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May 17, 2001


La Scala

If you saw the movie Big Night, you may recall the scene where a patron complains about there being no seafood in the seafood risotto. Seeing no giant shrimp, clams or lobster, she gripes and then insists on some spaghetti on the side—just to ensure she’s eating real eye-Italian food. As the camera lingers on the nearly empty restaurant, you hear shouts and laughter from the jam-packed Chianti-candled pasta joint down the street, highlighting the eternal struggle between are and commerce, not to mention risotto versus red-sauce.

But as good as it is, I never thought its message would ever have any relevance to the Las Vegas food scene…but how wrong I was because right now we may have our very own version of the melodrama being played out on East Desert Inn Road. There, in a space that’s been death to several Italian restaurants, is La Scala—a place so good and so unappreciated that it may not be there for long.

Life imitates art daily La Scala, as two gracious and talented men struggle to win over a clientele in a resort town more concerned with familiar flash then stylish substance. Sound kinda familiar don’t it? Both Giancarto Zaretti and chef Roberto Perotti are battling long odds serving creamy carbonaras and authentic antipastos to customers who probably prefer anything but.

Entering the slightly shop-worn space I was prepared to be unimpressed—but again, how wrong I was. Instead of the usual over garlicked bread, too sweet red sauces, and cheap cheese (are you listening Fellini’s), I was transported to the Tuscan countryside by slices of paper-thin procuitto, beautifully composed salads, and a stracchino cheese pizza that is not for the faint of heart. Everyone I’ve taken there had raved about the pastas with good reason, and no one complains about the prices. Put it all together and you have my favorite off-strip restaurant right now. But if Art imitates life, and you’d like a taste of the real thing, I suggest going to La Scala very, very soon.

Copyright 2001: John A. Curtas

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