Any resemblance to the male sex organ notwithstanding, these deep-fried thistles at Bar + Bistro are a pleasure to bite into.
“It’s about friggin’ time,” was all ELV could think to himself as he took bite after bite of terrific tapas at the newly minted, completely overhauled Bar + Bistro downtown. Some of the items cost as little as four bucks (for fantastically-fried sweet potato fries), and everything tastes like there’s someone who cares about it in the kitchen (unlike some other “tapas” bars around town).
Ordinarily we’d say Las Vegas needs another Eye-talian restaurant like ELV needs another ex-wife.
But Downtown is desperate, and starving, for a non-hotel eatery that gains traction with locals and tourists alike. And if spaghetti and meatballs will do the trick, more power to Chef Franco Spinelli.
The menu is unchallenging to a fault, but will fit many a Las Vegan’s dining sensibilities like a well-worn, pomodoro-stained t-shirt.
And we found ourselves taken with the spinach salad — using good greens, lightly dressed, and adorned with strips of smoky duck breast. Mad Man Mancini liked (but didn’t love) his crab cakes — and a single bite confirmed his opinion. He found his linguine with clams a bit dry, and it could have been clammier, but on the whole was a decent rendition.
The worst thing about the meal: Black Angus meatballs that were seasoning-free. The best: a moist, dense, sinfully rich chocolate “souffle” that straddled a delicious line between being molten and cake-y within. Made in-house, it was so criminally good that we made Spinelli take it away from us, lest we finish the whole thing and lick the plate.
This place is finding its sea legs, so we’ll give it time. As you can see, owner Wes Myles has big plans (designed by Jawa Studios) to open the restaurant to the street and finally implement the “bar” portion of the joint. (The liquor license was just approved yesterday.)
Once the place is finished (in about three months), it should be eye-popping.
We hope the food follows suit.
Our lunch for two, of all the food you see above and no booze, came to $56 + $13 tip.
BAR + BISTRO @ The Arts Factory
107 East Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89104