Never judge a book by its cover—or a restaurant by its name. When it comes to the new Downtown spot Glutton, the moniker conjured up images of massive portions of fairly unsophisticated cuisine. Not even close! What the restaurant actually delivers is just the opposite: small, shareable portions of well-executed, extremely creative items.
Glutton is a collaboration between chefs Bradley Manchester and Joseph Kudrack, who previously worked together at Red Rock Resort. It occupies a small space on the corner of Carson Avenue and Seventh Street. The décor is simple retro urban with exposed brick walls and the building’s original oak ceiling dating from 1955. Guests may choose to be seated at tables, at a “food bar” where they can chat with the chefs preparing their meal, or at a tiny “boozy bar.” It’s open for lunch and dinner with separate menus for each, and closes between meal periods.
The cuisine straddles the worlds of fine dining and casual Americana. There are small snacks, such as pork rinds with cayenne and cheddar, pickled spring tomatoes with whipped ricotta and basil, and chicken liver mousse. The wood-fired oven puts out chicken, sea bream and flatbreads. And other entrées include pastas, lamb crépinettes and a burger. Ingredients are regionally sourced, with the suppliers listed on the menu.
Among the more interesting items I’ve tried is an order of Buffalo-style sweetbreads. When I saw it on the menu, I was worried the chefs were offering it simply as a novelty item, and would drown out the offal’s taste by bathing it in spicy sauce. But they showed a lot of restraint in balancing the flavors. Sure, they had the familiarity of bar wings, but you could still identify the main ingredient. Moreover, they come with sweet-and-sour celery and a touch of whipped blue cheese, giving them an elegant touch.
Another great dish is gnocchi in a rich brown-butter sauce, accompanied by fork-tender braised pork cheek. A chewy and mildly charred flatbread with sweet figs, salty bacon and sharp blue cheese is excellent. And the Canadian bar classic poutine (which has being steadily growing in popularity in Las Vegas) is made special by the addition of slightly sweet pickled mushrooms. From the dessert menu, try the chef’s clever, sweet twist on rice balls: rice pudding arancini filled with chocolate and cinnamon-infused honey.
I was less impressed with squid-ink pasta with Dungeness crab and piquillo peppers. While the pasta and crab were both prepared well, the sauce had a touch of mint that, for me, clashed with the fresh seafood. And while the peach salad with greens, bresaola, burrata and spiced walnuts was good, I think the creamy cheese and nuts would have worked better on top of the dish rather than as its base.
Service at Glutton has been great so far. A friendly chef at the food bar who loved discussing the dishes as he worked particularly impressed me. But the pricing is a bit unpredictable—especially in light of the generally small portions. The aforementioned gnocchi—a very tiny portion of pasta, but topped with two large pieces of beef cheek—was a bargain at $10. The squid-ink pasta was slightly larger, but still small by normal restaurant standards. So for $25, I felt a little ripped off. Similarly, the sweetbreads are well-priced at $11, but $14 for a flatbread that couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 inches by 5 inches seemed a bit much. (And don’t even get me started on charging $5 for bread service—a growing trend that I just can’t get on board with.)
With its quirky, well-prepared cuisine, Glutton is the kind of restaurant that helps give a neighborhood character. Just don’t let the name fool you. It’s very possible to eat here without getting too filled up.
Al’s Menu Picks
- Buffalo-style sweetbreads ($11), mushroom poutine ($11)
- brown-butter gnocchi ($10)
- and rice pudding
- arancini ($8)
616 E. Carson Ave.,702-366-0623. Open for lunch 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Mon–Sat, and for dinner daily 5–11 p.m. Dinner for two $50–$125.