Odds, Ends and Veal Parmigiana

(No one can beat Enzo’s meat)

A few things as we head into the stretch run of this holiday season:

1) O-Face Doughnuts announced it’s closing at the end of the month, leading our staff to ask: If downtown can’t support a freaking doughnut shop, what gastronomic chances does it have? Answer: We haven’t a clue. Every time we were in O-Face (and that was dozens of times) it always seemed to have customers. Not wrapping-around-the-block numbers mind you, but a fair amount of folks ready to make their own O-face after biting into the pastries. Were they the best doughnuts we’ve ever had? No, but they were a damn sight better than any others in town. And the coffee was superb. Pity all around, and a real head-scratcher when it comes to predicting what, if anything, this signals for the future of downtown dining. Speaking of which…

2) The Smashed Pig is now open, on East Fremont Street, right across from the failed experiment that was Radio City Pizza. It’s another Downtown Project-funded operation, but initial visits have been very positive, with chef/owner Martin Smith firmly in control of a tight, controlled menu of the English pub food he has in his veins. Don’t miss his fish and chips:

…served with superior mushy peas, or his steak and ale pie, or the sticky toffee pudding:

 

The burger and beers are also top notch, and only the noise level gives us pause. (Tip: eat at the bar if you want to hear yourself think.) All and all though, TSP is a flat out winner, and a nice addition to your downtown dining options. Eating Las Vegas loves restaurants that are so much better than they have to be.

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ANDIRON and the Travels of Joe Zanelli

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We were going to do a post about our recent meal at Andiron, replete with tasty snaps and phabulous phood photos, and then found out, less than a week ago, that Executive Chef Joe Zanelli (the fellow who was brought in to oversee the kitchen and help design the menu) was leaving to go back to the Wynn, where he will be returning to run Botero.

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Havin’ a Hankerin’ fer HEARTHSTONE

Hearthstone is very zeitgeist-y. This is neither a compliment nor an insult, just a statement of fact.

Everything about its menu is designed to appeal to those who know just enough about food to want something better than Claim Jumper and Panera, but not so snooty, well-heeled and demanding that they are willing to spend $200+ dinner for the really good stuff. In this respect, it is very much like the newly opened Therapy: an amalgam of middle-brow, consumer-friendly signifiers (pizzas, small plates, pastas, burgers, etc. etc.), all designed and executed by good chefs, not a bunch of accountants.

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