Great dining, bargain prices: Instantly!

Dec 10, 2002 2:00 AM

Las Vegas is renowned for its world-class dining, but you don’t need to spend a fortune and fight the Strip crowds to eat large.

Simply drive to the west side to Instant Replay & Villa Pizza Sports Pub and Grille (5570 W. Flamingo Road, 252-7007), where you’ll find superb dining at bargain prices, plus all the fun for which sports pubs are famous.

Following its sports theme, Instant Replay features sports memorabilia on the walls plus dozens of TV monitors for watching the latest action. The vaulted ceilings, tile floors, booth and table seating, and lightwood furnishings create an informal atmosphere that is at once pleasant and pleasing.

Diners can choose from the main dining room, and another room that flanks the open exhibition kitchen.

There’s also a large bar equipped with the latest gaming machines, as well as a private room for banquets and parties. A nice touch in the private room is the projection screen TV plus VCR for viewing home movies or other party treats.

"We strive to serve gourmet food at bargain prices," said owner Tony Leone. "Families can feel comfortable dining here, knowing they are getting great dishes without spending an arm and a leg."

Instant Replay features a diverse menu, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The entrees are made from the freshest and best quality ingredients, and prepared by chef Dante, who has years of experience on the Las Vegas Strip, most recently as the head chef at the upscale Top of the World restaurant at the Stratosphere.

"With Chef Dante, we’ve taken our dining experience to another level," Leone said. "You’re not likely to find this type of dining, at these prices, anywhere in Las Vegas."

Indeed, Chef Dante’s specialties are first rate and worthy of dining rooms charging three times as much. His presentations are artistic and tempting, and satisfying to the most discriminating diner.

Chef Dante’s menu features Continental and grill favorites with an Italian twist. His chicken Marsala ($9.95), for instance, features a boneless breast of chicken in a light Marsala wine sauce with mushrooms that melt in your mouth.

Other great dishes include masterful renditions of eggplant Parmesan, chicken Angelo, fettucine Alfredo, tortellini, ravioli, shrimp fra diavolo, chicken scallopini and penne tossed with fresh broccoli and spinach.

Seafood lovers will like dishes such as linguine pescatore (pasta tossed with clams, calamari, shrimp, garlic, olive oil and a tangy tomato sauce); shrimp scampi ”” shrimp sautéed in a garlic, lemon, butter and wine sauce and served over linguine.

Dinner entrees are priced from $8.95 to $14.95, with most items ticketed at about $10! Here’s a great spot to eat, and you actually receive change back!

Instant Replay also serves great pizza ”” traditional thin crust or thick, stuffed crust. From the latter you can feast on Popeye’s Delight (spinach, ricotta cheese and layers of Mozzarella), a monster Meat Lover’s Pizza (pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, ham and salami) and a cholesterol-friendly Veggie Lover’s Pizza (tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms).

The traditional gourmet pizzas (all priced under $10) can be topped with virtually anything, including garlic chicken, diced clams, barbecue chicken, shrimp scampi, Italian sausage, ham and pineapple, red peppers and sausage, and much more.

For those who prefer to eat light, there’s a nice selection of salads, (the antipasto is a meal onto itself), hot and cold sandwiches, wraps (turkey, ham or chicken Cajun) and hearty subs.

Not to be left out, there’s an abundance of "party food" when the mood strikes you, including Mozzarella sticks, Jalapeno poppers, bruschetta, steamed clams Marinara, teriyaki wings, potato skins and fried zucchini.

In addition to Instant Replay’s regular menu, the lunch specials feature great food for barely the price of a Happy Meal. They include items such as chicken fingers with fries, tuna salad sandwich, chicken Caesars salad and a Cajun chicken wrap, for about $5 or $6. There’s also a cheese pizza special, and an all-you-can-eat ribs special on Saturday.

Finally, Instant Replay is planning a festive New Year’s Eve party that will feature DJ music, dancing and the choice of three gourmet dinners: Prime rib of beef, herb chicken and grilled sea bass. The price is only $24.99 (unheard of for New Year’s Eve!), so make your reservations early.