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If you’re looking for a night of entertainment along with classic Italian food, head to the Bootlegger (7700 Las Vegas Blvd).

This is an old school Italian restaurant with all the classic dishes. What makes Bootlegger different is you get to be entertained while you dine. There is live entertainment every night in the dining room with two evenings that I particularly like.

If you enjoy Jazz music, come Thursday nights for some great live performers. Then there’s Monday nights for Kelly Clinton’s Open Mic. This has been a favorite of Vegas locals for quite some time. You never know who is going to show up as big name stars and celebrities have been there.

It’s great to be entertained, but we are really here for the food. When you sit down they bring out a basket of garlic knots and marina sauce to dip them in. These babies become addicting so be careful.

My favorite appetizer on the menu is the Funghi di Maria a fancy name for stuffed mushrooms. They stuff the mushrooms with homemade Italian Sausage and broil them in herb butter sauce. They also have a nice Mozzarella Caprese Salad, which is a light way to go if you are going to load up on a pasta dish.

I have been here so many times I could list a lot of different dishes, but I’ll stick to my absolute favorites. Always good, and such a simple dish, is the Chicken, Eggplant or Veal Parmesan. Another dish I like is their petite Veal Osso Bucco, which is done a little different. It’s served slowly braised with a Saffron Risotto.

My favorite choice here is the Polloalla Cacciatore served over pappardelle. If you want authentic Italian Chicken Cacciatore to me there is only one way to make it and that is with actual pieces of chicken with the bones.

No boneless breast here. The flavor comes from the bones, which Bootlegger knows and does right. If you like seafood one of their house specialties is their Diavolo, which is clams, calamari, shrimp and mussels cioppino style over a bed of linguine. You can order it hot, medium or mild depending on how spicy you like it.

How can you go to an Italian restaurant and not think about Tiramisu for dessert? That and New York cheesecake are a big favorite for Mrs. Marco and I’m pretty fond of both as well. So, if you are looking for good Italian food and entertainment Bootlegger on the south end of the Strip is the place.

I give it 3.5 Forks.

Marco D’Angelo is the senior handicapper at He co-hosts FIRST PREVIEW every Thursday night at 11 pm on ESPN 1100 AM/98.9 FM. Follow him on twitter: @MarcoInVegas. Contact him at [email protected].

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