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Martorano: Cook of the Century


Celebrity interviewer Pete Allman reviews Chef Steve Martorano's Las Vegas restaurant at Rio Hotel, Martorano’s Café.

  by Pete Allman, Celebrity Scene Entertainment News, Las Vegas - February 5, 2008  

Chef Steve MartoranoIn a town where there are outstanding executive chefs from around the world presenting their cuisine at local dining spots, there is a unique cook among them. Steve Martorano is cooking up a storm unlike anyone has anywhere else in the country.

Martorano, who I proclaim to be “The Cook of the 21st Century” because of his fabulous presentation and his home-style family recipes, has a unique flair all his own: He serves as a deejay playing music and videos right from his highly proficient kitchen!

Martorano found his love for cooking at the age of eight in his parents’ South Philly restaurant. Martorano’s favorite recipes today are based on the same family recipes from Cou’s Little Italy, his parent’s restaurant, where they served homemade gnocchi, shrimp scampi, veal parmesan, and other scrumptious dishes.

Wow! I must say that Martorano’s Café at the Rio All-Suites Hotel carries the family traditions and their homemade desserts.

What’s unique about his presentation is the way he handles playing old-school artists, such as the Temptations and Marvin Gaye, while he shows vintage and classic movies on an array of at least 10 plasma screens located throughout the restaurant and the adjacent VIP room.

Martorano does all this while conducting the operation of the restaurant with a staff of seven cooks and posing for photos with celebs, such as Robin Leech and Jerry Rice. He does all this while never missing one beat.

Cafe MartoranoWhile most professionals in the culinary field consider themselves chefs, Steve Martorano considers himself a “cook.” My guest, Beryl Warren, who has traveled extensively, was totally enthralled with Martorano and his staff. She and I sat in Martorano’s private cooking station overlooking the kitchen where his entrees go for as much as $150. It’s a work of art, the way his cooks prepare an average of 400 meals per night. It’s definitely a nightclub setting with mood lighting to enhance the atmosphere in a clean, contemporary decor.

So what’s not to like watching characters of the old mob, comedy and dramatic movies, while enjoying patrons singing, moving and rising to dance to old school music?

It all would be to no avail without those family recipes. Quite frankly, I’ve never tasted Italian cuisine of this stature; and I’ve enjoyed many Italian dishes, but none so scrumptious as those served at Martorano’s Café.

Among our tasty menu selections, my guest and I partook of the Linguini and Clams, Traditional Chicken Cacciatore with those thin San Marzano tomatoes, which carry the Italian government D.O.P. certification. In addition, we sampled the Shrimp and Scampi dish, and the Veal Parmesan, which was excellent. While we had dined sufficiently, our wonderful server, Heather, surprised us with the delightful Cannoli and Apple Walnut Cake.

Martorano, with his vision and accomplishments, is a true example of persistence, considering that he began running a sandwich delivery service back in 1981 from his apartment.

Reservations at (702) 221-8279 are suggested and highly recommended due to the packed house nightly. Plus, Martorano travels between his Las Vegas location and his original South Florida restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. They serve big portions at a gourmet price. CSN rates this 10-plus.


Pete Allman is a Las Vegas-based commentator, broadcast personality and celebrity interviewer. He also produces inspirational messages for television and other media. Contact him at or (702) 265-9099.