Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Restaurant Review: Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas

I recently took my first ever trip to Las Vegas for a culinary exploration and to strike it rich on the penny slots. After $24, or 2400 pulls of the lever later, I only had my culinary exploration left to look forward to.
And look what I found! Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare located in the Wynn Las Vegas. I didn't quite stumble upon this as it sounds. At the recent World's of Flavor conference at the CIA, I met Chef Paul Bartolotta while helping with my Puglia friends from Italy. Chef was kind enough to give me an interview for the SageThymes newsletter, and even an invite to come see him next time I was in Vegas. Just so turns out that was about a month later.
Wow! Fine dining at its best. Spiral staircase pathway down to our lovely table with an outdoor view of a nice pool reflecting the stars from the crystal clear desert skies. Sorry to set that up as being so romantic and all, but the Mrs. was dining with me this night.
At World's of Flavor, Chef Bartolotta came in with three ice chests overflowing with these guys. I will say, the presentation was quite a bit classier in the restaurant, glass case and all. I remember when Chef Bartolotta gave the Scorpion fish (middle of the bottom row) to Chef Corrado de Virgillo for his Scorpion fish Ragu. Branzino (sea bass), San Pietro (john dory), Rombo (turbot), Pagaro (snapper). Maybe some Astaco (rock lobster) or Cicala Imperiale (slipper lobster). Take your pick?
Pagaro it is! E' bello!

You've got to try some pasta at an Italian restaurant. Spaghetti all’astice. Spaghetti with rock lobster, spicy tomato sauce, and white wine. Molto bene!
Perhaps a symphony of desserts or sinfonia di dolci as the Italians say. Out came one after another as we gazed into the delicious sweet goodness before us. Trio of sorbets (raspberry, coconut, guava), trio of granita (grapefruit, moscato, pineapple), trio of gelato (pistacio, vanilla, thick chocolate), olive oil cake with rosemary gelato, and something else topped with figs, but whose keeping track when you are in a sugar induced coma of goodness.
A tour of the kitchen ensued and an opportunity to reunite with Sous chef Basilan Giesecke. He looked a little bit more cool and calm in his environment instead of the overcrowded teaching kitchen here at the CIA. The back of the house tells a lot about a restaurant and this kitchen was just as impressive as the rest of the restaurant.

What an experience and what a great opportunity to see a celebrity chef in his world instead of in the lights and glamor of a conference at the CIA. Many thanks go out to Chef Bartolotta and Amy Rossetti, the senior food & beverage public relations manager at the Wynn Las Vegas, for making our first trip to Vegas so memorable. By the way, the Wynn is opening a new hotel, Encore, on December 22nd. Just another reason to head back to Vegas and try to win my $24 back.

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