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Dec 15, 2013 09:46 PM

Egg &I, BabyStacks, Settebello, Bachi Burger, Trattoria Nakamura-Ya and more - 12/7/13 and 12/8/13 Dining report by uhockey

Some good, some bad, all off strip.

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  1. The Egg & I -

    With a house full of boxes waiting to be unpacked and a long run already in the morning’s rearview it was with carbohydrates on my mind that we descended on venerable The Egg & I just after 6:30am and finding only a few regulars inhabiting the space as a half dozen holiday-clad servers stood in waiting I can only assume that both food and services rendered were as good as the restaurant gets…and both were pretty darn good. A whimsical concept with a plethora of breakfast staples “eggceptionally” categorized plus a number of seasonal specials it was without hesitation that eyes turned to things autumnal and with a full pot of coffee in hand each dish that followed was exactly as expected – fresh, comfortable, and delicious; the sort of thing you ‘could’ make at home but never do…though if you make banana bread this light and moist or carrot cake pudding moldable to crispy French Toast I’ll gladly come over, bring the coffee, and do dishes.

    1. La Belle Terre Bread French Bakery Café -

      When I heard rumor that an independent French Cafe was turning out superlative Kouign Amann just down the street from my new house I knew a visit was imminent – IE the day we started unpacking – and not only are the stories of stellar French pastry true…they even come from a condescending French baker with uncompromising style and skill. Admittedly a bit turned off by the “premade” croque alongside the fact that almond croissants would not be ready until the ambiguous “later” it was a relatively large sampling of the restaurant’s wares that we selected on Saturday morning and aside from a slightly doughy blueberry cream twist the results were textbook, inclusive of two of my very favorite items. Beginning first with a quartet including a warm butter croissant, flaky and natural almond tart entirely devoid of frangipane, and a Kouign Amann still warm liquid at the core it was actually the dense Baba Au Rhum that proved the shocker of the morning with ample booze but gentle sweetness beneath the light cream. Impressed enough to purchase some items to go it was perhaps the delay in consuming the twist until later that rendered it flaccid and unable to suffer the same fate both the chocolate chip cookie and more so the buttery palmier would prove the best I’ve found in the Southwest; all the more impetus to call in advance before my next visit to make sure the Almond Croissant is warm and ready.

      1. Settebello -

        More and more well versed with “VPN-Style” and the questionable certification process involved as time goes on I have come to realize that this decidedly un-American pizza is an acquired taste as even some of my most well-traveled and trusted friends are not particularly fond of the pools of mozzarella and often liquid center but with that in mind it was a pleasure to meet with four like-minded pizza pals on Saturday at the only ‘authentic’ VPN pizzeria in Las Vegas, the newest outpost of SLC’s Settebello. Featuring all the standards of a certified parlor, inclusive of a hand pressed di Sorrento brick oven, all wood firing, and imported flour worked by hand it was perhaps with a bit of gluttony that a the decision was made to sample four of the restaurant’s four signature pies plus the weekly special but in the end each and every one was an individually shaped, lightly charred, bubbly and balanced success. Truly a space where the concept of quality ingredients and time honored techniques yield a superior product it was with two golden, creamy arancini that the meal began and then progressing through pizza both red and white, simple and complex it was perhaps most telling that the best slices of the day belonged to the Margherita DOC with a the Buffala Mozz briny funk finding harmony in the hand crushed tomatoes yet not to be outdone the eponymous Settebello also shined as the novel pine nuts and mushrooms added an earthen undertone to the pairing of cured meats. Truly a place where not a single savory was anything less than excellent it was without hesitation that desserts were selected and again choosing broadly the rewards were myriad; a creamy budino on par with DOCG’s for best in town a clear favorite amongst many while the Bella Mela proved just as well conceptualized as the pizzas though ever more subtle – a characteristic ignored by both the Calzone and Zeppole; the first harkening a campfire’s smoke and the second soft and supple but both filled to bursting chocolate decadence and all the better for it.

        4 Replies
        1. re: uhockey

          First, let me tell you that your write-ups are superb....whether I agree with them or not is irrelevant.....the quality and emotion is some of the best that I have any one of these forums. Second, I am glad that you were able to try Settebello..and, yes, the VPN designation is probably getting (or going to get) somewhat clouded as it expands...especially in the States. I do suggest, when you can, try the original (after his first move) that is in the WholeFoods center in Green Valley....just think that is a touch better than the second one....

          1. re: VegasGourmet

            It is on the short list. We're getting together a decent "pizza group" here and working on weekly-or-so outings. Also, thanks for the compliment, I do try.


            1. re: VegasGourmet

              This site is FAR too strip slanted and Yelp is far too...bipolar (the Yelp posse promoting the same Spring Mountain spots over and over while the tourists....ugh) so I figure if I'm going to live here I might as well give feedback to the (imo, more discerning) folks on CH.


              1. re: uhockey

                Mike....While this forum might be too "Strip slanted," it does appeal to those not living here; but coming here and, for the most part, it does not make much sense to spend cab fare or drive a car from the Strip for, what is mostly, less quality. I've lived in Henderson for 7 years and, with the exception of chainfood restaurants and places with video poker, seen mostly turnover of places trying to make it. Even close to the Strip can be in point: the #1 rated restaurant in Las Vegas (by Zagats among others), Rosemary's, eventually had to close down because it was a $15 carbide from the Strip and just could not survive on locals. Rumor has it that the owner/chef, Michael Jordan, is going to try again downtown near the Smith Center. Ferraro's, which I push a lot on this forum, also had to move to Paradise from its original location on the Westside to try and stay in business.
                My intent on this posting was to suggest that you "grade" the restaurants/food in Henderson on a different scale than you might grade those on the Strip....appealing to the local factor as well as price points and value.
                Either way, keep up the good work

          2. Trattoria Nakamura-Ya -

            Bearing in mind that my mother is not the most adventurous of eaters it was with some hesitation that I suggested Trattoria Nakamura-Ya for Saturday dinner but taking into account the strong reviews, affordable price point, convenient location, and willingness to show SEC and BIG-10 Championship games it seemed a safe bet…if only the service would have been remotely competent and I’d avoided the bilious piece of octopus bruschetta. Truly a small space, the max seating capacity only 32 and just one other diner present when we arrived, it seems perplexing to me that so much of our meal could have gone wrong and even taking into account the language barrier when considering a forgotten order of the Uni Tomato Cream there is still no excuse for plates sitting at the pass long enough to grow tepid or for the soggy, flavorless “spring rolls” and oily though admittedly flavorful chicken. Speaking to the quality of the mains and giving credit where it is due I will note that aside from the tomatoes accompanying the pork being only room temperature both the Tonkatsu and the Carbonara were innovative and well prepared while the desserts, complimentary on account of the forgotten pasta, were both comfortable if not particularly exciting…not exactly a ringing endorsement and certainly not enough to bring me back with so many better options for both food and service steps away.

            1. Babystacks Café -

              Having experienced the North Buffalo location with mixed emotions when it was still called Babycakes it was at the recommendation of a few locals that I opted to give the since-rebranded and expanding Babystacks Café a second look and with my mother in tow for an early arrival before the post-church rush I’m happy to say the baby has aged well. Undoubtedly a place where kitsch finds prominence but where classics and good diner-service also stand strong it was admittedly with much debate that decisions were made on a menu where no less than a dozen sweet selections and numerous interesting savories plus specials reside but with coffee free flowing a plan was eventually hatched – two sweets, one savory, yes bacon, no potatoes, and much sharing after a short wait. Beginning savory and progressing to sweet I must say things started shaky with a small plate of $4 bacon and surprisingly bland pork lost to buttery bread and cheese but progressing to “dessert” the story turned one-eighty, the thin pancakes fluffy and rich but brought in check by light citrus while the French Toast pulled on no reigns, a full display of decadence with supple egg bread surrounding a slathering of Speculoos and drizzled with Nutella plus a half cup of whipped cream…more than enough to share and impetus for a trip to Centennial Hills to visit Babystacks III soon.