Off the Strip’s Steady Pace Wins the Race

The restaurant's Linq location implements its big plans gradually, but well

Steak-wrapped asparagus with provolone and chicken Parmigiana  with spaghetti. | Photo by Jon Estrada

Steak-wrapped asparagus with provolone and chicken Parmigiana with spaghetti. | Photo by Jon Estrada

In December, I wrote about Tom Goldsbury, who was in the final stages of achieving his dream to bring Off the Strip, the popular Southern Highlands restaurant he built with his late brother, to the Linq promenade (“Off the Strip Is on Its Way,” Dec. 11). Goldsbury succeeded in that quest in late December, when the Linq location opened its doors. I’ve visited a few times since, and while it’s still a work in progress—and with many of the plans for the space still unrealized—the first phase is a success in my eyes.

The new Off the Strip is an ambitious project, taking up 11,000 square feet over two stories, with entrances to both the Linq promenade and the Linq hotel itself. It has two kitchens, which will soon offer three menus: Downstairs features the Italian and American comfort food for which the original restaurant is known, while upstairs will be a chophouse. That chophouse menu hasn’t materialized yet, and on many nights the upstairs remains closed to customers. Also still missing is a full Fresh & Fit menu, meant to cater to health-conscious customers and particularly the after-club crowd. (The new location is a 24-hour operation, despite the sign that jokingly boasts it’s open 23/7.) The owner and his staff assure me they still intend to roll out both the chophouse and healthful menus, but want to do it gradually as they learn their new customer base better.

Pork Chop

Pork Chop

I’m not terribly concerned about the delays, since the current menu is still large and diverse enough to keep me coming back to sample new items, at least for the foreseeable future. Moreover, there are shades of that Fresh & Fit concept in such offerings as grilled mahi, salmon or chicken breast, while a trio of steaks and chops get us closer to that chophouse. The rest of the menu is dominated by bar food, salads, sandwiches and Italian classics.

Most of the Italian dishes I’ve tried here have been extremely traditional, but exquisitely rendered. They include fried calamari with fried chili peppers and spicy tomato sauce, a large portion of chicken Parmesan, and a simple order of spaghetti and meatballs in marinara sauce. (The lobster ravioli are a bit more delicate and complex, but just as good.) For something more interesting, try the thin slices of New York strip steak rolled around asparagus and provolone cheese, and served in a marsala mushroom sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, or a well-seasoned lamb gyro “cheesesteak.”

Lobster ravioli

Lobster ravioli

From the chophouse section, you can’t go wrong with a 10-ounce dry-aged pork chop with Bernaise butter. And for a healthy dish, the mahi with red quinoa, black beans and balsamic sauce packs a lot of flavor. If I’ve had one minor complaint it’s with the prawns wrapped in bacon, which overpowered the delicate flavor of the sweet chili-glazed shrimp.

In addition to its fantastic food, Off the Strip also succeeds in keeping prices reasonable—at least by Strip standards. All of the appetizers, sandwiches, soups and salads come in at $15 or less. Pastas and entrées generally range from $11 to $24, with only the chophouse items priced higher. (Those max out at $40 for an eight-ounce filet.)

Service here has been great, but I admittedly know several members of the staff, as well as the owner. Nonetheless, the original Off the Strip built a reputation on its friendly, neighborhood vibe, and I have no reason to think the Linq location will be any different.

Al’s Menu Picks

  • Fried calamari ($13)
  • lamb gyro cheesesteak ($13), spaghetti marinara
  • with meatball ($21)
  • chicken Parmigiana ($21)

Off the Strip

In the Linq, 702-331-6800.Open for breakfast lunch and dinner daily, 24 hours. Dinner for two, $30–$100.


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