A toast to new Gold Coast restaurants

February 12, 2002 5:48 AM


The Gold Coast Hotel has always been one of Las Vegas’ most popular off-Strip casinos, and its recent expansion should enhance its popularity with visitors and locals alike. Two new restaurants ”” featuring Asian and Italian fare ”” are among the new facilities, as well as an expanded buffet.

The Chinese restaurant, Ping Pang Pong, is a hyperactive eatery that’s open-air to the Gold Coast’s massive casino. Featuring an exhibition Chinese kitchen, Ping Pang Pong serves a variety of Asian favorites unique to several Chinese provinces. Among them is the double-braised scallop hot pot (whole sea scallops seared, then simmered with garlic oyster sauce in a sealed clay pot); Cantonese pulled chicken (tossed with salted, five-spice dressing); lotus wrapped pork ribs (steamed with five-spice and chopped garlic); and julienne fresh abalone (sautéed with egg whites, silver bean sprouts and hot house chives).

The restaurant also offers a dim sum menu that features such tasty tidbits as har gow shrimp dumpling, seafood potato dumpling, braised chicken feet, Cantonese tulip cakes, steamed pork ribs, barbecue pork pastry, golden chive cakes, sesame balls, egg custard and coffee mocha rice balls, to name a few.

If you’ve never experienced dim sum, it can be a real treat. The practice usually includes dim sum servers circulating the dining room with carts filled with the dim sum treats. While some of the names can be difficult, your best bet is to point out the dishes you’d like to sample.

Ping Pang Pong also features a number of chef favorites that include clay pot rice dishes and congees, black peppered beef udon, Mandarin noodles in a sesame cream sauce, beef satay flat rice noodles and pan-seared tiger prawns in the shell with aged soy sauce, garlic and shallots.

Ping Pang Pong is open for dinner nightly, from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.

The Gold Coast’s new Italian restaurant, Arriva, brings the classic cuisine of Italy to an intimate, upscale room that was formerly the Mediterranean Room.

House favorites include a hearty seafood Napolitano (shrimp, clams and mussels, sautéed in garlic and tomato sauce and served on a bed of linguine); filet mignon (stuffed with Boursin cheese and topped with Prosciutto ham and sun-dried tomatoes demi-glaze); and scallops Provencale (large sea scallops sautéed and simmered in olive oil, garlic and fresh diced tomatoes).

Pasta lovers will love Arriva’s well-chosen selection that includes seafood ravioli with Rose sauce, the chef’s own homemade lasagna or the rigatoni sausage Sicilian (sausage sautéed in a wine and marinara sauce, blended with rigatoni).

Arriva also serves excellent fresh seafood including trout, halibut, salmon, orange roughy, sea bass and swordfish, as well as milk-fed veal and chicken dishes.

Try to save room for dessert, as the tiramisu is among the best in the city, and the chocolate decadence is positively sinful. Other diet-busters include homemade cannoli, praline ice cream pie and Mascarpone cheese cake with raspberry sauce.