It’s time to go back to eat at Jerry’s Nugget. If you didn’t know Jerry’s Famous Coffee Shop is a Vegas diner institution—beloved for its stellar onion rings, prime rib, cheesecake and eclairs—you’ve got some catching up to do. And there’s a new reason to dine at the 50-year-old North Las Vegas casino, one so unexpectedly delicious.
Doug Taylor, former executive pastry chef for Mario Batali’s Las Vegas operations, recently snagged a similar post at Jerry’s Nugget. While he’s been upgrading Jerry’s in-house bakery, he has also pitched in at the new Contento Pizzeria & Bar, where Sicilian-born executive chef Ismaele Romano—whose Pizzeria Sapori in Newport Beach was named Orange County’s best pizza by the Orange County Register—is firing beautifully bubbly pies with excellent crust and interesting toppings.
Contento’s eponymous offering ($12) is a hearty, satisfying treasure with white bean puree, mozzarella, mascarpone, ricotta, sausage and rapini. The Margherita ($9) is a simple classic, while the Angelo ($13) pairs three cheeses with fried eggplant and nduja, a sort of spreadable salami. No one dreamed of eating this food at this casino.
Contento has garnered attention for its happy-hour deals (Monday-Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. until closing time), including $6 cocktails and glasses of wine and snacks and pizzas ranging from $6 to $10. But the food is so tasty, the value is high at any hour. There’s no restaurant anywhere near here when you can get branzino with salsa verde and tomato couscous ($26) or orecchiette with sausage, cannellini bean puree and Calabrian chiles ($14). Check it out before it becomes an all-out hit.
Contento Pizzeria & Bar Jerry’s Nugget, 702-399-3000; Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.