Steak Salad at Grape Street Café

A favorite at this Napa-style bistro, the salad features feta cheese, tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, cherry peppers and pepperoncinis mixed with greens in a lemon oregano dressing. Best of all, it is topped with flank steak, the secret of which lies in chef John McKibben’s marinade. $13, 7501 W. Lake Mead Blvd., 228-9463.

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Giovanni Mauro

Giovanni Mauro

By Max Jacobson

For those of us who maintain a connection between fine dining and music, I offer, as an example, Giovanni Mauro. He’s the son of Italian parents who run the locals’ favorite Nora’s Cuisine, 6020 W. Flamingo Road, and he’s one of the most passionate Italian chefs in the city. Gio, as everyone calls him, studied opera at Long Beach State University and later in Milan with famed tenor Carlo Bergonzi. He’s fluent in both Italian and Italian cooking. Today, he expends most of his energy at Nora’s Wine Bar & Osteria in Boca Park.