I am not the biggest sports fan in the world, but I do love any reason to go eat bar food and drink beer. So when the Giants won the Wild Card and got into the post-season, I dusted off my orange San Francisco Giants shirt and got into the spirit. One of my biggest complaints about the Whitney Ranch area that I live in, is that all of my favorite restaurants that I might like to watch sports at are in other parts of town- Sammy’s, Ventano, and Lucille’s to name a few. So when Sauce opened less than a mile from my home, in the parking lot of the Galleria Mall, I was excited that I might finally have a “neighborhood” bar and grill to call my own. And I have to say, that it doesn’t disappoint. Since its opening in late August, I have eaten here a handful of times and always been impressed with the food. My only hope is that other area locals begin to find this gem that is tucked away out of sight from the road.
Located in what used to be a Spaghetti Factory, Sauce’s layout is perfect for a lot of different things. To the far right a lounge area is located with couches and a pool table. This area is separated from the bar area, which is front and center, and the first thing a patron will see when they walk in. The pros about the bar are- it has a good number of seats, there are multiple t.v.’s on all sides, and the bar area runs pretty good happy hour specials. I do wish they also had a few tables in the bar area as well- big groups who want to watch the game together are forced to sit in a line. But the best part of the bar- in my opinion- is no video poker! As a nonnative Las Vegan, and someone who doesn’t really gamble, the idea of video poker at a nice bar mystifies me. It bothers me. Sure this is Vegas and everything, but can I never get away from gambling and have a normal nightlife experience? Well, now I can. Sauce has a beautiful wooden bar, and not a single video poker machine in sight. Major points! The actual dining area of the restaurant is completely separate from the bar; this means that families or couples who wish to eat dinner are not forced to watch sports and are seated far away from that area. The overall effect makes Sauce an ideal venue for both grabbing a casual drink, a family outing, or a romantic date.
During the summer, I noticed the sign for an Italian eatery coming soon, and was excited at the prospect of a casual dining Italian restaurant. Earlier in the year, I had tried Carmine’s- a casual Italian eatery that sounds good in theory, but has mediocre food at best. I admit, I stalked Sauce’s opening somewhat, and regularly drove by it in hopes that it would open soon. Once a Grand Opening sign (finally!) popped up the last weekend in August, I made it a point to stop by for lunch…and then again for dinner.
The food is actually that good. It isn’t fine dining by any means, but it is solid comfort Italian. Their menu can basically be broken down into three sections. The first is for the person who wants a good bowl of pasta. Laid out in a build your own bowl style, the customer may choose their pasta, sauce, and two toppings, creating a number of alternatives. The second menu option is a number of sandwiches and paninis. My second time there I ordered the chicken pesto panini, which was quite good. All of the sauces and bread are made on property, and the effort in quality really shows.
Thirdly, and my favorite are the pizza options. There are a lot of pizza places in Henderson, and Sammy’s and Settebello both have excellent artisanal pies. Sauce’s can definitely hang in this group. So far I’ve tried both the BBQ Chicken and the Meat Lovers. Both were excellent, and worth ordering to go should I ever want to eat pizza at home.
My latest venture to Sauce was on a Saturday night. It was Game 4 of the World Series, and the Royals were up 2 games to 1. (Spoiler Alert: The Giants eventually won the World Series. And it was awesome). The hubby and I arrived at Sauce a little before 5:00 pm, so we could get settled in plenty of time before the game. Since we arrived before the dinner hour, we had our choice of seating, and nabbed two bar stools in front of a t.v. We let the bartender know why we were there, and he flipped the channel to the game and turned the sound on for us. As far as watching a sports game in a bar, it doesn’t get much better.
The one and only item on the menu that I have tried so far that didn’t come out amazing was the Pepperoni Stuffed Fried Cheese, which I tried on opening night. On that occasion it came out tasting reheated and soggy. We told the bartender about our experience, and he swore something must have gone wrong in the kitchen that day, because pepperoni stuffed fried cheese is his favorite thing on the menu. He convinced us to give them another try, and you know what? He was right. They are good. Particularly the pesto cream sauce that comes with them.
For dinner, Luke opted to go with the Open Faced Meatball sandwich. Yes, thankfully, they really do make their own meatballs. Is there anything worse than an Italian restaurant that serves frozen meatballs?
I had to try the Meat lovers pizza. As I mentioned earlier, I love (good quality) bar food, and it isn’t always easy to find. One of my favorite bar food eateries is Main Street Station, but that is awfully far away from where I live. Sauce’s pizza is on the same level.
And of course there is dessert…because when your team has been losing and then suddenly takes the lead 11-4,you must order dessert. My only knock on Sauce is that they do not make their own tiramisu. Which, I get tiramisu is a pain in the ass to make and takes forever. And I do have a special pet peeve against restaurants that put tiramisu on their menu, but then serve some weird variation that leaves out something important- like the ladyfingers. But I was a little disappointed, considering everything else on Sauce’s menu is made in house, and then I was told the dessert is bought from a store. Also, when I was there, someone had purchased “the wrong tiramisu” so the chef was refusing to serve it period. With only three desserts on the menu, that seems like kind of a problem. But I’ll let it slide, because the rest of the food is awesome, and so are the other two desserts.
And Zeppoli. Better known as a giant plate of donut holes covered in powdered sugar and chocolate sauce. Yum!
Pasta and marinara sauce isn’t that hard to make, so if I am going to go out for pasta I expect it to at least be on the same level as what I can make at home. I can’t think of any other casual Italian spot in Las Vegas that accomplishes this, as most joints with this type of menu cut corners and food quality. Sauce’s mix of casual atmosphere and high quality food makes this a definite go to for me for a number of occasions including a casual lunch, a quick drink, or a low maintenance night out. My only hope is that more people can start to find it hidden away in the mall’s back parking lot. The food is definitely worth it.