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Generic Italian restaurants have about as much appeal to ELV as the National Finals Rodeo.

And for that last statement, we apologize to the NFR.

But into them (the restaurants not the rodeo) we trudge, expectations low, our banal barometer at the ready, hoping against hope that someone will have the passion and the talent to bring off food that, even in a tiny way, approximates what Rao’s dishes out night after night.

And night after night, in restaurant after restaurant, our worst fears and hackneyed hopes are confirmed and then dashed.

Exhibit # 379 – Mastrioni’s.

Sandy clams, gristly Bolognese and a seafood Arrabbiata drowning in red sauce make for a meal that is guaranteed to put our staff in a bad frame of mind.

Each left ELV muttering to himself: “What a waste of a nice looking restaurant.”

And confirmed three maxims ELV holds true to his heart: 1) Americans will eat anything on a noodle; 2) especially if it’s smothered in tomatoes and cheese; and 3) the reason Italian-American food is so popular is because it is the only “cuisine” in the world that can be done badly and still be edible.

Exhibit # 380 – The not-so-tasty-snaps above.

Thinking of going to Mastrioni’s? We’d recommend you hit the rodeo instead.

The meal you see above, with a single glass of almost off wine, came to $100 (including a $15 tip), and wouldn’t have been worth it at half the price.


3330 South Hualapai Way

Las Vegas, NV 89117-7716