A friend of mine told me about this gaming bar that had a late night happy hour food special: $5 skirt steaks. I was skeptical because gaming bars usually have fine but usually overpriced food, but that seemed like a great deal, and 3 years later I’m still eating at Sporting Life once a week.
The menu here was designed by a former chef of Bouchon Bistro at the Venetian, a Thomas Keller restaurant. He left a year or two ago to work elsewhere but his menu lingers and it’s extremely well rounded and satisfying. There are not many entrees that disappoint.
Everyone has one of those foods that other people aren’t that into for whatever reason, but dollar for dollar the steak sandwich at Sporting Life is my favorite sandwich of all time. It’s the ultimate comfort food for me. They even started carrying sweet potato fries at my request, and the two go together so well it’s crazy. When it’s cold outside and I’m not feeling especially social, being able to sit down and enjoy this absolutely delicious plate of food is so bizarre when compared to the normal depressing experience at most gaming bars.
This isn’t a place that’s going to win any awards, but PSYCH, OH YES IT IS. It actually won Best New Restaurant AND Best Bar Food by the LV Weekly the year it opened. If you’re looking for classic American comfort food done well and for a good price, you’re home.
(PS, if you tell them Jimmy sent you, they’ll let you order some of my sweet potato fries. And tell Neal hi for me.)
Pizza is something that people hold sacred, partly because people who have visited New York can get snooty and act like they’ve had the “real stuff” after paying $2 for a couple slices and partly because anyone can throw canned tomato sauce on some dough and it still tastes alright. I’m from Illinois and we definitely do enjoy our deep dish (IT’S NOT A CASSEROLE IT’S A FAMILY TRADITION) but we’re all drunk children compared to the gods making real Neapolitan pizza like they make at Settebello.
Settebello is in The District, a little outdoor shopping center just across from Green Valley Ranch, the only casino directly in the Henderson area. It’s actually a beautiful little spot and definitely not what you’d expect to be right next to a casino. I have a friend who lives in an apartment nearby and I can say with utmost confidence I would eat at Settebello almost every day if I lived there.
They’re a very traditional Italian pizzeria, with a few basic antipasti and their woodfire pizza oven. The floor is sprinkled with flour and you can tell how many pizzas they must churn out a day.
Settebello offers a pretty extensive Italian microbrew menu and they actually try to pair their favorite beers with their favorite pizzas, so if you feel like trying a few brewskis feel free to ask your server for the beer list. A few times, they’ve even done a beer and pizza tasting with the brewery owners.
Italian food is all about simple ingredients used well and shown in their best light and so the best way to figure out if a place is good is to order the simple stuff. If they mess it up, it’s not a place I will give my business. One of my favorite dishes to test this out is a caprese salad, and I have to say that way more places botch it than I might want to admit. Settebello nails it, with perfect balance of proportions. You can get some of everything in each bite and they don’t drown it in oil or vinegar. You don’t end up with 10 uneaten rounds of tomatoes or a pile of cheese at the end. And they bring out extra balsamic just in case you need it. If I were skinny, this would be all I need to be happy.
We also decided we need to try the meatballs which aren’t always on the menu. Slightly dry in the middle but the sauce was simple and delicious. The flatbread was fine but seems like too much. I would be fine with just the meatballs but some people need to have something to dip into the sauce I guess.
Lastly, there’s nothing I can say about the pizza except it’s almost perfect. We ordered two, one being the Margherita because I feel like it’s the best way to judge if a pizza place is up to snuff and one my buddy Gabe ordered from the specials list. It featured a jalapeno pear marmalade which I chastised him for.
I can say hands down that these were probably the two best pizzas I have ever had. Perfect pizza crust is hard to do and I won’t claim it was flawless here. It didn’t stand up as well as it could’ve but the outside was nice and crispy, it was very light and didn’t overpower the toppings at all. The balance of the sauce and the cheese was phenomenal and I love how they left it on long enough for the little blisters to form on the edge. A real sign of a properly cooked pizza.
The real star, however, was the jalapeno pear marmalade. It completely blew me away. It sounds weird at first, but it added a subtle spicy sweetness to the whole pizza that balanced incredibly with the acidic tomato sauce and the great mozzarella they use. The red onions had some great texture. I usually always stick with the Margherita because it’s so simple and perfect but I think I have a new favorite.
Apps will run you less than $10 and the pizzas are perfect size for one person and will run you twelve bucks.
Settebello is THE pizza place to go to in town. I’ve heard a million people offer up just as many places that offer “the best” but none even really hold a candle to this. Come for the beer, the pizza, the meatballs, whatever you want. Just come here.
Locations: The District at Green Valley Ranch, 140 S Green Valley Pkwy, Henderson, NV 89012
When someone mentioned to me there was a really good restaurant in the strip mall that Lotus of Siam is in, my immediate thought was “Yes. It’s called Lotus of Siam.” I was hesitant to go eat what they told me is food from the UK, something that even people who live in the UK generally pretty much agree is not good. I was very happy to find that the Cornish Pasty Co is not only NOT from the UK (they are based in Phoenix with this being their first location outside of Arizona), but that it instantly jumped in my rotation for awesome cheap eats around town.
A pasty is a kind of pastry (I actually thought it was a typo and they forgot the R) that miners used to eat with a crimped edge so they could eat it and throw away the edge without having to clean their hands. I choose to use a knife and fork but if you want a truly authentic dining experience I suppose you can leave the car garage you work in to come have dinner without washing up first.
Jokes aside, they know their pasties. Check out their menu here. They have a whole section of vegetarian pasties and two sections of meat filled pasties, one traditional english style and another borrowing flavors.
Pasties aside, the place is a very chill pub. I organize a bimonthly food meetup (read more about it here), and this was the spot chosen for this week. It’s a good way to meet people and try good new places around town. One of the meetup crew this week (FOOD BLOG SHOUTOUT TO JOHN S) ordered a huge 34 oz cider which he said was likely the biggest one he’s ever had. They have a huge selection of imported beer, though they seemed to be out of more than a few of them. We also ordered some pretty good oven baked garlic chips, which would be a small portion if they weren’t also insanely inexpensive.
As for the pasties themselves, they were unfortunately also out of the salmon pasty that I’ve come to enjoy so I went for the Philly Cheesesteak. Also ordered was the Chicken Tikka. Each pasty comes with its own sauce ramekin which is actually extremely well done. Everything here tastes homemade, so if they are fooling me it is not easy to puzzle out. Each pasty is only $9 and you can actually buy parbaked ones for $6 to take home with you to finish baking at a later time, which is pretty great for a single dude who hates cooking for just one person. In terms of flavor, the pasties delivered. They tasted exactly as advertised with a nice pastry crust that was just thin enough to hold everything in and not make the dish overly heavy. They’re cut in half so it’s easy to share, and the Tikka Masala one had a nice kick but nothing that the grand majority of people can’t handle. If you were to ask me what a Philly Cheesesteak cooked in a pastry shell would taste like, this is a pretty apt demonstration of that description. For the price, it’s really hard to beat it.
I’m generally not a person who loves his sweets but this place has really amazing desserts. They have a bunch of choices but I absolutely love a well done bread pudding. This one is baked for a little bit to give it a crunchy crust and they serve it with homemade creme anglaise or vanilla ice cream. Spoiler: food coma.
4 people each getting a pasty, a few shared appetizers, several large booze containers, (DON’T FORGET THE OXFORD COMMA) and an incredible dessert came to $83 pretip. Hot damn.
All in all, this is a HUGE hidden gem. It’s open until midnight and the only obstacle to me not going here more is because it’s a little out of the way, being just northeast of the strip in a not so great strip mall. But for price (even double the price), it’s a great local spot I look forward to revisiting often.
JIMMY’S NOTE: Cornish Pasty Co has moved to a new address with later hours. The new place is beautiful and the food is still great!
Address: 10 E Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104