Chef Marc Sgrizzi—known to some of us as Marc Ritz of Parma on the Northside—has opened a pizzeria, Novecento 900, at 5705 Centennial Center Blvd. (685-4900), and it’s terrific. The pizzas cook at 900 degrees in an astonishing 90 seconds, and the crust comes up bubbly, blistered and chewy.
Sgrizzi’s on to something. He uses wood (apple and cherry, mostly) in a stone oven, which gives his pizzas an attractively complex flavor. I compare this place to Green Valley pizzeria Settebello, except that here, the pizzas start at only $7.50. The one I ate, the Calabrese, was slightly more expensive, blanketed with spicy Calabrian salami and a hot pepper mix. Wow! This pizza rivals any in the city. Can you say franchise? I’ll stop in again later this month when he opens his breakfast espresso bar featuring Italian pastries.
I also visited one of our newer British pubs, Firkin on Paradise (4503 Paradise Rd. 457-3756), a nice looking place with two expensively crafted pool tables. It’s located just across from the Hofbräuhaus, and perhaps a close proximity to UNLV will bring in the revelers. A firkin, for the record, is a large vessel that holds beer or ale, measuring about 40 liters, or a quarter barrel. As to the food I tried, meh! The pub dip, a roast beef sandwich, reminded me of Arby’s, and steak and mushroom pie, although topped with a nice crust, didn’t have much meat beneath. The fish and chips is serviceable, thanks to nicely battered Atlantic cod (thank heavens, not that tasteless Alaskan pollock used in krab with a “k”). But why the battered fries? The tartar sauce tasted homemade, at least.
Pete Wells, the dining critic at The New York Times, finally gave some love to the cuisine of Sri Lanka in his review of Staten Island’s Lakruwana. I’ve long been a fan of Lankan food, sort of a cross between Indian, Thai and Polynesian, not to mention some Dutch colonial influences. There is no Lankan restaurant in Las Vegas, but there are private chefs who will cook this food to order, mostly for private parties. So when I finally got to eat lampreis (various dishes tucked in a banana-leaf wrapper stuffed with fragrant Basmati rice), at just such a private affair, I was ecstatic. My lampreis had curried chicken, eggplant, and four other spicy dishes in the banana leaf wrapper. Contact me for details about how to order a Lankan feast.
Finally, Dinner in the Sky Las Vegas is slated to take flight near CityCenter sometime in May. The restaurant, which seats 22 startled guests, dangles 200 feet in the air from a crane. The requirements are that guests be at least 4 feet tall, more than 10 years of age and less than 300 pounds. I might just sneak in under the wire.