D.O.C.G. in Las Vegas is a winner. Extremely appealing in decor with a very contemporary yet comfortable vibe, the food is equally enticing. The space is long and narrow, with brick walls and a wood-burning fireplace in the open kitchen at the end. The menu is all Italian, but goes beyond pizza and pasta, delving into grilled meats and fish as well.
Diners can choose to order multiple dishes to pass around the table or go the more customary route of first course and entree. In keeping with what is really a family tradition, we wanted to sample as much of the menu as possible, and ordered several dishes from each category. Since there were only three of us we had to be judicious in our selections, but we still managed to enjoy a nice variety.
The mound of roasted beets, sitting atop yogurt and pumpkin seeds sounded like it might be what you see on every menu these days, but Conant managed to make it unique.
As tempting as it would have been to order the lamb T-bone (all grilled meats are offered with your choice salsa verde, marrow and barolo, fra diavolo butter), diver scallops or osso bucco with polenta and black kale, we decided to share a couple of pastas instead: Pici with braised duck sauce and black truffles; and Scialatielli, served “arrabbiata” with lobster & shrimp. Hands down my favorite pasta of the trip (and we had many!)
But that’s not to say we didn’t succumb when the waiter suggested we cap off our dinner with a caramel budino. At Cafe Sebastienne in Kansas City, the outrageous chocolate budino is sliced like a loaf. This was served like a pudding in a small cup, but fortunately didn’t resemble Jello-O, and we all fought over the last spoonful.
My only complaint was that the food was not well paced. If we hadn’t sensed that and ordered each course separately, we’d have been in and out in under an hour. As it was we still felt rushed, and barely had time to sip our wine between dishes. The wine list, by the way, had some awesome selections, but there were no bargains to be had. The offerings were as expensive as in the most expensive restaurants in Las Vegas. It would make sense in its upscale next door sister, but not here so much.
My hope is that Conant expands beyond Vegas and adds another D.O.C.G.’s around the country. There are many other similar concepts in other cities, but not nearly as well executed as this one.