Dining News: Delicious Bites Around Las Vegas

In this weekly update, food and beverage reporter Bob Barnes fills us in on noteworthy restaurant openings and closings, special events and culinary news worth knowing about.

Restaurant Openings

Ottimo Gourmet Pizza Kitchen & Pizzeria is now open at the Ahern Hotel, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The décor features rustic red brick, rust-colored walls and hanging bicycles. VP of culinary operations Joel Ott created the menu. The 2007 Le Cordon Bleu Las Vegas graduate previously worked at Le Cirque, Picasso and Olives at Bellagio; Allegro and Sinatra at Wynn; and Veranda at the Four Seasons.

An Italian Marra Forni wood/gas burning oven is utilized to craft more than two dozen different gourmet pizzas and calzones such as quattro formaggi with gorgonzola and taleggio. Also on the dinner menu are charred octopus with Guajillo chilies and roasted garlic emulsion; grilled Italian sausage with roasted pepper Romanesco sauce; spicy crab Nero with squid ink black spaghetti and jumbo lump crab; and Mediterranean branzino with sautéed cherry tomatoes, olives and zucchini. The breakfast menu includes classics like omelets, pancakes, waffles, French toast and chicken fried steak and eggs.

Ott also curates an extensive craft beer selection with rotating taps devoted mainly to local beers and hosts a monthly tap takeover or beer dinner featuring local breweries.

image courtesy of La Popular CDMX

La Popular CDMX, from Mexico City’s Grupo Carolo and California-based Eureka! restaurant groups, has opened its third US location inside the Palms Casino Resort. Located on the casino floor, the décor includes greenery inspired by Mexico’s tropical surroundings, wooden flooring throughout, a disco ball and a one-of-a-kind taco station with a server slicing ribeye and al pastor with homemade corn tortillas.

Helmed by executive chef Cesar de la Parra, the menu is an elevated take on classic Mexican dishes. Items exclusively available at the Las Vegas location include quesabirria tacos with braised brisket and beef shank, al pastor enchiladas with marinated pork and melted cheese and ribeye or adobo prawn fajitas. Breakfast is served all day Fri.-Sun. with items such as molletes with crispy cheesy toast, eggs and bacon; and breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs, carnitas and guacamole. An extensive collection of agave spirits includes more than 80 labels of tequila and mezcal.

Upcoming Events

Grape Vine Café Wine Bar & Cellar

Sunday, July 23

Grape Vine Café Wine Bar & Cellar at Lake Mead and Buffalo will host a four-course wine dinner featuring the wines of Merryvale Vineyards. Pairings are summer salad with romaine, corn, strawberries, avocado, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, fresh basil and Champagne vinaigrette paired with 2019 Merryvale Carneros Chardonnay; sausage ragu over creamy polenta with fresh cheese matched with 2018 Merryvale Carneros Pinot Noir; New York steak tagliata with arugula, shaved parmesan, olive oil and aged balsamic paired with 2017 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon; and chocolate cherry mousse with chantilly cream matched with 2019 Merryvale Merlot.

The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the cost is $125 per person plus tax and tip. To reserve, call 702-228-9463.

Gaetano’s Ristorante

Monday, July 24

Gaetano’s Ristorante at Eastern and Coronado Center in Henderson, will host a bourbon dinner featuring Jefferson’s Bourbon. The menu includes burrata cheese, grilled peaches, arugula and 24-month prosciutto di parma with crostini paired with Jefferson’s Small Batch Peach Smash Cocktail; homemade pappardelle with cinghiale (wild boar) sauce matched with Jefferson’s Ocean Rye; venison chop with blueberry port wine sauce and mushroom risotto paired with Jefferson’s Ocean; and walnut maple bread with bourbon salted caramel and vanilla gelato matched with Marian McClain 14-yr Limited Edition.

The dinner will begin at 7 p.m. and the cost is $175 per person plus tax. To RSVP call 702-361-1661 or email info@gaetanoslv.com. A credit card is required to hold reservations.

OTORO Robata Grill & Sushi

Saturday, July 29

image courtesy of OTORO

OTORO Robata Grill & Sushi at The Mirage will host Sushi School. OTORO executive chef Yoshi Park will share his culinary skills with attendees through an interactive, hands-on experience that dives into the fundamentals of sushi making, including instruction on how to prepare sushi rice, selecting the freshest ingredients and crafting a delicious specialty roll. Guests will indulge in their sushi creations and additional menu items from OTORO.

The class will begin at 4 p.m. and tickets are $75 plus fees. To purchase tickets, click here.

Culinary News

CRUSH American Grill Now Open Daily

CRUSH, Morton Group’s American grill at MGM Grand, is now open daily and has expanded its hours of operation to 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Executive chef William DeMarco has created elevated American classics, including ahi tuna stacked with passion fruit, golden beets and topped with pistachios, priced at $21; cheesesteak dumplings filled with onion purée and cheese fondue, priced at $19; woodfired grilled chicken pizza with roasted garlic and arugula, priced at $21; ricotta gnocchi with braised short rib and pea purée, priced at $36; 8-ounce filet mignon, topped with blue cheese fondue over a bed of fingerling potatoes and sweet onions, priced at $65; and Chilean sea bass with braised kale and tomato chutney, priced at $44.

Complementing the American fare are signature cocktails such as the Punch, Drunk Love made with mint-infused Spring 44 gin, Lillet Rosé, fresh watermelon juice and fresh lime juice, priced at $15.

Buddy V’s Ristorante Sunday Brunch Is Back

image courtesy of Buddy V’s

After a long hiatus, Buddy V’s Ristorante at The Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes has brought back its popular Sunday brunch served from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The buffet-style brunch features antipasto; seafood; a carving station with maple-glazed ham and peppercorn-crusted NY striploin; Italian favorites like Grandma’s meatballs, chicken parm and sausage & broccolini orecchiette; roasted mushroom & truffle pizza; house-made omelets, ciabatta French toast with toasted almond mascarpone cream and lemon-blueberry pancakes; Kids Corner with kiddie culinary classics such as cheese pizza, chicken tenders and mac & cheese; and plenty of sweet treats including raspberry-lemon meringue bars, peanut butter & chocolate cupcakes, strawberry cheesecake, Italian donuts, cannoli, tiramisu and assorted Italian cookies.

Reservations are highly recommended and the cost is $55 per person/$24 per child under 10 plus tax and tip. Bottomless libations including sangria, mimosas, bellinis, domestic beers and wines by the glass are available for an additional $20 per person.

Jaleo Offering Limited-Edition Sangrias

Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan has kicked off its Summer of Sangría, with four limited-edition sangrías being offered throughout the month of July.

The sangrías include Sangría de Cava—a sparkling wine sangría with cava, gin, vermouth and seasonal fruit priced at $14/glass, $38/half pitcher and $60/pitcher; Sangría de Vino Tinto—Jaleo’s version of red wine sangría priced at $14/glass, $38/half pitcher and $60/pitcher; Sangría de Sandia—white wine, watermelon and vodka sangría priced at $14/glass, $38/half pitcher and $60/pitcher; and Sangría Roja de Lujo—Jaleo’s version of sangría with premium Garnacha wine, brandy, vermouth and seasonal fruit priced at $70/pitcher. In addition, there will be three chef-selected tapas offered to pair with the sangría for $21.

Restaurant Closure

Less than two years after opening, James Beard Award-winning Chef Todd English’s rustic Mediterranean-inspired Olives at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas closed permanently after dinner service on June 4, 2023.

The first Olives debuted in Boston in 1989 and the first Las Vegas location followed at the Bellagio in 1998 before closing in early 2018 and reopening at Virgin Las Vegas in August, 2021. English still has his Asian-fusion Pepper Club restaurant at the English Hotel in the Arts District and his comfort food-inspired The Beast at Area 15. It has not yet been announced what will replace Olives at Virgin Las Vegas.

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