Groups whisper together in dimly lit, red-leather booths, underscored by the tinkling notes of a nearby grand piano. This isn’t the set of the latest mafia movie, but the main dining room at Capo’s Italian Steakhouse. The restaurant cheerfully embraces the city’s scandalous past, from its wood-paneled walls accented with movie posters to a menu of Italian classics sporting snap-brim fedoras and colorful names. Whether diners delve into Wise Guy alfredo by the fireplace or sample Goodfellas piccata on the patio, Capo’s atmosphere invites them to experience the mystique of old Vegas.
The Summerlin outpost of BJ’s Restaurant is one of three locations throughout Las Vegas. Located directly across from the Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa, the casual eatery always seems to attract a crowd. Well known for brewing their own beer and an eclectic menu that ranges from deep dish pizzas and hamburgers to gluten-free meals, BJ’s loves catering to their guests. New flat-screen TVs throughout the restaurant and a relaxed, if slightly boisterous vibe, make the Summerlin location a welcome destination for all. Around the holidays, guests are treated to a slew of new menu options, from steak and lobster entrées to seared mahi mahi, with souvenir glasses to take home at the end of the night.
When chef John McKibben first opened Grape Street Cafe in 1997, his small restaurant took a back seat to a large front-of-the-house retail area where customers could purchase house-made sauces, salads, and high-quality wines. Though the concept quickly transitioned to focus on the fresh, house-made dishes flying out of his kitchen, McKibben has held on to his retail license and continues to encourage his diners to finish their meal by picking up a bottle of wine to go or commissioning a self-portrait painted with balsamic vinegar.
With the exception of a handful of rotating nightly specials, the menu has stayed largely the same, and Chef McKibben credits the cuisine as the eatery's 14-year secret to success. Dinner finds the shop's signature hot sandwiches, creamy pastas, and pizzas sharing top billing alongside nationally inspired entrees such as a baked Alaskan halibut topped with lemon beurre-blanc and Colorado lamb in a sweet-and-sour mint glaze. However, the diverse menu is designed to complement the restaurant?s real draw: its extensive wine selection. Up to 90 vinos are available by the glass each day, with selections that hail from as near as Napa and as far away as Mosel, Bordeaux, Rioja, and Mos Eisley.
Pasta and horsepower. Though it may not be a run-of-the-mill pairing, at Dal Toro Ristorante the two are not incongruous. After all, if anything can get the blood pumping like the timeless rides of Dal Toro Exotic Cars, with which the traditional Italian restaurant shares an address (the two are adjacent to each other in the Palazzo Hotel and Casino), it's chef Fiorenzo Trunzo's Spaghetti fra Diavola. Sautéed whole Maine lobster and baby shrimp bathed in a brandy tomato sauce, sumptuous as a Rolls-Royce. Or perhaps it's the filletto roquefort, another star of the dinner menu, which pairs a prime filet mignon with a rich roquefort cheese sauce. Or the sautéed Mediterranean sea bass, oven-finished and drizzled with white wine-lemon sauce.
At lunchtime the menu takes a lighter turn, but day or night the setting for chef Trunzo's culinary creations remains the same. Marbled entrances and mosaic fountains lead the way to a dining room of cherry-red chandeliers and plush, red-and-gold-striped booths. Outside, wicker chairs line a patio located a mere meatball's-throw away from buzzing Las Vegas Boulevard. Once diners have twirled their last forkful, they enjoy complimentary admission to the car showroom, where they can ask the custom 1939 Studebaker about life before Interstates.
Due Forni captivates diners with a menu of authentic Italian antipasti and brick oven pizzas culled from imported ingredients and the masterpiece recipes from executive chef Carlos Buscaglia. San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo-milk mozzarella top Neapolitan pies?known for their bubbly, chewy crusts?or Roman pizzas, which are famous for their cracker-thin crust and Republican system of government. Patrons munch on beet and goat cheese salad and carpaccio plates, or sample a diverse array of more than 40 vinos at the wine bar as they enjoy the sounds of upbeat Italian jazz. Pastas include a daily lasagna and classics like ravioli with a savory fall twist: butternut squash crema, brown butter sage, and spiced pecans. Entrees include new york steak, sea bass, and game hen served with roasted root vegetables and creamy polenta in a red wine reduction. Spaghetti Westerns play on high-definition flat-screen TVs throughout the earth-hued and orange space, and an open kitchen fills the main dining area with the exciting sights and sounds of masterful foodcraft.
Layer upon layer of cheese and a touch of tomato sauce blanket each thick yet airy crust baked to crispy perfection inside a rectangular tin. This Detroit-style pizza may not be as widely lauded as its Chicago and New York counterparts, but the square pies pack just as much flavorful crunch. Northside Nathan’s team loads crusts with classic Italian toppings such as sausage, capicollo, meatballs, mushrooms, anchovies, salami, and roma tomatoes. Equipped with the recipes of his parents, who opened their own pizza parlor in Detroit during the 1960s, Todd Malinowski brought the square-pan pizza west and opened Northside Nathan’s Detroit Pizza in the late 1990s. The eatery has since expanded to a second location, where Todd continues to toss the same dough that has earned him a spot on the Best of Las Vegas list for best pizza twice. The Malinowski family also piles fresh and hearty ingredients into a septet of Detroit-themed sandwiches, such as the model T and the cadillac.