Heidi's Picks

Heidi's Picks is a weekly selection of restaurant suggestions from Review-Journal critic Heidi Knapp Rinella. Price symbols are based on the cost of an average entree: $ = entrees less than $10; $$ = entrees between $10 and $20; $$$ = entrees between $20 and $30; and $$$$ = entrees more than $30.


2985 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 735-4177

If you haven't eaten at the Peppermill you should, because it's nothing if not unique. A very cool throwback whose magnolia-and-neon decor looks like a Southern plantation exploded and rained down on the set of a futuristic '70s TV show, it also happens to serve good (and reliable) food, and in copious portions. We ran into a bit of a service snag but loved the Pastrami Burger with creamy potato salad, and the Walnut Creek Salad with pear-cilantro vinaigrette and rosemary focaccia. And don't miss the lounge, complete with fire-breathing fountain. (3/16/09)

Overall: B+ $$


5030 W. Spring Mountain Road; 367-3511

We have two words of advice if you go to Raku: agedashi tofu -- or fried tofu to you and us. Forget all of the bad-tofu propaganda you've heard; this stuff is homemade, and when it's fried it gets lightly crunchy on the outside but remains creamy within. In a bath of extra-smoky miso soup with dried seaweed, tiny mushroom caps and salmon roe, it's da bomb. Also noteworthy: asparagus crispy tempura, crispy fried shrimp, beef tataki and brown-sugar bubbly pudding. (7/3/09)

Overall: A $$


Tuscany, 255 E. Flamingo Road; 947-5910

The sauces were a little old-school -- a little heavy, and heavy on the oil -- but in the meatballs and marinara sauce, both acid tests for Italian restaurants, Tuscany Gardens acquitted itself quite nicely. We also liked the beef carpaccio and the Pollo Melanzana, with its layered chicken and eggplant and cheese, plus the fact that the decor was Italianate but not overly schmaltzy and that this casino restaurant so close to the Strip wasn't overly pricey. (9/4/09)

Overall: A- $$


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