Address: Red Rock Resort, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd.
Hours: Open from 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Scott Conant makes his triumphant return to Las Vegas with Masso Osteria, his Italian restaurant now open at Red Rock Resort. The Chopped judge serves Italian comfort foods at the front of the resort with dishes including his must-eat pasta al pomodoro, spaghetti in a tomato and basil sauce with just the right amount of butter, for $21 and perhaps even more important, his caramel budino.
Conant, who launched his Las Vegas career with Scarpetta and D.O.C.G. Enoteca at the Cosmopolitan, earned accolades from Esquire magazine in 2008 when Scarpetta was named one of the best new restaurants in America, and again in 2009 when the James Beard Foundation nominated the restaurant for best new restaurant in America. But D.O.C.G. closed in 2017 and Conant stepped away from all of his Scarpetta restaurants, although he is still involved with Scarpetta by Scott Conant in Miami inside The Fontainebleau.
Now he’s slowly rebuilding his restaurant empire with restaurants in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and the Catskills.
Masso Osteria, named for the rocky desert landscape that surrounds Las Vegas, takes over the former Salute space, making cosmetic changes such as new lighting fixtures, textured walls, bright pops of art, and a new color palette of burgundies, blacks, tans, and browns.
Conant kept the wood-fired stove for pizzettes in soppressata, margherita and a favorite, the D.O.C.G. with fonduta, truffles and a poached egg. His creamy polenta with bacon, truffles, and mushrooms returns as well.
Diners can start with recco-style garlic bread, a focaccia made in house, or stromboli, all served with bomba, eggplant caponata, broccoli rabe, pesto and roasted garlic, and parmesan.
The tight menu features a wood-roasted chicken, veal chop, cedar-roasted sea bass, and a lamb shank with prices from $27 to $110 for the 32-ounce bistecca Fiorentina, meant for two to four people. Those who can’t decide can go with the $65 chef’s tasting served family style.
And lest patrons forget, Conant adds some sizzle with a dash of neon touting “Peace = Love + Pasta.”
But do order the caramel budino. It may be the best dessert in Las Vegas.