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Fine dining, country style!

Apr 30, 2002 8:00 AM

Good things indeed come in small packages. That’s abundantly clear at the Nevada Palace on Boulder Highway.

A popular spot with Las Vegas locals, the Palace features two first rate dining rooms characterized by friendly, "down home" service, and freshly-prepared dishes served in bountiful portions and at bargain prices.

Open for dinner nightly is La Bella Pasta, an intimate yet casual affair that serves a combination of steak, seafood, Italian and Continental specialties.

The dining room meanders through several nooks and alcoves and features indirect lighting accented by stately columns, faux greenery and 1960s-style wall sconces.

Seating is available at tables or in oversized booths colored in muted shades of forest green and burgundy.

Among the menu choices, the broiler selections are among the best. The prime rib, priced at $12.99, is butter tender and juicy, and the steaks ”” a 16-ounce T-bone, 12-ounce New York cut and an appetite-quenching 20-ounce Portherhouse ”” are chosen from aged, Midwestern beef and cooked to perfection.

Other superb choices include a broiled halibut and salmon steak ($10.99 and $9.99, respectively), steak and lobster, and a hearty Pasta Del Mar (shrimp, clams, scallops, salmon and sun dried tomatoes served over linguini).

You can also feast on rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken breast, pork chops, sautéed calf’s liver and pork scaloppini Marsala.

Pasta lovers can indulge in a well-stocked antipasto soup and salad bar (don’t miss the thinly-sliced coppa, mortadella, salami and sardine filets, marinated artichokes and other tidbits), and a range of homemade pasta: lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, beef ravioli, fettuccini al Fredo and much more. The best part is, no dinner is priced over $6.99!

The dining room also has a dinner buffet with carving station, plus a soup and salad bar.

Try to save (or make!) room for dessert, which includes a variety of spumoni, dark chocolate cake, carrot cake and a sinful cheesecake with strawberry sauce.

SUPERB SERVICE ”” Warm, friendly service helps enhance the chef specialties.

Nevada Palace’s other restaurant, the Boulder Café, is much more than a 24-hour coffee shop. The restaurant serves a range of American favorites ”” breakfast, lunch and dinner ”” plus a unique Chinese menu, served from 4 to 10 p.m.

Some of the country-style specialties include a tasty beef chili con carne ($4.25) served in a bowl that seems bottomless, a hearty All American beef stew ($5.25), smoked ham hocks and beans with garlic toast ($4.25), Southern fried chicken ($5.99) and chicken fried steak with country gravy ($7.25), to name a few.

Popular dinner entrees include grilled pork chops, roast prime rib, rainbow trout, a variety of steaks and broiled chicken breast. Most entrees are under $10; steaks are $8.25 to $16.99.

Diners can also choose from traditional breakfast specials, hot and cold sandwiches (try the Old Hickory ”” baked ham sliced razor thin and swimming in barbecue sauce), selected salads, and juicy burgers ”” they have one called the Ultimate, which features a half-pound of beef, topped with bacon, a fried egg and all the trimmings.

In addition to great dining, the Nevada Palace has a hyperactive casino with locals’ favorite games and machines, plus special bonus payouts, giveaways and promotions that have helped generate a loyal following of players.

SURF AND TURF ”” The steak and lobster is among the many house specialties.