“When you think of where you’re going to go in Las Vegas where you just want simple, great Italian food, this is going to be one of those places,” says chef Steve Young of the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Now, Young not only runs the acclaimed Edge Steakhouse, but he is also in charge of rebooting the Italian restaurant, Fresco, putting him in charge of two fine dining restaurants.
The versatile chef grew up in New Jersey and learned the basics of Italian cooking as many Italian Jersey kids do—spending time in the kitchen with his nonna. “My grandmother is straight from Sicily,” recalls Young. “She taught me how to roll meatballs, how to make Sunday gravy and how to make pasta.”
Young’s formal Italian training was under the tutelage of New York culinary kingpin Michael White, whose restaurants in New York City and New Jersey—and the amount of Michelin stars they’ve received—are too many to list here. Of the many lessons Young learned while working for White, two standouts were keeping things simple and showcasing the ingredients—two staples of great Italian cooking.
The same approach can be found at Edge Steakhouse, which has been the No. 1-ranked Las Vegas steakhouse on TripAdvisor for the past six months and the No. 3-ranked restaurant in the entire city. Young states, “Everything I’ve always done, I’ve always had some sort of that [Italian] influence in the restaurants that I’ve worked in. There’s always been certain things that are Italian driven as far as how I make pasta, the sauces, the way you respect the ingredients.”
Eventually at Fresco, he wants to add a pasta room, so all noodles will be made in-house. Nonna will be proud. Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, Edge Steakhouse, 702.732.5277; Fresco Italiano, 702.732.5276; westgateresorts.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTGATE LAS VEGAS RESORT & CASINO