The curse may finally be lifted.
The Tivoli Village spot that’s now the valley’s second PKWY Tavern doesn’t have a revolving door but ought to, considering the brief tenancy of its previous occupants. If the enterprises of James Beard Award-winning chef Bradley Ogden and the successful husband-and-wife team of restaurant developer Elizabeth Blau and chef Kim Canteenwalla were short-lived, it raises suspicions that somebody ought to be burning sage in the corners.
But PKWY Tavern seems to be a good fit for the sometimes-awkward space. It’s been opened up into an expansive bar-dining room with the oversized front and side entries pretty much ignored, which is for the best.
The main room, with pressed-tin ceiling, beer-bottle chandeliers and big screens for sports, seems perfect for PKWY. This is a place that puts such an emphasis on beer that regulars can log their brews, the most enthusiastic quaffers listed on a tote board, and it lists beer before food on its website.
Which is not to say the food is an afterthought. Poker-bar fare in general has kept pace with Las Vegas’ broader dining revolution, and PKWY maybe has a little more fun with it.
Order the Barcuterie Plate ($16.95) and you’ll be brought a rack from which hangs a very large soft pretzel, warm and prone to fighting back to the bite. It was accompanied by slices of capicola and two varieties of salami, house-made pickled vegetables (including cucumbers) and a beer-cheese sauce. One other aspect was a little odd: a cup of mustard seeds, which seemed like nothing so much as a deconstructed (or maybe preconstructed) mustard.
The presence of Sin City Four-Way ($10.95) especially made sense after we overheard someone say the chef was originally from Ohio. It was a riff on Cincinnati chili, a pile of spaghetti topped with chili, cheddar and chopped raw red onion. The chili had the warm touch of a healthy dose of cinnamon that characterizes a good Cincy blend, the Sin City touch apparently the prodigious kick it carried.
And smoked prime-rib country-fried steak ($14.95), which wasn’t as interesting as it sounded but still a tasty dish. The rumored smoking of the prime rib wasn’t detectable with the batter coating and lightly peppered gravy, but the coating was crisp, the gravy creamy and the beefy flavor made up the difference. Breakfast potatoes on the side weren’t as jarring with dinner as they sounded (basically just fried potato chunks) and vegetables, which included broccoli, bell pepper and zucchini, and suitably crisp-tender.
Since the Tivoli Village PKWY Tavern has been open only since September we have to guess that leaderboard leader Vinny M., who had logged 1,360 beers by the time of our visit, downed most of those at the original on West Flamingo Road. But this new spot seems to have a winning formula, and long may its taps turn.
Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Email Heidi Knapp Rinella at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more of her stories at www.reviewjournal.com and follow @HKRinella on Twitter.