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My review for 800 Degrees at Monte Carlo

ah6tyfour | Apr 19, 201406:27 PM

I have been eagerly awaiting the opening of 800 Degrees at the Monte Carlo since it was announced they were coming to Vegas and was finally able to try their pizza on opening night (April 4th) as well as again last night.

800 Degrees is a make-it-your-way Neapolitan pizza place first opened in Westwood near UCLA. They are the original "build your own" pizza place and started the proliferation of many copycats across Southern California and then the nation (with Vegas-based Novecento and Custom Built as well as chains like Orange County's Pieology). Envisioned by Anthony Carron as a place to get a great pizza with great ingredients baked up in 60 seconds at a price cheaper than a Neapolitan pizza restaurant, 800 Degrees made its mark across Southern California and has debuted in Vegas.

The space is wonderful. It has tall ceilings and a very rustic interior, with booth seating as well as dark wooden picnic tables. The space is at least double the size of the original Westwood location. In the corner are two of those custom flavor Coke machines, taps for still and sparkling water, and a gelato case.

As for the pizza, the dough is made from scratch daily and you get to watch them form the dough by hand. All pizzas are the same size, but it is up to you to choose the base of your pizza (Margherita, white, marinara, or pesto) . From there, you walk down the toppings line with your pizza as you let your creativity soar. You have your choice of toppings from shrimp to meatballs to hot pepper puree to truffled cheese to fresh-sliced prosciutto. Then your pizza is transferred to the 800 degree oven and comes out hot and fresh after about a minute. The pizza is finished with some finishing salt (not sure if just kosher salt or if it's Maldon sea salt), sliced, and ready for pick-up at the counter.

My favorite combination is the Verde pizza base with prosciutto, caramelized onions, and chili puree. If you don't want to create your own, there are some pre-designed choices you can order off the menu. My favorite of the pre-designed pies is the Piccante, with soppressata, garlic, and chili puree.

As far as pricing goes, you pay for the base you choose ($6-$8) and toppings are $1.50 each. Every pizza gets a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano, a ball of fresh-made mozzerella torn up and placed on the pizza by hand, and olive oil.

And how do they taste? Excellent! The crust is thin and chewy, with a crisp bottom from the hot oven. The cornicione is puffy, slightly burnt in parts, and has a wonderful chew. The base sauces taste great, the toppings are fresh, and the baking of the pizza is well-done. The sprinkle of finishing salt right before cutting was a nice touch. There's also something about their dough that makes the entire pizza seem light. You definitely don't feel weighed down after you finish an 800 Degrees pizza. Unless, of course, you go crazy on toppings.

They also have great salads and a few burrata offerings available. I would suggest the burrata platter with melon and prosciutto. As for drinks, they have the fountain drinks, but they also have beer and even wine on tap.

Negatives? Not many. I asked for a farm egg on one of my pizzas and it was very undercooked (egg white still liquid) after baking. They need to find a way to keep those raw eggs at a higher temp so they'll cook faster. I didn't like that fountain drinks cost $3.50, which seems sort of high. And I also didn't like that pricing, while still very reasonable, was higher than the Southern California locations.

Best part about the Vegas location? Not having to deal with the 20-30 minute line at the ones in SoCal. Just like Boiling Crab Vegas is free of the 2-3 hour waits of the SoCal locations.

800 Degrees,
Novecento Pizzeria
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