GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

November 7, 2013

Las Vegas Weekly

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A&E | FOOD > GUILTLESS GRUB Wild's seasonal roasted vegetable pizza on gluten-free crust. PERFECT FIT The Ogden's snug, healthy Wild offers cool comfort BY BROCK RADKE There's a sign on the wall just inside the entrance to Wild, a healthy new restaurant on the ground floor of Downtown's Ogden building. The sign invites, no, instructs us to figuratively leave some stuff at the door when entering this place, like your stress and your fears and your cell phone. It's an unnecessary alert; the urban-cool design of Wild is enough to make you feel like you've escaped regular Las Vegas. There are worn wood tables representing a place that's been around for years, not weeks, mismatched metal chairs and sprouts of green growth in concrete corners. There's a cozy bar where you might sip an Original Sin Elderberry Cider poured into Doña Norma delivers a Valley rarity: Nicaraguan dining Housed in a modest building in the parking lot across from the Huntridge Theater, Doña Norma is easy to overlook. But don't miss this one; Las Vegas' only Nicaraguan restaurant is rife with tropical flavors worth hunting down. WILD The Ogden, 150 Las Vegas Blvd. #100, 527-7717. Monday & Tuesday, noon-10 p.m.; Wednesday-Friday, noon-11 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Any meal at Doña Norma must include tostones con queso ($7.50). Caramelized plantains accompany lightly fried cheese with a saltiness and texture reminiscent of cheese curds, gracefully combining sweet and salty without overwhelming. It's one of the best dishes I've eaten all year. Entrée-wise, lomo de cerdo asado ($12.50) is a skewer of crisp, well-seasoned pork accompanied by tostones and gallo pinto, a garlicky rice and bean mixture considered a staple of Nicaraguan cuisine. Pollo asado The Wild White ($13/$24) is simple and pleasant with white truffle-laced ricotta, mozzarella and cracked pepper. More robust pizza options include the Spicy Prosciutto, the Roasted Seasonal Veggie and the Indian-inflused Chicken Tikka Masala ($14/$26). Start with bruschetta of tomatoes, basil, mint and toasted sunflower seeds with balsamic glaze on more gluten-free bread ($10) or Wild's seasonal soup ($7), a brisk tomato bisque plus a bonus grilled cheese sandwich on my visit. There are kale and quinoa salads, of course, but they're good: The kale has smoked tofu, edamame and olive oil, and the quinoa is crunchy and blended with ginger, topped with avocado that feels indulgent with these cast mates. That well-spiced chicken tikka masala also comes on pasta ($16), though I prefer the wild mushroom herb pasta ($14) loaded with garlic and peppery arugula. The food at Wild is simple, but they have your best interests in mind; everything is hormoneand antibiotic-free, but they don't leave out the taste. al carbon ($12.50) substitutes almost an entire crispy grilled chicken for the pork skewer and is equally successful. Neither will leave you wanting for more. Doña Norma doesn't disappoint on the obscure ethnic drink front, either. Chia con tamarindo ($2) is a variant on a drink commonly encountered in local Mexican restaurants, but this one has chia seeds for a heartier, less cloying take. Equally interesting is cacao ($2), essentially Nicaraguan Ovaltine. English is at a premium at Doña Norma, so be ready. While the menu provides succinct translations, it's Central American immersion at its finest. I wouldn't want it any other way. –Jim Begley DOÑA NORMA 1122 S. Maryland Parkway, 3857309. Daily, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. WILD BY CHRISTOPHER DEVARGAS, DOÑA NORMA BY SAM MORRIS FINE CUISINE AND A SPANISH LESSON a Mason jar, and up the stairs, long, sturdy communal tables and another bar facing a cook at work. Wild seems to align perfectly with the vibe and style the Downtown Project is layering on and around the Fremont East area. While its Ogden neighbor Rachel's Kitchen is more of a quick-casual take on fresh and healthy, this is a spot to linger, maybe in wait for one of those serendipitous encounters we've heard so much about. Early talk cast this as a trendy pizzeria, and although the beloved bite is a big part of Wild's small menu, this is far from typical pie. Thin-crust, crispy pizzas come in two sizes, personal or for sharing, and all are made with a vegan-friendly gluten-free dough that boasts a bit more flavor than you might expect. 48 LASVEGASWEEKLY.COM NOVEMBER 7–13, 2013 48_Food_1_20131107.indd 48 11/6/13 1:36 PM

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