I got a very early glimpse of what we’d all be eating at the new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at Downtown Summerlin when I dined at Postrio in June. That Puck restaurant, planted in the Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes, was the first stop on chef Mark Andelbradt’s second tour of Las Vegas. Now he’s running the show at the Summerlin spot, another skillful chef in Puck’s local army.
A comforting menu built around salads, pizzas and pastas is a cakewalk for a veteran like Andelbradt, who seems to be able to make any dish lighter and simpler without sacrificing flavor. There are few surprises but even fewer missteps. Crisp calamari ($12) and a pretty big-eye tuna tartare ($19) with avocado and spicy mayo—all to be slathered on crispy sesame wontons—are the go-to appetizers. There could be a little more crunchy quinoa on the DTS chopped salad ($13), but it has plenty of other crunch with radish and carrot drizzled in champagne vinaigrette.
Puck restaurants consistently offer some of the best pizzas around. At the new joint, you can go from a simple margherita to a roasted vegetable pie. I prefer the potato, garlic, leek, prosciutto combo ($13) or the nice touches of red onion and San Marzano tomatoes on the pepperoni pizza ($15). Pastas are equally stellar, especially whichever cut of noodle is draped with turkey Bolognese. Wild mushroom garganelli ($18) is layered with garlic and mascarpone, or get richer with the oxtail ragout over pappardelle ($19).
The well-rounded entrée offerings include a mesquite-grilled burger, garlic and herb rotisserie chicken ($19 half or $38 whole), steak frites and sea bass from the wood-fired oven ($32). Brunch is popular ’round these parts, so there’s cinnamon brioche monkey bread ($8), a goat cheese omelet with roasted tomatoes ($14) and a Belgian waffle with berry compote. See? Comforting.
Snooty critic-bloggers and Yelping hipster eaters probably won’t eat at Wolfgang Puck at Downtown Summerlin. They’ll say it’s boring and unnecessary, and some might complain the prices are a bit high for an off-Strip restaurant. Puck has seven restaurants here now, and the other six are on the Strip. His Las Vegas operation is without question one of the strongest and most consistent dining groups in the city. To have a rock-solid institution in the neighborhood—to be able to wander up to the bar at a mall and get a perfect pizza or steak frites—seems like a good thing to me. A great thing, actually.
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill Downtown Summerlin, 702-202-6300. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.