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July 01, 1998
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NANA B’S

MEDIOCRITY THY NAME IS ITALIAN. MORE PRECISELY ITS NAME IS NANA B’S. YES ON THE SITE OF THE GONE AND EASILY FORGOTTEN O’ROSIES, IS THE NEWEST CONTESTANT IN LAS VEGAS’ BAD ITALIAN FOOD SWEEPSTAKES. OUR NEWEST CONTENDER HAS WEIGHED IN WITH ONE OF THE WEAKEST ARSENALS YET. COOKIE-CUTTER EYE-TALIAN FOOD SERVED IN A PSUEDO-HOMEY ATMOSPHERE, STRAIGHT FROM YOUR LOCAL RENT-TO-OWN RESTAURANT WAREHOUSE OF INSTANT KITSCH.

YES THE OWNER’S OF NANA B’S HAVE STAKED THEIR SUCCESS ON A TRIED AND TRUE FORMULA. GIVE IT A HOMEY FAKE NAME, A TRITE MENU, UNEXCITING FOOD, AND LOTSA PASTA (GOOD, BAD OR INDIFFERENT--USUALLY THE LATTER) AND WATCH THE UNDEMANDING CUSTOMERS HAND YOU THEIR MONEY FOR THE THRILL OF EATING SAFELY. HERE, THE HOUSE SPECIALTY IS PASTA 3-WAYS, A CELEBRATION OF QUANTITY OVER QUALITY IF EVER THERE WAS ONE. PASTA-NO-WAY WOULD BE A BETTER MONIKER. AT FIRST GLANCE, THE CHICKEN AND VEAL SELECTIONS REVEAL NO SURPRISES, EITHER ON THE MENU OR PLATE, BUT THEN BITES ARE TAKEN AND ASTONISHMENT FOLLOWS: THE VEAL IS INDECIPHERABLE AND TOUGH AS SHOE LEATHER. THE CHICKEN: DRY AS DUST. FROM THERE IT’S ALL DOWNHILL. SERVICE REGRESSES SLOWLY FROM MILD ATTENTIVENESS TO COMPLETE ABSENCE FOR THE LAST HALF OF THE MEAL. EVERYTHING MUST BE BEGGED FOR, DESPITE LARGE NUMBERS OF UNIFORMED STAFF RUSHING OR WANDERING ABOUT--A SURE SIGN OF BAD MANAGEMENT.

IT’ S NOT OFTEN THAT I EAT WITH 5 OTHERS AT A NEW RESTAURANT, ORDER NINE DIFFERENT MENU ITEMS, AND COLLECTIVELY JUDGE ALL DISHES DISAPPOINTING TO AWFUL. WHAT IS IT ABOUT ITALIAN FOOD THAT PERSISTENTLY INSPIRES SUCH PATHETIC IMITATION? IS IT THE EASE OF NOODLE BOILING? THE NUMEROUS CHEESE AND TOMATO COMBINATIONS WHICH ARE SO EASY, SO INTERCHANGEABLE, AND SO PRONOUNCEABLE? OR PROBABLY ALL THREE, AND THE CONFIDENCE OF THE BAD COOKS AND THEIR CREDITORS, THAT NO MATTER HOW MUNDANE THEIR MARIANARA, OR TEPID THEIR TORTELLINI, THE WORLD WILL BEAT A PATH TO THEIR DOOR.

NANA B'S IS LOCATED AT 5795 W. TROPICANA AVE., LAS VEGAS, NV 220-6900.

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