Updated July 1, 2020 - 8:16 am
“Surprise! I’m back,” Marc Vetri says, laughing, on the patio of Terra Rossa at Red Rock Resort, where he’ll launch a pop-up called Osteria Fiorella on July 10.
It’s really not surprising that Station Casinos has found a new home for the award-winning chef, as his eponymous Palms restaurant remains shuttered with the rest of that property. What may surprise fans of Vetri Cucina’s elevated rustic cuisine, however, is the menu at the new place. Vetri describes it as “a little bit more red sauce-y” than his local fans might expect.
“I was raised on Sunday gravy dinners, and the baccala, and the stuffed artichokes, and the meatballs, and the lasagna, and the fried squid,” the chef says of the Italian American cuisine that is often dismissed as inauthentic or in some way inferior to classic Italian dishes. “I was raised on that stuff, and I’ve always loved it.”
So in addition to Neapolitan pizzas, wood-grilled meats and fish, and some refined pasta offerings, the menu will feature plenty of throwbacks. Think Caesar salad, veal chop Milanese parmesan, rigatoni with a sausage ragu and ricotta pie. The signature dish, however, will be Sal’s Meatballs with homemade ricotta, named after the chef’s father and available as an add-on for any dish.
“We’re going to have an ‘Add Meatball’ button. Because you know what, if I was here, I would want to add meatballs to my spaghetti. Sorry. You can say that that’s red sauce, and it’s not Italy, and it’s not cool. But who doesn’t want to add meatballs to spaghetti?”
In addition to allowing Vetri to show off another side of his cooking, the chef is excited that he’s able to staff the pop-up with his team from the Palms.
“This is an awesome opportunity to get the Vetri staff working again. And that’s why I just kind of hopped on it.”
The chef is confident that Vetri Cucina will reopen at the Palms, dismissing rumors to the contrary.
“Rumors are ridiculous,” he insists, pointing to assurances from Station principal Frank Fertitta that the Palms will reopen. When it does, he expects to be there.
Osteria Fiorella will begin taking reservations Wednesday.