Amidst the winding roads of suburbia, nestled in a standard oversized shopping center, lies the vibrant East Coast-Italian bistro Off the Strip. An iconic favorite among the neighborhood crowd, this place is packed on a weekend night with loyal customers: a glimmer of glory that fewer and fewer restaurants can pull off nowadays. The eclectic menu holds in variety what the staff holds in attitude…in a good way.
“You know, you’re not gonna find this kind of stuff around town,” begins owner Tom Goldsbury in his prominent New York accent. He opened Off the Strip after ten years with Smith and Wollensky Steakhouse. Customers love Goldsbury for his amiable persona and true New York attitude—he makes sure to scream at his staff from across the room on a very regular basis [also in a good way].
“We love the people who come in here. You treat them right and they love to keep coming back,” he said. He’s clearly doing something right: Off the Strip is ranked number four, out of more than 2,200, on TripAdvisor’s Las Vegas restaurant list.
Locals do love the place for its creative recipes, far from your average Americanized Italian bistro. Highlights off the huge appetizer menu include lightly fried calamari with an amazing spicy marinara, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs, and the ‘Rolled New York.’ This signature boasts thin-sliced New York Strip wrapped around grilled asparagus and melted provolone with basil, onion and a robust mushroom marsala sauce. A must-order, though, is the sweet chili and bacon prawns, wrapped with a dash of cream cheese and Thai sweet chili sauce for a spectacular balance of sweet, rich and savory.
Pastas are another strong point, coming out in enormous portions with equally extravagant taste. One of the most distinct is ‘Chef Al’s favorite rigatoni,’ which delivers hearty pasta with red cherry peppers, basil, onions and garlic with a zesty sauce, topped with fried zucchini strings for near-perfect texture. Anti-vegetarians can add on some impeccably spiced herb sausage. “You’re not gonna find this dish anywhere else in town,” says Tom.
Cheesecake for dessert is mandatory. Made in-house, a slice of this fantasy holds lighter consistency, but unbelievably creamy and rich character.
Off the Strip’s only shortcomings are its higher-priced items. While they only represent a small fraction of the menu, few options over $20 came in at a bang for their buck. Their beef Wellington, while excellently prepared and served with killer mashed potatoes, comes out in a size that doesn’t quite justify $36. The lobster ravioli also holds great flavor, but gets trumped by the restaurant’s other amazing pastas. The pork chops also hold great character with a tantalizing creamy sauce, but may not be the most ideal choice compared to other options.
Navigate the menu the right way and Off the Strip certainly becomes a place worth driving across town for. Early and late birds can also catch happy hour and reverse happy hour specials, daily from 4-7 p.m. and 9:30-11 p.m.
Off the Strip is located at 10670 Southern Highlands Pkwy, Suite 102B, Las Vegas, Nevada 89141. Open from 4 p.m.-11 p.m. daily. Reservations accepted. This review was comped. For more information call (702) 202-2448 or visit Off the Strip Online.