Italian Standards

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The new Italian restaurant is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Photo: Ryan Olbrysh

Moretti’s Eatery is a recently opened Italian restaurant on the outer fringe of Summerlin in the same shopping center that houses restaurants such as TC’s Rib Crib, Sababa and heavyweight Sen of Japan. Needless to say, it has plenty of local competition.

On a menu of mostly standard Italian fare, their thin-style pizza lunch special is a tasty deal ($5 for two one-topping slices)—our slice with meatballs was browned to perfection and had just enough cheese, though the defunct Ciao Ciao’s was probably better. More impressive is their cheese bread ($2.40), an Italian roll smothered with a generous helping of cheese—simple goodness.

Disappointingly, the pastas, like the marinara and Alfredo (most $8), are pretty pedestrian. We’d be willing to give the pesto, butter and white broth sauces a shot some other time as the pasta itself was satisfactory enough, but you may want to check out other offerings such as the rather good chicken Parmesan ($10) — lightly breaded and well cooked.

Because Italian cuisine doesn’t typically connote breakfast, Moretti’s morning sub sandwiches ($4) are a surprising find—egg, cheese and your choice of meat on a particularly light sub roll—and a good dish, though nothing earth-shattering. Unfortunately, the exemplary original recipe of the accompanying hash browns has already been modified to a frozen variant that doesn’t impress nearly as much.

Service is very friendly in this family-run restaurant, and while not necessarily breaking new ground, Moretti’s is a welcome addition to an already bustling culinary center. Though its food may not be Rao’s or Scarpetta, neither are its prices, which should garner it a following, even amongst such good company.

Moretti’s Eatery
8490 W. Desert Inn Road, 304-1900
Daily, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Feeling Crabby?

Maryland blue crabs, Tastykakes and Utz potato chips, all in one place? Crab Corner’s recent arrival on Las Vegas’ east side is a comfort to this University of Maryland grad who bleeds Terrapin red, but its appeal should reach well beyond former East-Coasters.

Start with the crab dip ($8), an off-menu special soon to be included in print. It’s chock-full of cream cheese and spices and served nicely browned on baguette slices. Pass on the just-okay Maryland crab soup ($4 cup, $6 bowl), and move on to the crabs themselves.

Maryland blue crabs are the star, though availability is seasonal; only females ($35 per dozen) were available during my visits. Those are sweet enough, just less meaty than their male counterparts. I suggest asking for extra spice—they’re light-handed with the J.O. (no Old Bay here!) to appeal to more general palates. The attentive staff is happy to oblige the request, and they’ll even coach you on how to eat them.

Boardwalk fries ($3) are a must—freshly cut, fried in peanut oil and ready to be smothered with malt vinegar and crab spice. I can practically smell Ocean City’s beach from here. Surprisingly, the very non-East Coast sweet potater-tots ($2) are also a big hit, candy-like and firm, unlike many sweet potato fries. A perfect complement to the sweet crab.

Make sure you save room for a Tastykake ($1.75), the Hostess of the East—well worth the calorie splurge.

If you’re from Maryland, you’ll want to rent a booth. If you’re a Duke fan, consider avoiding the Corner altogether—the whole décor screams UMD. Go Terps, and go blue crabs!

Crab Corner

Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, noon-10 p.m.
4161 S. Eastern Ave., 489-4646

The Fry Guy

Naked City’s Palmeri adds fries to the menu

Jim Begley

Wed, Feb 2, 2011 (7:17 p.m.)

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Naked City’s pizza fries, because nearly everything tastes better with mozzarella, pepperoni and red sauce on top.

Photo: Beverly Poppe

Baked potato fries: All the goodness of a loaded potato ... on top of French fries.

Photo: Beverly Poppe

Baked potato fries: All the goodness of a loaded potato … on top of French fries.

Chris Palmeri won’t win any medals from the American College of Cardiology. Cholesterol runs amok on his Naked City Pizza Shop menu—fabulously fine-tasting cholesterol in the guise of various pizzas, sandwiches and pastas. Not satisfied there, he’s upped his infamy with an addition that can only be described as maniacal genius: a French fry menu.

The new offerings consist of standard seasoned fries (wee for $2/frickin’ huge for $3.50) and a collection of otherworldly offerings—six specialty fries ($3.50/$5), including chili cheese, loaded potato and garlic. The best? The poutine, a traditional Canadian fry dish covered in gravy and cheese curds. While his version might anger our neighbors to the north—with its use of shredded mozzarella in place of cheese curds—one taste of his spot-on gravy, with just the right consistency and pepperiness, and all would surely be forgiven.

Almost as remarkable are Palmeri’s pizza fries, no surprise if you’ve had his pizza. Topped with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, they’re slathered in his homemade red sauce with just the right amount of sweetness. The suicide fries are flavorful though not for the faint of heart; the garlic habanero sauce Palmeri concocted during his days at the MGM Grand’s Diego packs quite a punch—it’s not quite ghost-pepper deadly, but you won’t soon forget it.

My lone suggestion: Some of the dishes would benefit, crunch-wise, from double frying. Once you’ve come this far, there’s no point trying to impress the heart doctors.

Naked City Pizza Shop

Inside Moon Doggies, 3240 S. Arville St., 243-6277.
Monday-Tuesday, Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Wednesday, Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.- 3 a.m.; Sunday, noon-10 p.m.