispy Steak n’ Cheese Tater Cakes – Shredded potato cakes served crispy brown and loaded with thinly sliced steak and melted cheese. Topped with sautéed onions, fresh tomatoes and green onions and served with horseradish sour cream

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Kids Size Classic Goldfingers – Hand-breaded, crispy fried chicken tenders served with seasoned french fries and chipotle honey sauce

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Bass Ale Battered Fish & Parmesan Potato Chips – 8 oz. wild-caught, sustainably sourced Pacific cod filet, Bass Ale battered and fried until golden brown and crispy, served with crunchy Parmesan-dusted house-made Yukon Gold potato chips and creamy malt vinegar aioli

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Maker’s Mark BBQ Burger – A half-pound burger, grilled and smothered in our Maker’s Mark bourbon sauce. Topped with American cheese, smoky ancho pulled pork and caramelized onions. Served on a toasted brioche bun with sweet potato fries

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Short Rib & Cheesy Mac Stack – Tender sliced short rib, creamy mac & cheese and bourbon glazed onions sandwiched between two thick slices of sourdough and grilled to buttery, golden-brown goodness. Served with crispy seasoned tots



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Brookie Sundae Tower – A giant chocolate brownie & chocolate chip cookie made with Ghirardelli chocolate chips, baked into one warm & gooey delicious package, topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate & caramel sauces

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Hot & Sugary Donut Bites – A basketful of warm sugarcoated plain and chocolate donut holes with raspberry and chocolate dipping sauces

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Bananas Foster Pie – Chilled banana pudding and vanilla sponge cake layered in a cinnamon-graham pastry with rum sauce and warm caramel

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Recently opened in Downtown Summerlin and already making a splash with locals looking to escape the summer heat, I was a bit of a surprised that Dave & Buster’s had not already made its mark on Las Vegas considering the fact that I’d previously visited locations in Detroit and Columbus as far back as the mid-90’s, dining never really the “focal point” but the arcade a lot of fun and the televisions plentiful for watching college football games.

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Originally founded in the early 1980s, and now nearing their 90th store Nationwide, Dave & Buster’s at Downtown Summerlin inhabits the space directly across from Regal Cinemas and featuring a vast floorplan of Food, Games and Sports it was just prior to 6pm that our party checked-in at the podium, reservations well-advised during primetime hours, though any wait-time could easily be spent on the video games.

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Seated at a sturdy four-top to the right of the bar, a ton of Televisions positioning Dave & Buster’s nicely as *the* place to watch Football, Big Events or UFC in the nearly two-year old shopping center, it was with surprisingly efficient service for a place so new that the evening got started, plenty of managers circulating with the use of headsets allowing the team to fill coverage gaps as small groups continued to file in just as two sizable birthday parties sequentially got situated.

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Energetic but not exactly “loud” considering the concept, a bulk of the noise merely that of pop-music and conversation as the gaming area sits a fair distance from the food and drink, positive attitudes and smiles seem to be part of the culture at Dave & Buster’s and although the several-page menu may at first seem daunting, the size is mostly a result of pictures with server’s recommendations helping to narrow the options into a list that is both well-culled and fair priced.


Obviously not to be confused as fine dining, but at least on par with the rest of the outdoor mall in terms of quality and mass-appeal, the order at Dave & Buster’s was intended to take a broad look at some of their classics as well as the new Summertime selections, a trio of adult-beverages to start certainly not the Spirit-forward work of a Strip “Mixologist,” but at the same time still quite tasty with both the Snow Cone and Tiki drink both the sort of thing that could get lightweights into trouble as the alcohol is well hidden by all the fruit and sweeter stuff.

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Continuing to order in threes, a Children’s menu affording the ability to taste D&B’s famous “Golden Planks” in a smaller portion with results par-for-the-course Chicken Strips served with addictive Chipotle Honey Sauce, more interesting bites were found in Grilled Cheese Sticks that saw Manchego put to good use alongside more typical Cheddar and Mozzarella in a golden, crunchy package featuring a gooey center, the Steak n’ Cheese Tater Cakes even more impressive as the Hashbrown base was virtually oilless beneath nicely seasoned Beef, Onions and more melted Cheese.


Told that the Burgers were a “must,” but also intrigued by Sandwiches as well as some of the Seafood and Chicken choices, suffice it to say that the Maker’s Mark BBQ Burger outperforms anything tasted at nearby Shake Shack or Ribs n’ Burgers in terms of taste or quality, the 8oz patty grilled perfect medium beneath House-pulled Pork and caramelized Onions, while a delicious half-pound of line-caught Cod fried golden showed an unexpected dedication to sustainable souring, the Short Rib & Cheesy Mac Stack unfortunately falling short of the rest as a result of significant underseasoning.


Not holding back when it comes to desserts, though those dining with small children should be weary that a three-course meal in the middle of a room of flashing lights and temptation will test the patience of even the best behaved boy or girl, there is no doubt a reason that Dave & Buster’s Brookie Sundae Tower is featured at the top of the list as three of America’s favorite sweets are brought together in a stack of pure decadence, the tender Donut Holes a much lighter way to finish the meal on a sweet note while the Bananas Foster Pie offers a more adult option in a portion better suited for singles.


FOUR STARS: Taking about an hour to play games after dinner, the range of options each charged a somewhat arbitrary range of “points” per play, both adults and children will be challenged by everything from Skee-Ball and Air Hockey to shoot ‘em up style games as well as those for which they can win tickets, all-in-all a great way to shake down the food and let the little ones expend some energy at the end of the day.

RECOMMENDED: Walk the Plank, Crispy Steak n’ Cheese Tater Cakes , Bass Ale Battered Fish & Parmesan Potato Chips, Brookie Sundae Tower, Bananas Foster Pie and an extra side of Chipotle honey sauce.

AVOID: Short Rib & Cheesy Mac Stack was dull while the Horseradish Sour Cream was not only too sour, but odd in texture.

TIP: Several Coupons have been going out both online and in the mail recently, these combined with daily deals offering a good bargain on gameplay for savvy shoppers.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Dave & Buster's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Coffee, Dave & Buster's, Dave and Busters, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork

Shake Shack Downtown Summerlin, Las Vegas NV


Shake Shack

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ShackStack – Cheeseburger with crip-fried Portabella Mushroom filled with melted Muenster and Cheddar Cheese topped with Lettuce, Tomato and ShackSauce

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Chick’n Shack – Crispy Chicken Breast with Lettuce, Pickles, Buttermilk Herb Mayo

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Blueberry Sweet Corn Custard with Whipped Cream

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Summerlin S’more Concrete – Chocolate Custard, Marshmallow Sauce, Graham Cracker and Chocolate Truffle Cookie Dough

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Desert Crunch-stellation Concrete – Vanilla Custard, Malt, Guittard Chocolate chunks and Chocolate Toffee

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Not one to go out of the way for a Burger, let alone to wait in line for hours during a trip to Manhattan, Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack had always stood out as a sort of novelty until rapid expansion dropped two into the Las Vegas community, a recent look showing the experience to be typical Union Square Hospitality Group in terms of the smiles and service exhibited while the food itself is decent, though certainly not “destination” worthy in terms of quality, price or concept.


Situated in Downtown Summerlin, a location in the dining alcove nearest Red Rock Resort and Casino adjacent Wolfgang Puck, Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken and Pub 702, Shake Shack takes up a significant footprint with indoor and patio seating, the entrance bringing diners face-to-face with a big board of options and the counter with room for queuing.


Pure Meyer in its concept, the non-GMO Buns, antibiotic-free Meats and Organic Produce all showing a passion for quality while also commanding a premium price, ordering at Shake Shack is a streamlined process with weekly Specials augmenting a list of classics plus the recently launched Chicken Sandwich, the prices really no different from Panera or other “quick casual” concepts with a five part order totaling just a shade under $34.


Amused by the Calorie Counts, just in case the toll on one’s wallet for what is essentially fast-food delivered tableside despite a flashing pager is not enough, it bears mention that Shake Shack has actually designed their food to be “Instagram Friendly,” and with each Sandwich presented as if birthed from the wrapper the visual appeal is undoubtedly compelling, though first bites of the ShackStack were far less-so as the melty Mushroom completely overwhelmed an underseasoned Meat patty that really added nothing to the flavor of the Cheese, Sauce and Fungus.


More impressed by the Chick’n Shack, a brined Breast fried golden with a pleasant spice profile that outperforms Chick-fil-a from Bun-to-Bun as Pickles, Herbs and Lettuce all mingle nicely with the Bird, the rest of the afternoon focused on Shake Shack’s famous Concretes and Custards, the weekly Blueberry Sweet Corn a lackluster attempt to do something Jeni’s has been doing for a decade with a taste not much different from Vanilla with a spoonful of sautéed fruit drizzled over it, while both the Summerlin S’more and Desert Crunch-stellation fared better largely as a result of the Mix-Ins as the texture of the Custard was far less creamy that either CJ’s or Luv-It.


TWO AND A HALF STARS: Admittedly taking a detour for a Concrete while in Manhattan, that line separate from the one for Burgers, Fries and Dogs, Shake Shack is little more than fast-food dressed up with “healthier” ingredients and more attention to detail, the benefits of each left to the diners discretion but by-and-by more hype than substance.


RECOMMENDED: Chick’n Shack and Portabella Mushroom. Service is also exemplary.


AVOID: Nothing was particularly “bad,” but the beef was entirely underwhelming white the Custards all seemed to be propped up by their toppings rather than the quality of the Soft-Serve itself.


TIP: See the website or in-store chart for a Custard of the Week menu. Other seasonal Sandwiches and Shakes only identified by laminated sheets inside the doors or by phone.


WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Summerlin, NV

Shake Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Shake Shack, Shake Shack Downtown Summerlin

Naked City Tavern [2,] Las Vegas NV


Naked City Tavern Grand Opening Party

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Crostini – In-house cured Duck Breast Proscuitto, Charred Black Mission Fig and Peaches, Pickled Ramps, Greens

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Cauliflower – Fried crispy, shaved Summer Asparagus, Naked City Roasted Garden Sauce, Peccorino-Romano Cheese

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Wee-size Stinger Pie – Roast Beef, Chicken Fingers, Sweet & Hot Peppers, Onions, Blue Cheese Dressing, Cheddar, Mozzarella


Officially fêting the launch of Christopher and Michael Palmeri’s latest venture, an affair that the Chef admitted he “had no clue” would generate the sort of crowd to not only fill the restaurant but parking lot as well, Thursday’s Grand Opening of Naked City Tavern was a joyous celebration of food and friends of the local dining community, noise level pushing skyward while the kitchen continued to execute well despite wait times over an hour.


Already visited once, and having seen much of the menu during preview meals at Naked City Pizza on Paradise, suffice it to say that for such an event the focus was more on the scene and people than the food itself, but taking a look at three previously untasted items the quality remains consistent, a classic Stinger Pizza featuring the Palmeri’s thick-crust topped in all-things Buffalo, the thinly-sliced Beef tender alongside the flavors of Chicken, Peppers and Onions with a blend of three Cheeses as hot and gooey as it was robust.


Offering eight additional items on the Chef’s Menu, several previously tasted and enjoyed, new plates included deep fried Cauliflower Florets served beneath curls of Asparagus and a light sauce sort of like Green Goddess that ate far more sophisticated than any traditional “bar bite,” the succulent Duck Prosciutto allowing the Fowl’s natural flavor to shine atop toasted Bread and a dollop of warm fruits all given a sense of levity by way of the house-pickled Ramps.


N/A: Not really fair to rate given the nature of the event, the Naked City team has once again defied labels with Naked City Tavern and I cannot wait to see what surprises will come next.

RECOMMENDED: Everything was good, as usual, but the Crostini was particularly well executed in terms of taste as well as texture, the use of fat, sugar and acid all featured with an eye on balance.



TIP: A 24-hour space, look for the Chef’s menu from 11a-11p Monday through Friday and 1p-11p on Weekends with the Overnight / Breakfast menu offered at other times, Naked City’s famous Pizzas, Wings and Fries offered around the clock.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Naked City Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Food, Italian, Las Vegas, Naked City Pizza, Naked City Tavern, Nevada, Pizza, Pork

Carson Kitchen [6,] Las Vegas NV


Carson Kitchen


Try Something New – Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Watermelon Puree, Contratto Bitters Liqueur, Basil Simple Syrup, Ginger Beer

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Crispy Chicken Skins – Smoked Honey

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Bacon Jam – Baked Brie, Toasted Baguette


Purple Haze – George Dickle Rye, St. Elder Liqueur, Fresh Lemon, Mint, Blueberry Preserves

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BBQ Burnt Ends – House Pickles, Highbrow Ranch, White Bread

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Spiced Watermelon – Feta, Cucumber, Tajin


Sneaky Tiki – Avua Prata Cachaca, Licor 43, Pineapple, Fresh Lime, Coriander Simple Syrup

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Hawaiian Flatbread – Spiced Rum Pineapple, Tasso Ham

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Falafel Sliders – Cucumbers, Yogurt, Halloumi


Thai One On – Whistling Andy Hibiscus Coconut Rum, Green Tea, Egg White, Lemongrass Simple Syrup, Thai Bitters

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Sea Bass – Charred Lemon, Herbed Greens

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Rabbit Ragu – Spaghetti Squash, Parmesan

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Peas & Carrots – Shallot Butter, White Wine

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Potato Skins – Fried Bologna, Sour Cream

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Strawberry Pie – Harry’s Berries, Licor 43 Whipped Cream, Crème Anglaise

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Glazed Donut Bread Pudding – Three Rum Caramel, Vanilla Crème Anglaise

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Bourbon Fudge Brownie – Brown Butter Bacon Ice Cream


Preparing to launch a new venture in just two weeks Simon Hospitality Group no doubt has their work cut out for them in reinventing Firefly to Standard & Pour, but continuing to show a degree of creativity often reserved for restaurants nearly twice the size (and price) in far more flashy environs, Carson Kitchen has perhaps produced its finest menu yet for Summer 2016.


Now the third menu co-produced by Cory Harwell and John Courtney, the latter bringing a lifetime of overseas training and technique to Harwell’s own worldly view of elevated comfort food honed under the late Kerry Simon, little has changed in the setting of a now two-year old space in the old Carson Building off 6th Street, the servers and bartenders still a fun mix of personalities dressed casually in T-shirts with a sense of professionalism and hospitality that never fails to surprise.


Always a bustling space both afternoon and late, the soundtrack on this particular visit vacillating between Radiohead and The Flaming Lips, it was a cozy four-top adjacent the pass that the party was seated and taking cues from Chef Courtney on both inspiration and preparation a five course meal featuring a baker’s dozen plates plus four cocktails and coffee was offered, not one item falling short of eliciting amusement and broad smiles.


Now beginning to integrate even more kitchen concepts into cocktails, and as such legitimately able to pair drinks from the “Shaken & Stirred” section to each round of plates, Beverage Director Matthew Harwell explained the “Try Something New” as a second take at Mezcal that the local market appears resistant to embracing, the smoky notes folded into herbs and fruit with a lightly astringent finish that was well placed in contrast to the salt and sapor of Chicken Skins and Bacon Jam, the two menu fixtures at this point an essential part of every Carson Kitchen visit.


Still proudly promoting many aspects of “The Rock n’ Roll Chef” moniker earned by Simon, “Purple Haze” making Whiskey palatable to even the most conservative palate by softening the blow with Lemon, Mint and Blueberries, course two was perhaps the best embodiment of Southern Summer seen in Sin City, the Spiced Watermelon cubes first leaning Mediterranean then Hispanic by way of crumbled Cheese and Tajin, the “BBQ Burnt Ends” made by a bit of trickery as there is no smoker in the tiny kitchen, the White Bread and House Pickles requisite for anyone with experience in Kansas City, Georgia or Texas while the “Highbrow Ranch” played tongue-in-cheek regarding the creamy mixture of fresh Dill and Buttermilk.


Again looking at various spheres of influence for course three, the “Sneaky Tiki” eschewing Rum in favor of Brazilian Cachaca and smooth Spanish Licor 43 with Citrus and Coriander, Falafel Sliders presented tender patties on a soft bun with seared Halloumi and Yogurt, the “Hawaiian Flatbread” described as the “best Hawaiian Pizza ever” by one member of the table – admittedly low-hanging fruit all things considered, but an assessment no one tasting the charred salt and sweetness could refute.


Having mentioned that the previous cocktail’s smooth mouthfeel almost resembled a flip, Thai One On went one further by actually adding Eggwhite to a Coconut Rum and Green Tea backbone, the lingering spiciness helping to cleanse the palate between bites of simple Branzino dressed in nothing more than Olive Oil and Lemon Juice alongside roulades of Rabbit stuffed with Forcemeat plus hollowed out Potatoes with Fried Balogna and confit Peas and Carrots enlivened by Butter-seared Shallots.


Failing to remember that Carson Kitchen does indeed offer Coffee, just not Espresso or fancier stuff, dessert once again saw Harwell’s boozy Brownie and Bread Pudding rolled out next to an entirely new Summertime offering created by the Pastry Chef and John Courtney, the delicate Pie filled with Pudding-thick Crème Anglaise nicely balanced by Vanilla and Citrus notes from Licor 43 plus California’s very best Strawberries.

FIVE STARS: Continuing to collect accolades ever since opening, Carson Kitchen has once again managed to elevate its game for Summer 2016, the team of John Courtney and Cory Harwell to this point a perfect blend of skill, creativity and sourcing executing at as high a level as any of America’s best “gastropubs.”

RECOMMENDED: Purple Haze, Sneaky Tiki, BBQ Burnt Ends, Peas & Carrots, Potato Skins, Rabbit Ragu, Strawberry Pie.

AVOID: Forgetting all the Classics, particularly the Chicken Skins that are now better than ever thanks to poultry sourcing of a pasture-raised bird from Arkansas’ Crystal Lake Farms.

TIP: Look for more, soon, as Simon Hospitality Group’s Standard & Pour is slated to open Soon.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Carson Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Pudding, Carson Kitchen, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pizza, Pork, Tasting Menu

Eatt Healthy Food, Las Vegas NV


Eatt Healthy Food



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Lobster Ravioli in Lobster Bisque

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Miso Marinated Wild Caught Salmon with Beets, Apples, Soy Sprouts

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Chicken with Green Peas, Carrots, Bacon and Broth

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Black Angus Rib Eye with French Ratatouille Rolls, Beef Sauce

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Broccoli Guacamole with Tomatoes and Gluten Free Tortilla

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Shitake Quiche with Leeks, Truffle Oil and Side Salad

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Poached Peach with Nougat, Pistachio

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Praline Puff Pastry with Hazelnuts

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Cheesecake with Raspberry and Yuzu

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Tiramisu with Mascarpone, Coffee Biscuit, Crispy Chocolate

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Intense Chocolate Sparkling Cake


Opened by three friends from France just over a month ago, Eatt Healthy Food has been promoted by several in the local industry as a place on the rise, and invited in by General Manager Nicolas Kalpokdjian for a lunch crafted by Chefs Yuri Szarzewski and Vincent Pellerin the restaurant shows signs of inspiration, though the end product still has a ways to come.


Promoting what the restaurant describes as “healthy gourmet recipes adapted to your diet offered with seasonal ingredients,” and doing a great diligence in detailing the menu with food allergies, sensitivities and exclusions for dairy, gluten, nuts plus meat, the first impression of Eatt is generated by the brilliant white and clean lines, a modern feel that seems sterile despite plants on walls as well tables while a television hangs awkwardly near the door as though every restaurant in town cannot afford to be without.


Greeted by all three members of the team throughout the stay, one female server assisting with plates, the meal began with a flaky housemade Croissant that rivals many in the city, though the butter-soaked bottom somewhat compromises the shell’s integrity while the Chocolate version and Seasonal Danish advertised on the menu were both apparently sold-out.


Told by Nicolas that the restaurant typically offers a few off-menu specials, on this day a delicate Ravioli stuffed with finely diced Vegetables topped with poached Lobster in a Shellfish Bisque, dishes like this show the high degree of technical skill offered by Chef Szarzewski, though unfortunately several to follow would fall short by yielding to “healthy” constraints.


Told that the Salmon has quickly become the restaurant’s best seller, the thin filet marinated before being placed atop a coil of Sprouts, Apples and Beets, plating at Eatt is unsurpassed at its pricepoint and although a sweeter apple plus some acid may have helped this dish better show the complexity of its flavors it was easily the best entrée offered, the Chicken virtually flavorless even with the Bacon imbued Broth while the radiant Ratatouille helped to prop up tender strips of Angus that again had the table looking for a shaker of salt.


A bit disappointed at this point, but finding the vegetables to be highlights of each plate, it was with good fortune that the Mushroom Quiche and a side of “Broccoli Guacamole” was requested, the former making good use of the lightest amount of Truffle Oil to accent Shitakes and Leeks in a fluffy Egg Custard while the later was creamy, cool and vibrant on gently salted Crisps.


Appreciating the concept both as a physician and diner, the need for well-priced alternatives to “quick-casual” staples like Panera, Chipotle and others something the nation surely needs, it was here that Pastry Chef Pellerin took over the tasting, a poached Peach showcasing the season with a Nougat core and crushed Pistachios in light Syrup while the linear Brest, liquid-centered Cheesecake, Tiramisu and Pure Chocolate Cake were all individually portioned and full-flavored rivals to what several restaurants have to offer at an inflated price-point on the Strip.


THREE STARS: Acknowledging that healthy means different things to different people, one person’s Veganism or anti-GMO Politics irrelevant to a patient with Diabetes following a low-carb diet or the Hypertensive adhering to DASH Guidelines, there is a point where “taste” must be incorporated into every recipe, something that the EATT team will hopefully find a way to exemplify while still sticking to the concept they hope to promote.


RECOMMENDED: Shitake Quiche, Lobster Ravioli Special, Praline Puff Pastry, Tiramisu, Poached Peach.

AVOID: Chicken, Beef.


TIP: Available for delivery and catering, Open 10:30-6:00 Tu-Sa and 10:30-3:00 Sunday.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

EATT Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Coffee, Croissant, Dessert, EATT, Eatt Healthy Food, Food, Las Vegas, Lobster, Nevada, Pork, Tasting Menu, Tiramisu

Life’s a Bagel, Las Vegas NV


Life’s a Bagel

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Egg Bagel

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French Toast Bagel

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Cheddar Bagel

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Black & White Cookie

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Cinnamon Coffee Cake

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NY Silverlake Cookies – Sprinkle Butter, Chocolate Florentine, White Chocolate Rainbow, Dark Chocolate Rainbow, Raspberry Pocket, Linzer Tart, Jelly Top, Snowball Melt Away, Chocolate Coconut Butter, Chocolate Nut Melt Away


Located on North Rampart Blvd under various names across the years, Life’s a Bagel opened in early 2016 in the same plaza as German Bread’s Bakery, the team formerly behind Sterling Bagel taking a calculated risk in opening so close to the Sun City Summerlin population, many of whom have already established their favorite New York City replacement in the form of The Bagel Café.


Not seeking to copy the success of their nearby competition, the space as well as the menu substantially smaller, Life’s a Bagel instead focuses squarely on its eponymous bready rounds, more than a dozen varieties made each day with housemade Cream Cheese, Lox and various Deli Meats offered alongside a handful of cookies and cakes both imported and made on-site.


Not going so far as to boil their Bagels, a legitimate gripe for native New Yorkers looking for the authenticity found back home, Life’s a Bagel nonetheless achieves the effect of a malted exterior and dense center with a thin skin by way of a recipe that shortens fermentation, the Egg version rich and far better than those found commercially while both the Cinnamon-Sugar shellacked French Toast and gooey Cheddar are more like something that would be found at Einstein Brothers than Panera, the crumb lightly stretchy and taking well to toasting, but just as good eaten as served.

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Importing Italian Cookies from New York based Silverlake, a good choice albeit a little disappointing since The Bagel Café produces their collection in-house, a better choice comes in the form of toothsome Coffee Cake riddled and topped with Cinnamon Streusel, the Black & White Cookie perhaps the best in town with a cake-like case topped in slick frosting that makes no attempt at sugar restraint.

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THREE STARS: Not a Bagel expert by any means, but having tried some of the best, Life’s a Bagel serves a good product despite not adhering to traditional methods, the Coffee Cake and Black & White showing that with a little more effort these folks could potentially raise their game.


RECOMMENDED: Coffee Cake, Black & White Cookie, Cheddar Bagel.

AVOID: At $8.99/lb the packaged import Italian Cookies are overpriced, though the ability to mix n’ match is admittedly nice.

TIP: Bagels are $1 each, a half-dozen for $5 or fourteen for $10.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Life's a Bagel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, French Toast, Las Vegas, Life's a Bagel, Nevada

Chef Marc’s Trattoria, Las Vegas NV


Chef Marc’s Trattoria

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Pizza Focaccia and Warm Semolina Bread with Butter

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Uni Crostini, Figs, Blueberries, Blackberries, Wasabi Leaves

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Fava Bean Leaves, Aged Parmigianino, Grapes

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Buratta Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, 10-Year Aged Balsamic

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Pork Belly & Bone Marrow with Polenta, Pickled Fennel Bulb and Parsley Salad

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Eggplant Parm, Marinara, Tempura Basil and Sage

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Spinach Agnolotti with Lamb, Mortadella, Beef, Chicken and Ricotta in Butter Sage Sauce

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Sesame Seed Crusted Line Caught Halibut with Handmade Squid Ink Spaghetti, Romano Beans, Scallop Bisque

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Lemon Sorbetto

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Braised Veal Short Rib with Polenta and Peppered Rapini

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Malfiata with Shredded Beef Short Rib

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Butter Rum Cake and Tiramisu

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Born Marcus Sgrizzi, but known locally as Chef Marc, it was before officially relocating to Las Vegas that a visit to Parma acquainted me with the Chef’s well-deserved acclaim, and subsequently meeting some now-close friends by way of an event held at Novecento it seemed strange that Trattoria by Chef Marc had slipped beneath my radar nearly nine months since opening, the move finding Mr. Sgrizzi now in a more refined space only ten minutes from my gate.


East Coast raised, but well traveled throughout Italy with an ‘effort equals results’ sort of mentality that sees Marc and his team scratch-make everything from Bread and Pasta to Desserts and Sauces in-house, Trattoria by Chef Marc sits just outside The Lakes on West Sahara Avenue in a space formerly inhabited by Argana Moroccan Restaurant, the interior featuring heavy woods and marble plus a hand-built Wine Vault with sound a bit louder than would be ideal due to the combination of hard surfaces and overhead music, though a near-full-house of locals still did not make things so noisy that one would be forced to shout.


Offering an a la carte menu plus a $65 “Chef’s Table” that sees diners preferences incorporated into a tasting otherwise left in the kitchen’s hands, it was by request that Marc and his team crafted an ‘extended’ version of the latter experience that eventually turned into eleven courses including several menu favorites, the quality of many comparing favorably to Casino-based restaurants charging more than twice the price.


Well established in the city, and as such forming relationships with high quality purveyors of Italian goods plus vegetables brought in from Melissa’s Produce of California, a meal at Trattoria begins with Sgrizzi’s bread basket and although little packets of cold butter seem a bit out of place in an environment where Olive Oil should come standard the Bread itself is as delicious as it is dangerous, both the Pizza Focaccia and warm Semolina loaf difficult to resist, particularly as a means for sopping up sauces.


No doubt looking to build on past successes and further strengthen a menu filled with the time-tested recipes on which he built his name, first courses of the Chef’s Table saw Chef Marc dabbling in fresh ingredients that he has recently become fond of, the Sea Urchin seemingly served as a means to work with seasonal Fruits and Wasabi leaf while the inspired Salad that followed tasted very much like Fava Beans despite the fact that only Greens, Grapes, Cheese and Seasoning were mingling on the plate.


Turning eyes to the laminated menu for a moment, the Buratta Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and aged Balsamic expected but delicious in its simplicity just the same, course four saw Chef Marc take on the hefty pairing of Pork Belly and Bone Marrow with a keen sense of delicacy, the supple pig stacked atop buttered toast while the hemisected Cannon saw its creamy contents delicious whether mixed into Polenta or enjoyed with Picked Fennel Bulb and traditional Parsley Salad.


Personally requesting the Eggplant Parm, a small wedge offered alongside house Marinara and lightly fried herbs, a nightly special Pasta next saw soft Meat and Ricotta spring to life in a butter sauce tinged in Nutmeg and Sage, the line-caught Halibut to follow both meaty and flaky beneath a skin of crisp Sesame Seeds with rich Scallop Bisque lent levity by Pasta and snappy Italian Beans.


Refreshing the palate with Lemon Sorbetto, the icy texture needing a bit of work, another special of Braised Veal Short Rib ate much like Osso Bucco with both the White Wine of the braising liquid and spicy Greens serving as balance, a small portion of the deconstructed Lasagna using a similar cut of Meat every bit as excellent when baked with Mozzarella.


Rounding out the evening with half-portions of Butter Rum Cake and Tiramisu, both made by Marc’s Wife, desserts were well made if not a little predictable, the only other option offered a Crème Brulee that seems more “Summerlin” than Italian in a place where something like Canolli, Budino or even an Italian Cookie Plate would better round out the night.

FOUR STARS: Without doubt the most creative Italian spot on the West side of the Valley, and in the conversation for most labor intensive kitchen off-strip, Trattoria shows Chef Marc back in his element creating great food and welcoming guests to his kitchen, a work in progress that is already pretty great.

RECOMMENDED: Chef’s Table – Specifically Pork Belly & Bone Marrow, Line Caught Halibut, Veal Short Rib, Malfiata.

AVOID: Seats in the main dining room can get very loud, so early arrival or seating adjacent the bar are recommended for those sensitive to noise.

TIP: The restaurant offers outdoor seating during appropriate weather conditions.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.


Chef Marc's Trattoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Chef Marc's Trattoria, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pizza, Pork, Tiramisu, Trattoria by Chef Marc

Hot-n-Fresh Cinnamon Rolls, Las Vegas NV


Hot-n-Fresh Cinnamon Rolls


Cinnamon Sugar Pecan, Cashew and Almond Samples

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Cinnamon Roll Sundae with Pecans, Thrifty Vanilla Ice Cream, Warm Caramel Sauce and Whipped Cream

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Raisin Roll


Tucked away inside the Fantastik Indoor Swapmeet, a mish-mash of vendor selling everything from Ball Pythons to Emoji Pillows or handmade Art on the corner of Decatur and Oakey, Hot n’ Fresh Cinnamon Rolls has been serving those fortunate enough to stumble upon it since 2013, and although not flaunting words like “artisan” or “vegan” in their marketing materials the scratch-made product is nonetheless quite good.


Family owned and operated, the kiosk set up toward the back-corner of the Swapmeet requiring a little bit of wandering to find, a first look at Hot n’ Fresh is admittedly perplexing given signage for everything from Pizza to Cinnamon Nuts, Waffles or Ice Cream but after a quick perusal there is no doubt the trays of Cinnamon Rolls are a focal point, the regular ones costing just $3.19 while those curled around Raisins are just six cents more.


Providing friendly and informative service, something actually quite common amongst all the Fantastik vendors, it was after some deliberation and questioning that the order was assembled, both items popped in a small small microwave before plating to make sure they were warm enough, the charge of $7.68 after tax actually quite a deal considering the portions and products entailed.


Obviously baking the buns off site, but doing an admirable job of keeping them moist underneath a slathering of slightly-sour Cream Cheese Frosting, first bites of the Raisin Roll showed a buttery core rich with aromatic spices while the Fruit added its intrinsic flavor as well as some texture, the “Plain” version gussied up with a big scoop of Thrifty Vanilla Ice Cream that slowly melted under warm Caramel Sauce, Pecans and Whipped Cream, the base eventually transformed into something like Bread Pudding in its texture and sweet enough that it probably warrants sharing.


FOUR STARS: Old School and lacking any sort of pretense, Hot n’ Fresh Cinnamon Rolls offers a good product at a great price in the least likely of environments.

RECOMMENDED: Both the Cinnamon Roll Sundae and Raisin Roll were as better than what one has come to expect from places like Cinnabon.


AVOID: Arriving Monday through Thursday as the Swapmeet is closed.

TIP: Admission to the Swapmeet is $1 for adults, several other food vendors including Tacos, Coffee, and Smoothies plus packaged products like Jams, Pickles and Honey more are also housed within various aisles.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Posted in Dessert, Food, Hot-n-Fresh, Hot-n-Fresh Cinnamon Rolls, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Nevada, Thrifty, Thrifty Ice Cream

Metro Pizza on Sky Pointe [3,] Las Vegas NV


Metro Pizza on Sky Pointe Drive


Iced Tea

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House Bread

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Torta Rustica alla Florence – 5-day fermented Butter based Crust, Nutmeg roasted Spinach, Egg, Ricotta, Tuscan Salami, Fennel Sausage, Ham

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Sicilian Style – 4-day fermented Butter Crust, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Cup & Char Pepperoni

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Grilled Pizza – Zucchini, Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Basil Pesto, Capers, Ricotta

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Calabrian Deep Dish – 4-day fermented Lard based Crust, Dandelion Sausage, Peccorino, Hand Crushed Tomatoes

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Chicago Style Deep Dish – 4-day fermented Butter Crust, Tomato Sauce, Sausage, Mozzarella

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Sweet Cream Biscuit Shortcake – Buttermilk, Whipped Cream, Strawberries, Cherries, Peaches


Humble to a degree practically unprecedented in the culinary community, many modern Chefs going well out of their way to self-promote and “brand,” John Arena is a rare name less-known locally than on an international scale, the man behind Metro Pizza carrying the banner for a movement that has continued to grow, now placing the city of Las Vegas on a list of America’s greatest pizza cities.


Having now had the opportunity to eat at a couple of Chef Arena’s venues, while also joining the walking Encyclopedia at the tables of other Chefs, it was on the man’s invitation that six of us sat down at the Sky Pointe Drive mothership on Saturday evening for a “lesson,” John and his protégée Chris Decker putting on a clinic themed on the evolution of the Deep Dish with a few additional novelties mixed in.


Admittedly not the “traditional” Metro Pizza experience, though previous visits both at Sky Pointe and Decatur indicate that the menu options are delicious as well, it was with greetings from Mr. Arena that the order of events was described for the evening, and with soft-drinks in hand it would not be long before we knew it would be best advised to beware the temptation offered by the restaurant’s soft and yeasty Bread.


Taking a regional approach to the evening, in addition to a timeline based sort of assessment, it was no more than ten minutes after seating that the first of six offerings was brought forth to the table, a Torta Rustica from Florence described by the Pizza Legend as a means for the rich to skirt dietary laws by incorporating several flavors into just one dish, the soft crunch of a long fermented Butter Crust encasing a tomatoless sort of Omelet comprised of Tuscan Salami, Fennel Sausage and Ham in an eggy base with the smoothness of melted Ricotta lent levity by tender leaves of Spinach tinged in Nutmeg.


Acknowledging that the aforementioned Pie is pre-baked and served warm, much like a Spanish Torta or Quiche, two added items were offered to span the time between the Rustica and additional Deep Dish variants, the four-day fermented Sicilian that made my personal top-10 Las Vegas dishes of 2015 now even better as it has found its way onto the menu with Cup & Char Pepperoni while Chef Decker’s grilled pie was a perfect bite of summer with the thin crust fully imbued in smoke beneath thinly-laid Zucchini, Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Basil Pesto, Capers and Ricotta Cheese.


Next offering two interpretations of the ‘modern’ Deep Dish, a style many rightfully associate with Chicago despite an obvious historical predecessor in Italy, Chef Arena proposed two different crusts each with their own region-specific ingredients, the Lard-based Calabrian complete with spicy Dandelion Sausage, hard Peccorino and Hand Crushed Tomatoes baking up gold and crisp with a distinctly different feel from the lighter and more open-crumb of a fermented Butter Crust on the Chicago Style flooded with crumbled Sausage, pools of Mozzarella and seasoned Tomato Sauce.


Allowing Chris to bring the night home, his recently recognized @everythingbutanchovies Instagram feed yielding yet another fanciful creation, Chef Decker did a fine job of paying tribute to his roots by way of a Sweet Cream Biscuit Shortcake that he attributes to his mother, the buttermilk wedges textured not unlike a British Scone with Whipped Cream, Strawberries, Rehydrated Cherries and Peaches all sharing the spotlight as a subtle reminder that the his work at both Metro and Lulu’s remains critically underrated.


N/A STARS: Unable to critically assess such an experience, though the Sicilian offered on the Metro Pizza menu is hands-down the best I’ve ever seen, those interested in the history of pizza are encouraged to pay close attention to what John Arena is doing, both here in Las Vegas and in the international scene.

TIP: Rumor has it that John has big plans upcoming, including a concept that may allow more frequent chances to explore regional variants of pizza from history and around the globe.

Click to add a blog post for Metro Pizza on Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, Italian, Las Vegas, Metro Pizza, Metro Pizza Centennial, Metro Pizza Sky Pointe, Nevada, Pizza, Pork

Mothership Coffee Roasters [4,] Henderson NV


Mothership Coffee Roasters


Nitro Cold Brew

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Pineapple Coconut Scone

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Concord Grape Lavender Tart

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Fig Galette

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Caramelized Pineapple Chocolate Cake

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Orange Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Ham, Jalapeno, Gruyere Cheese Puff

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Breakfast Pocket – Vegan Egg, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Mushrooms, Red Bell Pepper, Lime, Cilantro

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Green Onion, Smoked Chorizo and Gruyere Quiche


Now open for over a year, the Roastery for local favorite Sunrise Coffee slowly growing in popularity despite a location tucked away next to Trader Joes in a shopping center on Green Valley Parkway, time has seemingly done little to stifle the creativity of bakers Beth Ryan-Small and Sinead Kravetz, a recent look at items both sweet and savory showing several favorites still making waves in a scene that has improved dramatically, while several new options show no signs of the duo slowing.


Still an intimate and unadvertised location with limitations largely imposed by size, Mothership Coffee Roasters has managed the tough task of surviving the ever-churning Las Vegas restaurant cycle mostly by word of mouth, and with Baristas that are not only more pleasant but more educated than those at several other places the Coffee remains a focal point for many across the city, the beans now available in several locations though the smooth Nitro Brew remains an in-store special only, the care of light roasting completely devoid of bitterness with a smooth base that requires zero sweetening.


Selling several origins of beans by the bag, prices lower than imports from operations like Stumptown or even Colorado River Coffee Roasters, part two of Mothership’s appeal comes from the in-house pastry program that far outperforms places outsourcing talent, a la Sambalatte, the choice of vegan versus omnivorous options really a toss-up considering the talent incorporated, even the “Breakfast Pocket” full of faux-Egg proving to be a fulfilling and flavorful pastry that even discerning palates would be hard-pressed to discern from the “real” thing.


Possessing an almost incomparable skill at overcoming the lack of humidity in bakes of all sorts, the Pineapple Coconut Scone now even better with toasted curls and caramelized Fruit packing the buttery triangle with moisture as well as flavor, a look at Ryan-Small’s Quiche speaks further to the Chef’s talent with textures in the arid environment, the spicy Pork offset by aged Gruyere and Green Onions amidst a fluffy base.


Seemingly expanding the vegan goods since last visit, the Ham and Cheese in puff pastry a lone remaining taste of things more meaty, Las Vegas should rejoice at the return of Chef Kravetz Concord Grape Lavender Tart that remains one of the city’s best pastries while those looking for something with even more natural sweetness should take note of the Fig Galette, a jammy masterpiece that the Barista says is made without any addition of extra Sugar.


Admittedly challenged by the idea of mixing Fruit and Chocolate even to this day, the flavor of one almost universally compromising the other, Mothership takes on the tough task of balance by way of two new options, the Orange Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookie crisp on the edges with a soft center lightly tinged in Citrus while the Cocoa-rich loaf takes vegan cake to the next level by filling the rich Chocolate batter with caramelized Pineapple in a Twinkie-like manner.


FIVE STARS: Continuing to compete on the same level as places like San Francisco’s Craftsman & Wolves for creativity without getting all high and mighty or pushing prices sky high, Mothership Coffee Roasters is as “destination” as Las Vegas gets for options ranging Vegan to Omnivorous while the Coffee remains exemplary.

RECOMMENDED: Nitro Coffee, Pineapple Coconut Scone, Concord Grape Lavender Tart, Fig Galette, Caramelized Pineapple Chocolate Cake.

AVOID: Arriving too late as popular items do sell out.

TIP: Outdoor seating and Wi-Fi are now available, as are more indoor stools for those who choose to stick around.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Mothership Coffee Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Coffee, Dessert, Food, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mothership, Mothership Coffee, Mothership Coffee Roasters, Nevada, Pork

Naked City Tavern, Las Vegas NV


Naked City Tavern

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Bacon candle, basil powder, olive oil powder, sweet balsamic, Himalayan salt, crusty bread

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Dutch baby, cast iron skillet, vanilla cream, huckleberries

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Chilaquiles, avocado crema, sprouts, radish, sunny side egg

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Bacon Risotto, farm egg, sorrel, chicharron

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Hot mama, ham, salami, provolone, brioche, alfredo, sunny side egg

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The rebel , pepperoni, sausage, ham, salami, tomato, fresh basil, mozzarella

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Maple porchetta, naked city tavern maple-sage sausage, pork belly, crispy red potato

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Nutella French toast, brioche, blackberry, huckleberry

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Yellowtail & ahi crudo, pickled blue berry, truffle, Calabrian chile, basil, fennel pollen, Himalayan salt

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Foie-co, foie gras, duck confit, uni crema

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Art of Flavors chocolate gelato, cherry juice, shaved chocolate, mint oil, vanilla cream and mint powder


Having been fortunate enough to assemble the first Chefseries event at Naked City Pizza on Paradise, and subsequently attending a brunch where Chef Christopher Palmeri further showed off some of the concepts planned for Naked City Tavern, it was with four restaurant savvy friends from near and far that Brunch was enjoyed at 6295 South Pecos Road in the old Blind Tiger Bar & Grill, the interior as yet largely unchanged from the previous resident while the food is already quite great.

No doubt a man whose talents are critically underrated by local “experts” who have long overlooked Palmeri’s hard work, dedication and creativity that has transformed Moondoggies into an Off-Strip destination and continued to develop at Naked City Pizza on Paradise, Naked City Tavern is the young Chef’s first foray into 24/7 dining and with menus slowly being released during the current soft opening all signs seem to indicate that Off-Strip all-hours dining is about to evolve in a direction never seen before.


Recently showered in deserved praise by one local writer, Christopher and brother Michael’s story earning them the cover of one of Las Vegas’ weekly Mags, a quick look at Naked City Tavern shows high likelihood for being a great place to watch sports while enjoying a beer or partaking in some Video Poker, and with a mixed crowd including some rough-looking locals as well as a whole troop of motorcyclists present as early as 11am there already seems to be a buzz brewing, the All-Night and Morning menu just one week into its debut.


Known already for Wings, Fries, Pies, Meatballs and more, those options available at all times, Naked City Tavern’s 10p-11a Menu offers a concise dozen-or-so additions and kicking off with the now well-known “Bacon Candle” those familiar were once again impressed by the inspired riff on Oil and Vinegar’s evolving flavors while those experiencing it for the first time equally reveled at the concept, the novelty not lost on even those who’ve traveled far and wide.


Tossing in a few items from the upcoming Dinner menu, the Crudo Combo a beautiful rendition with Fennel Pollen and Pickled Blueberries particularly well placed in juxtaposition to the Chiles and preserved Truffles, Palmeri admits that the “Foie-co” may have come about in the setting of a bit of drinking, the city of Las Vegas in that case once again benefitting from the results of inebriation as crispy duck confit finds itself paired with slices of Duck Liver in an umami-rich union beneath smooth Uni Cream.

Never one to take the path of least resistance, his hand-shaken butter just one example along with house-smoked Bacon, handmade Maple Sausage and crackling Chicharrons, previously seen items from the Overnight Menu included the textbook Risotto that outperforms many Casino-based fine-dining establishments for just $11 as well as the Italian-riff on a Croque Madame entiled “Hot mama” that features Ham, Salami and Provolone stacked on Brioche beneath Alfredo and a runny Egg, a dish that almost seems *too* rich for one person, as too does the glazed Porchetta stuffed with the aforementioned Sausage that some felt was a touch too sugary, but none denied was texturally on-point.


Never particularly a fan of Chilaquiles, a predilection for sweeter breakfasts no doubt involved, Palmeri’s version at Naked City Tavern is offered either Sunny Side or Scrambled, the Avocado crema and fresh Sprouts plus Radish adding levity atop Tortillas that stand up to the weight of their toppings, much as the springy Brioche dredged in custard does to a slathering of Nutella along with housemade preserves of Blackberries and Huckleberries.

Admitting that he is not particularly one to indulge in sweets when showing me the menu a couple months back, but agreeing that a Breakfast menu would not be complete without some items in that vein, Chef Palmeri could not help but take the road less traveled when coming up with his Pancakes, completely eschewing the buttermilk flapjacks served at every other 24/7 space and instead presenting a Dutch Baby that comes across almost savory thanks to the use of Vanilla Cream and more of the Huckleberries, one of the soon-to-be-launched desserts showing a similar sort of restraint by offering Doug Taylor’s Chocolate Gelato from Art of Flavors along with Cherry and Chocolate sauce plus light Mint accents that come across subtly and linger on the palate.


FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Probably overinflating the overall rating by a bit simply on the strength of the food, Naked City Tavern represents something new for both Chef Palmeri and the city of Las Vegas, an off-strip 24/7 spot by someone with a passion for the product, and that is exactly the sort of thing that locals should be thrilled to support.

RECOMMENDED: Dutch Baby, Bacon Risotto, Hot Mama, Yellowtail & ahi crudo, Foie-Co…and all those Naked City Pizza Classics you know and love.

AVOID: Seats too close to the bar are prone to smoke, and the noise level will need a little bit of softening as the high ceilings and hard surfaces reflect a lot of sound. As far as the food, solo diners probably should avoid the Hot Mama for health purposes while the sweetness in the Maple Porchetta could benefit from the same sort of subtlety practiced in the Dutch Baby.  Also, don’t order the Chilaquiles with scrambled Eggs…that is just silly.

TIP: The overnight menu will go until 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays, per Palmeri, while the dessert menu will be offered 24/7 just like all the Naked City Classics.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Naked City Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Art of Flavors, Bread Basket, Breakfast, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, French Toast, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Naked City Pizza, Naked City Tavern, Nevada, Pancakes, Pizza, Pork, Tasting Menu, Truffle, Truffles

Paradise India, Las Vegas NV


Paradise India


Mango Lassi

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Pappadum – Tamarind and Mint Chutney

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Reshmi Kabab

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Chicken 65

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Tandoori Lamb Chops

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Pav Bhaji – Fried Onions in Gram Flour Batter

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Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Korma, Raita, Saffron Rice, Garlic Naan

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Omelet Roti

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Rasmalai, Gulab Jamun, Sevya


Opened around two months ago in a large corner-space at 8125 West Sahara, Paradise India may seem at first like every similar concept to arrive in areas further East in recent years, but a closer look at the restaurant from William Bathini speaks of a softer, more nuanced side of Indian cuisine that may be just the sort of thing prone to delight fussy West Siders.

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Open for both lunch and dinner, the former a bargain Buffet that is claimed to be one of the largest around, Chef Bathini speaks proudly of his heritage when describing an upbringing in one of his country’s more traditional States, and having now spent some time in Washington DC furthering his skills in close proximity to some of America’s best Indian Fine Dining establishments he hopes to now bring a piece of his home to the city of Las Vegas.


Inspired by tradition and taking steps to preserve the tastes of his homeland with dynamic spicing replacing the aggressive salting and heat that many associate with lesser restaurants, a quick look at Paradise India’s menu speaks volumes by way of its relative brevity, the choices divided into omnivorous or meatless options with plenty to choose from, but not so much as to seem as if they are just shooting with buckshot or trying too hard to please.


Ranging from Tandoori and Curry to Biryani with a small Indo-Chinese section plus a few esoteric items speaking to regional influence, appetizers at Paradise range $5-10 and although the sampling was somewhat limited it is safe to say that fans of Poultry are likely to be happy whether they choose the elegant Reshmi Kabab that sees tender Chicken breast wrapped around a mild Ginger and Onion filling or the more robust “Chicken 65” that eats something like a hand-breaded nugget upgraded by Turmeric, Cumin, Garlic and Red Chilies.


Having already gained praise for the Lamb Chops, a clay oven preparation that presents four bones full of meat on sizzling skillet with onions and peppers for $25, suffice it to say that as good as these are Vegetarians will not feel left out since the traditional Pav Bhaji may be even better as the spicy Onion stew is presented with griddled bread in sizable portion that is as delicious as it is hearty.


Acknowledging the need to please American palates, but not willing to compromise tradition by straying from the path, Bathini’s Tandoori Chicken offers tender meat just barely clinging to the bones that it is served with, and although Tikka Masala and Korma are both offered elsewhere the texture of Paradise India’s base comes across more subtle and creamy, the choice of whether to use Rice or Bread left to the diner, though those interested in something different are strongly encouraged to try the fluffy Omelet Roti that finds favorable comparison to a thin Spanish Torta.


Continuing the traditional approach with desserts, even the sold-out Bread Pudding apparently common in India due to ancient Persian influence, Gulab Jamun proved a bit too ‘gummy’ compared to previous experiences with the small Donuts in Honey while the Rasmalai and Sevya were each striking in their subtlety, the latter placing long-grain Rice in the context of a Pudding while the former was almost savory with fresh Paneer soaked in Cream, Fruit plus Nuts and a texture somewhere between Greek Yogurt and Cheesecake.

FOUR STARS: Taking an approach that neither Casinos nor Off-Strip Restaurants seem ready to embrace, the idea of upscale Indian cuisine focused on authenticity rather than the ‘American’ expectation that seems to embrace tongue tingling heat and too much salt, Paradise India has started on good footing that should only improve as the recipes become fine-tuned and the word spreads.

RECOMMENDED: Pav Bhaji, Omelet Roti, Chicken 65, Rasmalai.

AVOID: Gulab Jamun had an almost rubbery texture compared to those seen prior, otherwise the only issue presented was a few menu items being Sold-Out and Indian Pop Music that needs to be turned down in order to better fit the ambiance created by a good looking room and elegant plating.

TIP: The $9.99 Lunch Buffet is offered seven days a week for those not yet ready to commit to the dinner menu.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Paradise India Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Paradise India

Bardot Brasserie [4,] Las Vegas NV


Bardot Brasserie


Rose Champagne

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Baguette and Butter

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Summer Melon – Bayonne Ham, Balsamic Fig Compote, Fromage Blanc Mousse

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Tuna Nicoise Tartine – Marinated Tuna, Baguette Crostini, Quail Egg, Nicoise Olives, Traditional Garnish

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Leek, Foie Gras, Pheasant, Sweetbread, Truffle, Chicken Terrine – Pickles and Warm Toast

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Seared Foie Gras French Toast – Cassis Compote

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Sole Meuniere –Baby Artichokes, Sunchoke Fondant, Wild Capers, Brown Butter, Fresh Lemon

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Parisian Gnocchi Au Pistou – Goat Cheese, Summer Vegetables, Cherry Tomatoes, Toasted Pine Nuts

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Coquilles St. Jacques – Dayboat Scallops, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Bloomsdale Spinach, Sauce Soubise

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Lamb Rack “Frites” – Roasted Eggplant Puree, Ratatouille, Persillade, Chickpea Frites


Chocolate Macaron – French Chocolate Cookie, Vahlrona Chocolate Mousse


Crème Brulee – Vanilla Bean Custard, Turbinado Croquant


Mille Feuille – Caramelized Puff Pastry, Vanilla Crème Patissiere


Frozen Paris Brest – Hazelnut Ice Cream, Chocolate Cremeux, Salted Caramel Sauce

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Cherry Clafoutis – Pistachio Ice Cream


Pavlova aux Fruits Rouges – Vanilla Meringue, Lemon Chantilly, Strawberries, Cassis Coulis, Lavender Gelato


Told by Chef Josh Smith that the current Summer in Provence Menu intended to take a look at the lighter, coastal side of the French Brasserie, another substantial tasting was arranged to once again experience the best of what Michael Mina’s Aria restaurant has to offer, the results every bit as good as would be expected as the kitchen rolled out eight new plates plus some old favorites and a few surprises.


Still a jaw-dropping room by way of its design, the early hour finding it empty but soon to fill with the sort of bustling sound familiar to the high-ceilinged spaces in France, it was with Champagne at the bar that time was spent waiting for a few late arrivals, but once the party was completed and all were seated the experience at the table was essentially unrivaled.


Seeing a few new faces amongst the service staff, everyone professional yet fun as in the past, it was with a welcoming from Chef Smith that the meal got started and eschewing menus in favor of a carte blanche offering the first course of Summer Melons with French Ham and whipped Goat Cheese was a refreshing way to start the evening, the flavors of a Nicoise Salad next cleverly presented by way of acid-kissed Tuna beneath Olives and a Quail-Egg atop a piece of Toast.


No stranger to the restaurant, the Chef going so far as to present course two as an off-menu special alongside a dish jokingly referred to as “a la my name,” one would be hard-pressed to name a better Terrine outside of Europe than Smith’s surprisingly light Leek-wrapped version featuring Pheasant, Chicken, Sweetbread and Duck Liver with a top-note of Truffles while the thick slab of seared Foie Gras was so thick and indulgent that it almost seemed too much for the Custard-rich Brioche below it to bear.


Begging off more Baguette, the recipe seeming to have improved to true Parisian quality with time, course three featured Bardot’s Pate au Choux Gnocchi dressed up for summer with Basil, Pine Nuts, Goat Cheese and Tomatoes while roulades of Sole draped in Brown Butter danced alongside earthy tones offered by Artichokes and creamed Sunchokes brightened by briny Capers.


Progressing like a proper tasting menu, more than enough of each dish to go around, savories concluded with shockingly sweet Scallops with Mushrooms and Spinach in smoked Onion Cream Sauce, the rare Rack of Lamb literally seeing meat gnawed off the bone by some while the roasted Eggplant, Panisse and layered Ratatouille from Bardot’s Instagram feed were perhaps even more compelling than the meat.


Always game for French Pastry, Bardot Brasserie having perfected the art from day one by reinterpreting Classics without compromising the idea, several old favorites were presented from the famous Macaron to the textbook Mille-Feuille, the Tart Tatin and Rice Pudding taking a break to instead focus on the summer-friendly flavors of a Red Berry Pavlova with light floral accents and warm pudding Clafoutis studded with Cherries that is slowly turned into a porridge beneath the melting Pistachio Ice Cream.

FIVE STARS: Better than any North American Brasserie I’ve been to, and topping most of the highly-regarded ones in central France as well, Bardot’s Summer in Provence takes Chef Smith and team’s cooking in a new direction that is as seasonally appropriate as it is delicious, an impetus for fans to return this Summer and all the more reason for a first visit to those who’ve never been.

RECOMMENDED: Tuna Nicoise Tartine, Sole Meuniere, Parisian Gnocchi Au Pistou, Cherry Clafoutis, Mille-Feuille, Foie Gras in any form Chef Smith chooses to serve.

AVOID: Um…Filling up on Bread?

TIP: Currently offering a Four-course Tasting, Bar Menu and Happy Hour specials the reasons and ways to dine at Bardot are a fit for almost all budgets and time constraints.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Bardot Brasserie

Bardot Brasserie -ARIA Restort and Casino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bardot, Bardot Brasserie, Bread Basket, Coffee, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, French Toast, Gnocchi, Ice Cream, Las Vegas, Macaron, Macaroon, Nevada, Pork, Sweetbreads, Tasting Menu, Truffle

CJ’s Italian Ice and Custard, Las Vegas NV


CJ’s Italian Ice and Custard

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Salted Caramel Custard with Sea Salt Caramel Truffles

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Chocolate Cake – Chocolate Custard, Dark Flakes, White Icing, Chocolate Sauce


Passed countless times by those unaware – no glitz, glamour or Public Relations team to sell the concept – CJ’s Italian Ice and Custard has nonetheless made a name for itself throughout the years by providing frozen treats to in-the-know Westsiders, and although offered at several local outlets including Glazier’s Food Market the smart money seems to be going straight to the source for more than fifty flavors of Ice and Custard.

Family owned and operated, a Midwestern upbringing and education at The Ohio State University imparting Jon Goldberg with a familiarity of both styles of frozen treats, CJ’s Italian Ice and Custard inhabits a small storefront attached to a Taco shop at 3555 South Durango Drive and with three-to-four varieties of the latter served via soft-serve machines plus a dozen blends of milk, water, eggs, sugar and flavorings offered via scoop from the freezer case the only question is how best to mix them, or whether to taste them on their own.


Baking the waffle cones in house while also packing several to-go options including pints, dipped Bananas and frozen Custard cakes, a first visit to CJ’s can admittedly be quit daunting given the sheer variety of offerings, but with a quick tasting of available flavors a decision becomes somewhat easier, the only menu-option unavailable during this visit being the rolled Waffle Cone “Custard Cannoli.”

No doubt excelling in customer service, the two young women professional and helpful beyond their years, it was with samples of the classic Lemon and Black Cherry Ice – plus the Bomb-Popesque “Captain America” – that an order was selected, the ices to wait for another time as the daily special of Salted Caramel Custard was far too compelling.


Making every flavor in-house, the slightly melted texture of Ice lighter than that of Gelato or Ice Cream, CJ’s Custard sets high marks by way of a base that comes across far more creamy than that at Luv-It without out being quite as thick as those at Shake Shack, the flavors carried forth robustly by way of the high fat content while the addition of small Caramels dipped in Dark Chocolate were one of nearly four-dozen possible additions offered in a generous portion for just an extra $0.50.

A bit disappointed that the smallest take-out containers of Custard are far too much for a single serving, the small cups of ice more appropriate though really not as pertinent since more flavors are available in-house, part two of the order instead focused on a “large slice” of Chocolate Cake, $5.50 netting a soft cocoa base topped in Custard blended with Icing, the texture almost like that of a Semifreddo with the top further coated in Chocolate Sauce and shaved Chocolate flakes.

FOUR STARS: Limiting themselves by not offering more Custards-to-go at a reasonable price, and inexplicably sold out of a menu item just past 1pm, CJ’s Italian Ice and Custard nonetheless represents an under-discussed family-owned business worthy of Las Vegas’ patronage, the friendly service and good prices well-matched to options varied enough to suit any taste.

RECOMMENDED: Salted Caramel Custard, Chocolate Custard Cake.

AVOID: Going in with expectations that the wide variety suggested on their website will actually be available fresh.

TIP: Frequent Customer Punch-Cards will yield every 7th item free while Social Media check-ins will score 10% off the current order.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

CJ's Italian Ice & Custard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in CJ’s, CJ’s Italian Ice, CJ’s Italian Ice and Custard, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Italian, Las Vegas, Nevada

Taco Y Taco on Tropicana, Las Vegas NV


Taco Y Taco

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Tripas, Pibil, Carne Asada Tacos

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Al Pastor Vampiro


Now with two local locations, the first on East Tropicana with a larger and more upscale space in Henderson on South Eastern, Taco Y Taco is said by many to offer some of the best Mexican street food in all of Las Vegas, a Saturday lunch showing the original to offer a fairly good bargain as well.


Located in one of streets various retail centers, an elevated space with backdoor and dining room accessed by the parking lot while the counter at which one orders is best approached by foot from the street, Taco Y Taco is not the sort of place to splurge on décor or creature comforts, the focus squarely on the food and matter-of-fact customer service, an argument taking place on arrival as customer argued with the cook about why he could not add eggs to an item.


Featuring various “Lines,” though none really seemed to matter too much provided the order was straightforward and ready to go, it was with Chicharrons not yet available that a three Taco late, plus one “Vampiro” was assembled – the affirmative answer to “with everything?” adding cilantro, onions and housemade salsa with additional options for customization available at a tiny salsa bar.


Playing traditional music loudly overhead, soccer on the TV with the view out the windows facing a Plasma Donation Center, a look at the food shows a lot of time spent in preparing various meats from which the Pibil was tender, though slightly underflavored while the Carne Asada featured a robust bit of char to the tender beef with a slightly spicy linger.

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Serving Beef Tripe from a small steamer basket, but happy to toss it back on the griddle when requested crispy, the Taco Tripa was undeniably unctuous with a good mix of crunch and creaminess playing well off the toppings while the crispy Tortilla griddled around melted Cheese and Pork Al Pastor was every bit deserving of the praise heaped upon it – the marinated meat almost sweet in beneath the exterior layer of caramelization and good enough that a second trip to the counter was justified for one more.


THREEE AND A HALF STARS: Certainly no expert on Tacos or Street Food, but knowledgeable enough to know well made food and a deal, Taco Y Taco is a worthwhile stop for their signatures, though the under-seasoned Pibil and lack of a menu item at 11:00 show room for improvement.

RECOMMENDED: Vampiro style, Pork Al Pastor, Tripas.

AVOID: Pibil.


TIP: A small breakfast menu is available on a menu near the entrance.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

Taco y Taco Mexican Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Taco Y Taco, Taco Y Taco Tropicana