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Italian food lovers rejoice as more Las Vegas restaurants opening

New Italian restaurants are popping up in the valley, and so far, the outlook is promising.

Red Rock Resort’s Terra Rossa may have a familiar ring, because a restaurant of that name opened with the resort in 2006 and soon became a neighborhood must-go. Other Italian restaurants followed in the space, the last being celebrity chef Scott Conant’s Masso Osteria, which had a devoted following but closed after just over a year.

The new Terra Rossa evokes feelings of the original with a menu that’s heavy on Italian favorites. But it also reflects the increased sophistication of local Italian fare during the intervening 13 years, with such dishes as spaghetti cacio e pepe and whole-wheat linguine primavera, on a menu that differentiates between fresh and dried pastas. Meats are big here, too — literally, in the 28-ounce Porterhouse with rosemary and garlic. Prices range from $14 to $22 for pastas, $19 to $75 for other entrees.

MGM Grand’s Ambra — Italian for amber — replaces Fiamma, which opened in 2003 with celebrity chef Michael White, who departed a few years ago. During an opening tasting Monday evening, copious praise was heaped on its caprese salad, a familiar dish on Las Vegas menus that’s often just OK. Ambra’s version shot it into the stratosphere with silken buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes that tasted like they were straight out of Grandma’s garden. Adjoining the new restaurant is Privata, a speakeasy-style jewel box with an exceptionally personable bartender.

A chef returns

Speaking of Italian restaurants: Theo Schoenegger, who opened Sinatra with Encore in 2008 and led it until 2017, has returned after a two-year Florida sojourn.

Guest chef to do brunch

Chef Sam “Sammy D” DeMarco, who has helmed the kitchens in a number of New York restaurants and had First Food & Bar at Palazzo from 2008-13, will prepare a pop-up brunch beginning at noon Sunday at 7th & Carson, 616 E. Carson Ave. It’s $55, which includes gratuity but not tax. 7th.eventbrite.com

Power Lunch time

Mordeo Wine Bar, 5420 W. Spring Mountain Road, now serves its Power Lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays. mordeolv.com

New Asian spot on way

The first stand-alone Graffiti Bao is scheduled to debut Sept. 18 at 7355 S. Buffalo Drive. From former Tao Group chef Marc Marrone, it’s inspired by Asian night markets and will serve dishes such as truffle shrimp and lobster bao, Vietnamese crab fried rice and bone marrow chow fun.

Openings

The fifth valley location of Bok Bok Chicken has opened at Santa Fe Station, with one at Town Square to follow next month. The new location serves wings and fries in addition to its menu of Mediterranean sandwiches, plates, salad and soups.

Another Distill has opened, at 7150 S. Durango Drive.

Renovation at Ramsay Steak

Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas is closed for renovations, with reopening set for Saturday. The new look will be “lighter, a touch more feminine,” Ramsay told the Review-Journal, and that’ll be reflected in the menu, with more shellfish and crudo and vegetarian dishes, he said.

Sightings

Former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch and his sister, Marreesha, celebrating her birthday at Best Friend and Moneyline Sports Bar & Book at Park MGM. Celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, with his wife and Charlie Palmer Steak chef Lalo Saavedra, at the Sand Dollar Lounge, 3355 Spring Mountain Road. Vegas Golden Knights players Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault, Shea Theodore, Brayden McNabb, Cody Eakin and Reilly Smith and their significant others at Andiamo Italian Steakhouse at the D Las Vegas. “Bachelor” alum Corinne Olympios at Mama Rabbit at Park MGM.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates Palazzo.

Have an item for Kitchen Confidante? Email hrinella @reviewjournal.com or amancini @reviewjournal.com.

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