Hearthstone is one of the busiest restaurants I’ve ever encountered. I don’t mean that to describe how it’s constantly packed by an impressively varied crowd of diners, though it is. What I mean is: There’s a lot going on. Almost too much.
It’s a huge new restaurant, sort of a corridor of assorted tables that widens at the back, opening into a couch-laden lounge and dramatic patio. Or is that the front? There’s an oyster station and a charcuterie station and two wood-burning ovens where an Italian cook who came to Summerlin with his family cranks out the same authentic flatbreads he’s been making for years. (Not pizzas. Flatbreads.)
All this stuff somehow fits together in a strangely familiar urban-rustic setting. There’s also beer, cocktails, beer cocktails and a monstrous wine list. It’s a lot to absorb before you even lay eyes on the dinner menu, which is not small. And you must order carefully at Hearthstone, because any place that takes this many shots is going to launch a few bricks. So let’s get to it.
The roasted jalapeño hummus with sesame-coated lavash ($6) is tasty but lacks the kick you might expect. Baked ricotta ($16), meanwhile, is toasty, cheesy bliss, made even more decadent by truffled honey that you should slather on everything you eat forever. Hearthstone’s beet salad ($14), heirloom golden and red varieties with pistachios, goat cheese and lemon-thyme dressing, pops more than other versions, while a veggie side of roasted squash ($7) with burrata is a bit too sweet, thanks to sprinklings of brown butter granola.
Those non-pizzas are beautifully charred to a smoky, bubbly-crust finish. Stick to the slightly spicy D.O.C. ($18) with just mozzarella, tomato, chile and basil; the wild mushroom and gouda combo ($16); or the re-interpreted carbonara ($16). Other standout shareables include roasted artichokes ($13) from those big ovens with lemon and black-garlic yogurt, and a bright, shiny tuna carpaccio ($14).
This is a social eating place, so you may be tempted to skip Hearthstone’s entrées, which are predictable but well-executed—chicken, salmon, short rib, pasta, burger. My favorites are the pasta—fresh, thick egg noodles with Hawaiian shrimp and a confident dose of Calabrian chile ($23)—and a salt-roasted branzino ($46) with an herbaceous vinaigrette. I don’t know who’s going to splurge for the mandatory pre-order “whole beast feast” of suckling pig ($250), but I’d love to be there for that party.
Hearthstone is the first off-Strip restaurant in Las Vegas from the Light Group, which is anchored in the dining department by the talented and methodical chef Brian Massie. With this week’s news that the Hakkasan Group is taking over, change could be coming to some of Light’s eight Vegas restaurants.
Hearthstone, however, is a lock in Summerlin, clearly designed to be the big, bright neighborhood restaurant everyone’s talking about.
Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar Red Rock Resort, 702-797-7344. Sunday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5-11 p.m.