Chef and restaurateur Shawn McClain’s latest venture, Balla Italian Soul, which he developed with partners Richard and Sarah Camarota, is slated to open at Sahara Las Vegas at the end of the month.
The 5,000-square-foot, 120-seat restaurant will feature seasonal vegetable dishes, seafood, pizza, and pasta, much of it from a wood-fired grill, starting at around $15 for appetizers and $30 for entrées.
Pasta dishes on the opening menu will include linguine with crab, chiles, summer squash and garlic; squid ink pasta shells puttanesca; and cheese-stuffed agnolotti with oyster mushrooms and lardo.
Main courses will include sea bream with lemon, capers and herbs; a 22-ounce Prime bone-in rib eye steak with roasted garlic; and pork Delmonico with black garlic, pickled radicchio and cippolini onions. Grilled Romano beans with anchovy and herb vinaigrette and crispy potatoes with rosemary and Parmesan cheese are among the side dishes.
McClain says there’s a purpose behind his menu.
“Every restaurant has the opportunity to put a signature on an experience,” he said. “Balla is a tribute and ode to Italian food with total respect for the culture and cuisine. We’re making the space ours through interpretations of recipes, plating and an outstanding guest experience from start to finish.”
Part of that experience is the interior, which was developed by Las Vegas-based Innovativo Design and opens onto the casino floor.
There’s a glass charcuterie station, a brick ceiling reminiscent of Roman wine cellars, lit olive trees and Italian photography as well as other contemporary Italian art throughout. A live-action kitchen and pasta-making window add energy to the space, and there’s also a takeaway deli counter. A private dining room seats 12.
McClain said he is looking forward to being a part of Las Vegas’s restaurant scene.
“I think you’ll continue to see the bar raised within the food and beverage landscape — both on and off the strip with great offerings,” he said. “There is no greater honor as a chef than to open a restaurant in Las Vegas, and Balla Italian Soul is a dream come true.”