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It’s June in Las Vegas and if you’re a poker player this is the time of the year you live for. The WSOP (World Series of Poker) is in full swing now at the Rio and for the next six weeks will be the center of the poker world.

Over the next several weeks I will be spending a lot of my free time at WSOP and will share some great places to eat in and around the area of the Rio. Just up the street from the Rio is Pasta Mia West (4455 W. Flamingo Ave.).

Last week after my first session of poker at this year’s WSOP, I wanted to grab a bite to eat. I needed some good comfort food after I was greeted with a large hand that, well, would have killed most people’s appetite. I had Ace-King on a flop of A-A-3. Long story short, my opponent had Pocket 3’s for a flopped Full House that beat my trip Aces…UGH!

For me, the best way to get over a hand like that is a nice Italian meal and Pasta Mia came to the rescue. I sat down and enjoyed an appetizer – Carciofi Romano, which is their name for a stuffed artichoke. An excellent way to start any meal.

I was in the mood for pasta so I went with their Gnocchi alla Romana. They prepare theirs with Sausage, Porcini Mushrooms and Shallots in a light Pomodoro Sauce. A true test of an Italian restaurant is their meat sauce. They substituted the sauces for me with no problems.

My meal came with a choice of salad or soup and I went with the salad and their Homemade Italian Vinaigrette Dressing. They also give you a big basket of hot garlic bread fresh out of the oven, which was a very nice touch with the meal.

When my plate of gnocchi arrived it was absolutely perfect. The pasta was cooked to perfection as I like my pasta just a little al dente. What I liked even more was their meat sauce. You know from my past reviews, when it comes to my meat sauce I am very picky. Theirs is one of the best I’ve had in Las Vegas. So good that when I finished the pasta I had to take a piece of my garlic bread and dip it in the extra meat sauce on my plate.

Yes, by this time I completely forgot about my trip Aces getting beat.

PM serves huge portions and my gnocchi, salad and basket of garlic bread were just $16.95 – a steal for a meal that good.

On my next visit I want to check out some of their veal dishes.Trust me, there will be a next time.

I was there on a Tuesday and got right in but would recommend making reservations if you go later in the week. It’s not a really big place but with food this good they are always busy.

So if you are looking for some great homemade Northern Italian food, head on over to Pasta Mia West as I give them 3.75 Forks.

Marco D’Angelo is the senior handicapper at He co-hosts FIRST PREVIEW every Thursday at 10 a.m. on ESPN 1100 AM/98.9 FM. Follow him on twitter: @MarcoInVegas. Contact him at [email protected].

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