M Resort Opens Delicious New Casual Italian Restaurant, Marinelli’s Pasta Bar

We often sing the praises of M Resort, between sips of cocktails and dice rolls, and the off-Strip resort has opened a great new dining option, Marinelli’s Pasta Bar.

Marinelli's Pasta Bar
Las Vegas seems to have a boundless supply of places to love.

Marinelli’s Pasta Bar replaces the former Oyster Bar, and takes over some of the Italian food duties of the now-closed Marinelli’s restaurant.

Let’s dive headlong into this great new restaurant, shall we, we asked rhetorically?

Marinelli’s Pasta Bar does include an actual bar, where the full menu is served, especially convenient for those dining alone. There are a number of tables as well, laid out perfectly in the intimate space to provide for a sense of privacy even when the restaurant gets busy.

The menu is compact, and draws much of its inspiration from dishes favored by guests at the former Marinelli’s restaurant.

Appetizers include fried calamari (below), pan-roasted mussels or a light prosciutto and melon dish. The calamari is served with the restaurant’s extraordinary marinara sauce. (They go through 10 gallons every other day.)

One calamari is a calamaro.

The salads are novel and super fresh. The arugula salad is fantastic, even for those of us who aren’t necessarily salad people. The arugula salad has gorgonzola cheese, pears (poached in white wine, vanilla bean and sugar) and candied walnuts, which could be offered as its own dessert, they’re so good.

The salad is topped with a sherry gastrique. We’re not entirely sure what that is, but we do know Sherry Gastrique would not be a bad stripper name.

Arugula salad
Gorgonzola is typically aged 3-4 months, making it one of the few minors allowed in a casino.

Before we go further into the menu, we should probably acknowledge the man in charge of the kitchen turning out these tempting offerings, Executive Chef Matt Borowski.

Chef Matt Borowski
The chef does double duty as the Executive Chef of the adjoining Anthony’s Prime Steak & Seafood.

Chef Borowski exudes enthusiasm for his food and the restaurant, and it shows in the quality of the food and the care taken in keeping things simple but enticing.

The chef, by the way, explains a sherry gastrique is “sherry vinegar and sugar, cooked down with aromatics using a chinois (a meshed sieve).”

Next up, the entrees. The chicken piccata is terrific, featuring a butter sauce with capers.

Chicken piccata
Certain parts of the bush from which capers come are used for medicines and cosmetics.

The veal marsala is feels familiar, but with some M Resort flair. Says Chef Borowski, “We render the cremini mushrooms and cook them in their own juices, then hit them with marsala and a demi-glace. We’re basically creating a mushroom ragu as our base.” Chef Borowski clearly has more food knowledge in his head than this blog has in its entire Internet.

veal marsala
Marsala is a in Sicily, famous for the landing of Garibaldi in 1860, which we knew off the top of our head, probably.

Of course, any restaurant calling itself a “pasta bar” has to deliver a top-notch pasta, and the spaghetti and meatballs confirm Marinelli’s Pasta Bar deserves a top spot in our list of favorite Italian places in Las Vegas.

Spaghetti meatballs
It’s home in a bowl.

Making the food even more appealing are the very reasonable prices. Nothing on the menu is more than $20, with most of the main courses running in the $15 range.

Happily, the bar in “pasta bar” includes a full-service bar. Bartender Carl Kenny whipped us up a raspberry basil martini with an ounce of raspberry vodka, some sweet and sour, muddled basil and a dash of simple syrup. It took about two sips for Carl to become our new BFF.

It’s recommended you limit yourself to a dozen of these. Unless you’re staying at M Resort, then nevermind.

At this juncture, you won’t have room for dessert, but forge ahead, anyway. Las Vegas wasn’t built on self-restraint!

Dessert options include mascarpone cheesecake, tiramisu, cannolis and berries and limoncello cream. Berries almost sound healthy, so we went for the cannolis. Your grandmother back in Sicily would be so proud. Unless you don’t have a grandmother in Sicily, then that’s just odd.

In Italian, cannoli means “little tubes.”

Marinelli’s Pasta Bar is a welcome addition to the dining options at M Resort, and is an all-around great experience at a very reasonable price.

Roaming the casino, we got our first look at the M Resort’s new players club card. An M Resort staffer mentioned the players club has been updated to reflect the hotel’s ownership by Penn National Gaming. The Marquee Rewards brand is used at Penn National casinos across the country.

Marquee Rewards card
The program’s tiers are Marquee Rewards, Celebrity, Producer and Executive Producer.

Earning 333 points is worth $1 in cash back, free play and comps. You can even use your points to get some tasty meatballs at Marinelli’s Pasta Bar. Or slot play. Or cash back. Decisions, decisions.

At the moment, we’re leaning toward the meatballs.

Marinelli's Pasta Bar at M Resort