Cucina at the Shops at Crystals is the quietest jewel in Wolfgang Puck’s Las Vegas restaurant crown. Those who have discovered its refined yet rustic cuisine and bright, airy atmosphere are quick to become repeat diners, whether they’re travelers taking a break from luxury shopping or locals taking advantage of the mall’s free valet parking.
There’s also Cucina’s something-for-everyone approach, bolstered by a stellar bar menu of snacks and cocktails, an extensive wine list and even a kid’s menu. But just because this Puck restaurant is covering all its bases doesn’t mean there aren’t surprises in store. One of the latest additions to a menu that continues to evolve under veteran executive chef Vincenzo Scarmiglia—who returned to the Las Vegas Strip last year—is a selection of entrées finished and served tableside with classic flair.
“We have cooking carts we bring out to the table and cook pasta to order and serve for the table, finished with shaved parmesan and shaved truffles,” says Dustin Lewandowski, culinary director for the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group in Las Vegas. “We’ll bring large format steaks to the table, grilled and brought out sizzling with herb butter, and we slice them and serve them tableside. It’s proven to be a fun way for our chefs and staff to interact with the guest and kind of bring the kitchen into the dining room and create a new experience for our guests to enjoy.”
The special dishes change regularly but there’s always something available from the carts and it’s usually designed to be shared. A hefty tomahawk steak has been a fast favorite but another popular item is the whole branzino from the wood-fired grill, stuffed with fresh herbs and lemon and served with tangy Sicilian salmoriglio sauce, grilled asparagus and Tuscan potatoes.
The tableside preparation and presentation adds some old-school Vegas vibes to this very modern restaurant, but the contrast is fitting. Cucina is all about serving authentic, even homey cuisine with sophisticated style.
“Everyone knows Wolfgang Puck restaurants in Las Vegas and Cucina is another one you should add to your list,” says Lewandowski.
CUCINA BY WOLFGANG PUCK The Shops at Crystals, 702-238-1000. Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.