I found the ONE (for Italian Restaurants)

Parma by Chef Marc
7591 W Washington Ave #110
Las Vegas, NV 89128
(702) 233-6272
www.parmabychefmarc.com/

This is an Italian gem of a restaurant in Vegas. It’s like finding your perfect other half and wondering where they’ve been all my life? I felt the same with Chef Marc’s Pastavino Deli. I’m a Las Vegas native. Where have you been all my life?!

What brought us here was a recommendation by a friend of its fresh pastas. I was looking forward to just that. Chef Marc’s dishes lit up my senses from amazing flavors to textures and followed through from beginning to end. The ambiance is cute, romantic, homely (in a good way) with a touch of hole in the wall feel. The service was impeccable. Everyone on staff was super warm and friendly. The whole experience almost felt like eating at an Italian mama’s home kitchen. Oh yes, do listen to your server’s recommendation because our server Jason was on point with the recommendations.

The breakdown:
– Complimentary Fresh Garlic Bread – Warm. Toasty. Chewy. Crusty with tasty aroma of garlic and parm on top.
– Portabello mushroom appetizer (Strongly recommended by Jason) – This was everyone’s favorite of the evening. Warm sauteed strips of portabello mushrooms in a creamy sauce served over a bed of baby spinach. Don’t neglect the leftover sauce. Mop it up with the wonderful perfectly crusty garlic bread.
– Antipasto – Yummy cured meets tossed in with a variety of exotic cheeses, olives and greens. Can’t beat it.
– Caprese Salad Appetizer – The tomatoes were juicy. The large leaves of basil for fragrant and the fresh mozzarella perfectly chewy and gooey.
– Chicken Marsala – This was the sleeper hit. Usually not too impressed by chicken marsala, but this was a bite in heaven. The slight essence of barely cooked of wine took everyone by surprise in a very good way.
– Orcchiette with Meatball – the fun ear like pasta wheels were perfectly al dente, chewy and bouncy swimming around in thick red sauce with a huge meatball. This was a touch on the salty side for me, but the texture of the orchiette itself won handsdown.
– Agnoletti – This was another big winner! Tubes of fresh pasta filled with savory beef/lamb mixture with a rich creamy white sauce. Stick to your ribs good! Again, don’t forget to mop up the sauce with bread.
– Frutti de Mar – This was our last dish, filled with seafood goodies from clams to calamari to scallops. The spagetti was of course cooked well and the sauce mopped up to the last drop.

Bonuses: Extra exotic cheeses. Sliced uber tasty prosciutto on the house! Having a birthday boy on hand, they gave us some a bit of tart and sweet limoncello to toast!

Conclusion: It’s is a FIVER (beeps!) all the way. I thought about bringing the rating down one star for being a touch too salty on some items, but the overall experience was too fantastic. We left bellies full, wallets a little more empty and happily rolled our way home.

I was featured on this podcast about Parma!
Deli Counter Mystery Meet Podcast Guest

Secret Pizza @ The Cosmopolitan

Pizzeria @ The Cosmopolitan
Cosmopolitan
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 651-2432

[Update 7/2014: So they’ve shaped up. Last two trips have been perfect thin crust pizza. Chewy. Crusty. Cheesy. Perfect.]

I’m usually skeptical of any restaurants that rate high in a casino because from experience and as many locals know, better options can be found outside the strip. The same is the case with this pizzeria. The pizza toppings themselves were tasty enough but the fine details of a great thin crust pizza were missing from my experience. The magic wasn’t there for me. It just wasn’t crusty and chewy enough, and there wasn’t enough yummy smokey taste that comes from a slight char on the belly of a perfect slice of thin crust pizza. Was it because it Saturday night at 12 pm wasn’t prime time for pizza?

Conclusion: I am definitely going to be the minority opinion here *bracing to have tomatoes thrown at me*….The Pizzeria at the Cosmopolitan didn’t quite hit the mark, but if left with middle of the night munchies, I still welcome it as an option for late night pizza. My favorite thin crust pizza is still at North End Pizza

IMG_0038

Aunt Wendy

Wendy’s Noodle Cafe
3401 S Jones Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89146
(702) 889-3288

I want to re-name Wendy’s Noodle Cafe to AUNT Wendy’s Noodle Cafe because by the time we were finished eating, it felt like I was leaving a family member’s home! Wendy’s Noodle Cafe is not like your other Chinese restaurants. It’s nice and clean in there, which most Chinese food connoisseurs know is not the case and the service was good! More on that as you read… but first about the food:

1. Seafood Tofu Hot Pot – This was small sizzling clay pot full of goodies. Though a small complaint on the ratio of tofu being more than the seafood, the components were all tasty. Crispy nuggets of tofu, nice tasty bites of fish, bamboo, squid sizzling in a smooth brown sauce.
2. XO four season green beans – Totally greasy but oh so crunchy, spicy and addicting. Definitely a super tasty (aka unhealthy) way to eat your veggies.
3. Steamed Chicken – We asked for the chilled version, but it came out warm. No biggie, that was definitely not the problem. The chicken was completely bland like someone had forgotten to season it. Perhaps I am biased because my mom’s seasoned chicken is utterly bomb and delicious, but this dish was lukewarm and tasteless.
4. Red Bean Float – This was a dreamy concoction of vanilla icecream, grass jelly and red bean. It was sweet, creamy and wonderful. It was totally a sweet tooth’s dream.

On to the warm fuzzies! Now, most kids of immigrant parents will know this. The way family members express that they care is not by saying I love you or by praising you. It is by asking about if you’ve had your normal bowel movements, if you’re hungry, if you’ve eaten enough or in other cases of “love,” they tell you’ve put on too much weight, that you look too skinny or that you haven’t eaten enough. In the case of Wendy’s noodle cafe, a couple of the aunties (the servers) and one that we suspect is Aunt “Wendy” herself asked us several times how 1the food was and if we’ve eaten enough. Also, seeing that we had most of our chicken leftover, she made a point to kindly comment that we ate so little, but we didn’t have the heart to tell the Auntie Wendy that it was bad!

Conclusion: Auntie Wendy failed us on the chicken, but for the warm fuzzie service, other bomb dishes, and the MASSIVE potential to try all the other desserts, comforting rice plates and fusion dishes, we are definitely coming back.

Steamed Chicken Red Bean Float Hong Kong Milk Tea XO Four Season Bean

Sugoii Goyeman!!!

Sushi House Goyemon
5255 S Decatur Blvd, Ste118
Las Vegas, NV 89118
(702) 331-0333
www.sushihousegoyemon.com

WOW. This place really makes AYCE sushi unique. Not only are there the usual crazy rolls deep fried/sauce to the extreme/yadda yadda, BUT

There is…… PORK BELLY!! All you can eat PORK BELLY!!!! This pork belly was grilled with a sweet teriyaki like glaze and a side of mango salsa. Perfection. Fatty smokey perfection.

Other notable unique items:
1. Spicy tuna on crispy sushi rice – Chewy, slightly spicy and slightly sweet. I liked it more for the fun chewy texture but the man did not fancy it as much. Strange, he’s usually a fan of anything tuna.
2. Tofu cheesecake – fluffier and not as heavy as its American counterpart, but when it comes to an amazing asian style cheesecake, Raku still wins hands down for their fluffy cheesecake.

We did not try any of the specialty rolls at all, but everyone around us seemed to be enjoying them. We tried pretty much all the nigiri menu items (tuna, albacore, seared albacore, cajun albacore, white albacore, super white tuna, red snapper, mackeral, sweet shrimp, uni, salmon, ….). Most everything seemed pretty good, but there were some that were definitely more fresh than others and some we could have skipped (shrimp). That didn’t stop the two of us from gorging ourselves with enough fish to feed a small family.

Conclusion: The owners of Sushimon should be proud of their new shining star of AYCE.

Uni Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice Grilled Pork Belly Sweet Shrimp