Calling Radio City Pizzeria a pizza parlor is like calling Edward Snowden a problematic employee — both statements may be true, but they don’t tell you the half of it. Like Citizenfour, RCP is about to make some major waves; unlike America’s most prominent ex-pat, the only problem you’re going to have with this place is getting into it.
Before we dive in for your delectation, a little history is in order. RCP began its restaurant life in Tivoli Village a few years ago. It was a middling pizza joint at best, and disappeared quickly from that venue. It resurfaced on East Fremont Street a couple of years ago to a collective yawn. (A few bites of its so-so fare — a month or so after its opening — was all we needed to write the place off altogether.)
Late last year, Jake Leslie — one of the brains and brawn behind The Goodwich — took us aside, said he was planning something big downtown, and swore us to secrecy. (We didn’t have to swear much since he revealed almost nothing to us at the time.) Around New Year’s we noticed renovations going on to the interior of Radio City, but thought to ourselves: “They must be trying to put a silk hat on a pig,” and that was that.
Two weeks ago, a foodie friend* implored us to go with them to check out the food. “You’ve got to be kidding?” was ELV’s incredulous response to their entreaty. “Radio City Pizzeria? Why on earth would I waste my time and calories there?”
“Just wait,” they told us.
And so we went. And we waited.
And what started showing up was food worthy of many a high-end Strip supper. Carefully composed plates like plump, deep, briny oysters flecked with pickled shallots, lemon, chili flakes and a hint of absinthe:
….and shishito peppers bathed in mint-scented citrus butter alongside butternut squash roasted with sage and brown butter, then dotted with pine nuts and nubs of good ricotta:
…the whole of each dish being much greater than the sum of its parts.
Much greater as well was the feeling of bonhomie and satisfaction that came over us when we realized we were in the presence of a chef — Sean Collins — who has a way with vegetables. Witness his warm beets with blood orange slices and whipped mascarpone:
….once again, nothing fancy, but showing real attention to detail.
You won’t find any fault with his rosemary potatoes (covered in onion ash – a new one on us) or his roasted Brussels sprouts either:
…although being the critic, we would have preferred that Pecorino cheese to be shaved finer…or micro-planed to better effect.
Regardless of such quibbles, the piattini (small plates) portion of this menu simply astounds, both with its riot of flavors playing off such precise cooking, and the easy price points: at $15 those oysters are the most expensive thing on the (non-pizza) menu, with everything else on the left side of the carte being about half that.
So taken were we by the veggies that we almost forgot to order a pie….which would’ve been a big mistake…because this chorizo-pork 12″ beauty was a stunner:
…oily-rich with the essence of artisanal Mexican chorizo, set off with just the right amount of jalopy peppers, all atop a street pizza crust of just the right thickness and pedigree. We tried the basil-pesto and winter squash house pies a day later, and can confidently proclaim all of them the best specialty pies within a ten mile radius of Fremont Street.
If all of this weren’t enough to put this place on every foodies’ go-to agenda, the beer and wine lists are superb (and gently priced as well), and the 750’s list of aged ales is one-of-a-kind and worth a special trip to this neck of the woods:
(hand-modeling by ELV)
If that weren’t enough, Leslie and manager Bryant Jane have a few more surprises in store: they will soon roll out a pasta menu and turn the outdoor patio in the back into an amaro bar — featuring enough aperitivos and digestivos to give Carnevino a run for your money:
We don’t know what behooved owner Elias Ghanem to get in touch with Leslie and Jane and turn this operation over to them, but whatever it was, it was the smartest thing he’s ever done.
This place is the bomb…and about to blow up in all the right ways.
You heard it here first.
ELV has had three meals at RCP and paid $56/two, $42/two, and $96 for twelve hungry souls.
RADIO CITY PIZZERIA
508 East Fremont Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
* Merci beaucoup, Karlina.