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I’ve wanted to try Martorano’s for a while now, so I figured with the WSOP coming to the Rio for the next five weeks (starting Wednesday) this would be a great time to go check things out.

Martorano’s is located inside the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino (3700 W. Flamingo Rd). It’s part restaurant, part night club and 100% great Italian food. Chef Steve Martorano has created a unique dining experience.

When you come here for dinner you will hear the sounds of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bobby Darin. As you get later into the evening expect the music to transition into more Soul, Disco and Classic Rock. It’s a very hip place to be and I would recommend making reservations as the place fills up quickly.

So often I have gone to these hip restaurants and been disappointed as the food would not live up to the hype of being in an “it” place. Well, that was not the case here.

I popped in after a nice session of poker and sat at the bar to catch the NBA Playoff game while dining. They had the game on one of the TV’s, a video about Martorano on another and “The Godfather” playing on a third.

Can you get any more old school? Yes. When “The Godfather” ended the next movie they played was “Casino” with Robert De Niro.

OK, let’s get to the real star of the show, the food – in this case the Meatball. Every time I have heard anyone mention Martorano’s, I always heard the same thing, “Oh my God you have to have the Meatballs.” Having heard so much about them, I had myself convinced there was no way these meatballs could live up to all the advance billing. Well I’m reporting the hype was dead on. I’ll go as far as to say that this may just have been the best meatball I have ever eaten (sorry mom).

I ordered the Meatballs and can tell you this is now my absolute favorite appetizer dish in Las Vegas. I ordered the Homemade Meatball with gravy accompanied by Roasted Hot and Sweet Peppers. I love roasted peppers done in garlic and oil. Pairing them with the meatball and gravy was pure genius!

The gravy is their red sauce. The combination of peppers with garlic, oil, meatballs, red sauce and then fresh bread could be a meal in itself. This is a must on your visit.

For my entrée I actually went with one of their side dishes – homemade gnocchi. You can get it with Parmesan Cream Sauce or their Sunday Pork Gravy. I went with their Sunday Pork Gravy and it was excellent.

There were several other dishes on the menu that caught my eye for future visits. I can say at Martorano’s you will get a full evening of good food, fun and a very entertaining experience.

Here’s one of the best kept secrets with the restaurants at the Rio – be sure to show your total rewards card and a Nevada Id. By doing so, you will receive 25% off your bill.

I will be spending a lot of time at the Rio this summer with the WSOP and planning on several meals at Martorano’s. Make sure to save me a meatball. I give Martorano’s 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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