Buona Notte Valentino, Knowing Wine, and Novocento, Ohjah Expand



The pizza wars just got hotter in southeast Las Vegas. Well, make that Henderson, if you want to get technical about it. Marc Sgrizzi has just opened a second Novecento, this one in the huge Sansome Park Place Mall (9460 S. Eastern Ave., 485-2900), where he is cooking his miracle pies in 90 seconds at 900 degrees and selling them for less than $10 a pop.

This is a soft-dough pizza with a blistery crust, enlivened with toppings such as pesto, homemade sausage, arugula and truffle oil. Also worth trying here are the terrific salads such as a chopped salad with Genoa salami and a goat-cheese beet salad. If you fancy dessert, there is gelato and cannoli stuffed to order. And if you don’t live nearby, there are three more Novecentos in the works around the Valley.

Another restaurant experiencing rapid growth is the teppan house called Ohjah Japanese Steakhouse, which has opened a third location at 2051 N. Rainbow Boulevard. (In fact, it is the fourth, if you count the Ohjah in Pahrump.)

What’s great about Ohjah is the price point. Think of this restaurant as a poor man’s Benihana of Tokyo. Two people can easily get the full slice and dice show here for $50, including appetizers, salad and a choice of meats, provided it isn’t Kobe beef. And the a la carte menu is loaded with surprises, anything from sushi pizza and rice bowls to the Korean inspired kim-chi stew.

It’s sad to note that we are losing Piero Selvaggio Valentino at the Venetian, where James Beard award-winning chef Luciano Pellegrini has been wowing us for 13-plus years. But many fans of the restaurant are relieved to hear that the owner will not be selling his original Santa Monica establishment, as he recently announced.

Valentino, on Pico Boulevard on L.A.’s west side, has long been one of the premier Italian restaurant in this country. And Selvaggio is a leading champion of top Italian wines. “I said I was selling it in a moment of frustration,” Selvaggio says. “The restaurant isn’t going to be on the market anytime soon.”

Finally, three local wine connoisseurs—Kenny Lee, of Lee’s Discount Liquors, master sommelier Ron Mumford, and local wine writer and entrepreneur Gil Lempert-Schwartz—have formed Knowing Wine, a company devoted to teaching concepts of fine wines and their appreciation.

The boys recently hosted their first wine dinner at Panevino, showcasing wines of Chateau Smith Lafitte from Bordeaux, a flight that included the ’07, ’08, ’09 and ’10 vintages. The world-famous wine critic Robert Parker gave the ’09 a 100-point rating, and a 98 to the ’10. For more information about these dinners or the new partnership, check out KnowingWine.com.

Hungry, yet?

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