When you think of Italian, think of Osteria Costa
When you think of Italian food, images of pasta and red sauce immediately come to mind whether or not you’re aware of the multitude of styles and vast diversity contained within this revered cuisine.
The newest Italian restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip, Osteria Costa at The Mirage, focuses on the food of the Amalfi Coast, a stretch popular with international tourists along the southern edge of the Sorrentine Peninsula in Campania. But the true goal of the cozy new eatery is to pay tribute to the craft of Italian cooking, the simple, artistic and soulful approach that defines Italian food no matter the region. That means if you want pasta and red sauce, it’s going to be the most beautiful and delicious version.
Osteria Costa’s oceanic and earthy tones, comfortable dining room and bustling cocktail and pizza bars represent the various vibrant experiences you might discover along that sparkling coastline. As Amalfi is just south of Naples—the birthplace of pizza—rest assured the bubbly, quick-fired Neapolitan pies coming from the brick oven are as authentic as they are satisfying. The original margherita is the true test of pizza supremacy and this version doesn’t disappoint, but definitely consider the salsiccia with sausage and fennel or the picante with spicy salame, Calabrian chile and a drizzle of honey.
Pizza makes for a magnificent appetizer, but there are other must-try starters, including the house-made mozzarella cheese or the imported burrata served with sweet roasted tomatoes and fresh pesto. The Caesar salad offers some unique twists including a lemony garlic dressing, buttery, crisp croutons, and plenty of Parmigiano. A bright beet salad melds peppery arugula, balsamic vinaigrette, toasted pistachios and shaved ricotta salata, a salty sheep’s milk cheese akin to Greek feta. These are explosive flavors.
Executive chef Michael LaPlaca earned a reputation for creating some of the most dynamic pasta dishes in the city while he was at the helm of The Mirage’s former Italian hot spot, Portofino. For the Osteria Costa menu, he’s cracked the code of familiar and favorite pastas, revisited the root of each dish and subtly reinvented them with layers of intense flavors. His linguine and clams is the perfect example, a dish saturated in sweet seafood notes balanced by the perfect amounts of garlic, chile and lemon. Fettucine with a Neapolitan beef and pork ragu brings unimaginable depth to your table—and it makes sense considering it takes eight hours just to make that sauce. The seemingly simple rigatoni alla norma blends a bright pomodoro sauce with basil and eggplant, each al dente bright coated in deliciousness.
Hopefully you can manage pizza, salad, pasta and an entrée, because you don’t want to miss Osteria Costa’s decadent chicken parmigiana, smothered in melted mozzarella, or the outstanding grilled ribeye Fiorentina, a centerpiece well-suited for sharing. On the lighter side, take note of the pesce acqua pazza, seasonal fish poached in an herb broth and served with “crazy water” tomato sauce with fennel and basil. One light bite deserves another, so do save room for the olive oil cake topped with fresh Chantilly whipped cream. It’s the perfect finale for this new culinary experience, likely to make you think you’re not in Las Vegas at all.
The Mirage, 5-10:30 p.m. daily. 702.791.7111