HEIDI’S PICKS

Heidi’s Picks is a weekly selection of restaurant suggestions from Review-Journal critic Heidi Knapp Rinella. Price symbols are based on the cost of an average entree: $ = entrees less than $10; $$ = entrees between $10 and $20; $$$ = entrees between $20 and $30; and $$$$ = entrees more than $30.

BRIO TUSCAN GRILLE

Town Square, 6653 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 914-9145

Brio looks a lot more like a Tuscan manse than an outlet of a restaurant chain based in Columbus, Ohio, but that’s just part of its appeal. It manages to deliver the familiar with a slightly innovative edge, as in the garganelli carbonara with not only the customary bacon and Parmesan and also grilled chicken and fresh spinach leaves; bruschetta Caprese that blends the best of both dishes; a somewhat-too-subtle artichoke-and-herb-crusted pork chop; a trio of creme brulees; and a lovely soup of the day, creme of morel. (9/5/08)

Overall: A- $$

FREDIANI’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT

2895 N. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson; 433-1494

Despite the noise from some budding guest musicians (especially when the house musicians were doing so well …) that marred our dinner at Frediani’s, we basically liked the place, mainly because the food was so good. Fried artichokes were crispy-coated bottoms with a nice chunky tomato sauce, bruschetta was good and garlicky and we also liked the sausage penne and a special of Dijon-crusted lamb. (1/30/09)

Overall: B $$

LAWRY’S THE PRIME RIB

4043 Howard Hughes Parkway; 893-2223

Lawry’s the Prime Rib has a limited menu — mostly prime rib cut at the table by a guy pushing a domed silver cart, with a couple of seafood selections and a rib-eye steak tossed in — but maybe it’s just that stick-to-what-you-know philosophy that has made the company so consistently reliable for 70 years. We love the prime rib (both the California cut and the slightly larger Lawry cut) and also the crisp-crusted sourdough bread, Spinning Bowl Salad, mashed potatoes, creamed corn and lovely Yorkshire pudding. (11/20/08)

Overall: A $$$

LONGHORN BBQ

4343 N. Rancho Drive; 836-9170

The proliferation of good barbecue in a place like Las Vegas — which doesn’t have the ancient crusty pits of the Texas ‘cue landmarks — is proof that if you know what you’re doing you can get well-smoked meats out of a gas- or electric-powered smoker, and Longhorn BBQ underscores that. We loved the baby-back ribs, pulled pork and chicken, and side dishes of cole slaw, baked beans and potato salad. Oh, and don’t miss the oh-so-cheesy and oh-so-garlicky cheesy garlic biscuits. (2/6/09)

Overall: A- $$

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