Friday, July 17, 2020 / by Ken Couture
With his restaurant at Las Vegas’ Palms Resort still closed, the Philadelphia chef is bringing some staff to a new location. Plus, a tavern from José Andrés closes in D.C., Del Posto auctions part of its Wine Spectator Grand Award–winning wine collection, and more
Chef Marc Vetri unveiled a pop-up version of his Italy-focused Philadelphia restaurant, Fiorella, in Las Vegas’ Red Rock Resort July 10. In the space formerly home to Award of Excellence winner Terra Rossa, Osteria Fiorella marks the second time the chef has taken a concept cross-country; his flagship Vetri Cucina in Philadelphia and its sibling location in Las Vegas' Palms Casino Resort both hold Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards.
This time the opening was particularly fast-paced, taking only about two months from conception to launch, partly in an effort to relocate staff from the still-shuttered Vetri Cucina.
“The executive team at Red Rock had been following my Instagram and loved what we were doing at Fiorella in Philly,” Vetri told Wine Spectator by email. He said his goal was to create “a fun atmosphere that you can feel comfortable coming in multiple times a week with the family, business clients or just friends,” displayed through thoughtful details like placemats with old photos of Vetri’s family.
Based off the original outpost in a converted 125-year-old butcher shop, Osteria Fiorella features expanded offerings, such as a much larger wine program built by Vetri Cucina wine director Justin Moore. “The modest selection of around 70 wines is a balance of comfort wines that neighborhood diners will recognize, and more traditional Italian options from classic producers and regions,” Moore said. The list includes top bottles from regions like Tuscany, Piedmont and Friuli. Pinot Noirs from Sonoma and Oregon’s Willamette Valley have a significant presence; there’s also a “secret list” of up to 200 additional options available upon request.
The menu is also larger than the original’s, mixing influences from Vetri’s travels in northern Italy and his upbringing in South Philadelphia. The chef describes the cuisine as “a cross between traditional Italian food from Italy and American red sauce cuisine. Just fun food with no pretense.” This includes salads, pizzas, antipasti and more, taking advantage of the space’s wood-burning oven. Hand-made pastas are also available, such as pappardelle with duck ragù and cavatelli with broccoli, plus meatier entrées.—Collin Dreizen
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