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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Worth the trip for a fine meal

Cravings

Locale

Worth the trip for a fine meal

Story by Bob Gourley

Photography provided by Locale

  

Those who have lived in the Vegas area for a long time remember the wide-open spaces between Interstate 15 and Red Rock Canyon. Several new subdivisions now dot the landscape along with upscale shopping centers with popular boutiques and restaurants. One is Mountain’s Edge, which is home to two Andy Hooper-owned establishments—newly-opened El Luchador, and Locale that has been pleasing diners since 2019. In fact, the latter was honored with a James Beard nomination two years ago. Well-known Locale Chef Marc Marrone has crafted “elevated Italian cuisine” and indeed it is. Surprisingly, the prices are reasonable, which is unusual for this quality of food.

My wife and I recently visited on a weekday evening. We were seated in the main dining area, separated from a lounge that’s just inside the front door. The interior has a modern industrial look with open beam ceilings, walls of wine bottle racks, plus black tables and chairs that blend well with the gray and brown tones. There is also an expansive patio, a pleasant place to spend the time while you wait for your food choices. 

Our knowledgeable and affable serviceperson Alfredo brought a small plate of freshly baked, still warm bread that had a kiss of basil coupled with butter. A great way to start the proceedings.

The Antipasti is a collection of traditional Italian favorites, but with new twists. One of the newest is the Bronx Chop Salad ($10), which was exceptional. Red leaf and Romaine lettuce are surrounded with mixed salumi, crucolo cheese and an ingenious red wine vinaigrette that is so good I almost wanted to put it in a glass and drink it.

Another choice was Burrata Caprese ($12). Not only was this a beautiful dish to look at, but included Pahrump Farm tomatoes that were very fresh and delivered still attached to baby vines. A surprise ingredient was eggplant caponata (much like jam) that elevated the taste. For the more adventurous there are Mussels al Forno with white wine and Grilled Octopus that includes smashed crispy potatoes.

The pasta menu is filled with choices for everyone, including one of their signature entrees, Spaghetti Pomodoro ($10) with roasted cherry tomatoes and basil. I chose Shrimp Fra Diavolo ($18.00) which is another popular pick, a bit unusual because of the squid ink black pasta that is the main ingredient. Calabrian chili and Di Napoli tomato are part of the mix. The shrimp were huge and blended well. You can add lobster for an additional $8.

My wife chose another favorite, Blue Crab Black Spaghetti ($21). The chopped shellfish was interwoven throughout the noodles. Also included were pickled pepper pesto and charred red onion. Other choices feature two rigatoni picks and Spaghetti Alle Vongole with Prince Edward Island clams. Yes, there are pizzas and although we didn’t try one, they looked delicious coming out of the kitchen. Roasted salmon, Anita’s Meatballs and Scarpariello Chicken are Secondi dishes hard to pass up.

No matter how full you are, find a little space in the tummy for one of their desserts. One of our choices was Budino, which is a pudding served with different flavorings at different places. This one came in a small Mason jar and was vanilla based with a layer of caramel on top. The combination of salt and sugar was a winner. Another sweet ending was Bombolini, Italian donuts delivered with a generous layer of sprinkled sugar. I took one home and enjoyed it the next day…still fresh. A cup of Nutella was great for dipping.

Craft cocktails are refreshing. I enjoyed a Spring Sangria with organic mixed berry syrup and a choice of either pinot noir or chardonnay. I went for the red with a combination of fruit flavor and slight sweetness that paired nicely. Ruffled Feather is another libation, a mix of Gem and Bolt Mezcal plus a strawberry-infused cube. Wine prices are reasonable and include over a dozen by the glass. Santa Cristina Cipresseto Rosato is just $8 a pour, and SR 262 Merlot from Columbia Valley is $9. The bar and lounge feature Happy Hour Monday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.

Remember when the whole brood got together for weekly dinners? Locale is offering family-style feasts every Sunday. Four large courses are plenty for a quartet ($80), and include bread, two choices of salad, a pasta, and either Chicken Parmigiana or Hanger Steak. For dessert, cannolis finish things off.

Locale might be a little off the beaten path, but don’t let that stop you. Marc Marrone’s cuisine is worth the trip, and the prices will allow you to visit often.

 

Locale Kitchen and Craft Cocktails

7995 Blue Diamond Rd. #106, Las Vegas

702-330-0404

www.localelv.com

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