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New off-Strip restaurant aims to fill late-night ‘void’

Updated July 10, 2024 - 7:00 am

Bramàre does not rhyme with “hair.” Or “car.” That’s the first thing to know. The new restaurant on Paradise Road, from the owners of Table 34 in Henderson, has three syllables: brah-MAR-ay. Bramàre means “to crave” in Italian, a great name for a restaurant, no?

Still, “we’re going to be correcting people’s pronunciation for the next 15 years,” said Evan Glusman, laughing. He and Constantin Alexander, his business partner in Batch Hospitality, founded Bramàre — unlike Table 34, which they purchased from its longtime owners.

“When you buy another person’s restaurant, another person’s ideas, there are challenges,” Alexander said. “Here, we can create what we want on our own. We can start from scratch, not take someone else’s ideas and make them work.”

Bramàre, which is set to open Friday at 3900 Paradise Road, Suite H, doesn’t celebrate any particular region of Italy. Instead, it offers “a cool modern take on Italian in the city,” Alexander said. “We wanted that city vibe.”

One recent morning, although much work remained to be done, that vibe was clearly coming together at Bramàre in a moody mix of exposed ductwork, dark charcoal tones, veneered brick, black suede banquettes, a lounge-y (but not club-ish) soundtrack, and a host of custom lighting, including fixtures resembling giant gyroscopes.

The ambiance, Glusman said, lends itself to late night, when Bramàre (open until about 3 a.m.) hopes to capture a significant chunk of business.

“As much of a 24-hour town as Vegas is, there are not a lot of options for an upscale dining experience late at night. It’s really bizarre. There is that 10 p.m. diner, that 11 p.m. diner — a lot of people are going out late and looking for a great meal. We feel we are going to fill a void.”

Not your father’s mushrooms

Executive chef Joe Valdez III, a longtime Italian specialist, is sending out a menu that began as small plates, then grew to encompass pizza, pastas, medium plates and large plates. There’s also an aggressive cocktail program (as Alexander put it) headed by lead mixologist Oscar Takahashi (more on that in moment).

At a menu preview, The Toast touches down first: rafts of toasted house focaccia swiped with ’nduja spicy sausage spread, then topped with caramelized onions, pecorino and caciocavallo (a soft slightly tangy cheese from southern Italy).

“It’s like a fancy grilled cheese,” Valdez said.

The chef harnesses hon-shimeji mushrooms, rich with umami, for funghi fritti robed in gluten-free tempura batter, with garlic-roasted Calabrian chili sauce and a flurry of pecorino.

“I just remember going out to Italian restaurants as a kid and having bad mushrooms,” the chef said, explaining his inspiration to do the opposite at Bramàre.

A pasta to crow about

Anacardi Pizza emerges from a gas pizza oven that reaches 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The buffalo mozzarella pie is strewn with Calabrese sausage, olives and anacardi (Italian for “cashews”). “The pizza is an ode to my father, who had me eating pepperoni, olives and sausage growing up,” Valdez said.

Creste di Gallo (“cockscomb” in Italian), an extruded pasta named for its resemblance to a rooster’s crest, is swaddled in mezcal pomodoro, heavy cream and butter, with a spatter of crisp Calabrese salami.

For a platter of porchetta, Valdez beds a roast from Sakura Pork, an artisan supplier, in white polenta, ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Slices of porchetta, with juicy fatty rims, take up with roasted parsnips and carrots.

Mountain herbs; Danish spirit

Cocktails strut their stuff through four categories: fresh and lively, Italian whimsical, off the wall and spirit forward.

A Crimson Peaks cocktail proceeds from a tequila base, joined by Bràulio Amaro (made using mountain herbs from northern Italy), Angostura bitters, honey and muddled blackberries. A garnish of Castelvetrano olives delivers a balancing buttery salinity.

“This is my personal favorite. It’s essentially an Italian version of a bramble,” said Takahashi, the Bramàre lead mixologist.

A Mediterranean Sunrise showcases ombré layers (like a liquid Rothko) of Campari and freshly frothed orange juice.

Danish aquavit, fittingly, structures a Nordic Wonderland. Takahashi mingles it with the aromatic bittersweet citrus of Italicus bergamot liqueur, Rock Melon Cantaloupe syrup, eucalyptus bitters, saline, lemon and muddled cucumber. This cocktail is what a Midori Sour dreams of becoming if it grew up, got a Ph.D. and traveled the world.

Cocktail salad; big and boozy

You Makin’ a Me Caprese calls on the wordplay, and on Moletto gin that uses tomatoes in the second distillation. The tomatoes and Carpano Antica vermouth bring a bright savoriness. This cocktail salad continues with balsamic agrodolce, basil, and house strawberry syrup fashioned from fresh fruit and Morena sugar.

“We use a centrifuge to remove the pectin,” Takahashi said. “It gives it this wonderful viscosity and mouthfeel. Kind of like a Pimm’s cup.”

Affogato, the Italian classic of hot espresso poured over vanilla gelato, inspired The Bragato. This boozy lollapalooza features espresso, spiced rum from the Philippines, Lucano Amaro, Banane du Brésil liqueur, and vanilla bean cream that’s “like a head of Guinness,” Takahashi said. “I really wanted to bring in all the bells and whistles.”

The Bragato can be served as single cocktails or in a batch that fills a cylindrical 128-ounce dispenser.

“It’s our answer to bottle service,” Alexander said.

Contact Johnathan L. Wright at jwright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @JLWTaste on Instagram.

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