How wrong could we be?
In the months it took Glutton to open, we predicted its downfall for a number of reasons. One, it seemed to take months too long to get launched; two, there was the name (and that awful logo); and three, just who in the hell was this Bradley Manchester fellow anyway?
As it turns out, the delay was a power issue, the name has grown on us, and Bradley Manchester can cook the bejesus out of anything put in front of him. (The button-popping logo we’ll leave for another discussion.)
Nothing about Manchester’s pedigree gave us even the smallest hint he was capable of pulling this off. Corporate stints at places like Green Valley Ranch and the Red Rock Resort lured us into a certain cynicism about his ability to craft an all-American menu that fairly pops with all sorts of au courant and haute cuisine signifiers — each one of which he pulls off with the aplomb of a young Wolfgang Puck or Michael Mina.
Before we get to the food, a word or two about how smartly put together the whole operation is. It’s just the right size (75 seats indoors, 25 on the patio), a large L-shaped bar/open kitchen dominates the left side of the room, while a cozier cocktail space hugs the back right of the space. The no-frills tables are spaced correctly in the front, and everyone has a nice view (because of those large wrap-around windows) either from inside or outside the restaurant. The effect puts you in mind of top-flight, casual eateries you find on the streets of a major city, and the feng shui is so good you’ll feel like an urban gastronaut the minute you take your seat.
Intrepid sorts are always looking to savor new spins on old reliables….and Manchester delivers the goods in spades. The Parker House rolls might be the best neighborhood bread plate since Rosemary’s left town, and the burger:
It’s a thick, juicy mother-of-a-burger, chock full of beefiness and seasoned to a “t.” Manchester wraps it with house-made, tangy-nutty “American” cheese (a combination of house-made ricotta whey, melted Gruyere and parm) — the whole of which (including superb house-made pickles) is much, much greater than the sum of its parts. Neither too big nor too small, dressed up but not overwrought, it just might be the perfect burger.
Just as good, but from a whole other school of cuisine, is his spaghetti alla chiatarra with Spring pea pesto and mint:
…highlighting thick, al dente, house-made pasta with the sharp, crunchy (thanks to fresh, raw peas) and mellow accents of the season. Las Vegas has rarely experienced pasta this good. Downtown Las Vegas has never seen pasta this good.
All of which combines to give downtown diners the complete package — a full service restaurant that is by turns grown up and playful — with first class cooking tweaked enough to appeal to the statement facial hair crowd.
About the only thing to criticize is the length of the menu. It actually may be too short. (We can’t believe we’re saying this.) After three visits, our staff has tasted almost everything (except for the steak and the sea bream). This is a First World/restaurant critic problem, we know, but Bradley Manchester’s cooking is so compelling, we can’t wait to see what next he has up his former-corporate-chef sleeve.
ELV’s three meals (for two) at Glutton (one lunch and two dinners) have cost him $51, $78 and $85 respectively, with a minimal amount of booze.
616 East Carson Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89101