By: Bob Gourley
Things were a lot different in Vegas in 1970. But I would bet the energy, food and spirit of Battista’s Hole in the Wall were just the same.
This ode to classic Italian cuisine just keeps clicking. Several acquaintances had told me about the fun and the food so on a recent Saturday evening my wife and I decided to give it try.
After entering through the heavy wooden door, the first sights we encountered were knick knacks that are placed just about everywhere. On the walls are pictures of celebrities that have visited over the years.
The friendly hostess then seated us in one of the many alcoves that are scattered throughout. But one thing was missing..a menu.
No problem because a huge list of things they serve is on every wall in plain viewing from anywhere in the room. Another thing we noticed were two carafes of wine, one white and one red that were ready for consumption.
All dinners include either a hefty bowl of minestrone soup or an Italian salad that is obviously labor intensive and full of greens, a slice of salami, cheese and a fitting dressing that brings it all together. Also on the table is a basket of freshly-made garlic bread.
Entrée selections are what you would expect in an Italian restaurant. Just about every kind of pasta is represented.
A half dozen noodle options, like cheese ravioli, lasagna, manicotti and cannelloni are available. Eggplant Parmigianino is a light concoction with a sauce that matches well. Any of the pasta dinners are $25.95.
They also have it right with meat options. Chicken Rio features a 10-ounce boneless breast of chicken. Steak Pizzaiola is also offered along with linguine-chopped clams.
The most-expensive dinners on the menu are the Battista-Style Cioppino, a 10- ounce Rib eye or 12-ounce New York for $39.95.
Yes they do have fish. In fact, a fish of the day is offered. Shrimp sautéed in garlic butter or served with marinara sauce is another pick along with Steak Caruso. Those entrees are $34.95.
Topping off the meal is complimentary homemade cappuccino that almost tastes like creamy, hot chocolate. Each diner receives one that is topped with whipped cream. Once I started sipping, I couldn’t stop.
Desserts are available, but after all of the food - including the wine and cappuccino, we were just too full to give any of them a try.
While you are enjoying your meal, a friendly man will no doubt pop in. He is Gordy the accordion man and he loves to serenade each diner with an Italian classic song. It is worth the trip just to see him.
One of the more raucous parts of the building is the bar area that is used not only for hoisting a libation, but it is also a great place to hang out while you wait. Everyone is friendly and it will get you in the mood for the upcoming culinary adventure.
Dining at Battista’s is like visiting Little Italy in New York or the North End of Boston - only this place is so much closer.
Battista’s Hole in the Wall, open every day for dinner only. 4041 Linq Avenue, Las Vegas. Bar opens at 4:30PM. Dinner from 5:00PM to 10:30PM. (702) 732-1424. www.battistaslasvegas.com.