When you walk into Five50 Pizza Bar at Aria Las Vegas you should expect to have some very good food because Shawn McClain is in charge. Shawn McClain of Sage at ARIA knows a thing or two about really good food. Forget that he is a James Beard Award-Winning Chef and just have appetizers at Sage and you’ll be convinced of his talent.
When you try Five50 Pizza bar you have to keep that in mind because on the surface you might have mixed feelings. You might wonder what the fuss is all about. You might try the pizza and not be blown away. You might see a few of the appetizers and try to figure out what exactly it is that is happening at a pizza place.
Put a talented chef in charge and you realize that this is not a typical pizza joint. What you get at Five50 Pizza Bar is a pizza that does not adhere to the rules. This is a combination of a few styles that incorporates higher heat but not crazy heat and a little char to add flavor but no so much as to be an issue. Backing off the thick but adding to the thin you end up with a pizza that falls in between so much so that it feels new. What a novel idea, a new way to look at pizza.
If you love thin, crunchy pizza you might be satisfied and if you love deep dish you’ll be disappointed. However, if you can appreciate pizza and you can appreciate the Napoli style and the East Coast details along with the west coast ingredients you might be thinking about coming back over and over again.
Five50 Pizza Bar is a pizza for foodies.
Part of the 77 Places to Eat Cheap in Las Vegas
Location: Five50 Pizza Bar
ARIA Las Vegas
3730 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Cuisine at Five50 Pizza Bar: American/Italian
Reservations: not required
Price Range: Cheap to Moderate. Grab a slice and it’s a great deal, get some appetizers and beers and it gets expensive.
Lunch and dinner daily – 11:00 – Midnight
Slice Counter: Open Late
What to Expect at Five50 Pizza Bar:
My first impression has me sitting at the bar with a pie and a beer. The beer list is lengthy but not complicate and long. The pizza ovens are in full view and if you were at home this place might feel like the spot your parents dragged you to as a kid so that they could have a beer and you could have pizza. You can have a very good beer and a slice of pizza. What makes Five 50 Pizza Bar special is the rest of the menu. The small plates are as good any of the best restaurants in Las Vegas. Don’t be fooled by the pizza ovens out front, this is a legitimate spot for carefully crafted dishes that will explode with flavor and impress your palate. THIS IS NOT YOUR MOM AND POP PIZZERIA. This is an example of elevating the pizza place experience.
Don’t worry, you won’t run into a little league baseball team celebrating a win here. However, with a few televisions over the bar and the sports book around the corner you will get your dose of sports fans being treated to great food at a pizza joint that is something other than pizza.
The late night pizza window works for me as I'm a sucker for a slice after a long evening.
How’s the food at Five50 Pizza Bar?
The pizza should be the highlight but you will blown away by the small plates and pasta. The pizza will seem different if you are a pizza snob. In other words, when you leave there you will either love it or hate it. You’ll at least be impressed by the fact that they are bending the rules a bit with their pies.
What you should try at Five50 Pizza Bar:
- Marinate Octopus Crostini – Initially it feels a bit strong on the salty side and then the octopus gives you those hints of the ocean that stimulate your tongue with a tiny bit of that feeling you get when you are on a beach late in the afternoon. It’s still warm but it starts getting cool and you like it. This is a dish that gently moves your taste buds to a more comfortable spot.
- Shaved Pork Belly “Porchetta” – It’s the fat that makes me smile and then the pork flavor comes back and makes me so excited. I would hate to share this. I love you if I even offer you a taste.
- Wild Mushroom Ravioli – Braised veal, capers…Shawn McClain doing what he does best and that is combining some incredible ingredients into a comfortable package that makes you take a deep breath and slow down in order to taste every single bite.
- Pizza – The Gotham is a meatfest that feels a little like a meaty Stromboli without an extra top of dough. It’s not extremely thick but it does have enough girth that one slice and a beer could constitute a meal. This pizza goes very well with a North Coast Brewing Company , Old Rasputin Stout.
- Pizza – Farmstead – The prosciutto combines with the egg with just enough excitement to make the cheese make my mouth water and then the olives give me a little bit of a zap on the tongue. I actually needed to switch to wine for this pizza. A beer was good but a glass of Prosecco actually made it better for me.
- Pizza – Margherita – I’m a simple guy so this pizza makes me the happiest. This pizza and a Tripel or a Saison or an IPA and I’m fine. In other words, this is the pizza and beer combination that works for everyone.
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