TERRA ROSSA – Anatomy of a Check

Last night we decided to celebrate the birthday of Anthony Robert Curtas (D.O.B. 10.25.75 – The Official Number One Son Of ELV, and officially a member of our staff) by taking him, along with The Food GalĀ® and Food Gal #1 (his Official Former Stepmother), to dinner.

And rather than go with the tried and true, we thought we’d go where gourmets (recently) have feared to tread. And by “fear to tread” we mean to one of the restaurants at the financially-strapped Red Rock Hotel and Casino.

Since Number One Son is an accomplished home cook of this cuisine, we thought a trip to Terra Rossa was in order. But the results of this experiment in the ‘burbs were so mixed, we thought we’d present our review of it in the form of a price-to-value analysis we’ll call: Anatomy of a Check.

For starters, three salads: green bean, Calabrese, and Caprese. The Caprese was composed of a big ball of burrata on top of three nice tomato slices; the Calabrese some iceberg lettuce topped with some sweet/hot marinated pimentos and canned pepperocini; and the green bean, more cheap lettuce with some thinly-sliced cheese mingled with the greenery. All three were amateurish in composition, and were served much too cold and within three minutes of being ordered — a sure sign they’d been sitting in a ‘fridge for much of the day.

Total lettuce spent on lettuce: $41.00. Worth it? Not in a million years.

We also ordered two pastas for the table (the redundantly-named potato gnocchi, and parciatelloni-like thick, square perciatelli) as a secondi course, expecting them to appear after the salads and before the primi piatti, like they do in every decent, upscale Italian restaurant in the world. Alas, it was not to be.

After an extra ordinarily long wait, made all the more curious by the fact that the dining room was only half full, we were presented with our main courses — ossobuco Milanese, veal with lemon and peas, risotto primavera and chicken with Italian sausage. Almost immediately thereafter, came the big bowls of parciatelloni and potato gnocchi — the former in a decent ragu; the latter: fluffy, melt in your mouth dumplings that gained nothing from a preternaturally thick, smooth, strained tomato sauce that reminded ELV of the stuff that used to coat Chef Boy-Ar-Dee canned noodles (and maybe still does).

Pasta cost: $36. Remotely as good as that found at Circo, B & B or Valentino? Not on your life.

Amidst the blizzard of food (crowding an over-matched four-top) one item stood out for its awfulness — the risotto primavera. What made it so disappointing were the gummy, overcooked, stuck-together grains, its lack of any vegetable flavor, and the fact that, at the same table, was another risotto (saffron) that was excellent. How the same kitchen can turn out a disaster of a dish employing the same technique as another served right beside it is a testament to the lack of discipline, or the lack of a disciplinarian, in the kitchen.

Risotto remittance: $18. Restitution required? Righteously.

As for those primi piatti, the ossobuco was textbook perfect (if a bit small); the chicken an unholy mess to look at, but tasty, and the veal with lemon and peas — once again, a small order, this time festooned with frozen peas. At thirty-two bucks ($32) the chicken is clearly the profit-margin king on this menu. At twenty-nine buckeroonies ($29) the small amount of greyish/white sliced veal was not worth the tariff, despite being quite lemony. But peas in October? What were we thinking?

Total main course price: $99. Worth it: Yes, if the veal had been bigger, the slices had been better, peas had been in season, and the chicken more bewitchin’.

When we were seated, Number One Son Of Food Man looked around the expensive, stylish room and remarked, “If this place was where I live (the Washington D.C. area), everyone would be dressed to the nines. Here, everyone’s in golf shirts, jeans and shorts.” “That’s Vegas,” was all we could say (with a resigned shrug).

Just as “Vegas” (albeit in a different way) is a wine list that devotes two full pages, in a bankrupt, neighborhood casino, to Gaja wines priced from $320-$650/bottle. Our bet is no one has ordered a bottle in two years. But like the rest of the menu, the management is trying to get people to pay prices for products that, in this economy, just aren’t worth it.

Our meal for four (including $165 worth of wine, but no dessert and a $50 tip — for less than stellar service) came to $457. For his next birthday, we owe Number One Son a trip to The Strip.


In the Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa

11011 West Charleston Blvd.

Las Vegas, NV 89135


23 thoughts on “TERRA ROSSA – Anatomy of a Check

  1. Is there anywhere at Red Rock that doesn’t completely suck? The FnB Dept should be ashamed of themselves. Its really bad there

  2. LBS is great!!!!! only because it isnt a part of the hotel f and b, rumor on the street is the cafe is closing there soon, id assume original pancake house will take over, and yard house is taking over the salt lick space!

  3. George is correct. We went with friends a few months ago, and it was disappointing. We also went a couple of years ago, and it was great. Gina’s over on Durango is better and cheaper.

    PS…LBS is terrible, not great!! The meat’s seasoning tastes funny.
    BurgerBar, Stripburger, and of course BLT Burger (#1) is much better.

  4. My family and I have been to Terra Rossa many times lately and have enjoyed nothing less than friendly service and good food. The portions are just right for us and we don’t mind paying the check at the end. We don’t get to the strip a lot for “fancy” Italian dinners but refuse to go to Olive Garden so Terra Rossa is just the right amount of class and value for us and we’ll be going back soon.

  5. gilbert-

    I’ll second “has a clue” on LBS! I know Mr. ELV isn’t a big fan, but I am. I mean, the only other place I’ve had such delectable sweet potato fries and such a tasty veggie burger is Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay. Oh, and they also do great sundaes.

    And maybe considering that, I may keep an open mind on Terra Rossa. Or at least, I won’t let the review of Terra Rossa deter me from trying Terra Verde much closer to home (at GVR). I’ve actually been thinking for a while about seeing what Terra Verde’s like so I can determine if I’m obligated to go all the way to The Strip or The M for a good plate of gnocchi. ;-)

  6. good job atdleft, gotta remember ELV has it out for greenspun (who part owns red rock/gvr &aliante) something about being fired previously in his career and his freind slappy sammy
    but there are great places in some stations properties

  7. Really? Nothing good at Red Rock? Hachi is excellent, and I know ELV agrees.

    atdleft- Just read the menu at Terra Verde late at night if you can’t sleep. Boring!

  8. atdleft- Ive eaten at Terra Rosa several times, it really does suck.

    Who would have thought “has a clue” would have something good to say about LBS??? 70% of the comments you make on this site are in support of LBS. THE PLACE IS AWFUL!

    Furthermore, went to a movie at RR last week. Got out at 9:15 and both Hachi and TR were already closed (AT 9:15!) but we were able to get a bite at TBones…nasty stuff. The food was absolutely unacceptable.

    I will never eat at RR again

  9. word on the inside about the ALL the cafes in Stations is that they will be closing. Coco’s has gotten a contract to take them over, in all the casinos.

  10. gilbert, obviously you dont read most comments then, i make comments about all places. i happen to really liek LBS and the staff there, they are always great.

    it would be nice to have a REAL critic in this town, who commented on food/service and ambience, and left the bullshit politics out! but ELV has to make a buck i guess so he is pay for play foodie!

    guess its time to start my own site! i mean i have reviewed 16 places in the last week (most in NYC)

  11. Terra Rossa has some great dishes, one of the best restaurant men in town in their GM Giuseppe and an attractive dining room. Chef Nicola who now mans the stoves is also a talented guy. I live and work in Summerlin and recently had a couple of lunches there as they now offer that service and the food was all good and affordable. Three of us ate for under $40 plus tip. (no we didn’t ask for the wine list). Pasta dishes are smaller and about half what you’ll pay at dinner. I’d just say give it a try and judge for yourself.

  12. Gilbert – I agree, nothing good at Stations casinos with one exception – Salt Lick. Its true the Salt Lick isn’t as good as the original, the service is poor, and the knowledge of their product by the staff is horrendous but its still pretty dam good for BBQ. Not sure why John would take his son to Terra Rossa, everyone whose taste buds work that have tried it in the past has said its one of the worst values in town, he could have saved himself a lot of grief by asking first.

    has a clue – please be sure to post your URL when you launch your critic website, as a former national magazine publisher (based out of NYC) which had a food dept I can honestly say I don’t think you will get much credible traction based on your comments on this website but I’m open minded and I am willing to be wrong.

  13. Wasn’t Terra Rosa the “prize” in a ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ season?

    I was at Red Rock in the summer. had lunch at LBS. We all thought it was pretty good. Burger wasn’t all like what John. Maybe the “fancy” burger isn’t always the best way to go?

    Salt Lick closing? Was it any good? I know a lot of people in Texas have mixed feelings about the real location in Driftwood, but I think I am safe to say it won’t hold a candle to the top places in Lockhart, Luling, Taylor, etc.

  14. in the cards…will do, its been in the works for a few month now, building a good website isnt cheap!!!

    i dont give full criticism on ELV;s site, i do post alot on yelp, with honest food criticism. i just dont much like ELV, anyone who reads his stuff who has common sense can see that he is very biased and politically/pay for play driven. but either way we have nothing else in this town to read about food, so it is entertaining i guess.

    i have to pay some respect, ELV does seem to have some food knowledge (although i catch many mistake in what he states) its just toobad he isnt a truc critic.

  15. bwdining-

    I finally went in Terra Verde today. It wasn’t too scary. It sells itself as “hipster”… And although the food isn’t so much, the tiny portions are (or at least are version 2005). The food was actually quite tasty, so I won’t call Terra Verde a disappointment or flop.

    Details coming soon…

  16. Food at Terra Verde is indeed quite tasty – Chef McGee has flown under the radar and is putting out very tasty food. The prosciutto wrapped veal chop is my favorite dish there and one of my favorites in town. Having lunch there this coming Tuesday. Had dinner and really enjoy their enomatic wine system. An ounce here and an ounce there of different varietals, etc., makes the meal fun. Plus if the somm is floating around near the system…suggest that you might really want a taste of one of the superior wines. They are a very friendly staff and might just accomodate with a house pour.

  17. There ain’t a Tally in Vegas who can cook Tally food. They are all “covonnes”. They use cheap ingredients and up the price. If Terra Rossa was in New York, they would be closed by now, let alone, fire bombed. Nora’s is another poor excuse for Tally food. Especially, when Mexicans are making it. Gimme a break. Same goes for pizza. It stinks. Non Italian’s eat at these slop joints. They don’t know any better.

  18. Terra Rossa is the absolute worst. I used to go there for lunch then they stopped offering lunch. I went back and got an $18 swordfish salad that had about three bites of salad in it. The same thing with the salmon “salad.”

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