Dining

The Pig at Panorama

Block 16 gets in on the ground floor of the high-rise dining scene
The Blind Pig’s bites include a meatball appetizer. | Photo by Anthony Mair

The Blind Pig’s bites include a meatball appetizer. | Photo by Anthony Mair

Al’s Menu Picks

  • Meatballs ($8)
  • Poutine ($6)
  • Porchetta sandwich ($13.50)
  • South of the Border pizza ($16)

The Panorama Towers were built at the beginning of the high-rise boom, when everyone was talking about the “Manhattanization of Las Vegas.” That phrase always rang a little hollow to me. Living in Manhattan means having everything you need within a short walk of your apartment. You can run to the corner bodega for a sandwich or some essentials, hit a restaurant on your block later that evening, and then head to your local bar for a nightcap. None of the high-rise condos built during the boom offered that lifestyle. And while Downtown has gradually developed over the past few years, the area around Panorama Towers is still pretty barren.

Enter the Blind Pig Provisions & Lounge, the latest venture from Block 16 Hospitality that recently opened at Panorama. In addition to its many popular Strip restaurants, Block 16 also operates the hip locals hangout the Barrymore in the Royal House. And the Blind Pig comes off as a hybrid of that spot and a neighborhood deli. It’s an attempt to deliver what residents of Panorama and the neighboring Martin might want under one roof.

Make your way to the South of the Border pizza. | Photo by Anthony Mair

Make your way to the South of the Border pizza. | Photo by Anthony Mair

The Blind Pig is on the ground floor of Panorama, facing out onto Dean Martin Drive, Interstate 215 and CityCenter. As you enter from the public parking area, it’s like walking into a neighborhood deli in New York City. There are a few small shelves packed with everything from wine to dish detergent to Hostess snack cakes. A refrigerator holds pints of ice cream and frozen pizza. And there’s a counter where you can get food made-to-order, or grab pre-made salads, sandwiches and desserts that can be eaten at a small counter or taken to go. At the far left, however, is the entrance to the lounge, which has a completely different vibe. It boasts a hipster aesthetic, with its etched-mirror bar, plush upholstered booths and suspended tin ceiling segments. Unfortunately, the transition between the two environs is clumsy and awkward.

The counter service area, which is open for breakfast and lunch, offers a larger, diverse menu that includes basics such as  omelets, salads, wings, burgers and hand-tossed pizzas. Over in the lounge, which is open late, you’ll find an abbreviated version of that menu, including full dinner entrées such as roasted chicken with cheese grits and seared salmon with Lyonnaise potatoes. The beer and cocktail selections are solid.

Given Block 16’s track record, I expected the food to be good. And so far it has been. My favorite dish is the meatball appetizer: a moist, lightly spiced blend of veal, pork and beef that are among the best meatballs in town. The porchetta sandwich—herb-marinated pork loin and belly that’s slow-cooked for six hours and topped with salsa rossa and garlic aioli—is also outstanding. And while the poutine isn’t as fancy as the one offered at Public House, it’s a pretty good version of the French-Canadian classic. Among the Neapolitan-style pizzas, I like the South of the Border, made with red sauce, mozzarella, Manchego, roast chicken, ranchero sauce, black beans, jalapeño, pico de gallo, avocado cream and cilantro.

While the food is good, there are a few kinks. On the night of my first visit, the electrical system was on the fritz, causing lights to flicker. The oval shape of the share-plates makes it impossible to rest a fork on them. Service can be interminably slow.  And the lounge menu can be a little unclear (for example, listing porchetta as an entrée alongside chicken and salmon, without mentioning it’s a sandwich).

Crispy pork nuggets.  | Photo by Anthony Mair

Crispy pork nuggets. | Photo by Anthony Mair

All of these issues can be chalked up to growing pains for a brand-new operation. Once they’re worked out, the Blind Pig should find a following far beyond Panorama residents.

The Blind Pig Provisions & LoungePanorama Towers

430-4444. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 6 a.m.–midnight Sun–Thu, 6 a.m.–2 a.m Fri and Sat.

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