In case you hadn’t noticed…ELV has been taking a break. The reasons for this are twofold:
1) He wanted to let his 50 Essential Restaurants list percolate for a while; and,
2) There hasn’t been much to write about in our humble burg.
50. ART OF FLAVORS
Let’s get one thing straight, shall we?
Art of Flavors is not a restaurant. It has no menu; it has no waitrons. There is no maitre’d to seat you, nor are there many real seats to be had. The flatware is plastic, the dishware is cardboard, and the appetizers and main courses are as non-existent as the good judgment of the girls dancing across the street.
So why is is number 50 on our list of The 50 Essential Restaurants of Las Vegas? Because, quite simply, no eating tour of our humble burg would be complete without a stop here. Because, even more simply, lying in the shadow of both the Olympic Garden strip club (literally) and the Luv-it-Custard ice cream stand (figuratively), lies the best goddamned gelato ever to melt on a Las Vegas sidewalk.
The brainchild of pastry chef Desyreé G. Alberganti, these luscious concoctions are all made on premises, with all natural flavors, no additives, and a ton of passion — passion (and intensity) you can taste with every silky smooth spoonful.
It is gelato so good that we at ELV have been in dozens of times and have to fight with ourselves not to go on a daily basis. It is gelato so good it single-handedly raised the foodie IQ of downtown Las Vegas the day it opened. It is gelato so good you will never be satisfied with store-bought ice cream again.
Yeah, it’s that good.
There’s nothing generic about AoFG. It is as hand-tooled and artisanal as food gets in the High Mojave Desert, and after one bite of Alberganti’s cioccalato di pepperocino (chocolate spiced with the back-of-the-throat warming glow of peppers),or her Fior di Latte (basic vanilla gelato base), or the Pumpkin Spiced Pie Creme Brûlée, or Smurf (yes, it’s very blue), or the last word in Cookies ‘n Cream, you will foreswear all other forms of frozen desserts forever.
And if it’s boundary-pushing sweets you’re after, you’ll swoon over things like Roasted Garlic with Herb and EVOO, Black Sesame Seed with Edamame and Caramelized Soy Sauce, or…..wait for it….Chicken Wings:
…each of which tastes exactly like the thing(s) it is named after….yet somehow manages still to be a sweet, palate-pleasing, slurp-worthy dessert.
How Desyreé does it is anyone’s guess, but one lick in and you’ll know you’re in the hands of a devilishly creative kitchen angel — with a heavenly sense of humor that’s going to be hell on your waistline.
Favorite dishes: The gelato, Bozo. All of them.
ART OF FLAVORS GELATO
1616 Las Vegas Blvd. South #130
49. THE GOODWICH
ELV note: Until The Goodwich opened earlier this year, a good hot sandwich was harder to find than a Mormon distillery. Still less than a year old, it remains the only place to get a a superior version of the meal that made John Montagu famous. Rather than blather on and on about how good The Goodwich’s creations are, we’ll leave it to Mitchell Wilburn to extol its virtues, as he did in a posting back in March. Take it away Mitchell:
Damn man, damn. I have been so consistently wowed by this place, that I’ve been going back about twice a week. It does help that it is five minutes away from my hip (and only slightly dangerous) digs in “The Downtown”, but I would drive from Summerlin consistently and even bear slumming it in Dino’s (and I REALLY don’t like Dino’s) to enjoy these seriously bad-ass sandwiches.