MANGIA, MANGIA!

Sizing up two new osterias in Las Vegas

Two of the most exciting casino restaurants to open in 2018 are Red Rock’s Masso Osteria and The Mirage’s Osteria Costa. So how do the two osterias (traditionally, Italian restaurants that specialize in simple food) compare?

WHAT’S IT MEAN?
Masso is Italian for boulder. The name is meant to reflect the rocky desert that surrounds  Las Vegas. Costa is Italian for coast. The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the cuisine of Italy’s Amalfi coast.

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

You know Scott Conant from his frequent TV appearances, including his recurring role as a judge on “Chopped.” He was formerly the chef behind Scarpetta and D.O.C.G. at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.
Michael LaPlaca worked locally at Fiamma, Bouchon, Sinatra, Alex, Bradley Ogden and Due Forni before capturing the attention of local foodies with his elevated Italian cuisine at the now-shuttered Portofino in The Mirage.

YOU’LL NEVER FIND…

Raw red onions: Just Google Conant’s name and raw red onions for an explanation.
Blended oils: LaPlaca’s philosophy is “Never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink or an oil you wouldn’t eat.” So it’s EVOO only.

BEGIN WITH BREAD
Anyplace else, Masso’s stromboli would be considered a light meal, rather than a bread.
Costa’s focaccia di recco is thinner, crispier and more integrated than Masso’s version, and the cheese filling is far more complex.

THE PIZZA OVEN
Conant fuels his wood oven with peach wood and keeps it between 650 and 800 degrees, which cooks pizza in two to three minutes.
LaPlaca uses a gas oven, but sometimes adds oak wood for steam. He keeps it between 900 and 1100 degrees, which can cook a pizza in about 90 seconds.

FOR THE FULL EXPERIENCE
Order the tasting menu, which includes six courses of two items each.  Sit at the pizza bar and observe how a true Neapolitan pizza is made.

GET A SOUVENIR
If Conant’s not in the house to snap a selfie with, you can always grab a box of matches.
Send yourself the prepaid postcard with a photo of the Amalfi coast that’s presented with your check.