At Red Rock Resort, a new name graces the doors of the shuttered Italian restaurant: Terra Rossa. There’s a reason if it sounds familiar.
“The nostalgia of Terra Rossa keeps coming up in conversations,” says executive chef Dan Rossi, as he prepares for the restaurant’s opening Monday.
When Red Rock opened in 2006, its Italian eatery was called Terra Rossa. Operated by the hotel, it was a sister restaurant to Green Valley Ranch Resort’s Terra Verde. (“Rossa” is Italian for red, while “verde” means green.) It served guests through 2014 before an outside operator took over the space and renamed it Salute. It was most recently home to celebrity chef Scott Conant’s Masso Osteria.
But even in Las Vegas, where memories are short and people have no qualms about imploding history, the original still holds a special place in the heart of many former customers.
Rossi began hearing from those customers as soon as the Terra Rossa went up on the restaurant’s exterior.
“I can’t tell you how many times we were in training, and the door opened, and it was a loyal patron who was like, ‘Oh, when do you guys open? I can’t wait.’ Because they were talking about some experience they had in the past with Terra Rossa.”
Nostalgia (a word Rossi uses frequently when discussing Terra Rossa) is clearly a big draw for the new restaurant. But exactly how much of a throwback will this new experience be?
“Italian food in this city has evolved,” Rossi acknowledges of the five years since Terra Rossa last served customers. “But we are definitely going to pay tribute to the nostalgia of what Terra Rossa was. So it is predominantly an Italian American restaurant with influences from both northern and southern Italy.”
The chef and his team consulted original menus when planning their new one. And they’ve brought back a few crowd pleasers. Rossi is quick to mention the lasagna as a throwback. So are the tri-color salad, ravioli, whole-wheat linguini primavera and the salsiccia (tortiglioni pasta with Italian sausage, peas, tomato and cream).
Those reboots, however, barely scratch the surface of what the new Terra Rossa will offer. The menu is extensive. The dozen pastas, divided into sections marked “fresca” (fresh) and “secca” (dried), include three familiar varieties of red sauce as well as northern Italian preparations such as cacio e pepe, and veal agnolotti finished in veal jus and topped with mushrooms sott’olio. Far more space, however, is dedicated to various meats, many prepared on the chef’s new charcoal-fired Josper oven. Veal is available eight different ways. The team also offers a selection of pizzas, a pair of risotto preparations and an assortment of sides such as sausage and peppers with Calabrian chilis and veal/pork meatballs dressed with a dollop of citrusy whipped lemon ricotta and spicy chili flakes.
To accompany the reboot, the dining room has gotten a bit of a touch-up. The overall layout is the same as Masso Osteria, from the wine bar in front, through the open kitchen, to the full bar straddling the patio.
“It’s a little refresh,” Rossi says of the renovations. “The chairs have been redone, the tabletops have been redone. We got new china and glass.”
In the end, however, he says the goal is to make everyone comfortable.
“We want you to feel like part of the family. That’s the feeling that we’re going for. Yes, we have this beautiful atmosphere. And we are going to walk this line between rustic and refined. But we really want it to be genuine and family-oriented in the sense of family dining.”