Giacomo Zarcone runs an authentic Italian bistro (8975 S. Eastern Ave.) called La Focaccia, where he has made a name for himself with fine flatbreads, pizza and hot panini, all done in a wood-fired oven.
Now he has enlarged his restaurant to include a deli, with the dining room off to one side. You can buy excellent prepared salads, imported cheeses and various imported Italian products there.
That’s him tossing pastas on the stove, making sandwiches or putting flatbreads in the oven, behind a glass partition. The panini are terrific. Try the Italian combo: salami, mortadella, capicolé, provolone cheese, tomato and a splash of oil and vinegar on hot homemade focaccia.
Zarcone also does a rich version of lasagna in the oven, using béchamel sauce, Emilia-Romagna style. “In these challenging times,” Zarcone says, “I felt I had to come up with something distinguishing.” He has certainly done so.
If you want to impress your date with a trendy cocktail, two come to mind. One is the lychee martini, straight up, and the other is a festive new drink perfect for hot weather, the South Beach Lemonade. The latter recipe calls for Raspberry and Orange Smirnoff, fresh lemonade and a Blue Curacao garnish. Ask for one in the busy bar in Red Square at Mandalay Bay.
There are Asian buffets all over town, but many of them serve warmed-over food laced with MSG. I’m not much for buffets, but for Krazy Buffet (8095 W. Sahara Ave.) I have to make an exception. Its $6.99 lunch buffet (less 15 percent for seniors) is the best value I’ve seen here in Buffet Central.
Excellent pot stickers and several types of dim sum are complemented by made-to-order sushi and first-rate hot-and-sour or wonton soup. The seafood selection, considering the price, is incredible. They always do a salmon dish, usually a white-fleshed fish, clams in the shell, crayfish and both battered and sautéed shrimps.
Most of the popular Chinese stir-fry dishes are included in the price—kung pao chicken, sweet-and-sour pork, and two dozen others. There is even an extensive dessert buffet. The dinner price jumps to $10.99 because there are crab legs.
“How do you make a profit?” I asked the manager.
“We do 700 covers on a good weekday, and over 1,000 on weekends,” he replied.
Call me krazy, but I’m still skeptical.