Giada’s Italian Cucina offers something special

The kitchen staff at Giada’s Italian Cucina in Henderson are so skilled, they can even make escarole taste good.

Oh, save your e-mails. I’m sure your sainted mother made excellent escarole — just as I’m equally sure the escarole everyone else’s mother made was lifeless and soggy and cooked to the point where it was bitter. Am I right?

For that reason I almost didn’t order the Pappardelle Rustico ($13.95) at Giada’s, but see, I’m a sucker for pappardelle. I love those broad, velvety ribbons of pasta that so softly slide around the plate and across the palate, acting as vehicles for light sauces and textural contrast for chunky items, both of which characterized this dish. Fresh, slightly crunchy chunks of escarole — so right-from-the-garden good that they seemed to have a very, very light hint of anise — were tossed, along with chunks of tomato and slices of finely grained Italian sausage, in a mixture of garlic and olive oil. The dish was "rustico" indeed, a reflection of the simple goodness of country-style cooking, in Italy as elsewhere.

Which is not to take away from the far more citified chicken Gorgonzola ($16.95), which was a special that evening. A large breast of chicken had been rolled around a filling that seemed to consist almost solely of Gorgonzola cheese and wrapped in bacon. It might sound like sodium overload but it wasn’t, since the chicken was equal to the task of neutralizing the saltiness of the other two and their assertiveness played well off of the bland meat. And the crunchy bacon was a great textural contrast.

Dinners at Giada’s include the house salad — there’s something you don’t see so much anymore — and this one was quite nice, with mixed greens and tomatoes and olives and pepperoncini for zip. I’m not big on oil-and-vinegar dressings and that’s what this was, but it was well balanced and complemented the salad so well that I was almost a believer.

There was plenty of zip, as well, in our starter of Italian Nachos ($7.95), which had their own complement of pepperoncini, as well as more of that finely grained sausage (cut julienne this time), plus pepperoni and mozzarella and a spirited marinara. We’d had Italian takes on nachos before, and they usually involved a base of fried pasta squares or something. In a border-bending touch this one was piled atop corn tortilla chips, which seemed a little incongruous at first although we eventually decided we liked it, especially with the kicky peppers.

And we liked the olive-oil-and-red-pepper spread that was served with our mini-loaf of bread, piping hot out of the pizza oven.

And the service was team-style, even though this is a small, family-owned place. A guy we took to be the owner did much of the serving. He seemed a little melancholy on the evening of our visit, as he wandered through the quiet place.

Giada’s simply has yet to be discovered. With quality like this, he should be melancholy no more.

Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at 383-0474 or e-mail her at hrinella@reviewjournal.com.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like