Thursday, April 5, 2012 | 6 p.m.
- Dom DeMarco’s Pizzeria & Bar
- 9785 W. Charleston Blvd., 570-7000.
- Mon-Thu, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri-Sat, 11 a.m.-midnight.
It’s difficult to temper expectations when a famous restaurant from a famous city opens an outlet in your town. It’s a regular occurrence in Las Vegas, but it almost always happens on the Strip. When Brooklyn pizza institution Di Fara expanded with a new spot in Summerlin, we knew it wouldn’t be a carbon copy, that Dom DeMarco himself wouldn’t be making each pizza by hand as people lined up and waited hours for a slice. It had to be a restaurant that better suits the neighborhood, and it is.
Dom DeMarco’s Pizzeria on Charleston near Hualapai is a cozy spot and seems to be packed all the time. There’s a bustling bar with a dozen taps and a perfect patio, an alfresco oasis that could rival the one at Vintner Grill across the street now that the weather’s turning nice. The menu boasts much more than pizza, with small plates, sandwiches, salads and pasta. It’s great for dates or family outings or pretty much anything else; who doesn’t want to go for pizza on a Friday night? It’s the right restaurant, and it should do very well.
Dishes for sharing like bruschetta, fried eggplant mini-pizzas and pork-beef-veal meatballs are decent if uninspired. Salads pack a bit more flavor and are well-assembled, particularly the hearty 15th Street BLT with butter lettuce, bacon, lots of creamy avocado and a rich gorgonzola dressing. The simple, tasty version of linguine with clams is stellar, and this might be the only neighborhood where people will order it for $17.
There’s no questioning the pizza pedigree at this joint, and Dom DeMarco’s does it with all the right ingredients: hand-crushed San Marzano tomatoes, Grana Padano cheese and imported Italian olive oil. The thin-crust, New York-style pizza—excellent with just cheese and basil—should be catapulted into the Best Pizza in Vegas discussion. It’s got a golden crust with a nice, light, chewable texture, the perfect foundation for the white truffle pizza ($15 small or $22 large) with lots of mozzarella and Parmesan reggiano cheeses, garlic, sauteed mushrooms and truffle oil. Of course, you can always create your own pie, and the list of toppings covers all the bases.
Like Due Forni, another Summerlin hot spot, Dom DeMarco’s serves two styles of pizza. But I see no need for the square-cut, thick-crust, cast-iron-pan-cooked Sicilian pie. This version is particularly doughy, with far too much soft bread between buttery-crisp edges and slight toppings. The Di Fara Special, a whole, huge square pizza with pepperoni and basil, seems completely unnecessary at $26. But the menu calls it legendary, so maybe you should try it. One piece left me full but unsatisfied.
Vegas pizza will never be New York pizza, but our city has come a long way, and Dom DeMarco’s is another link in the chain. It’s definitely worth a try, if only so you can argue about it being better or worse than Settebello, Grimaldi’s, Metro, the Cosmo’s “secret” spot … The pizza evolution continues.
This story first appeared in Sun sister publication Las Vegas Weekly.