Our local restaurant scene is ready for the national spotlight. Las Vegas needs big food media and culinary tourists to explore what we’ve got beyond the Strip.
So when a celebrity chef like Scott Conant opens a restaurant like Masso Osteria in the suburbs, it’s a big deal. It’s a big flashing sign for out-of-towners. Locals should be excited about Masso for a different reason—it’s straight-up delicious.
Best-known for his judging gig on Chopped, Conant installed Scarpetta and D.O.C.G. at the Cosmopolitan when it opened in 2010, and Masso (“boulder”) at Red Rock Resort falls somewhere between those two Italian restaurant concepts with its casual cuisine and price points. His famous spaghetti is on the menu—referred to as pasta al pomodoro ($21)—but here it’s a gateway to other richly flavorful pasta dishes you should try, including potato gnocchi with clams and guanciale ($22), toothsome paccheri with a chunky Neapolitan meat ragu ($18) and squid ink rigatoni with a spicy seafood tomato sauce ($28).
Where are my manners? You’re not supposed to begin with your pasta course. Apologies. Check out Masso’s unique wood-fired pizzas served in small cast-iron pans, the perfect format for the decadent D.O.C.G. ($22) and its creamy fonduta with truffles and a poached egg. Yes, that was the signature pie at the recently closed Cosmo eatery, but this one’s dough is different. Spinach, meatball, provolone and pickled chilies ($18) is another great pizza combo, which goes perfectly with a glass of Nebbiolo ($14) and an order of lightly fried zucchini with Calabrian chili and mint ($13).
Two shareable entrées demand attention: tagliata de manzo ($48), a seemingly simple, seared and sliced steak dish is done pizzaiolo-style with tomatoes and olive oil while an interesting twist on veal parmigiana ($65) pairs a big, tender chop with burrata, greens, pickled onions and tomatoes. For the price of the latter dish, you can do a family-style tasting menu, yet another way a “Strip chef” adjusts for success in the neighborhood. This restaurant is a victory no matter the location.
Masso Osteria Red Rock Resort, 702-707-7097. Sunday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5-11 p.m.