Dining

Echo & Rig Makes the Cut

The new two-story butchery and steakhouse is the place to bone up on barn-to-table cuisine

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Echo was a wood nymph who tragically fell in love with Narcissus. And Rig, the Norse god of light often called the Father of Mankind, had a yen for grass-fed steaks. I’m kidding. But wood and light do come together to make up Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse, the new, poetically named restaurant and butcher shop in Tivoli Village.

Grass-fed steak and many other impeccably cut items such as brisket, marinated lamb shank and whole quail are what you’ll see here, all sitting attractively in a floor-to-ceiling butcher’s case in this two-level operation.

Butcher Trevor Morones—a young celebrity in his field who worked with Pat LaFrieda in New York—cuts meats to order with his team in an open space, equipped with a table topped with a marble slab: tender roasts, such as trussed top of the round ($6.25 a pound) are all fairly priced. If I lived in Summerlin, I’d shop here several times a week.

The first level houses a small market selling foods such as Himalayan pink salt and boutique salumi, and a busy bar that in the morning bottles fresh fruit and vegetable juices, such as Cleanse, a delicious watermelon juice blend. It’s all the brainchild of chef Sam Marvin, who founded the successful Italian restaurant Bottega Louie in downtown Los Angeles, and who is “thrilled to be part of the Vegas community.”

Marvin is an all-around good guy by my lights. The restaurant upstairs has a menu that brings to market great meat, including USDA prime grass-fed and even Wyoming wagyu, at fair prices. Butcher’s cut steaks, generally around 10 ounces, are all $22.50, about half of what you’d pay for them down the street. Appetizers start at only $5.10, and there is a huge list of entrées for $17.70. Why the weird prices? No one would tell me.

The restaurant is a large, airy space, with an open balcony that faces front and center in the mall. There’s a white marble floor and open kitchen, and floor-to-ceiling columns help divide the space. Tables are partially covered with squares of butcher paper. The one downside is the acoustics. Somebody pad these walls—it’s loud in here.

The menu is nearly as eclectic as the concept. Hard-to-resist small plates include burnt peas with onions, mushrooms and saffron, or butcher’s sausage with beans and escarole, not to mention grilled thick-cut bacon stacked in little squares with a complex barbecue sauce on the side.

A few dishes are puzzling. Something originally called crackling chicken (now merely fried chicken) is overwhelmed with clove, although the appetizer eventually grew on me. Brussels sprouts are pulled apart and laced with pistachio nuts, then aggressively doused with lemon juice. In all, though, there is a surfeit of choices, about 30 small plates alone.

Salads might be mâche (a.k.a. lamb’s lettuce) laced with roasted chicken and avocado—a great idea—or a creative steakhouse chop with everything but the kitchen sink. I loved the pasta called trenne, a holdover from Bottega Louie: hollow, triangular pasta tubes pan-fried and served with chunks of braised prime rib and trendy black kale.

Then there are the steaks, cooked over red oak and served with garlic chips and a stuffed mushroom. For an alternative to meat, the horseradish-crusted butterfish is one option, and Mary’s Chicken, an air-chilled product you can get at Whole Foods Market, is another, here done with white grits and herbs de Provence.

The only desserts at present are ice-cream sundaes served in glass bowls, such as a caramel turtle sundae or an apple-pie sundae with lots of cubed apples, whipped cream and a streusel crumble.

So far, the gods seem to be smiling on Echo & Rig.

Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse
At Tivoli Village, 440 S. Rampart Blvd., 489-3525. Open daily, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Dinner for two, $59-$95.

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