FLOUR & BARLEY AT THE LINQ
With Haute Doggery already open at the Linq, Block 16 Hospitality marks its second restaurant project in the new entertainment complex with Flour & Barley, another foray into another comfort food: pizza. Half the menu addresses Italian favorites, but when the logo trumpets brick-oven pizza, that’s exactly what we’re checking out.
A fun ballpark motif defines the vibe, and the menu’s selection of specialty pizzas is divided between red San Marzano tomato and white garlic sauce options. Specialty pies include the Gianna ($17.50), which at first glance reminded me of one of my all-time favorite pizzas at Settebello. Flour & Barley’s version foregoes pancetta but combines fennel sausage, mushrooms, pine nuts and mozzarella; it’s not quite as memorable.
Better is the white-sauced Carbonara ($19), with pancetta, mozzarella, cracked black pepper and roasted cauliflower, all topped with an over-easy egg. This gooey pie has rich flavors that obscure the cauliflower, but that’s not really a concern. The crust, however, is—neither pie had much of the characteristic brick-oven char I would’ve liked. One can only hope consistency sets in once the restaurant has had more time working the ovens.
Whole pies tend to be a bit on the expensive side, even for the Strip, but there’s a takeout window offering slices between $4 and $6, depending on toppings. (Options on a recent visit included pepperoni and spinach-prosciutto.) The takeout slices offer more of a New York street pizza feel, apropos for wandering the faux streets of the Linq. –Jim Begley
Flour & Barley Linq, 430-4430. Daily, 11 a.m.-midnight.
800 DEGREES AT MONTE CARLO
If 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria had landed on the Strip a few years ago, it might have been revolutionary. Las Vegas has been eating incredible, authentic Neapolitan pizza since Settebello arrived (in Green Valley) in 2005, and we’ve got our fair share of walk-the-line, build-your-own, custom pizza shops, too. Still, 800 Degrees is fun, easy and consistently delicious, and the new restaurant at Monte Carlo is a tasty part of a cool new culinary campus on the Strip.
800 Degrees comes from LA, the brainchild of chef Anthony Carron. It’s a sped-up version of Settebello. The objective: Your wood-fired, thin-crust pizza could be coming at you as soon as you reach the register to pay. The crust is just right, slightly charred and chewy. Choose from toppings elementary or advanced, from pepperoni to prosciutto di parma, or work your way through a list of specialty pies. The prices are as impressive as the food; classic starter pizzas range from $6 to $8, most toppings are $1 to $3 extra, and specialties top out around $13. Yes, you’re still eating on the Strip.
My two early favorites are both lacking standard pizza necessities. I’m equally in love with the rich Vongole ($12.85), with clams, pecorino cheese, lots of garlic and no tomato sauce, and the cheeseless Napoletana ($10.35), with rock shrimp, anchovies, garlic, oregano and capers. These pizzas also prove the 800 crust is a lovely foundation for so many different flavors.
For pure spicy satisfaction, devour the Piccante ($7.65), a smear of crushed Calabrian chilies and garlic plus fiery soppressata, tomato and mozzarella. Big winner right there. –Brock Radke
800 Degrees Monte Carlo, 730-6800. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.