Sam Fox has been a name to know in Las Vegas since his casually daring Culinary Dropout opened at the Hard Rock Hotel in 2012. But before that, the man behind Fox Restaurant Concepts was already being recognized throughout the United States as a frequent James Beard Award nominee for his casual food chains—neighborhood-friendly eateries like the Arrogant Butcher and Olive & Ivy.
Fox brought his second venture to Las Vegas in December, a large-yet-inviting space at Rampart Commons at Charleston and Rampart boulevards, also home to local favorite Honey Salt. Another Fox concept, Flower Child, is under construction in the same center, and North Italia is already experiencing a warm welcome in this restaurant-saturated zone. Make a reservation or expect a wait, especially if you’re heading to North Italia on a weekend.
While there are plenty of hits throughout the menu, there are a few misses, too. Skip the crispy calamari ($13)—more or less an arugula salad with pieces of squid fried onion ring-style—and opt for the lightly fried and delectable zucca chips ($7) and the chef’s board ($16) with a heaping mound of prosciutto di Parma, an assortment of cheeses, eggplant, roasted peppers, Castelvetrano olives and Marcona almonds.
For dinner, the bacon and egg pizza ($14), with grilled asparagus, roasted potato, garlic confit, rosemary and, of course, a fried egg, is perfect for sharing, while the roasted salmon ($24) with white bean ragu shouldn’t be missed.
Pastas are made fresh daily and include standouts like burrata tortelloni ($17) with Swiss chard, meaty roasted mushrooms and an exceptional porcini mushroom broth sweetened slightly by saba, balsamic vinegar’s lesser-known cousin. And while the Bolognese ($18) is a rich winter option, the Short Rib Radiatori ($20) with Parmesan cream, fresh horseradish, wilted arugula and crunchy herbed breadcrumbs is the definition of comfort food. You’ll need to visit a few times to get fully acquainted with the menu, but that shouldn’t be a problem—North Italia isn’t going anywhere.
NORTH ITALIA 1069 S. Rampart Blvd., 702-507-0927. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.