Since Las Vegas-based chef Gene Villiatora got the boot from Top Chef: New York for a red snapper gone awry, something’s just been missing for us. We can’t sleep. We can’t eat. We’re like Padma without Tom, a sea bass ceviche with no lime foam.
Until now. He’s not wearing a red and white striped sweater, but amid all the chef’s whites and kitchen lines, we’ve tracked down the Hawaiian-transplant at Martini’s in Summerlin. That the Top Chef vet has landed at a 24/7, chain-owned bar that has video poker along with Kobe burgers and oysters Rockefeller, might sound odd, but we’re not ones to look a gift horse in the mouth. Villiatora is cooking up three meals a day at Martini’s, with options like 24-hour cured Rosen lamb chops, brick oven pizzas and Riesling poached pear salad coming from a menu that tops off at $27 for the 16-ounce ribeye. See what we mean about that gift horse?
The menu earned Martini’s a Best Bar Food nod from the Review-Journal’s Best of Las Vegas 2009, and it’ll earn our first visit to the Villiatora’s new digs.
Check back Monday afternoon for an in-depth interview with Chef Villiatora.